Friday, June 24, 2005

Political Assassinations in the Philippines

Political Assassinations in the Philippines
by Rep. Teodoro Casino (reposted by a) Sunday, Mar. 20, 2005 at 3:29 AM

The ongoing pattern of assassination of activists of legal left-wing parties is completely unrecognized in the US. Here is one speech that lays out some of the deaths. There seem to be more all the time.


An urgent appeal from Bayan Muna
By Rep. Teodoro Casino Bayan Muna Party-list
Privilege Speech, March 14, 2005

I rise on a question of personal and collective privilege to ask for your help in these most trying times for my party, Bayan Muna, as well as its supporters and allied party lists.

Last March 8, our party president, the honorable Satur Ocampo delivered a privilege speech on the renewed terror attacks against our leaders, members and supporters. He mentioned the assassination of Bayan Muna leader and Tarlac councilor Abelardo Ladera as well as the abduction of Danilo Macapagal, another prominent Bayan Muna leader in Nueva Ecija, who remains missing till this day.

Since Congressman Ocampo's speech, two more from our ranks have been killed.

The day after, on March 9, Bayan Muna Ilocos regional coordinator Romy Sanchez was shot dead in Kayang market in Baguio City after attending an anti-mining conference. Sanchez is the highest-ranking Bayan Muna official to have been killed since 2001.

Just yesterday, March 13, Fr. William Tadena, an Aglipayan priest, was also shot dead on his way home from saying mass in Brgy. Guevarra in Lapaz, Tarlac. Fr. Tadena was a Bayan Muna supporter and was actively involved in human rights work.

And this morning, I just learned that an attempt has also been made on the life of human rights lawyer and UN ad-litem judge Romeo Capulong last March 7, in his home province of Nueva Ecija.

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, in the last one-and-a-half months, 13 of our leaders and supporters have been assassinated in Central and Northern Luzon while five were abducted and remain missing. This means that every week for the past six weeks, three Bayan Muna leaders or supporters have either been killed or abducted in those areas. At the rate things are going, Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, our party will have been wiped out by the next elections.

We accuse the AFP's Northern Luzon Command headed by Gen. Romeo Dominguez of inflicting this latest bloody crackdown. This is the same unit that produced security briefing papers tagging the dead Councilor Ladera, Atty. Capulong, the honorable Ocampo, Mariano, Maza, myself and four others as CPP-NPA operatives responsible for the massacre at Hacienda Luisita.

Just last week, I was informed by the media that Gen. Jovito Palparan, the infamous butcher of Mindoro who now commands the 8th Division in Region 8, told a gathering of reporters in Tacloban that he will crush all the militant groups in the region within six months.

What we see here, Mr. Speaker, is an overly militarist mindset that punishes with impunity any and all groups critical of the Establishment. Make no mistake, this is not just a policy against the Left. This is a blatant attack on the rights and civil liberties of all people, including Muslim and Christian church leaders, government officials like Ladera and former Naujan Vice Mayor Juvy Magsino, members of the opposition, human rights workers now numbering 15 killed, the villified and demonized Moro community, and members of the press who are not only being killed but are now threatened with a media gag. The situation will most likely get worse with the passage of the draconian, military-backed anti-terrorism bill and national ID system.

In other words, this is an attack on our democracy itself whose bedrock is respect for the political beliefs of others.

While my colleagues in this august chamber have accorded us in the Left the same rights and respect befitting all members of Congress, not the same can be said of the Executive branch, most especially the military and police who have refused to let go of their martial law mentality, treating any and all critics of the State as threats to national security and therefore subject to military action.

Saan naman kami lalagay nito? Hinihikayat nyo kami sa Kaliwa na pumasok sa mainstream ng pulitika pero kami namay pinapatay, dinudukot at tinatakot at para bang itinutulak na mamundok.

Just to set the record straight, may I say that Bayan Muna is not engaged in armed struggle nor do we espouse it. Since we are unarmed, wala kaming kalaban-laban sa mga militar kapag kamiy kanilang tinarget. And yet since 2001, we have become the AFP's target. Dahil ba hindi nila masugpo ang NPA kayat kami na lang walang kalaban-laban ang kanilang pagbabalingan? This is why since 2001, 48 of our leaders and supporters have been killed in cold blood by suspected military and police elements while 10 were forcibly abducted and are still missing?

For our advocacies, we are often branded as subversives or communists. To tell you the truth, this puts us in good company with the likes of Ninoy Aquino, Tito Guingona, Joker Arroyo, Lorenzo Taqada, Claro M. Recto, Jose Pepe Diokno and Justice Abe Sarmiento.

But for any of us here to be killed, abducted, tortured or threatened for our political beliefs is another matter that should be condemned by all freedom-loving Filipinos, unless it is now a crime to shout Katarungan para sa mga manggagawa at magsasaka, punishable by summary execution.

Those accusing anyone from our ranks of being members of the NPA should file the necessary case in court for rebellion or sedition. We can never allow armed agents of the State to act as accuser, judge and executioner of their imagined enemies.

Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues, well meaning friends have asked me, is Bayan Munas participation in Congress worth the 48 lives that have been snuffed out since the party took the parliamentary path? The answer, of course, is no. Not even all the seats in Congress is worth the life of one lowly peasant.

But we are still here in the hope that our people will be enlightened about our politics. We are hoping that there will come a time when Bayan Muna's views will be accepted for what they are by a majority of our people.

They may kill us, but they can never kill our ideals. They may incarcerate us, but they can never imprison the truth.

Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues. My partymates and I appeal to you to please help us in these desperate times. I would like to respectfully request for the following:

One, for Congress to formally condemn the attacks on Bayan Muna and other progressive parties, people's organizations and non-government organizations and for us to defend their right to exist and participate in the mainstream of our political life. A resolution to this effect is now going the rounds and I ask for you to please support it.

We demand as well an investigation and the immediate relief of Nolcom's Gen. Dominguez and his command.

We appeal to our colleagues in Congress to make an extra effort, especially during the break, to talk to the AFP and PNP commands in your district to explain to them why Bayan Muna should be treated differently from armed revolutionary groups and not subject to military surveillance, harassment and physical attack.

Three, for the AFP and PNP leadership, and the commander-in-chief herself Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, to issue a policy statement ordering all units of the military and police to respect the rights and civil liberties of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela and other progressive, left-leaning organizations and for them to cease and desist from launching any operation against our leaders, members and supporters.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues. ####


Urgent Action Needed Re Killing of HR Lawyer

UA Date: 16 March 2005

UA Title: Human Rights Lawyer and Bayan Muna Regional Coordinator killed in Leyte, Philippines

UA Case: Summary Execution

Victim/s:

Atty. Felidito Cabrigas Dacut
51 years old, married with one child
Male
A resident of Kassel Homes Subdivision, Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
Legal Counsel of *Katungod-Eastern Visayas
Regional Coordinator of Bayan Muna Partylist, Eastern Visayas
Lifetime member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
Newly-elected member of the Board of Directors, IBP-Leyte Chapter, head of the committee on Legal concerns

*Katungod is Visayan for "Rights" and Katungod-EV is a member organization of KARAPATAN, Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights

Place of Incident: At the corner of Real and Arellano Streets, Tacloban City (fronting Casa Real Inn and the People's Center) while the victim was aboard a Filcab-type/multi- cab vehicle bound for downtown Tacloban.

Date of Incident: March 14, 2005 at about 6:45-6:50 PM

Alleged Perpetrators: Two (2) still unidentified perpetrators aboard a single motorcycle (TMX); the gunman and his driver were both wearing white round-neck T-shirts and maong (denims) pants.

Account of Incident:

At around 6:40pm, Atty. Felidito C. Dacut just came from a consultation/meeting held at the Bayan Muna regional headquarters at Door C, Yao-Ka-Sin Compound, Old Road, Sagkahan District, Tacloban City. He was with a colleague from Bayan Muna whom he requested to accompany him saying, ?Updi ak kay waray ak upod. Mapalit ak gatas para hit ak anak (Please accompany me as I don?t have a companion. I?m going to buy milk for my child)?.

They boarded a pedicab from the BM office (via Pericohon Street) to the jeepney stop where they would take another ride via a Filcab/jeepney for downtown Tacloban.

They got into a Filcab plying the Tacloban-Marasbaras Villadolina route. They positioned themselves at the right side of the cab. The two (2) were engaged in a conversation while inside the vehicle.

When Atty. Dacut was about to give their fare to the driver, his companion heard a snapping (?plok?) sound and he noticed the consequent ?Aguy!? (Interjection connoting pain) from Atty. Dacut. He also noticed blood at the back of Atty. Dacut and observed that he was clinging to his chest with both hands. Then, he saw a face of a man and that of the barrel of a gun.

Aboard a TMX motorbike, the perpetrators overtook the Filcab at the wrong side of the lane (they positioned their bike parallel to the Filcab at the right shoulder of the road/from the gutter). The witness estimated that the barrel of the gun was just a foot (12?) away from Atty. Dacut?s body and about a meter from the single motorcycle the perpetrators were riding.

Immediately, Atty Dacut?s companion began shouting repeatedly, ?Ginpusil kami (We were shot)!? The commotion caught attention of people along Real Street fronting Casa Real Inn and the People?s Center (near the corner to Arellano Street). Real Street is a busy road.

Based on the account of the witness the incident was estimated to have happened from 6:45-6:50pm.

There were five (5) other witnesses who saw the incident.

When the Filcab driver recovered from his shock, he made an immediate ?U-turn? to the direction of the nearby UCCP Bethany Hospital, just few meters from the site of the incident. Atty Dacut was immediately administered emergency medical attention by the attending physicians. But he expired shortly thereafter.

The victim sustained a single fatal wound on his upper body.

Members of the Tacloban Philippine National Police arrived at the Bethany Hospital.

The case is still open as investigation is underway to gather relevant data on this incident.

At the time of his death, Atty. Dacut was a ?pro-bono/pro-people? human rights lawyer handling various human rights, agrarian and labor cases. He was regional coordinator for the Partylist Group Bayan Muna and a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

Human rights advocates and his colleagues attribute his death to be related to the recent declaration (on March 5, 2005) of Maj. Gen. Jovito S. Palparan Jr., Commanding General of the 8ID and so-called ?Butcher of Mindoro? to ?clear out Eastern Visayas of anti-government rallies within six (6) months? as the principal anti-insurgency campaign plan of the Arroyo government.

Atty. Dacut was among those who initiated a ?solidarity mission? to Catarman, Northern Samar to investigate similar pronouncements by Col. Manuelito Usi and the consequent deployment of troops and armored personnel carrier (APC) to Bayan Muna Headquarters on March 6, 2005

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the summary execution of Atty. Felidito Dacut 2. The arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the crime of summary execution committed. 3. The immediate and proper indemnification of the family/relatives of the victims; and 4. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of its provisions

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo President of the Republic Malacanang Palace, JP Laurel St., San Miguel Manila Philippines Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80 Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968 Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462 E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

Hon. Teresita Deles Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process 7F Agustin Building I Emerald Avenue Pasig City, Philippines Voice: (+632) 636 0701 to 0766 Fax: (+632) 638 2216

Hon. Avelino Cruz Secretary, Department of National Defense Camp Emilio Aguinaldo E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City, Philippines Voice: (+632) 912-9281 Fax: (+632) 911 6213

Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights SAAC Bldg., UP Complex Commonwealth Avenue Diliman, Quezon City Philippines Fax: (+632) 929 0102 Email: drpvq@chr.gov.ph

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the said government official to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People?s Rights)-National Office 43 Masikap St. Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES Voice: (+632) 435 4146 / Fax: (+632) 928 6078 Emails: <krptn@philonline.com.ph> / karapatan@edsamail.com.ph Website: http://www.karapatan.org

An ecumenical delegation will visit the Philippines

From: PNJP <justpeacenet at yahoo.ca>
News media contact: Linda Bloom * (646) 3693759*
New York {329}

United Methodist News Service

An ecumenical delegation will visit the Philippines to collect facts about political repression and offer pastoral support to
affected churches and families.

United Methodist Bishop Solito Toquero of Manila and Sharon Rose Joy Ruiz-Duremdes, chief executive of the National Council of
Churches in the Philippines, urged the visit.

"Now more than ever, we are seeing the church under siege only because she has decided to take up her cross and follow Jesus through his Via Dolorosa,"they wrote in a May 16 invitation. "Church people who have walked alongside our struggling people have joined
the myriads of peace advocates and human rights defenders whose lives have been snuffed out."

Most recently, the Rev. Edison Lapuz, a pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, was brutally murdered.

The delegation -- which is being arranged through the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference
of Asia -- will visit the Philippines July 15-21. The council hopes to set up meetings with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,
military authorities in Central Luzon and Eastern Visayas, and representatives of the
Department of National Defense and the Senate Committee on Human Rights, as well as church leaders
and members of nongovernmental organizations.

Among the areas the delegation will visit is Samar, a province in Eastern
Visayas where most of the recent killings have occurred, and Hacienda Luisita, a
sugar cane plantation where striking peasants and farm workers were massacred.

The Rev. R. Randy Day, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries, said in a recent
statement that the situation in the Philippines is "deeply disturbing to the
Christian conscience."

Day has joined with Protestant leaders in the Philippines in calling for a
full and fair investigation of the May 12 murder of Lapuz, who was shot
while he slept. Alfredo Malinao, also a grassroots organizer, died after
the late night attack on a house where a group had gathered following a
funeral.

Both were involved with a human rights organization, Promotion of the Church
People's Response, which has highlighted what it considers the unjust social,
political, and economic practices permitted by the administration of
President Macapagal-Arroyo.

Bishop Elmer M. Bolocon, United Church of Christ chief executive, had
reported that 50 people, including six church members, have been ambushed or
assassinated in 2005 on the islands of Leyte and Samar.

Day joined with Toquero in calling upon the president to investigate the
murders of Lapuz and others. "I plead with the government," Day said, "to
establish fair economic policies and to control the use of violence against
those who question current practices." The mission executive noted that he
attended Sillman University in the Philippines and has a deep affection for
the country and its people.

In a May 16 statement, Bolocon noted that Lapuz "was pastorally responsible
for expressing the church's alarm and concern over the recent shooting of
one UCCP member and the killing of another in his conference. The Rev. Lapuz
unflinchingly maintained his firm commitment to stand for justice and
righteousness; he set aside the death threats he was receiving as an
attendant risk to the prophetic call."


Addressing "the perpetrators of the dastardly act of assassination and
murder," Bolocon declared that by eliminating "the perceived 'enemies of the
State' this way, you are, in fact, escalating the cycle and level
of violence, leaving the people more and more limited options in seeking
redress of wrongs."

Numerous church leaders, Protestant and Catholic, have warned against a
trend toward martial law in the Philippines, with opponents coming under
intimidation and attack.

In a separate May 16 statement, Toquero said the increase in killings of
peace advocates is "leading us to think that a systematic plan of silencing people
expressing dissent is on a full-scale implementation."

He cited the United Methodist Church's Social Principles, which state in
Paragraph 164: "We hold governments responsible for the protection of the
rights of the people to free and fair elections and to the freedoms of
speech, religion, assembly, communications media, and petition for redress
of grievances without fear of reprisal; . . . We also strongly reject
domestic surveillance and intimidation of political opponents of governments
in power and all other misuses of elective or appointive offices... the mistreatment or
torture of persons by government for any purpose violates Christian teaching
and must be condemned and/or opposed by Christians and churches
wherever and whenever it occurs."

HR lawyer and Bayan Muna regional coordinator gunned down in Leyte

From: KARAPATAN
Dear friends,

we call on your support and more coming from your network for the almost daily occurence of killings, enforced disappearances and other human rights violations happening in the philippines today.

after 14 human rights martyrs, another hr lawyer was gunend down last march 14 at 6:00PM. adding to the growing list of those killed in the first quarter of this year alone.

once again we appeal for your immediate action.

in solidarity,
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights National Office

---------------------------------------------

UA Date: 16 March 2005

UA Title: Human Rights Lawyer and Bayan Muna Regional Coordinator killed in Leyte, Philippines

UA Case: Summary Execution

Victim/s: Atty. Felidito Cabritas Dacut
? 51 years old, married with one child
? Male
? A resident of Kassel Homes Subdivision, Tacloban City, Leyte, Philippines
? Legal Counsel of *Katungod-Eastern Visayas
? Regional Coordinator of Bayan Muna Partylist, Eastern Visayas
? Lifetime member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP)
? Newly-elected member of the Board of Directors, IBP-Leyte Chapter, head of the committee on Legal concerns

*Katungod is Visayan for ?Rights? and Katungod-EV is a member organization of KARAPATAN, Alliance for the Advancement of People?s Rights

Place of Incident: At the corner of Real and Arellano Streets, Tacloban City (fronting Casa Real
Inn and the People?s Center) while the victim was aboard a Filcab-type/multi-
cab vehicle bound for downtown Tacloban.

Date of Incident: March 14, 2005 at about 6:45-6:50 PM

Alleged Perpetrators: Two (2) still unidentified perpetrators aboard a single motorcycle
(TMX); the gunman and his driver were both wearing white round-neck T-shirts and maong (denims) pants.

Account of Incident:

At around 6:40pm, Atty. Felidito C. Dacut just came from a consultation/meeting held at the Bayan Muna regional headquarters at Door C, Yao-Ka-Sin Compound, Old Road, Sagkahan District, Tacloban City. He was with a colleague from Bayan Muna whom he requested to accompany him saying, ?Updi ak kay waray ak upod. Mapalit ak gatas para hit ak anak (Please accompany me as I don?t have a companion. I?m going to buy milk for my child)?.

They boarded a pedicab from the BM office (via Pericohon Street) to the jeepney stop where they would take another ride via a Filcab/jeepney for downtown Tacloban.

They got into a Filcab plying the Tacloban-Marasbaras Villadolina route. They positioned themselves at the right side of the cab. The two (2) were engaged in a conversation while inside the vehicle.

When Atty. Dacut was about to give their fare to the driver, his companion heard a snapping (?plok?) sound and he noticed the consequent ?Aguy!? (Interjection connoting pain) from Atty. Dacut. He also noticed blood at the back of Atty. Dacut and observed that he was clinging to his chest with both hands. Then, he saw a face of a man and that of the barrel of a gun.

Aboard a TMX motorbike, the perpetrators overtook the Filcab at the wrong side of the lane (they positioned their bike parallel to the Filcab at the right shoulder of the road/from the gutter). The witness estimated that the barrel of the gun was just a foot (12?) away from Atty. Dacut?s body and about a meter from the single motorcycle the perpetrators were riding.

Immediately, Atty Dacut?s companion began shouting repeatedly, ?Ginpusil kami (We were shot)!? The commotion caught attention of people along Real Street fronting Casa Real Inn and the People?s Center (near the corner to Arellano Street). Real Street is a busy road.

Based on the account of the witness the incident was estimated to have happened from 6:45-6:50pm.

There were five (5) other witnesses who saw the incident.

When the Filcab driver recovered from his shock, he made an immediate ?U-turn? to the direction of the nearby UCCP Bethany Hospital, just few meters from the site of the incident. Atty Dacut was immediately administered emergency medical attention by the attending physicians. But he expired shortly thereafter.

The victim sustained a single fatal wound on his upper body.

Members of the Tacloban Philippine National Police arrived at the Bethany Hospital.

The case is still open as investigation is underway to gather relevant data on this incident.

At the time of his death, Atty. Dacut was a ?pro-bono/pro-people? human rights lawyer handling various human rights, agrarian and labor cases. He was regional coordinator for the Partylist Group Bayan Muna and a member of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines.

Human rights advocates and his colleagues attribute his death to be related to the recent declaration (on March 5, 2005) of Maj. Gen. Jovito S. Palparan Jr., Commanding General of the 8ID and so-called ?Butcher of Mindoro? to ?clear out Eastern Visayas of anti-government rallies within six (6) months? as the principal anti-insurgency campaign plan of the Arroyo government.

Atty. Dacut was among those who initiated a ?solidarity mission? to Catarman, Northern Samar to investigate similar pronouncements by Col. Manuelito Usi and the consequent deployment of troops and armored personnel carrier (APC) to Bayan Muna Headquarters on March 6, 2005

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the summary execution of Atty. Felidito Dacut
2. The arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators of the crime of summary execution committed.
3. The immediate and proper indemnification of the family/relatives of the victims; and
4. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of its provisions

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacanang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: [EMAIL PROTECTED] / [EMAIL PROTECTED]

Hon. Teresita Deles
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
7F Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 636 0701 to 0766
Fax: (+632) 638 2216

Hon. Avelino Cruz
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Camp Emilio Aguinaldo
E. de los Santos Avenue,
Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 912-9281
Fax: (+632) 911 6213

Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City
Philippines
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]


Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the said government official to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People?s Rights)-National Office
43 Masikap St. Barangay Pinyahan, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice: (+632) 435 4146 / Fax: (+632) 928 6078
Website: www.karapatan.org

KILLINGS OF LAWYERS IMPERIL THE COUNTRY’S JUSTICE

KILLINGS OF LAWYERS IMPERIL THE COUNTRY’S JUSTICE
SYSTEM AND RULE OF LAW


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino “Nene” Q. Pimentel,
Jr. (PDP-Laban) today denounced the rising incidence
of killings of lawyers, particularly those actively
involved in human rights cases, which he said poses a
grave threat to the country’s justice system and rule
of law.

Pimentel said the killings of lawyers, journalists and
leaders of militant cause-oriented groups reflect not
only the continued deterioration of peace and order
but also a pattern of suppression and violence against
those who have dedicated their lives to fighting
social injustice, misrule and venalities in
government.

A human rights lawyer himself, Pimentel expressed
outrage over the report of the University of the
Philippines-based Committee for the Defense of Lawyers
that 11 lawyers have been murdered since 2004,
including four in the first five months of 2005. Some
of those killed were court judges.

“The slayings of lawyers and officials of the judicial
system should be stopped and their perpetrators
arrested and brought before the bar of justice. Not
only the justice system and rule of law, but democracy
itself is imperiled if even lawyers and judges are
being killed for no reason except to exact vengeance
against them for their selfless endeavor to defend the
rights of the weak and uphold the majesty of the law,”
the minority leader said.

He said the country is drifting towards anarchy and
hopelessness if even lawyers and judges – on whom the
people rely for justice and redress of grievances –
are being targeted for elimination under a martial
law-like atmosphere.

The latest to be killed was 51-year old human rights
lawyer Felidito Dacut, regional coordinator of the
Bayan Muna in Eastern Samar, who was gunned down by
two motorcycle-riding hit men on March 14.

Pimentel urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
and Malacañang to investigate the series of killings
of lawyers, unmask their perpetrators and charge them
criminally before the courts.

Unless the government undertakes steps to bring
justice to the slain lawyers, Pimentel warned that
this would only fuel suspicion that the spate of
summary executions is being committed with its
tolerance under a policy of “state-sponsored
violence.”

He said these cases will have better chances of being
speedily resolved if the Palace will order the
Philippine National Police to form a task force
similar to what was done in the cases of slain
journalists.

Pimentel rejected the view of some quarters that
journalists, and lawyers whose lives are threatened
must be allowed to own and carry firearms for their
self-protection.

“This will only contribute to the proliferation of
firearms and aggravate the threat of more violence,”
he said.

Pimentel maintained that the issuance of firearms and
permits to carry them outside their homes should be
limited to police officers and other law enforcers who
are tasked with protecting the safety of the
citizenry.

He prodded the PNP to step up the confiscation of
loose or unlicensed firearms and to neutralize
gun-for-hire syndicates.

Palparan promotion blocked - another story

CA confirms Defensor, Reyes

First posted 05:53pm (Mla time) June 08, 2005
By Veronica Uy
INQ7.net


Get INQ7 breaking news on your Smart mobile phone in the Philippines. Send INQ7 BREAKING to 386.


THE COMMISSION on Appointments has confirmed the appointments of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Michael Defensor and Interior and Local Government Secretary Angelo Reyes.

The confirmations were made on Wednesday, the last day of the congressional sessions, and after Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile clarified that Senator Sergio Osmeña withdrew his opposition to Reyes' appointment.

The Commission on Appointments also approved the promotions of the following military officials: Efren Abu to general; Edilberto Adan and Alan Cabalquinto to lieutenant general; Segundo Dimapilis, Alexander Yano, Vicente Guerzon to major general; Constancio Jardiniano Jr., Tirso Danga to rear admiral; and Ludovico Franco, Amable Tolentino to commodore.

It also gave its nod to 13 brigadier generals, 30 colonels, and four captains.

Major General Jovito Palparan, who did not attend the confirmation hearings and whose promotion was being opposed by various groups and individuals, was not confirmed.

Among the oppositors to Palparan's promotion to major general were: Marie Hilao-Enriquez of Karapatan, Alex Garcia Lagunzad of Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas, Congressmen Satur Ocampo, Crispin Beltran, and Reynaldo Uy; and Congresswomen Liza Maza and Loretta Ann Rosales.

Palparan promotion blocked

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Palparan promotion blocked

By Patricia Esteves, Reporter

Allegations of human-rights violations have caught up with Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan, whose promotion was being blocked by civic groups complaining against his methods of subduing the three-decade-old communist insurgency.

Militant lawmakers on Tuesday vowed to block the confirmation of Palparan’s promotion, saying he is not fit to be promoted due to the long list of human-rights violations he committed.

Reps. Satur Ocampo and Crispin Bel­tran of Bayan Muna and Rep. Etta Rosales of Anak Pawis trooped to the Commission on Appointments’ hearing Tuesday and protested the promotion of Palparan to a rank higher.

Palparan is being promoted to major general.

The party-list lawmakers said Palparan was unfit for a higher rank and accused him of being a human rights violator, particularly during his stint in Mindoro, one of the last remaining bastions of the communist rebellion.

Palparan commands the 8th Infantry Division in Eastern Visayas, another hotbed of the insurgency.

The lawmakers claimed that confirming Palparan’s appointment is like condoning the human rights abuses in the country.

“Confirming General Palparan’s promotion would put a premium on such gross violations and reinforce the widespread civilian perception of his untouchability and make a mockery of public office as a public trust,” Beltran said.

“[His promotion will] ultimately, erode further the confidence of our people in our public officers, the government and its policies.”

The lawmakers also told the commission about Palparan’s position to end the insurgency in Eastern Visayas in a matter of six months through a “drastic clearing of insurgents.”

Beltran said Palparan encourage attacks against the Bayan Muna and other legitimate party-list and people’s organizations that general is accusing of fronting, recruiting and financing the insurgency.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, secretary general of human-rights group Karapatan, and Alex Garcia Lagunzad, secretary-general of human-rights group Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas, also opposed Palparan’s confirmation.

Lagunzad explained that in a span of three months, there had been 199 cases of human rights violations committed in Eastern Visayas under Palparan’s command.

He directly held Palparan directly responsible to the spate of killings, abductions and summary killings in Eastern Visayas.

“Compared to Maj. Gen. Rabonza’s record last year [where] reported violations [was] at 94 for the whole year, the rate of commission of violations was pegged at 23 every quarter,” Lagunzad explained.

After hearing all those opposed to Palparan’s promotion, the commission decided suspended all hearings until further notice.

The other generals up for promotion were recommended for plenary confirmation scheduled for today.

Nakatititig ka na ba sa mga matang "walang kaluluwa"?

Sunday, 29 May 2005
Walang kaluluwa

Nakatititig ka na ba sa mga matang "walang kaluluwa"?

Bago ko nakita nang personal si Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan, ako hindi pa. Kahit ang holdaper na pinagsukuan ko ng aking Nokia 5110 cellphone dati, na namumula ang mga mata habang itunuturo ang patalim sa mga kasamahan ko sa dyip, naaninagan ko ng desperadong kaluluwa. Ang ilang mambabatas nakasinging sambit na ipapasa nila ang pahirap na value-added tax, tantiya ko kahit papaano'y may tilamsik pa rin ng nakokonsensiyang kaluluwa, na ipinapawis na lamang ng kanilang guilty na mga mukha.

Pero nang makatagpo ko ang mga mata ng kasalukuyang kumander ng 8th Infantry Division sa Samar, isinalang kamakailan sa harap ng Commission on Appointments, nakasiguro ako. Walang kaluluwa. Walang desperasyon, walang konsensiya ng karaniwang kontrabida.

Maliit lamang siyang kukuba-kubang mama. Pero mabagsik ang kanyang mukha. May nagsabi sa aking mas nakakatakot pa ang kanyang hitsura kapag sinukluban ng kanyang klasikong beret. Gayunman, nadama ko pa rin ang hilakbot ng bangungot ni Palparan noong mga sandaling iyong pinaliligiran siya ng pulutong ng mga heneral at walang katinag-tinag sa daluhong ng mga karumal-dumal na paratang.

Sa loob ng tatlong buwan ng kanyang pamumuno sa Samar, 199 kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao, 22 dito ang pamamaslang.

Humagulgol si Alex Lagunzad ng Karapatan-Samar, habang inamin ang matinding takot para sa kanyang buhay at sa buhay ng iba pang mga kasamahang hindi pa itinitimbuwang. "Hindi naman ganito dati," kanyang impit na hinagpis. Parang hindi pa rin siya makapaniwala na sa kanilang lugar pinakawalan ni Pangulong Arroyo ang berdugo.

Noong kumander pa lang ng 204th Infantry Brigade si Palaparan ng Mindoro, malamang ikinagalit ni Lagunzad ang pagkamatay nina Eden Marcellana at Eddie Gumanoy, kinondena ang pagdanak ng dugo ng mga aktibista't masa sa pulo, hindi lubos akalaing sila ang susunod na lantarang target ng nagwawalang mga punglo.

Dahil sa presensiya ng mga intel at TV kamera, ayoko sanang magpamalas ng pakikidalamhati ko't poot. Pero sa totoo lang, nakiiyak ako.

Habang binabasa ni Marie Hilao-Enriquez ng Karapatan ang mahabang listahan ng mga biktima ni Palparan, nagte-text lang ang heneral. Minsan, biglang matatawa o may sasabihin sa sarili.

Samantala, ang mga senador at kongresista'y nakatunganga. Pasok sa isang tenga, labas sa kabila, ang babala ni Rep. Satur Ocampo na magiging kunsintidor ang Kongreso ng isang mamamatay-tao kapag itinuloy ang kanyang pagtaas ng ranggo?

Pagkatapos ng pagdinig, tumanggi si Palparan na makipag-usap sa media. Siguro'y dahil inisip niyang mas madidiin siya kung uulitin niya ang nauna nang mga pahayag sa media (katulad ng pangangalandakan na magpapapatay siya ng isang pesante kada linggo). Akala ko'y bukod sa walang kaluluwa, wala na ring utak ang tanging heneral na kinatatakutan maging ng mga alkalde't kongresista.

Mayroon pa rin pala.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A Report on the Second Wave of Extrajudicial Killings, Abductions, and Harassment of Activists in the Philippines

A Report on the Second Wave of

Extrajudicial Killings,
Abductions, and
Harassment of Activists
in the Philippines

Prepared by Bayan Muna (People First Party)
20 April 2005

A new wave of extra-judicial killings, abductions, and harassments combined with the military’s campaign of vilification against activists has swept the country since the middle of January 2005. Thirty-one (31) unarmed civilians have been murdered, nineteen (19) of them activists identified with progressive parties and organizations. Five (5) others have been missing as of April 16, 2005. There were also four (4) attempted assassinations during the period. Officials and operatives of the military, police and paramilitary groups have been repeatedly implicated in all the serious crimes committed against political dissenters.

The 2005 armed attacks are a continuation of the series of violent attacks and vilification campaigns directed against legitimate progressive parties and organizations since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed office in Malacañang in 20 January 2001. However, the killings which started in the middle of January this year have been more frequent and widespread compared to the past three years.

The attacks bolster the view that a systematic and coordinated campaign is being launched to violently crush legitimate parties and organizations and any form of political dissent. It appears that the bloody experiment, which murdered scores of activists in the Southern Luzon province of Mindoro Oriental from April 2001 to the first quarter 2004, is now being replicated nationwide. The fascist storm, the onslaught on activists, is now being felt in the Ilocos regions, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, the Bicol region, and Eastern Visayas. .

Bayan Muna (People First Party), which topped the 2001 and 2004 party list elections and got the maximum three seats in Congress, has been the main target of attack with fifty one (51) members and officers killed since 2001 and fourteen (14) still missing. From January-March 2005, two of its regional coordinators who sit in the party’s national council, one city and one municipal chapter president, have been shot dead. Three officials of Anakpawis Party (Party of the Toiling Masses), a new party which won two seats in Congress, have also been murdered, bringing to nineteen (19) their total members killed since the party’s formation two years ago. Gabriela Women’s Party, which won a seat in Congress, has had two women martyrs. People’s organizations belonging to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) are also targets of attack, as well as ordinary citizens suspected of being communist or Muslim rebel sympathizers.

As far as media practitioners are concerned, the Philippines has recorded the highest number of slain journalists, now surpassing even war-torn Iraq. Since the return of democracy in 1986, sixty-nine (69) journalists have been killed, 19 of which were under the term of President Arroyo, recently earning from the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) the title “Most Murderous Country for Journalists.” Most of the journalists killed were known critics of local and national civilian and military officials

The violent attacks directed against activists, journalists and other civilians have reached alarming proportions. But what is more disturbing is the government’s deafening silence and continued inaction amidst the brazen murders and violence, considering that the military and other armed agents of the state have been consistently implicated in these crimes. This gives credence to the suspicion that it is tolerating or even abetting these atrocities since the victims belong to groups critical of its policies. Until now, not one of the killings have been solved. And there is no end in sight.

II. Fascist storm hits the country

Central Luzon: in the middle of the storm

The massacre of seven striking farm workers in Hacienda Luisita in the Central Luzon province of Tarlac on 16 November 2004 was followed by heightened harassments by the military and the assassinations of the strikers and their supporters. The massacre signaled the escalation of violent attacks on activists and innocent civilians by suspected military men in Tarlac and the rest of the region. Central Luzon was in the middle of the storm in the first quarter of 2005.


Prominent among those assassinated in Tarlac were the following: Tarlac farmer leader Marcelino Beltran, 53, (killed 8 December 2004), a leader of the striking workers and a key witness in the Hacienda Luisita massacre; Tarlac City councilor Abelardo Ladera, 45, (killed 3 March 2005), a strong supporter of the striking Hacienda Luisita farm and sugar mill workers; Fr. William Tadena, 37, (killed 13 March 2005), another active supporter of the strike; and Central Luzon peasant leader Victor Concepcion, (killed 17 March 2005). On March 7, an assassination attempt on prominent human rights lawyer Justice Romeo Capulong was aborted, thanks to the presence of security personnel detailed at his house.

Central Luzon registered the biggest number of victims of political assassinations and abductions with a total of thirteen (13) people killed and four (4) still missing. Five (5) persons were murdered in the province of Tarlac, five (5) in Pampanga, two (2) in Bataan, and one (1) in Bulacan. Nine of those killed were either local leaders or active members of the following: Pampanga Peasant Association (Aguman Den Maglalautang Capampangan), the Central Luzon Aeta Association, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN).

Aside from the persons named above, the list of murdered activists in Central Luzon includes: Pablito Ignacio, 44 (11 January 2005), Bulacan; Noel Garcia, 40 (1 February 2005), Pampanga; Rodrigo Lampa, 40 (16 February 2005), Pampanga; Chrispin Amazone, 40 (16 February 2005), Tarlac; Renato Espino, 35 (18 February 2005), Bataan; and Joey Abraham, 28 (20 February 2005), Bataan.

The abduction of former BAYAN-Nueva Ecija Secretary General and Bayan Muna provincial coordinator Mr. Danilo Macapagal occurred on 3 March 2005, the same day Councilor Abelardo Ladera was gunned down in Tarlac. His abduction highlighted the enforced disappearance of three more peasant activists in Central Luzon and one in Southern Tagalog. Roger Viray, 42, and Sergio Viray, 32, were abducted on 17 February 2005 in Pampanga. Mr. Esteban Pastor, 53, a member of Bayan Muna had been missing since he was nabbed by armed men on 11 February 2005. Indigenous people’s leader in Mindoro Occidental, Jose Sinad Nayong, 53, had been missing since 3 March 2005.

Ilocos region is not spared

On March 9, Romeo Sanchez, 39, a national council member of Bayan Muna and Ilocos region coordinator of Bayan Muna, was killed in cold blood in Baguio City. Prior to his murder, military officials reportedly threatened to kill him if he continued his involvement with the progressive movement. Two weeks after, on March 22, Atty. Charles Juloya, vice mayoral candidate of Bayan Muna in Aringay, La Union, took six bullets while inside his office along McArthur Highway but was lucky to survive the murder attempt.

Progressive groups strongly believe that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Northern Luzon Command (NolCom) is behind the rash of political assassinations and abductions in Central Luzon, which is also beginning to be felt in the Ilocos region. Prior to and coinciding with the violent the attacks, the NolCom came up with black propaganda materials and conducted security briefings accusing progressive groups and naming personalities, including Councilor Ladera and four party list representatives in Congress, as allegedly supporting or acting as fronts of the CPP-NPA.

Attacks continue in Southern Tagalog and Bicol

There is no end to the violent attacks on activists in Southern Luzon. Ronnie Almoete, 38, president of the Bayan Muna chapter in Lucena City, was gunned down by unidentified men on 05 February 2005 right inside his home. The perpetrators are believed to be members of a death squad team formed by the Southern Luzon Command (SolCom).

On 01 March 2005, four (4) women leaders, all coordinators and organizers of the Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP), were illegally arrested by soldiers and temporarily detained in a police detachment on the Army’s allegation that they were New People’s Army (NPA) rebels and “were spying on troops taking part in the US-RP Balikatan in Luisiana town in Laguna.” No formal charges were filed against the said four, who were eventually released after repeated assertions of innocence.

In Labo, Camarines Norte, Ernesto Bang, 50, officer of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Anakpawis in the said province, was killed on the spot on 10 March 2005 when unidentified men visiting him at his residence suddenly opened fire. A week after, on 16 March 2005, Joel T. Reyes, 33, an organizer of Anakpawis in the public transport sector, was shot dead by three unidentified men in Panganiban, Camarines Norte.

The butcher of Mindoro Oriental is wreaking havoc in Eastern Visayas

In accepting his new assignment as AFP commander in the Eastern Visayas region on 10 February 2005, Army Major General Jovito Palparan publicly vowed to crush militant organizations and clear Eastern Visayas of protest rallies in six months. Samar Congressman Catalino Figueroa later disclosed in a privilege speech in Congress that Palparan, his fraternity brother, told him he got this order “from above.” Since Palparan’s take-over, a series of cold blooded murders and harassment by the military of activists and local officials has occurred in the region.
It will be recalled that under Palparan, then a colonel, the notorious 204th Infantry Brigade (IB) in Mindoro Oriental unleashed a similar wave of killings and abductions of unarmed activists, leaving eighteen (18) Bayan Muna members and scores of innocents dead. Mounting pressures from public and local officials compelled President Arroyo to relieve Palparan but only to promote him to the rank of brigadier general and later, major general. In several congressional hearings, he accused Bayan Muna, without giving credible evidence, of diverting funds to and recruiting for the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and NPA and labeled militant groups as communist fronts and “security problems that need to be eliminated.”

On February 18, 2005, Fr. Allan Caparro of the Philippine Independent Church, together with his wife were ambushed by armed men aboard a motorcycle in Abuyog, Leyte. The two survived the murder attempt.

Prominent activist lawyer Felidito Cabrigas Dacut, 51 years old, was gunned down while buying milk for his daughter on 14 March 2005 in Tacloban by two still unidentified, motorcycle-riding men. Before his murder, Atty. Dacut, being the regional coordinator of Bayan Muna in Eastern Visayas, was among those who initiated a solidarity mission to Catarman, Northern Samar to investigate the incident of soldiers harassing Bayan Muna members in the said province.

On March 6, company-size troops led by Col. Manuelito Uzi of the 63rd IB unit positioned themselves together with an armored personnel carrier in front of the Bayan Muna office in Catarman and harassed members of the party. A month after, on April 6, armed men wearing bonnets threw Molotov bombs on the office. It was later found out that the wicks used to ignite the bombs were made from a newsletter published by the 803rd brigade deployed in the region.

On April 9, Boy Ambida, the provincial coordinator of Bayan Muna in Eastern Samar, was peppered with bullets by unidentified men aboard motorcycles. Two days after, on April 11, Sammy Dote, a rebel returnee working with the district office of Rep. Figueroa, was shot dead by suspected military men. It was learned that military men under the command of Palparan contacted former rebels who had returned to the fold of law and asked them to cooperate with the military as intelligence assets or face threats on their lives if they refused cooperation.

Around five in the afternoon of April 13, Edwin Bargamento, Auditor of the National Federation of Sugar Workers in Negros Occidental was repeatedly shot by two armed men and died instantly. He sustained 24 gunshot wounds including a finishing shot at the back of his head. It is suspected that the killing was the handiwork of the military possibly using the elements of the pro-government Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) as assets or assassin.

On April 16, around 7:45 am two armed men aboard a motorcycle repeatedly shot Alfredo Davis, a Bayan Muna coordinator in Mahalpag, Leyte. He suffered five bullet wounds and was declared dead on arrival in a nearby hospital. His wife took a bullet wound on the shoulder and was declared out of danger.

Black propaganda and anti-communist witch-hunt are on the rise

Officials of the AFP deny any hand in the extra-judicial killings and abductions of activists and unarmed civilians. But the military publications, security briefings and propaganda materials betray their intention and policy of suppressing and crushing progressive parties and organizations – a policy antagonistic to democracy.

Tala, the official publication of the AFP, published in 2002 an article by a certain Col. John Bonnafos claiming, without giving proof, that the communist-led National Democratic Front (NDF) formed Bayan Muna in 1999. The article considered as a national security problem the entry into and growing influence of Bayan Muna in the electoral and parliamentary arena. Thus, the article called on the AFP to (1) form counter-organizations to attack Bayan Muna; (2) deploy military special operations teams in Bayan Muna strongholds; (3) conduct surveillance on the activities of the party; and (4) neutralize active leaders and members of Bayan Muna. In military parlance, the term “neutralization” includes physical elimination or assassination. The said article was first printed in the Northern Luzon Command newsletter before it saw publication in the Tala magazine.

Of late, the AFP has been conducting nationwide security briefings via a PowerPoint presentation entitled “Knowing the Enemy”. In the said presentation, the AFP lists 32 legitimate progressive parties, people organizations, church and media institutions as fronts or allies of the CPP-NPA. It names Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Bayan and its several affiliates, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines, the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism as part of the echelon of alliances which has to be neutralized.

In countless media interviews and radio programs of the AFP, military officials keep on vilifying and demonizing progressive parties and organizations and all their allies in the fashion of anti-communist witch-hunts. Black propaganda materials are being distributed and posted in several regions including Metro Manila. Residences of leaders of legal organizations are vandalized with posters or paintings bearing insinuations such as “Bahay ng NPA” (House of the NPA) and “Tuta ng NPA” (Lapdog of NPA).

The repeated public accusations of the military linking legal parties and organizations, church and media institutions, and personages to armed rebel groups without providing credible evidence are clear violations of due process and of the rights of persons to the presumption of innocence. Worse, the accusations attempt to justify the killings, abductions, and the escalation of violent attacks on innocent civilians.

III. Extrajudicial killings in 2005

Below is a chronicle of 19 activists slain from January to April 16, 2005:

Pablito Ignacio (Jan. 11) – He was a Bayan Muna (BM) member in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. On January 11, 10:00pm, Ignacio and his wife Aileen were inside their bedroom when they heard a knock on their door. Two armed men wearing bonnets asked the couple to bring out their gun. When Aileen answered that they were not hiding any, the men searched their house. Arvin, their son, was on his way home and rushed upon sighting the commotion inside their house. However, two armed look-outs blocked him, grasped his arms, and pulled him away. Pablito, on the other hand, was forcibly taken from his wife. He was dragged towards the kitchen and there he was shot. Nearby neighbors said they saw some armed men walking towards the direction of Camp Alagao immediately after the shooting. Witnesses believe that elements of 56th IB may be involved in the incident.

Noel Garcia –He was a member of the peasant group organization in Pampanga, Aguman Den Maglalautang Capampangan (AMC). Based on his kin’s testimony, Noel was driving a jeep around 2:30 pm at Brgy. Siran, Guagua when two bonnet-clad men aboard a motorcycle gunned him down. The shooting took place while Noel’s family was on their way to SM Pampanga. Noel’s father, Nicanor sustained a gun shot wound on his arm while Noel’s two-year-old nephew, Loloy Garcia died on the spot also because of a gun shot wound.

Ronnie Almoete (Feb. 5) – Ronnie, the Bayan Muna president of the Lucena City chapter, was cooking dinner on the night of February 5 when unknown gunmen shot him in front of his family right inside their home at Purok Matahimik, Brgy. Cotta Lucena City. According to his wife Susan, the suspects arrived at their doorstep looking for her husband. Upon seeing him, the suspects pushed Susan aside and called Ronnie. The suspects immediately pulled the trigger. Before the killing took place, Ronnie’s neighbors said the perpetrators had been asking for Ronnie’s whereabouts. He was 38 years-old.

Abe Sungit (Feb. 5) – He was a member of human rights group Karapatan and was slain on February 5 at Brgy. Malcapo, Roxas, by two unidentified gun men aboard a motorcycle. He used to campaign against mining operations and led resident in complaining about human rights violations committed by military personnel.

Rodrigo Lampa (Feb. 16) – Rod, another member of AMC, was driving a tricycle around 8:30 am of February 16, along with a friend when four armed men aboard a car shot him. He sustained gun shot wounds on his head and knees.

Crispin Amasona (Feb. 16) – Crispin was a member of the Anakpawis party list group. He was abducted on 16 February 2005 and was found dead the following day in Dingalan town, Aurora. He took one bullet wound on the head and two in his left breast.

Renato Espino (Feb.18) – Also a member of AMC, a cause-oriented peasant organization in Mexico Pampanga. Prior to his death, he was seen riding a bicycle to monitor the activities of his fellow workers in Lakeshore. Some of his co-wokers, however, noticed a white L-300 van following the tracks of Espino. Inside the vehicle were four bonnet-clad men. The same men were seen to have shot Espino on the back. Upon falling on the ground, Espino tried to move to reach his bike. The van approached Espino upon seeing him still alive. Espino was repeatedly shot on his head. The killing occurred in broad daylight, February 18.

Rodel Pelayo and Joey Abraham (February 20) – The victims were members of CLAA-Aeta, an indigenous people’s organization. According to eyewitnesses, Roel Pelayo and Joey Abraham were on a bus when a lone armed man poked a gun on them. When the victims stepped out of the bus, the suspect followed and shot them. The killing took place in broad-day light, February 20, by the roadside of Brgy. Culo and Brgy. Saging, Balanga, Bataan. Prior to the shooting incident, some military men went to the victim’s house. Pelayo and Abraham have taken oaths as rebel returnees at the meeting called by 24th IB of the Philippine Army. The victims went along with the military men. The killing took place while the victims were on their way home.

Abelardo Ladera (March 3) – Or “Ka Abel” is famous to common folk in Tarlac. He was an outstanding government official and a known defender of people’s rights and welfare. He was also a Bayan Muna member. Prior to his assassination, Ka Abel constantly received threats, which he acknowledged seriously. But no security measures kept him safe from being a target. Not even his position as second councilor of Tarlac prevented him from being murdered in cold blood. Reports say Ka Abel was purchasing spare parts for his jeep in a store located less than a kilometer away from the AFP NOLCOM when a sniper pierced a bullet on his heart.

In the security briefing, the AFP - Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) named Ka Abel as one of the several personalities are implementing the CPP-NPA’s plan of sowing unrest and violence in the Hacienda Luisita.

On the same day, Danilo Macapagal, Secretary General of Bayan and provincial coordinator of Bayan Muna in Tarlac was abducted by unknown armed men in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija. Witnesses saw Macapagal resisting the attempt of armed men dragging him inside a vehicle. He remains missing as of this date.

Romeo “Romy” Sanchez (March 10) – Romy was the secretary general of Bayan and the regional coordinator of Bayan Muna in Northern Luzon. He was also a known broadcaster and a former political detainee. Reports said that Romy was walking inside Kayang Market in Baguio City with two other Bayan Muna members when the lone gunman shot him. Witnesses said that the perpetrator casually walked out of the market after the shooting incident. Sanchez was a peasant leader in La Union for 10 years. Prior to his murder, he informed his colleagues that military men had threatened to harm him if he did not stop his activities.

Ernesto Bang (March 10) - He was Anakpawis Public Information Officer of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Camarines Sur chapter. He till land for a living, was happily married, and was father to four kids. However, some unidentified gun men took his life right inside his house in Brgy. Malangkaw Basud, Camarines Norte. Reports say that the anonymous killers casually walked into Ernesto’s house in the evening and open fired upon seeing him. The perpetrators were believed to be members of the Military Intelligence Group (MIG).

William Tadena (March 13) – Fr. William Tadena was a parish priest of La Paz, Tarlac and a member of Iglesia Filipina Indepediente (IFI) and of Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR). He was among the vocal critics of the Cojuangcos and a recognized leader of the four priests in the IFI Diocese of Tarlac. On 13 March 2005, two unidentified armed men aboard a motorcycle shot Fr. Tadena after celebrating mass. He died of multiple gun shot wounds on his head and torso. He was driving his owner-type jeep with three companions at the time of the incident. Prior to his killing, reports say that several unidentified persons, wearing bonnet masks were seen in the vicinity of the parish.

Felicidito C. Dacut (March 14) – Atty. Dacut was a “pro-bono/pro-people” human rights, agrarian and labor lawyer. He was the regional coordinator for the Bayan Muna Eastern Visayas region. On 14 March 2005 at about 6:45 in the evening, two unidentified armed perpetrators aboard a motorcycle shot him in the upper body. Military men under Maj. Gen. Joviti Palparan are the suspected perpetrator. Prior to Dacut’s death, Palparan publicly announced that he would crush all militant groups and clear the region of protest rallies in six months.

Henry Flores (March 16) – Henry was 23 years old and a member of Anakpawis party list group. He was murdered in cold blood inside the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Mandaue, Cebu.

Joel Toliao Reyes (March 16) – Joel was happily married and had worked as a tricycle driver. He was an active member of Anakpawis party list group in his barangay. On the morning of 16 March 2005, two unknown gun men aboard a motorcycle shot him while he was driving his tricycle. The killing took place at Brgy. Calero, Jose Panganiban, Camarines Norte.

Victor “Ben” Concepcion (March 17) – Ben was the Coordinator of Anakpawis party list group in Mexico, Pampanga. He was also the Secretary General of Aguman Deng Maglalautang Capampangan and Chairperson of the Alyansa Para sa Pagpapataas ng Presyo ng Palay. He was an active supporter and advocate of the Hacienda Luisita strikers. While resting at his veranda on the evening of March 17, Ben was murdered in cold blood by unknown armed men. Prior to his killing, Ben noted increasing military surveillance within the vicinity of his home at L&S Subdivision in Angeles City. There was also an instance when suspected agents of NOLCOM surrounded his other home in Anao, Mexico, Pampanga.

Edwin Bargamento (April 13) – 46 year-old Bargamento was an auditor and regional executive Committee member of the National Federation of Sugar Workers in Negros Occidental. His killing took place on April 13, around 5:00-5:20 in the afternoon. He was walking home to Hacienda Emma when two armed men repeatedly shot him. He sustained 24 gunshot wounds including a finishing shot at the back of his head. Vicenta, the wife, said that the perpetrators were seen waiting for Bargamento since 2 pm of the same day. Nearby neighbors also testified that the same men have been conducting surveillance in the area. Colleagues of Bargamento believed that the killing was the handiwork of the military possibly using the elements of the pro-government Revolutionary Proletarian Army (RPA) as assets or assassin.

Alfredo Davis (April 16) – was a member of Bayan Muna in Tacloban Leyte. On April 16, around 7:45 am two armed men aboard a motorcycle repeatedly shot Davis. Davis was driving his multi-cab with his wife, Imelda when the shooting happened. He suffered five bullet wounds and was declared dead on arrival in a nearby hospital. His wife took a bullet wound on the shoulder and was declared out of danger.

IV. Select Cases of Extrajudicial Killings in 2001-2004

From 2001-2004, there were at least 110 victims of politically motivated assassinations and mass murder. Women, children, and some local government officials were not spared. Sixty-four (64) members and leaders of progressive party list groups were killed in cold-blood.

However, the killings have not been limited among the known members of militant party list organizations. Even human rights organizations, people’s organizations and individuals accused of supporting the left movement were constant targets of armed attacks. Below are brief descriptions of the killings that took place from 2001-2004. Some of these repelling issues have been subject to congressional inquiry.


Atty. Juvy Magsino was a farmer’s daughter. She completed her bachelor’s degree at the University of the East and worked her way to a law degree in another university in downtown Manila. She was a member of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and was among the demonstrators of the gory Mendiola Massacre. During her stint as vice-mayor of Naujan, Mindoro Oriental, Juvy upheld her commitment to the farmers and small fisher folk. She was also a vocal critic of the Naujan mayor and was among those who opposed the deployment of two Army battalions in the island in 2001.

In 2002, Col. Jovito Palparan, head of the Army’s 204th Brigade accused Magsino of supporting the NPA. Palparan even told the media that the Army would watch Magsino’s every move. On 13 February 2004, Magsino was assassinated together with 27 year-old Leima Fortu, a public school teacher and officer of Karapatan - Mindoro Oriental. It was hitting two birds with one stone for the assassins. They were able to gun down two key persons of militant progressive groups at once. Aside from being Naujan’s vice-mayor, Magsino chaired Mindoro for Justice and Peace and was also an honorary member of Gabriela. She was the first woman in Mindoro politics ever killed in a politically-related assassination. She was 34 years-old.

Leima Fortu – Leima was an elementary public school teacher in Brgy. Maidlang, Calapan City, Mindoro Oriental. She was also the acting Secretary General of KARAPATAN in the island, a member of Bayan Muna Calapan City chapter, and a volunteer staff member of Mindoro for Justice and Peace. She was gunned down together with Magsino on 13 February 2004. She was 27 years-old.

Apolinar Family – On the evening of 20 May 2002, in Barangay Ilag, San Teodoro, Oriental Mindoro, Ruben and Rodriga Apolinar and their daughter Nina Angela were massacred inside their own home. Prior to the gruesome incident, neighbors claimed that they saw military men prowling the area. The neighbors, without a tinge of doubt, believed that no other group was responsible for the indiscriminate shooting other than the same troops they saw. Ruben then was Bayan Muna coordinator in the area, while his wife Rodriga was a member of the militant women’s group Gabriela. Their daughter Nina Angela was eight years-old.

Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy – On 21 April 2003, some 20 bonnet-clad men abducted four members of the quick reaction team in Maibon, Naujan, Oriental Mindoro. Among them was Eden Marcellana. The following day she was found dead together with Eddie Gumanoy, the Chairperson of the regional peasant alliance Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK). According to reports Marcellana’s head was smashed beyond recognition. The bruises on her body indicated she suffered severe torture from the abductors. Marcellana was the Secretary General of Karapatan Southern Tagalog.

Masimid Family – 1:00pm , 25 April 2003, 80 elements of the 30th Special Forces Company of the 8th Infantry Battalion indiscriminately fired at the house of the Masimid family. Killed on the spot were 27-year-old William Masimid, his three-year-old son Wilmer, and a certain Elmo Dayaon. Lt. Col. Agane Adriatico of the Civil Relations Group of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) immediately asserted that the incident was a legitimate encounter with members of the New People’s Army (NPA). However, eyewitnesses testified that no encounter took place in that incident. They stressed that William was an innocent civilian.William who worked as a farmer in a nearby field was resting after a hard day’s work. His son Wilmer was playing by the staircase. It was a peaceful afternoon until the troops came.

Maco Four – On the morning of 23 September 2003, the bodies of four youth activists were found dumped in a quarry site in Barangay Osmeña, Compostela Valley Province. They were Lito Dodoy, 24; Marjorie Reynoso, 18; Jonathan Benaro, 16; and Ramon Regase, 17. Lito was a community organizer of the progressive youth group Anakbayan, while Marjorie and Jonathan were active members of the Anak ng Bayan party list and were officers of Sangguniang Kabataan in their respective barangays. Ramon, on the other hand, worked as a driver of local public transport called “skylab”.

According to eyewitness accounts, the four were on board Ramon’s motorcycle when armed men blocked their path and forced them to come along. The abduction happened around 5 p.m. on 19 September 2003 in Villa Consuelo, Lower Apokon, Tagum City. Some witnesses recognized the abductors; one of them was recognized as Willy Javier, a known asset of the Military Intelligence Group (MIG). Four days after the abduction, Javier was spotted by witnesses among those cast off in the quarry area.

According to human rights group Karapatan, the victims’ bodies were found piled one upon the other. Marjorie sustained two gunshot wounds on the left side of her head. There were contusions around her neck, indicating the possibility of strangulation. There were also signs that she was raped. The male victims, on the other hand, bore several stab wounds and bruises on various parts of their bodies.

Monsalud Family – It was 4:30 a.m. of 4 December 2004 when five men in military uniform and one man in civilian clothes sprayed bullets on the Monsalud family right in their home in Purok 3, Lower Calabat, Josefina Zamboanga del Sur. Among the casualties was Charlie, a ten-year-old boy. He sustained seven gunshot wounds. Charlie’s father Eliasar Monsalud, a peasant, and mother Concepcion were former rebels in Lanao Del Norte who joined mainstream society in 2001. The two had since been active in legal peasant struggles in their barangay.

According to Barangay Captain Manase Orzais, the slain couple was respected community members in their area and neither had bad records nor questionable reputations. Before the massacre took place, Eliasar was said to have unexpectedly met a soldier who recognized him while in the underground armed movement. After that, the Monsalud couple learned that they were being hunted down by the said soldier.

In an effort to clear their names and prevent any untoward incident against them, Eliasar and Concepcion went to the Josefina police headquarters to clear their names. They were then brought to the headquarters of TABAK 1st Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in Pulacan, Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur. Cheryl, the daughter of the slain couple, was the lone survivor. She was spared during the massacre since she happened to be in a Girl Scout Camp during the incident. She is 11 years-old.

V. Conclusion

The alarming incidents of summary executions, enforced disappearances and political harassments are not isolated or coincidental. They point to a deliberate, systematic and nationwide effort on the part of the armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to neutralize, and if possible, destroy the progressive, Left parties and organizations including their political infrastructure and base of support.

Furthermore, there is enough basis and strong reason to believe that this forms part of the Arroyo Government’s official policy.

Under this policy, political parties, people’s organizations and non-governmental organizations pushing for a progressive, nationalist and democratic agenda in the legal, parliamentary arena are lumped together with the armed, revolutionary movement, making them helpless targets of military action and psy-war operations. It is a policy that dangerously lumps together combatants and non-combatants in the ongoing armed conflict and tags government critics as “destabilizers”, “communist-terrorist agents,” “fronts” or “national security problems” that have to be “neutralized” or “eliminated”.

This explains not only the increased frequency and impunity by which summary executions, illegal arrests, abductions and enforced disappearances, political harassments and other human rights violations are committed. It is also the reason for the authorities’ failure to properly and speedily investigate arrest and punish the perpetrators of these crimes.

Through this policy, government is trying to silence and vigorously attack its critic in the guise of anti-terrorism and counter-insurgency and security.

The implications of this policy is frightening, to say the least. Next to political activists, members of the press are bearing the brunt of such a militarist policy of paranoia. From January to April this year, four journalists have been killed, while four others survived attempts on their lives. Almost all of the five victims were hard hitting journalists critical of government officials.

The peace process between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) has also suffered from such a hard-line policy. These peace talks have been suspended due to the GRP’s refusal to honor previous agreements as well as insistence on new demands and conditionalities.

If there is to be any reduction in the reported killings, abductions and harassment of activists, it will have to start with government abandoning its policy of state terrorism and repression not only against its critics but the public at large.###

Totoy Bibo and Waraynons' Blog

Totoy Bibo and Waraynons' Blog

SERIES OF EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS, FRUSTRATED KILLINGS, ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES, TORTURE, HARASSMENT AND OTHER FORMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
First Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 822


Introduced by Reps. JOEL G. VIRADOR, SATUR C. OCAMPO, TEODORO A. CASINO, RAFAEL V. MARIANO, CRISPIN B. BELTRAN, LIZA L. MAZA


A RESOLUTION
DIRECTING THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE SERIES OF EXTRA JUDICIAL KILLINGS, FRUSTRATED KILLINGS, ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES, TORTURE, HARASSMENT AND OTHER FORMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS BELIEVED TO BE COMMITTED BY ELEMENTS OF THE 8TH INFANTRY DIVISION UNDER THE COMMAND OF M/GEN. JOVITO S. PALPARAN, JR.

WHEREAS, extra-judicial killings, frustrated killings, enforced
disappearances, torture, harassment and other forms of human rights
violations against leaders, members and supporters of Bayan Muna,
Anakpawis, Gabriela and their allied organizations and institutions have
intensified and reached an alarming level in Eastern Visayas since M/Gen.
Jovito S. Palparan, Jr. took over as head of the 8th Infantry Division on
10 February 2005;

WHEREAS, when M/Gen. Jovito S. Palparan, Jr. assumed the topmost military
post in Eastern Visayas as the commanding general of the 8th Infantry
Division of the Philippine Army based in Camp Lukban, Brgy. Maulong,
Catabalogan, Samar, he publicly vowed to crush militant groups and clear
Samar island of anti-government rallies in six months;

WHEREAS, in the first quarter of 2005 alone, the Katungod-Sinirangang
Bisayas (Karapatan-Eastern Visayas), in its initial report on the human
rights situation in Eastern Visayas as of 07 May 2005, documented several
cases of extra-judicial killings of activists and unarmed civilians
believed to be perpetrated by military men. Among them were:

· Atty. Felidito Dacut, Bayan Muna regional coordinator for Eastern
Visayas, was shot dead on 14 March 2005 while on board a passenger jeepney
along Real Street in Tacloban City.

· Mr. Samuel Dote, an employee of LGU-Catbalogan and a member of
the Municipal Association of Catbalogan Employees (MACE) - COURAGE, was
shot on 11 April 2005 while on board a motorcycle.

· Mr. Alfredo Davis, a clerk of court and a member of Bayan Muna
in Mahaplag town, Leyte, was shot dead by unknown assailants on 14 April
2005 while traveling with his wife Imelda in a multi-cab in Mahaplag.

· Mr. Diosdado Abunda, 48, Secretary General of the Borongan
Farmers Association and an active Bayan Muna organizer in the area, was
gunned down on 03 May 2005 by still unknown perpetrators in Brgy. Balud,
Borongan, Eastern Samar.

· Pastor Edison Lapuz, conference minister of the United Church of
Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), chair of Karapatan-Eastern Visayas and
former regional coordinator of Bayan Muna, was shot dead by still
unidentified armed men in front of his house in Sitio Motor, Brgy.
Crossing, San Isidro, Leyte. on 12 May 2005 just hours after he attended
the burial of his father-in-law.
WHEREAS, Karapatan-Sinirangang Bisayas, in the same report, documented 3
frustrated or attempted murders, namely of Fr. Allan Caparo, IFI, Regional
Vice-Chair of Promotion for Church People’s Response (PCPR) and his wife
Aileen (on February 18), Mr. Alden “Boy” Ambida, provincial coordinator of
Bayan Muna who sustained two gunshot wounds (on April 9), and Mr. Diosdado
Abunda, organizer of Bayan Muna (on May 5).

WHEREAS, the same report cites the abduction of 18 persons in Eastern
Visayas; one of them was Oscar Cabacang, ANAKPAWIS provincial coordinator,
a resident of Brgy. Burak, Catbalogan, Samar who was abducted by suspected
military men;

WHEREAS, several cases of arson were reported by Karapatan-Sinirangang
Bisayas victimizing organized and ordinary peasants who were falsely
accused as members or supporters of the New People’s Army;

WHEREAS, on March 6, 2005, more than 30 soldiers in full battle gear with
an armed personnel carrier (APC) stationed themselves in front of the Bayan
Muna provincial headquarters in Sitio Bukhasan, Brgy. Cawayan, Catarman,
Northern Samar and harassed members of the said party;

WHEREAS, on April 6, 2005, unknown armed elements lobbed the Bayan Muna
headquarters in Catarman, Samar with molotov bombs, inflicting first-degree
facial burns on Oscar Turla, Jr., a Bayan member from the same area;

WHEREAS, complaints are mounting against acts of intimidation and
harassment committed by the military against several local government
officials and employees in the region; among them are Samar provincial
board member Concepcion de Luna, a member of Bayan Muna and Villareal Mayor
Renato dela Torre, chair of Bayan in Samar;

WHEREAS, the military conducted a series of aerial bombing operations, that
began on 16 April 2005 in the hinterlands of Northern Samar. These
operations resulted in the displacement of more than a thousand farmers and
the wanton destruction of farm products, inputs and facilities;

WHEREAS, massive human rights violations took place in Mindoro. Oriental
when the Col. Jovito Palparan was assigned as commander of the 204th
Brigade in that province. He was, in fact, relieved of his command due to
the public outcry over the blood bath that occurred in Mindoro during his
term, particularly the killing of eighteen (18) members and officers of
Bayan Muna and scores of unarmed civilians;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED THAT the House
Committee on Human Rights be directed to conduct an immediate
investigation, in aid of legislation, on the series of extra-judicial
killings, frustrated killings, enforced disappearances, torture, harassment
and other forms of human rights violations in Eastern Visayas believed to
be committed by elements of the 8th Infantry Division under the command of
M/Gen. Jovito S. Palparan, Jr.

Adopted,

SATUR C. OCAMPO
Bayan Muna, Party-List

TEODORO A. CASIÑO
Bayan Muna, Party-List

JOEL G. VIRADOR
Bayan Muna, Party-List

LIZA L.. MAZA
Gabriela, Party-List

CRISPIN B. BELTRAN
Anakpawis, Party-List

RAFAEL V. MARIANO
Anakpawis, Party-List