Pinoy Weekly » Karapatang Pantao Philippine news, analysis, and investigative stories Sun, 03 Aug 2014 17:56:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Larawan | Propesor at siyentistang si Kim Gargar, lumaya na Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:55:48 +0000 10550883_10202579841162070_5192058442084788111_n

Lumaya na ngayong araw si Kim Gargar, dating propesor sa Unibersidad ng Pilipinas, siyentista at kolumnista ng Pinoy Weekly, matapos payagang makapagpiyansa ng korte sa Baganga, Davao Oriental. Si Gargar ay inaresto noong Oktubre 1, 2013 at kinasuhan ng illegal possession of explosives at attempted murder. Pinaratangan siya ng mga militar na miyembro daw ng New People’s Army. Iginiit ng progresibong mga grupo na hindi miyembro ng NPA si Gargar, bagkus isang siyentistang nananaliksik sa lugar nang maganap ang engkuwentro ng militar at NPA. Kontribusyon

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Rights group slams PNP, AFP deployment for SONA protest Fri, 25 Jul 2014 08:01:14 +0000 Picture of the response letter from the Quezon City government for a permit to rally in front of Batasan Pambansa during President Aquino's State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 28. From Renato Reyes Jr.'s Facebook account

Picture of the response letter from the Quezon City government for a permit to rally in front of Batasan Pambansa during President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 28. From Renato Reyes Jr.’s Facebook account

The human rights group Karapatan said it deplores the Aquino government’s deployment of 400 military personnel and 10,000 policemen supposedly to contain the massive protest actions set to be staged on July 28, during President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

“The paranoia of a beleaguered President is once again manifested through the deployment of AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP (Philippine National Police) personnel for the rally against BS Aquino’s SONA on Monday,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary-general of Karapatan.

Palabay said that they have been receiving reports that AFP troops are going around barangays in Quezon City asking for names of leaders of progressive groups who will join the protests.

“The additional deployment of AFP personnel for street protests is especially alarming. It appears that the streets and commmunities in Metro Manila are now being increasingly militarized to prepare for violent dispersals on Monday,” she added.

Renato Reyes Jr., secretary-general of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), which will lead the protest actions on Monday, posted on his Facebook account the Quezon City’s response letter to Bayan’s request for permit to stage protest action at Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.

Signed by a certain Elmo San Diego of the city’s Department of Public Order and Safety, the letter said that “their request to hold a rally in front of the Batasan Pambansa Complex cannot be favorably granted as the area is not considered a freedom park and there is not enough space to assemble in the area without obstructing the free flow of traffic.”

The PNP has been using the Marcos-era law, Batasan Pambansa Bilang 880, or the Public Assembly Act of 1985, to require protesters to apply for a permit to rally. The said law has been subject to criticism by human rights groups and civil libertarians as a “Marcosian law” that violates constitutionally-guaranteed rights to freedom of assembly and expression.

Section 4, Article III of the 1987 Constitution states thus: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.” 

Karapatan said it warns the police and military against “intolerance and violence against the people’s exercise of our rights to free speech and freedom of assembly.”

The group said it has documented nearly 10,000 victims of violent dispersals under the Aquino administration.

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Suspected military hitmen kill father of murdered child Grecil Buya Tue, 22 Jul 2014 14:22:16 +0000 Gregorio Galacio holds his daughter's school records as he proved her  innocence after the military tagged grecil (right) as  NPA child combatant in 2007. Contributed photo

Gregorio Galacio holds his daughter’s school records to  prove her innocence after the military tagged Grecil (right) as NPA child combatant in 2007. Contributed Photo

For seven years, farmer Gregorio Galacio sought justice for his daughter. Instead of attaining justice, he was killed by unidentified men believed to be military agents in his home in Barangay Kahayag, New Bataan, Compostela Valley.

Hanimay Suazo, secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region, informed Pinoy Weekly that around 4AM of July 19, 2014, Galacio was fatally shot inside his house by at least 10 armed men who surrounded his house. He sustained six gunshot wounds and died on the spot.

According to Suazo, unidentified armed men were seen roaming around the neighborhood and near Galacio’s house weeks before the incident.

Suazo added that Galacio returned home in 2010 in Brgy. Kahayag after hiding from the military who accused him of being a member of the rebel New People’s Army (NPA).

“He told me during the public forum conducted by the national humanitarian and fact finding mission last May that military men are theatening him and the 66th Infantry Battalion (of the Philippine Army) is always ‘inviting’ him to go to their camp,” Suazo said.

The harassment that Galacio went through is similar to other cases of extra-judicial killings, where victims were  publicly accused by the military as being rebels and told to “report” to military camps, said Karapatan.

Victim twice over

Galacio was the father of Grecil Buya (Grecil used her mother’s surname), the 9-year-old child killed in a reported encounter between the NPA and the military in 2007. The military claimed that Grecil was an NPA child combatant

This despite proof from his father that the child attended school.

Human rights groups said that the military tried to justify Grecil’s killing by calling her an NPA combatant. The military later retracted their statement.

Based on various accounts, Grecil was with her younger brother taking a bath in a river near their house
on March 31, 2007 when a gunfight took place near them. Frightened, the siblings ran to their house, but Grecil was shot twice — one in her elbow and one in the head.

The military claimed that Grecil was carrying an M-16 rifle during the firefight.

But relatives, neighbors, barangay officials and her elementary teachers refuted this. In a fact finding mission, human rights and child advocates said they discovered that Grecil was innocent and that the military placed an M-16 rifle beside her dead body before taking her photograph.

Prominent case

Local and international human rights organizations, including the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, took notice of Grecil Buya’s case. After an independent investigation, the military retracted their statement and stated that she was a collateral victim  caught during  a cross-fire.

Buya’s case also put focus on the Philippine child rights advocates’ campaign questioning the definition of “child soldiers” in international human rights parlance. They asked the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict to place the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a “persistent child rights violator”.

“For seven years, Tatay Gorio longed for justice for her daughter’s death. His family’s cry for justice will now be even louder as another state-sponsored killing has taken over their family,” said Jacquiline Ruiz, executive director of Chidren’s Rehabilitation Center, one of the organizations who led the Justice for Grecil Buya Campaign.

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Advocates renew call for resumption of peace talks Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:00:57 +0000 Peace advocates from the church, academe,movie industry and people's organisations renewed their calls for the resumption> Macky Macaspac

Peace advocates from the church, academe, movie industry and people’s organizations renew their call for the resumption of peace talks between the National Democratic Front (NDFP) and Government of the Philippines (GPH) by launching a campaign called “Kapayapaan”.  Macky Macaspac

“The National Democratic Front (NDFP) is willing to hold informal talks or consultations without precondition.”

This was the message of Luis Jalandoni, chairperson of the negotiating panel of the NDFP, in a gathering of around 500 individuals from the church, academe, students and different people’s organizations last Monday.

The gathering also launched a campaign dubbed “Kapayapaan”, participated in by more than 50 conveners, including bishops from different religious faiths.

The campaign aims to generate support for the resumption of peace talks between the NDFP and the Government of the Philippines (GPH).  Talks between the two parties have been stalled since 2011, while arrests and the continued detention of political consultants of the NDFP further impeded the peace negotiations.

“We challenge both the GPH and the NDFP panels to muster the political will to resolve the current impediments to the continuation of the talks.” said Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez, one of the conveners of Kapayapaan campaign.

Children also calls for peace in the country. Macky Macaspac

Children also calls for peace in the country. Macky Macaspac

The particiants stressed that civil war in the country has been going on for decades, and that armed revolution waged by NDFP is rooted in poverty, landlessness, joblessness and lack of social justice.

“So if we want just peace, these problems must be addressed by the peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP,” the group said.

In response, Jalandoni said that the NDFP’s willingness to sit down with the GPH’s peace panel should be on the basis of all bilateral peace agreements.  “Such informal talks or consultations should aim for the resumption of formal talks in the succeeding month or months,” Jalandoni said.

Jalandoni added that as soon as the negotiation resumes, the second substantive agenda should be tackled which are the social and economic reforms as stipulated in The Hague Joint Declaration.

“These indeed constitute the meat of the roots of the armed conflict,” Jalandoni said.

Some photos of the event:

Artist Maria Isabel Lopez shares a moment with Linda Cadapan, mother of  missing UP student Sherlyn Cadapan. Macky Macaspac,

Film actress Ma. Isabel Lopez shares a moment with Linda Cadapan, mother of missing UP student Sherlyn Cadapan. Macky Macaspac,

Rep.and former GPH negotiating panel Sylvestre Bello with Rey Casambre of Philippine Peace Center. Macky Macaspac

Representative and former GPH negotiating panel chair Sylvestre Bello shakes hands with Rey Casambre of the Philippine Peace Center. Macky Macaspac

A light moment of Mrs. Edith Burgos with Director Joel Lamangan and artist Maria Isabel Lopez. Macky Macaspac

A light moment of Edith Burgos of Desaparecidos, with film director Joel Lamangan (right) and Ma. Isabel Lopez. Macky Macaspac

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Biktima ng Batas Militar, pinapahirapan sa pagkuha ng danyos Sat, 12 Jul 2014 08:16:35 +0000 Si Marie Hilao Enriquez,tagapangulo ng Karapatan at biktima rin ng batas militar. Macky Macaspac

Si Marie Hilao Enriquez,tagapangulo ng Karapatan at biktima rin ng batas militar. Macky Macaspac

Inirereklamo ng grupong Karapatan ang “mabagal, magulo at pahirapang” aplikasyon para sa bayad-pinsala ng mga biktima ng batas militar.

Sa loob ng halos dalawang buwan matapos magsimula ang aplikasyon ng mga biktima sa Human Rights Victims Claims Board (HRVCB), maliit na porsiyento lamang ng mga biktima ang naproseso, anila.

Isa sa mga dahilan ang maraming rekisito na hinihingi ng claims board. “Biktima na nga, pinapahirapan pa,” sabi ni Marie Hilao-Enriquez, tagapangulo ng Karapatan at biktima rin ng Batas Militar.

Sinabi ni Enriquez na hinahanapan ng claims board ang mga biktima ng mga birth certificate, marriage contract, death certificates na awtentikado ng National Statistics Office, gayundin ng original release papers, at iba pa.

“Paano magkakaroon ang mga biktima ng mga dokumento, kung sila ay minasaker, inaresto, tinortyur. Panahon ‘yun ng batas militar,” aniya.  Tinanong din ni Enriquez kung paano raw magkakaroon ng release papers ang mga biktimang nakatakas sa mga kamay ng pulis at militar.

Iginiit ni Enriquez na hindi malinaw ang proseso ng aplikasyon at wala rin daw na information dissemination kung paano ang proseso ng aplikasyon.

Maliban pa sa requirements, iilang lugar lamang ang naikutan ng HRVCB caravan.Naglunsad ng caravan ang board sa Angeles, Lucena, Calbayog, Tarlac, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod at Cotabato.

Pero ayon kay Enriquez, pahirapan ang pagpunta sa mga lugar na ito at ilang araw lamang ang itinakda sa aplikasyon.

“Kailangan pa nilang gumastos ng pamasahe para makapunta sa mga processing center, tulad ng mga taga-Panay at Capiz pupunta sa Iloilo para lang maproseso. Ilan nga sa kanila ang hindi umabot,” ani Enriquez.

Sa Iloilo, mahigit 800 biktima ang dumating para sa aplikasyon. Pero 268 biktima lang ang naproseso sa loob ng dalawang araw na pananatili ng board. 

Sa Angeles City, Pampanga, 300 biktima lamang ang naproseso, samantalang mayroon pang ilang daan ang hindi nakapagsampa ng kanilang aplikasyon. Sinabihan daw ang mga aplikante na babalik ang board para maproseso ang natitira pang mga aplikante pero walang eksaktong araw kung kailan ang balik.

Sa Lucena City, 93 lamang ang naproseso sa abot 600 na dumating.

Taliwas ito sa sinasabi ng claims board na hindi sila napag-iiwanan. Sinabi ni  HRVCB Chair Lina Sarmiento na aabot sa 3,600 claimants mula sa tinataya nilang 20,000 biktima ang naproseso na ng board.

Pero ayon kay Enriquez, mas malaking bilang pa rito ang naging biktima ng batas militar. “Sa taya namin, nasa 120,000 ang mga ikinulong, wala pa dito ang mga pinatay at ‘yung mga nawawala,” aniya.

Kuwestiyonableng sekretaryo

Ang dokumentong nakuha ng Karapatan hinggil sa pagtanggi ng Bureau of Immigration sa appointment  ni tty. Lara s Claims Board. Macky Macaspac

Dokumentong nakuha ng Karapatan hinggil sa pagtanggi ng Bureau of Immigration sa appointment ni Atty. Lara sa Claims Board. Macky Macaspac

Binatikos din ng grupo ang pagtatalaga kay Grace Gandelyn Lara bilang secretary ni Sarmiento.

Sa isang dokumentong ipinakita ng Karapatan, si Lara na isang abogado  mula sa Bureau of Immigrations ay may kasong “gross neglect of duty” at hindi nirerekomenda ng ahensiya para sa HRVCB.

“Paano magiging maayos ang implementasyon ng batas, kung incompentent ang mga inilalagay sa board,” sabi ni Enriquez.

Dati nang kinukuwestiyon ng Karapatan ang pagkakatalaga ni Sarmiento bilang pinuno ng claims board dahil sa pagiging dating opisyal ng kapulisan.

Binuo ang HRVCB alinsunod sa Republic Act  10368 o Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 para magproseso at tumanggap ng aplikasyon ng mga biktima ng batas militar.

Sampung bilyong piso mula sa  ill-gotten wealth ng pamilyang Marcos ang inilaan para sa bayad-pinsala sa mga biktima. Ayon sa batas, kinikilala nito ang 9,539 na miyembro ng class suit at ang 24 na direct action plaintiffs laban kay Marcos na isinampa sa Hawaii.

Pero walang pahayag ang claims board na kasama ang mga ito sa kasalukuyang proseso.

Anim na buwan ang inilaan ng claims board para sa aplikasyon at magtatapos sa Nobyembre 10, 2014.

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Lider-magsasaka sa Bikol pinaslang Sat, 12 Jul 2014 08:08:57 +0000 i-download“Army an nagbadil sako (Army ang bumaril sa akin).”

Ito ang huling katagang sinabi ni Edgardo Lopez bago siya tuluyang binawian ng buhay matapos barilin ng dalawang lalaki na nakasakay ng motorsiklo noong umaga ng Hulyo 11 sa tapat ng  isang tindahan sa Brgy. Mayon, Daraga, Albay.

Ayon sa Karapatan-Bicol. isang isang lider-magsasaka sa rehiyon ng Bicol si Lopez. Pangulo siya ng Bicol Coconut Planters Association Inc. (BCPAI) na kaalyadong organisasyon ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas sa Albay.

Isa ang BCPAI sa mga samahan ng mga magsasakang nananawagang ibalik ang nakaw na pondo na tinaguriang coco levy funds sa maliliit na magniniyog.

“Nananawagan kami na kagyat na imbestigahan ang pagpaslang kay Lopez. Naniniwala kami na mga militar lang ang may motibong pumaslang sa kanya, dahil sa kanilang paglaban na ibalik sa kanila ang pondong ninakaw sa maliliit na magniniyog. Dapat silang managot,” ani Cristina Guevarra, pangkalahatang kalihim ng Hustisya.

Sinabi naman ni Vince Casilihan, tagapagsalita ng Karapatan-Bicol, na bago maganap ang insidente, naiulat sa kanila na hinaharas ng mga militar si Lopez.

Noong April 2014, pinalibutan umano ng mga sundalo ng 901st Infantry Brigade ng Philippine Army ang bahay ni Lopez at pinaratangang nagkakanlong siya ng mga rebeldeng miyembro ng New People’s Army.

Sinabihan din umano ng mga sundalo si Lopez na tigilan na ang “pagsama sa mga rali at pagsuporta sa NPA” dahil may “masamang mangyayari” sa kanya.

“Karumal-dumal ang mga krimen ng gobyernong Aquino. Ipinagtatanggol ang mga mandarambong at magnanakaw, pagkatapos pinapatay ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan gaya ng mga magsasaka. Habang abala ito sa pagtatakip sa kanyang mga alipores sa DAP, tuloy-tuloy ang kampanyang panunupil ng gobyerno laban sa mga mamamayan,” sinabi ni Guevarra.

Sa kasalukuyan, nakapagtala ang Karapatan ng 204 biktima ng extrajudicial killings sa loob ng apat na taon ng administrsyong Aquino. Ika-50 naman si Lopez sa mga biktima ng pamamaslang sa Bicol.

“Nagpapatuloy ang pagpaslang sa loob ng apat ng taon ni Pang. Noynoy Aquino hanggang ngayon na nalalapit na ang kanyang ikalimang State of the Nation Address (SONA),” ani Guevarra.

Idinagdag ni Guevarra na kahalintulad noong 2010, na isang lider-magsasaka  ang pinaslang ilang linggo bago ang unang SONA ni Aquino.

“Pinaslang si Pascual Guevarra, isang 78-anyos na lider-magsasaka sa Laur, Nueva Ecija noong Hulyo 9. Wala kahit isa sa daan-daang biktima ng pamamaslang ang nakatikim ng hustisya,” sabi pa ni Guevarra.

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Jail plunderers, free political prisoners – rights groups Sat, 28 Jun 2014 06:41:54 +0000 Human Rights groups marched down Morayta St. and held protest in Mendiola Thursday morning. The group denounced the alleged double standard treatment of political prisoners and government officials accused of plunder. Macky Macaspac

Human rights groups marched down Morayta St. and held protest in Mendiola Thursday morning to denounce the alleged double standard treatment of political prisoners and government officials accused of plunder. Macky Macaspac

While senators accused in pork barrel scam rant about the heat, rats and roaches inside the Camp Crame Custodial Center and Janet Lim Napoles is being detained in a spacious villa inside a Camp in Sta. Rosa, Laguna, political prisoners have it worse.

Human rights groups denounced what they called “double standard” in the government’s treatment of prisoners. While authorities ponder on giving the jailed senators some comfort like air-conditioned units, hospital arrest for Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, another four-month pregnant activist woman was arrested and labelled as member of the New People’s Army.

Maria Miradel Torres, a member of a local chapter of Gabriela in Quezon province, was arrested without warrant on June 20, 2014 in Lucena City by the Southern Luzon Command, the military claimed that Torres is wanted for murder filed before the Regional Trial Court in Infanta, Quezon.

Torres, who was initially detained in Camp General Nakar, was forcibly transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa early morning of June 24. According to Karapatan, Torres’ pregnancy is in delicate situation.

“Prior to her arrest she was bleeding profusely, and the results of her medical check-up also showed that she has infection in her urine, has low placenta and is anemic. Despite these, she was forcibly transferred and forced to endure long hours of travel early morning yesterday,” said Rev. Gil Sediarin, deputy secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog.

The group also said that the military had refused to allow Torres’ family to visit her inside Camp Nakar despite a demand from her counsel on June 23.

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) said that there are already 489 political prisoners, imprisoned mostly due to their political conviction for social change and development.

The group added that government considered them as enemy and threat to the social system. “In Aquino’s view they must be silenced,” said Roneo Clamor, spokesperson of Selda.


Clamor said that double standard of treatment is prevalent in many jails, citing the case of Andrea Rosal, as well as and Torres. The group said that instead of heeding to the complaints of political prisoners, jail officials punished them for allegedly violating prison rules.

Selda cited the experience of a female political detainee punished by the Disciplinary Board of the Taguig City Jail for complaining about the condition of inmates inside the jail.

According Karapatan, Loida Magpatoc, a peace consultant for the National Democratic Front of the Philippines wrote a letter of complaint to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on June 1. The letter allegedly caught the ire of jail authorities.

In her letter to CHR, Magpatoc cited the lack of medical facilities and neglect of sick inmates, scarcity of water supply in the female dormitory, and overpricing of materials used to produce crafts for their livelihood. She also accused that personnel of the BJMP collects 30 percent from the sales of their products.

As a result of her complaint, the Disciplinary Board, headed by Deputy Warden Teresa Minda Cabaniero, ordered Magpatoc to clean the toilets of the BJMP employees and personnel, including the kitchen at the rooftop of the female dorm, according to Karapatan. The goup added that BJMP guards earlier confiscated Magpatoc’s first letter of complaint, her complaint was deemed as violation of the BJMP manual.

Magpatoc, in a statement, she said the measure aims to maim the inmates and send the message “bawal ang magreklamo” (“you should not complain”). She also cited that at least two inmates died without proper medical attention and one of them, a certain Leticia Socito suffered hypertension and was brought to the hospital when she fell into a coma.


Karapatan also said that male prisoners at the male dorm of the Special Intensive Care Area (SICA), including political prisoners, some of whom are NDFP consultants, complain that jail authorities arbitrarily confiscated some of their personal belongings, including their handicraft products.

They accused the BJMP-NHQ of conducting “greyhound operations” on June 12.

The greyhound operations are supposedly done to “search for and confiscate illegal drugs, weapons and similar contrabands”. But the guards instead confiscated a kerosene stove and a bottle of Thyroid Gland Care capsules used as maintenance medicine of political detainee Fidel Holanda.

It was the second time the BJMP guards confiscated the kerosene stove used by the political detainees,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson.

The group added that one of the jail guards dumped the medicine bottle onto Holanda’s cot, scattering its content into the floor. On May 1, the BJMP guards also confiscated the transistor radios of another NDFP consultant, Emeterio Antalan, and an inmate. The said transistor radios are still in the possession of jail authorities, according to Karapatan.

In a joint letter signed by NDFP consultants Alan Jazmines, Emeterio Antalan, Tirso Alcantara, Leopoldo Caloza and other political detainees said that the BJMP-NHQ concentrated on “non-contraband, harmless and essentially needed items of detainees, as kerosene stoves, livelihood handicraft production raw materials and finished products, educational and entertainment CDs/DVDs, lighters, sewing needles, ballpens, nailcutters, tweezers, toothbrushes, and disposable shavers.”

Both the political detainees at the SICA and at the Taguig City Jail-female dormitories complained of the guards’ “display of arrogance”. The political detainees have yet to receive a response from the authorities on the said complaints.

“The real enemies of the people are the plunderers of the nation’s wealth, and the worst of human rights violators. They should be the ones held in jail instead of the political prisoners who are the true servants of the people,” added Clamor.

The group also slammed the continued impunity fostered by the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan. The lawmaker said that in contrast to President Aquino’s promise to give justice to the victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, many military officials who were implicated in human rights violations during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s reign were promoted to top military positions.

“With military generals who murder and torture, get promoted and plunderers of the nation’s coffers who receive special treatment in jail, the Aquino government is in full blast promoting impunity. Impunity is fostered by counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, the symbol of killings, torture and other human rights violations,” the group said.

The group cited the latest promotion of Philippine Army colonel Medardo Geslani to brigadier general. Geslani was implicated in the the Maguindanao massacre of 58 people, including 32 journalists and two human rights lawyers, nearly five years ago.



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Tiamzon couple stays in Camp Crame Wed, 18 Jun 2014 07:35:55 +0000 Progressive groups held protest in front of the Manila Regional Trial Court to press for the release of Tiamzon couple and other NDF peace consultants. Karapatan photo

Progressive groups held protest in front of the Manila Regional Trial Court to press for the release of Tiamzon couple and other NDF peace consultants. Karapatan photo

A Manila court ruled out Criminal Investigation and Detection Group’s (CIDG) request to transfer the detention of  Wilma Austria and Benito Tiamzon, alleged top leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines, from Camp Crame Custodial Center to a Bureau of Jail Management Penology prison facility.

In a hearing this morning for charges of multiple murder against the couple, Judge Thelma Medina of Regional Trial Court Branch 32 and in consonance with three other courts at issued commitment orders, ruled that  Tiamzon couple should be detained at Camp Crame General Headquarters of the Philippine National Police for being high value prisoners.

The CIDG argued that the PNP does not have the capacity to secure the Tiamzon couple and should therefore be transferred to the detention facility where the cases against them are filed. But this was strongly opposed by the couple’s legal counsel.

The couple’s counsel said that the claims of the CIDG contradicts the ‘elaborate’ preparations being made for high profile personalities involved in the pork barrel scam.

“The prospective jail cells for sitting senators in spanking new individual jail cells measuring 32 square meters each is in stark contrast to the cramped, humid and squalid separate cells of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria Tiamzon barely measuring half this size,” said lawyer Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) and one of  Tiamzon couple’s legal counsel.

While human rights group Karapatan called on the Aquino government to stop the double standard treatment of prisoners.

“Peace consultants and other political prisoners as well as petty common crime prisoners are drawn to inhumane prisons to make way for a red carpet jail for senator criminals and other plunderers,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan chairperson.

The group also called for the immediate release of Tiamzon couple and other political detainees.

The Tiamzons are also facing what human rights groups call “fabricated charges” of kidnapping with serious illegal detention at the Quezon City RTC, murder and frustrated murder in Laoang, Northern Samar and illegal possession of explosives in Toledo, Cebu.

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Grupong makakalikasan mula UP, pinagbawalang magtanim sa Nueva Vizcaya Thu, 05 Jun 2014 17:47:28 +0000 Ang mga estudyante taga-UP na nagpapahinga habang binabantayan ng mga guwardiya ng FCF Mineral Corporation. Kontribusyon

Ang mga estudyanteng taga-UP na nagpapahinga habang binabantayan ng mga guwardiya ng FCF Mineral Corporation. Kontribusyon

Hinarang at pinagbawalan ng mga armadong guwardiya ng isang minahan sa Nueva Vizcaya ang grupo ng mga estudyante at guro mula sa University of the Philippines-Diliman noong Mayo 31.

Ayon sa Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (Kalikasan-PNE), sa loob ng anim na oras ay hinarang at pinigilan ng 13 guwardiya ng FCF Minerals Corp. ang grupo ng 12 estudyante ng UP kasama ang tatlo nilang guro.

Isasagawa sana ng grupo ang kanilang proyektong tree-planting sa Sitio Bit-ang, Brgy. Runruno, Quezon, Nueva Vizcaya, na saklaw naman ng mining operation ng FCF Minerals Corporation.

“Papunta kami sa tree-planting site nang harangin kami ng mga guwardiya na armado ng malalakas na baril. Pinigilan at hinaras nila kami,” sabi ni Joan Manzano, guro sa UP at miyembro ng Taripnong-Cagayan Valley.

Sa mensaheng ipinadala ni Manzano sa Pinoy Weekly, sinabi niyang hinala nila na utos ng kompanya ng mina na harangin at pigilan ang kanilang grupo.

Sa kabila raw kasi ng paunang abiso ng grupo sa opisyal ng barangay na bibisita sila sa komunidad at magtatanim ng mga puno, pinigilan at sinabihan daw sila ng mga guwardiyang bawal ang pumasok sa Sityo Bit-ang dahil walang permiso. Iginigiit pa raw ng mga guwardiya na di-puwede magtanim sa Sitio Bit-ang kundi sa ibang Sityo na di-saklaw ng minahan.

Bukod sa mga guwardiyang kasama rin sa humarang at nagbawal sa kanilang ang limang pulis. Gayundin, pinagbawalan silang pumunta sa bahay ng isang lider-katutubo dahil daw sa tutol ang huli sa pagmimina.

“Limang pulis ang nandun na pinamumunuan ni PO1 Primo Valdez. Ganun din ang sinasabi: Pinabababa kaming lahat dahil bawal daw magtanim sa lugar. Wala raw kming permit,” sabi ni Manzano

Ikinakatwiran din daw ng mga pulis at guwardiya na hindi puwedeng magtanim sa mga saklaw ng Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) ng FCF.

“Sa kasalukuyan,wala pang pagmiminang nagaganap sa Sityo Bit-ang. Plano pa lang na i-demolish ang buong komunidad para masimulan ang proyekto ng FCF,” ayon kay Manzano. Nauna nang minahin ng kompanya ang Sitio Tayab at Malilibeg; tanging ang Bit-ang na lamang ang hindi pa nasisimulan na may pinakamaraming residenteng tumututol sa pagmimina.

Halos kalbo na ang kagubatang saklaw nang pagmimina ng FCF Mineral Corporation sa Nueva Vizcaya.  Leon Dulce

Halos kalbo na ang kagubatang saklaw nang pagmimina ng FCF Mineral Corporation sa Nueva Vizcaya. Leon Dulce

Sinabi naman ni Noni Abao, miyembro ng Minggan-UP Diliman, na may itinatago ang kompanya ng mina kung kaya’t pinigilan ng mga guwardiya ang mga estudyante at guro na ituloy ang kanilang aktibidad.

“Makikinabang ang kompanya sa paglimita sa mga bisitang pumapasok sa Sitio. Maitatago nila ang tunay na isyu ng pagmimina sa publiko,” ani Abao.

Dagdag pa ng grupo, lumalabag na sa karapatang pantao ang FCF. Ayon sa grupo, noong 2009, nagsampa ng kasong harassment ang kompanya laban sa mga residente ng Brgy. Runruno dahil sa pagtanggi nilang ibenta sa kompanya ang kanilang mga lupain.

Marahas ding binuwag ng mga guwardiya ng FCF ang barikadang itinayo ng mga residente noong Disyembre 2012. Pinakahuling paglabag ang pagwasak sa mga bahay ng mga minerong nagsasagawa ng small-scale mining noong Hunyo 2013.

Sinabi pa ng Kalikasan-PNE na saklaw ang 3,000 ektarya sa naturang lugar sa FTAA ng FCF Minerals Corp., na nagsasagawa ng open pit mining para makakuha ng ginto. Pinapayagan din daw sa ilalim ng FTAA na alisin ang lahat ng istruktura sa mga lupang miminahin ng kompanya.

“Sinabi ng kompanya noong nagsagawa kami ng fact finding mission noong nakaraang taon na may karapatan daw ang FCF sa mga mineral sa ilalim ng mga pag-aaring lupain ng mga magsasaka at katutubo. Ang karapatang landag daw ng mga magsasaka ay sa ibabaw (surface rights) na maaari nilang alisin,” ani Leon Dulce, campaign coordinator ng Kalikasan-PNE.

Pinangangambahan ng grupo na tuluyang masira ang ekolohiya sa lugar. Tinatayang makakaapekto ito, hindi lamang sa mga residente, kundi maging sa mga magsasaka sa karatig probinsiya na umaasa sa tubig mula sa kabundukan ng Nueva Vizcaya.

“Aabot sa mahigit 500,000 ektarya ng probinsiya ang idineklarang watershed reserves, at idineklara pa nga ng National Economic and Development Authority na “watershed haven” dahil sa suporta ng probinisya sa 7 multi-million infrastructure projects para sa irigasyon at pangangailangan sa hydroelectric power generation, kasama na ang Magat Casecnan Hydroelectric Power Dams,” dagdag pa ni Manzano.

Pero sa kabila raw ng deklarasyong ito, pinahihintulutan naman ang FCF Mineral Corp. na magputol ng mga kahoy, dumihan ang mga pinagmumulan ng tubig at paalisin ang mga tao sa kanilang tirahan at kabuhayan. Sisirain din daw ng minahan ang biodiversity ng Sierra Madre mountain range, na kilala bilang isa sa nalalabing prontera ng bansa.

“Kung nagawa ng kompanyang FCF ang pagbawalan at takutin kaming mga taga-UP, paano pa kaya ang mga katutubong tumututol sa pagmimina at ipinaglalaban ang kanilang karapatan sa lupang kanila naman talaga,” sabi pa ni Manzano.

Panawagan naman ng Kalikasan-PNE na dapat imbestigahan ng Commission on Human Rights ang insidente at hinamon ang lokal na mga opisyal ng Nueva Vizcaya na kanselahin ang permit ng FCF Mineral Corp.

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As Andrea Rosal bids farewell to daughter, groups call for justice, her immediate release Thu, 22 May 2014 02:50:41 +0000 Andrea Rosal weeps as she bade farewell to her first child. Macky Macaspac

Andrea Rosal weeps as she bids farewell to her first child. Macky Macaspac

Unable to attend her dead two-day old daughter’s funeral, political prisoner Andrea Rosal was given only three hours to attend to baby Diona Andrea’s wake at the Iglesia Filipina Independiente church in Taft Avenue, Manila.

“It is not enough,” said a grieving Rosal. The court cited security reasons as well as Rosal’s own medical condition as basis for denying her petition to attend baby Diona Andrea’s burial.

“They are heartless. I just want to have time with my baby for the last time, even in her wake. But they ignored my plea,” added Rosal, who is the daughter of the late spokesperson of the Communist Part of the Philippines, Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal and accused by the military as a rebel leader in Southern Tagalog.

Baby Diona Andrea was brought to the NICU due to hypoxemia or oxygen deficiency in the blood, was on artificial respirator and experienced seizures. – See more at:
Baby Diona Andrea was brought to the NICU due to hypoxemia or oxygen deficiency in the blood, was on artificial respirator and experienced seizures. – See more at:
Baby Diona Andrea was brought to the NICU due to hypoxemia or oxygen deficiency in the blood, was on artificial respirator and experienced seizures. – See more at:
Baby Diona Andrea was brought to the NICU due to hypoxemia or oxygen deficiency in the blood, was on artificial respirator and experienced seizures. – See more at:
Baby Diona Andrea was brought to the NICU due to hypoxemia or oxygen deficiency in the blood, was on artificial respirator and experienced seizures. – See more at:
Baby Diona Andrea was brought to the NICU due to hypoxemia or oxygen deficiency in the blood, was on artificial respirator and experienced seizures. – See more at:

Diona Andrea died due to hypoxemia or oxygen deficiency in the blood, two days after Rosal gave birth to the baby. Rosal was granted hospital arrest only days before giving birth.

Prior to this she said she was incarcerated in a 5-by-10-meter cell shared with 31 other inmates since her arrest in Caloocan City on March 27.

Poor condition

According to Rosal, the poor condition in her jail caused the untimely death of her child. She was forced to sleep in the pavement because the bed given to her was in the third deck and broken.

“I did not have a choice but to sleep in the pavement. It was hard for me, a pregnant woman, to sleep in a bed that is broken,” Rosal said.

Rosal blamed the government for the death of child and her being illegally detained. “My only sin is that I am the daughter of Ka Roger, and my child as a Rosal, too,” she said. Peasant group Pagkakaisa at Ugnayan ng mga Magsasaka sa Laguna (Pumalag) said Rosal is a member of their organization at the time of her arrest.

Women’s organization Gabriela, meanwhile, said that due to the tragic incident, Rosal might be suffer from post-partum or post-natal depression. Prolonging her detention will worsen this condition.

“Birthing is a life-threatening process. Even for normal deliveries, many women suffer from depression. In the case of Andrea Rosal, who is in detention during pregnancy and the tragic death of her child, she might suffer deep depression,” said Obeth Montes, Gabriela’s psychologist.

Montes said that it is highly possible that Rosal is in trauma. “Imagine the agony of a mother who lost her child and being detained, and cannot bury her child. It is a mental torture,” she said.

Heavily guarded Andrea Rosal on her way to the Philippine Independent Church Macky Macaspac

Heavily guarded Andrea Rosal on her way to the Philippine Independent Church Macky Macaspac

“If the court was really compassionate, it would have been concerned first and foremost about Andrea’s well-being. Her inability to properly mourn for her dead child will definitely be a major factor to consider,” said Joms Salvador, Gabriela secretary-general .

According to Karapatan, during a medical check-up after her interrogation, Rosal had also complained of stomach cramps. But this was allegedly ignored by the attending nurse. She was brought back to the National Bureau of Investigation for interrogation after her complaint.

Gabriela stressed that Rosal should be freed as she is innocent and to start the process of healing from any depression that comes with the tragic incident. “Detention cell is not conducive for a grieving mother,” Montes said.


Karapatan said that it is not the first time that Rosal suffered persecution in the hands of state security agents.

In 1989, Rosal, then five years old, was abducted by the military together with her grandmother and detained in Camp Nakar in Lucena. Her father, the CPP spokesperson Ka Roger, said the military abducted Rosal to lure him out of the hinterlands and arrest or kill him.

This was confirmed by her auntie Felicidad Rosal Indanan. “She was abducted by the military to force her father to surrender,” she said. Indanan added that the military was compelled to release Andrea and her grandmother due to strong protests.

Rosal’s March 27 arrest was based on what Karapatan said was an “invalid warrant based trumped-up charges of murder, and kidnapping with murder”. Her companion at the time, Edward Lanzanas, was arrested without warrant and is still under detention without any valid charges, according to Karapatan.

Rosal is being implicated in a kidnapping and murder case by a certain Erwin Rosales, alleged former New People’s Army (NPA) member who claimed to have witnessed the incident, and Marissa Eclavea, widow of one of the alleged victims.

“In his statement, Rosales merely described and identified the individuals who allegedly ordered and those who carried out the abduction/killing. He never mentioned Rosal among those he described and identified. This indicates that Rosal was falsely implicated in the said criminal cases, thus her arrest and continued detention is illegal,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.

“Such a fate this mother had to suffer all because of an invented story concocted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Aquino government. Andrea was made to endure poor prison conditions, inadequate medical prenatal assistance, the loss of her one and only child,” Palabay said.

Palabay added that Rosal’s case illustrates the worsening judicial system and lack of maternal health care of prisoners.

Palabay added that Rosales is the same military witness who tried to implicate Rolly Panesa, a security guard. Panesa was falsely identified by the military as “Benjamin Mendoza”, an alleged high ranking CPP member. Panesa was released by virtue of a Writ of Habeas Corpus issued by the Court of Appeals, which said that he is not Benjamin Mendoza.

Photos of baby Diona Andrea’s wake attended by Andrea Rosal at the IFI Church in Taft Avenue, Manila on Wednesday, May 21:

Andrea Rosal grieves at her daughter's casket. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

Andrea Rosal grieves at her daughter’s casket. Macky Macaspac

Holding a teddy bear that was given to baby Diona Andrea. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

Holding a teddy bear that was given to baby Diona Andrea. Macky Macaspac

Andrea Rosal's supporters described as "overkill" the number of heavily armed cops and members of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology deployed to "secure" Rosal's three-hour visit to her daughter's wake. <strong>Macky Macaspac</strong>

Andrea Rosal’s supporters described as “overkill” the number of heavily armed cops and members of Bureau of Jail Management and Penology deployed to “secure” Rosal’s three-hour visit to her daughter’s wake. Macky Macaspac

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