Friday, August 26, 2005

Ka Satur: Int'l tribunal buttresses impeach raps vs. GMA

Ka Satur: Int'l tribunal buttresses impeach raps vs. GMA
Arroyo and her pet general Palparan should both be removed

August 22, 2005

The verdict against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in a recently held
International People's Tribunal (IPT) will help prove the guilt of
the Chief Executive in the political repression charge contained in
the amended impeachment complaint against her.

In a press conference with the members of the Impeachment Team and
the participants of the IPT, Bayan Muna Rep. Satur C. Ocampo lauded
the recently-held IPT and the International Solidarity Mission for
exposing to the nation and the world the barbarities committed
against civilians and civilian communities across the country, and
in pointing out the unquestionable accountability of Mrs. Arroyo as
Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief of the Philippine military.

"In the eyes of the world, Mrs. Arroyo is now in the infamous
pantheon of human rights violators. If only for this, she should be
immediately impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate,"
said Ocampo.

"The voluminous evidence submitted to the IPT would be valuable in
the impeachment complaint. No self-respecting member of Congress
could turn a blind eye to such well-documented violations and Mrs.
Arroyo's role in them. As president, she did not protect the people
from such criminal acts and instead encouraged the perpetrators, as
a matter of policy under the George W. Bush's war of terror, which
is unqualifiedly backed by Arroyo," said Ocampo.

Political repression, a stumbling block to reconciliation

According to Ocampo, the unresolved political killings under Arroyo
constitute an enormous hindrance to national reconciliation.

"A President that allows and encourages the killing of her own
people for political ends, especially her critics and human rights
advocates, doing a grave injustice, culpably violates the
Constitution and loses the moral right to govern and unite the
nation," said Ocampo, who was himself a former political detainee
under the Marcos dictatorship.

Arroyo and her pet general Palparan

Ocampo also said that the reported relief of Brig. Gen. Jovito
Palparan as 8th Infantry Division chief in Eastern Visayas indicated
Mrs. Arroyo's grudging admission of the politically-motivated
murders, abductions, torture, forced disappearances, and other human
rights violations reported to human rights group Karapatan, the IPT,
and the ISM.

The removal of Palparan from Eastern Visayas and his expulsion from
the military have long been demanded by Eastern Samar Rep. Catalino
Figueroa and various people's organizations.

According to Ocampo, "In spite of the rising incidence of political
killings in Mindoro Oriental when Palparan was provincial military
chief, Arroyo promoted him from colonel to brigadier general. True,
he was removed from Mindoro but he pursued the same bloodthirsty
campaign against anti-Arroyo activists in Eastern Visayas."

Foreign human rights advocates support impeachment

Foreign human rights advocates support impeachment
"PGMA should be perpetually barred from holding public office'

August 22, 2005


"The human rights situation in the Philippines has reached alarming
proportions, which deserve international attention."

Thus said Barbara Waldern, a human rights advocate from Canada in
the recently concluded International Solidarity Mission held last
August 14-18 in areas were the human rights situation was at its
worst.

Some 85 foreign delegates welcomes as a positive development the
impeachment proceedings against the President which alleges, among
others, abetting human rights violations perpetrated by the military.

"These impeachment proceedings will send a signal to all countries
in the world that the head of state can be indicted for acquiescence
and abetting massive human rights abuses by state security forces,"
said Walden

The "Judgment" of the International People's Tribunal, which
concluded the mission and was signed by all local and foreign
delegates, read:

"The Defendants (Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and ranking officers
of the AFP and PNP) are hereby adjudged to have forfeited any right
or authority to occupy their current political positions and are
hereby ordered removed from positions of power and perpetually and
absolutely disqualified from holding any public office."

Kawal Ulanday from the United States of America said, "The foreign
delegates will urge our home countries to withdraw support from the
Philippine President if she continues to acquiesce to the worsening
human rights violations in the Philippines."

"The worst violations, such as summary executions and enforced
disappearances, were deliberately and systematically done by state
armed forces against legitimate political dissent. This is a serious
crime against humanity, which merits serious penalties in the
international tribunals," added Selma Benkhelija, a lawyer from
Belgium.###

Foreign human rights advocates support impeachment

Foreign human rights advocates support impeachment
"PGMA should be perpetually barred from holding public office'

August 22, 2005


"The human rights situation in the Philippines has reached alarming
proportions, which deserve international attention."

Thus said Barbara Waldern, a human rights advocate from Canada in
the recently concluded International Solidarity Mission held last
August 14-18 in areas were the human rights situation was at its
worst.

Some 85 foreign delegates welcomes as a positive development the
impeachment proceedings against the President which alleges, among
others, abetting human rights violations perpetrated by the military.

"These impeachment proceedings will send a signal to all countries
in the world that the head of state can be indicted for acquiescence
and abetting massive human rights abuses by state security forces,"
said Walden

The "Judgment" of the International People's Tribunal, which
concluded the mission and was signed by all local and foreign
delegates, read:

"The Defendants (Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and ranking officers
of the AFP and PNP) are hereby adjudged to have forfeited any right
or authority to occupy their current political positions and are
hereby ordered removed from positions of power and perpetually and
absolutely disqualified from holding any public office."

Kawal Ulanday from the United States of America said, "The foreign
delegates will urge our home countries to withdraw support from the
Philippine President if she continues to acquiesce to the worsening
human rights violations in the Philippines."

"The worst violations, such as summary executions and enforced
disappearances, were deliberately and systematically done by state
armed forces against legitimate political dissent. This is a serious
crime against humanity, which merits serious penalties in the
international tribunals," added Selma Benkhelija, a lawyer from
Belgium.###

Rights activists accuse Arroyo of 'crimes against humanity'

Rights activists accuse Arroyo of 'crimes against humanity'

First posted 04:28pm (Mla time) Aug 22, 2005
By Maila Ager
INQ7.net

RIGHTS activists from 18 countries have urged their governments to withdraw support for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as they presented before the House impeachment committee three boxes of evidence of the Arroyo administration's "crimes against humanity."

Barbara Waldern, human rights advocate from Canada said the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) found the human rights situation under the President Arroyo has exceeded the abuses committed during the brutal rule of former president Ferdinand Marcos.

"[W]e are beginning to urge our governments to withdraw support for President Arroyo," Barbara Waldern, human rights advocate from Canada, said at a press briefing Monday. "There are more than sufficient grounds for anyone to see this."

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, secretary-general of Karapatan, turned over three boxes of evidence to the impeachment committee showing 4,207 cases of human rights violations committed by the Arroyo administration from January 2001 to June 2005.

Arroyo is facing possible impeachment before Congress on charges of vote fraud, corruption, and human rights violations.

"We verified numerous extreme cases: abduction, murder of activists torture of children, disappearances, forced evacuation, and many many crimes against humanity, civilian, and innocent people," said Waldern.

American rights advocate Kawal Ulanday said his group has been approaching congressional committees in the United States to demand the accountability of US President George Bush as "the commander" of President Arroyo.

"We hold both of them guilty of disrespect of the comprehensive agreement on human rights and crimes against humanity," he said.

Waldern said they have already written the Canadian ambassador to the Philippines and requested a meeting on this matter.

Selma Benkhelija of Belgium said the group had also asked a meeting with the Commission of Human Rights and the European parliament to inform them of the human rights violations committed by Arroyo.

"The worst violations, such as summary executions and enforced disappearances were deliberately and systematically done by the state armed forces against legitimate political dissent," Benkhelija said in a statement.

"This is a serious crime against humanity, which merits serious penalties in the international tribunals," she added.

"This is a historic moment for us since human rights violations for the first time is included in the impeachment complaint," Enriquez said, head of the mission.

"We hope that Congress will really look into this so that human rights violations be included in the amended complaint," she said.

Gross violations of human rights were among the crimes that urged people to revolt against the martial rule of Marcos.

(c)2005 www.inq7.net all rights reserved

Rights mission joins call for Arroyo ouster

Rights mission joins call for Arroyo ouster

First posted 02:46am (Mla time) Aug 23, 2005
By Philip C. Tubeza, Luige A. del Puerto
Inquirer News Service

Editor's Note: Published on page A1 of the Aug. 23, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer


LONG before the Senate could try President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for impeachment, a group of international human rights advocates have found her guilty of numerous human rights violations and concluded that she should be ousted.

The group held an International People’s Court (IPC) at the Film Center of the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, on Aug. 19 and concluded that Ms Arroyo should be “perpetually barred” from holding public office.

The IPC was endorsed by well-known leftist personalities, like scholar Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“In the eyes of the world, Ms Arroyo is now in the infamous pantheon of human rights violators. If only for this, she should be immediately impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate,” said Bayan Muna party-list Representative Satur Ocampo.

Ocampo joined the human rights advocates in turning over the evidence they had gathered to the impeachment prosecution team. The impeachment complaint against the President also accuses her of abetting numerous human rights violations perpetrated by the military.

“The voluminous evidence submitted to the IPC would be valuable in the impeachment complaint. No self-respecting member of Congress can turn a blind eye to such well-documented violations and Ms Arroyo’s role in them,” Ocampo said.

The human rights advocates also said that they supported moves to impeach the President.

“The human rights situation in the Philippines has reached alarming proportions which deserves international attention,” said Canadian Barbara Waldern, one of the IPC jurors.

A signal

“This impeachment proceeding will send a signal to all countries in the world that the head of state could be indicted for acquiescence and abetting massive human rights abuses by state security forces,” she said.

Waldern was among the 85 foreign delegates of the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) that visited areas of the country where the human rights situation “was at its worst,” on Aug. 14-18.

The “judgment” of the IPC, which concluded its mission, was signed by all local and foreign delegates. It read:

“The Defendants (President Macapagal-Arroyo and ranking officers of the AFP and PNP) are hereby adjudged to have forfeited any right or authority to occupy their current political positions and hereby ordered removed from positions of power and perpetually and absolutely disqualified from holding any public office.”

“The foreign delegates will urge our home countries to withdraw support to the Philippine President if she continues to acquiesce from the worsening human rights violation in the Philippines,” said Kawal Ulanday, a member of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan from the United States and IPC juror.

“The worst violations, such as summary executions and enforced disappearances were deliberately and systematically done by state armed forces against legitimate political dissent, this is a serious crime against humanity which merits serious penalties in the international tribunals,” added Selma Benkhelija, a lawyer from Belgium and IPC juror.

In a text message to the Inquirer, Philippine National Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil said the PNP would investigate any charges of human rights violations.

“We maintain that we do not tolerate human rights violations and we have certain police operational procedures or rules of engagement to follow in certain situation(s),” Bataoil said. “Any deviation from the same, we will make them answer for it including the immediate supervisor on the ground if evidence warrants.”

The judges

The IPC held Ms Arroyo responsible for the 4,207 cases of human rights violations from January 2001 to June 2005, which included 400 victims of summary executions and 110 victims of forced disappearances.

Those who testified in the tribunal included witnesses to the Hacienda Luisita massacre in Tarlac province on Nov. 16 last year, abductions and extrajudicial killings committed in Mindoro and Eastern Visayas, and cases of torture, massacres and other cases in Surigao and Sulu.

On the Hacienda Luisita incident, Bataoil urged the mission to also look into the “human rights violations [committed by] the picketers who injured a lot of our policemen in the area during our peacekeeping operation at that time.”

The court’s judges included American law professor Lennox Hinds of Rutgers University, who was also a lawyer for Nelson Mandela, independent South Africa’s first president; Nobel Peace Prize nominee Irene Fernandez of Malaysia, and lawyer Hakan Karakus of Turkey, president of the International Association of People’s Lawyers.

Besides Chomsky, the endorsers of the IPC were Ramsey Clark, former US attorney general and founding chair of the International Action Center, and Jitendra Sharma, former justice of the Supreme Court of India.

Police rights

Finding alleged evidence of extrajudicial killings, the international mission concluded that the Arroyo administration violated the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the GRP-NDF (National Democratic Front) Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and the International Humanitarian Law, among others.

Ocampo said the unresolved political killings under the Arroyo administration were an “enormous hindrance” to national reconciliation.

“A president that allows and encourages the killing of her own people for political ends, especially of her critics and human rights advocates, doing a grave injustice, culpably violates the Constitution and loses the moral right to govern and to unite the nation,” said Ocampo, who is himself a former political detainee during the Marcos dictatorship.

He said that the reported relief of Brigadier General Jovito Palparan as head of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division in Eastern Visayas indicated the President’s “grudging admission of the politically motivated murders, abductions, torture, forced disappearances and other human rights violations” reported to human rights group Karapatan and the IPC and ISM.

Palparan’s removal from Eastern Visayas and his expulsion from the military have long been demanded by Eastern Samar Representative Catalino Figueroa and various people’s organizations.

“In spite of the rising incidence of political killings in Mindoro Oriental when Palparan was provincial military chief, Arroyo promoted him from colonel to brigadier general. True, he was removed from Mindoro but he pursued the same bloodthirsty campaign against anti-Arroyo activists,” Ocampo said.

Guilty

The international mission was particularly appalled by the military general accused of numerous human rights violations in the course of his intensive anti-insurgency campaign.

“Due to the particular heinousness of his offenses, we particularly make a specific finding of guilt against (Maj.) Gen. Jovito Palparan,” the group said.

The general, who had vowed to wipe out the insurgents, denied the allegations.

The international mission said evidence against the Arroyo administration demonstrated “beyond reasonable doubt that these human rights abuses are widespread, systematic and were done with impunity.”

Support for Arroyo ouster

It also supported calls for Ms Arroyo’s ouster and asked the international community to do the same.

“The defendants are sentenced to pay compensation and indemnification for the victims’ rehabilitation, restitute their material and moral damages, and issue a sincere public apology to the Filipino people, and that all prisoners incarcerated because of political repression be released,” it told the Philippine government.

The group further asked the Filipino people to file a complaint with the United Nations, the International Criminal Court and the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

***

Human Rights Group to Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan’s relief from Eastern Visayas:GUILTY!

43 Masikap Street

Bgy. Pinyahan, Quezon City

Tel. No. 4366002

e-mail: emjp@tri-isys.com







Press Statement Reference: Girlie T. Padilla (09209000291)

22 August 2005 Acting Secretary General



Human Rights Group to Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan’s relief from Eastern Visayas:GUILTY!

The Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace (EMJP) a broad human rights group declared today that the relief order of Malacanang to Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan is nothing less but an admission of guilt to all his human rights abuses.

“In as much as we welcome the decision of his transfer, we firmly believe that this is not enough. Palparan should be punished to all his atrocities. Justice must be served to all the victims,” Girlie Padilla said, Acting Secretary General of EMJP. EMJP is a part of Task Force Eastern Visayas involved in providing support and services to the victims of human rights violations from the region. Likewise the human rights organization has been involved in fact-finding missions in the province of Mindoro Oriental were Palparan had wreaked havoc in the period of 2001 upto 2003.

Palparan has consistently denied military abuses. However, survivors and relatives of all the victims can attest to the reality of Brig. Gen. Palparan’s inhumane formula for physically terminating ‘enemies of the state’. Only six months as commanding general of the 8th ID, cases of human rights violations in the Eastern Visayas region have escalated in very alarming levels.

“There had bee twenty-two victims of summary execution. Not less than thirty cases of enforced disappearances have been reported. Thousands of peasant families have been victims of forced evacuation due to military operations. Some of them have reached as far as Manila to seek refuge where they have no livelihood and security. Palparan should be held responsible for all of these human rights abuses.” Padilla added.

“Justice is the general sentiment of his victims and their families. Maj. Gen. Palparan has gone beyond the rule of law. He is barbaric and has no respect for civil authority, rights and liberty. As part of the human rights community, EMJP calls for the ouster of Palparan from service.” Padilla stated.

The human rights group also promised to bring to all venues necessary their case against the General “butcher” until justice is achieved.

“After participating in the recently concluded International Solidarity Mission and the International People’s Tribunal where EMJP helped present the documentary evidences against Palparan, we will still continue to call on the international human rights community’s support and make all the legal actions necessary to put him into trial and make him pay for all his human rights violations. Heartless, shameless and arrogant public officials like Palparan must be dismissed from office,” Padilla concluded. ##

Int’l group says human rights abuses ‘horrendous’

Int’l group says human rights abuses ‘horrendous’

First posted 11:46pm (Mla time) Aug 17, 2005
Inquirer News Service
Editor's Note: Published on Page A9 of the August 18, 2005 issue of the
Philippine Daily Inquirer

TACLOBAN CITY—“Horrendous.” This was how members of the International
Solidarity Mission (ISM) described the cases of human rights violations
allegedly perpetrated by the military on civilians in Eastern Visayas.

Canon Barry Naylor, an Anglican priest from the United Kingdom, said
they were appalled by the high number of human rights violations in the
region, mostly in Samar province.

“Some of the evidence that we have gathered have indicated that the
military is indeed behind these human rights violations…which are truly
horrendous and it’s no wonder that people are actually driven to seek
other means of redress to their problem if they are going to face such
brutality apparently coming from the hands of the military,” Naylor
told the Inquirer.

These pieces of evidence were photos and documented reports supplied to
the group by six human rights organizations in the country, including
Bayan Muna and Karapatan. These groups had asked international human
rights organizations and advocates to visit the country and investigate
alleged cases of human rights violations.

The 18-member ISM arrived in Eastern Visayas last Sunday. They are from
the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands, South
Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China.

They divided into two groups. One group went to Villareal and
Catbalogan towns in Samar. The other went to Calbiga and Basey, also in
Samar.

They were expected to wrap up their investigation on Wednesday and
present their findings before what they described as an “International
People’s Tribunal” on Friday in Quezon City.

In Oriental Mindoro, members of Bayan Southern Tagalog and their
foreign visitors from the ISM were tagged communist sympathizers.

The group was at Gloria town when streamers suddenly turned up accusing
the group of accompanying New People’s Army members.

Arman Albarillo, head of Bayan-Southern Tagalog, in a fax message said
the group was alarmed when they saw streamers bearing “slanderous
accusations” against the ISM along the highway in Oriental Mindoro,
Joey A. Gabieta, PDI Visayas Bureau Romulo O. Ponte, PDI Southern Luzon
Bureau

Int’l group says human rights abuses ‘horrendous’

Int’l group says human rights abuses ‘horrendous’

First posted 11:46pm (Mla time) Aug 17, 2005
Inquirer News Service
Editor's Note: Published on Page A9 of the August 18, 2005 issue of the
Philippine Daily Inquirer

TACLOBAN CITY—“Horrendous.” This was how members of the International
Solidarity Mission (ISM) described the cases of human rights violations
allegedly perpetrated by the military on civilians in Eastern Visayas.

Canon Barry Naylor, an Anglican priest from the United Kingdom, said
they were appalled by the high number of human rights violations in the
region, mostly in Samar province.

“Some of the evidence that we have gathered have indicated that the
military is indeed behind these human rights violations…which are truly
horrendous and it’s no wonder that people are actually driven to seek
other means of redress to their problem if they are going to face such
brutality apparently coming from the hands of the military,” Naylor
told the Inquirer.

These pieces of evidence were photos and documented reports supplied to
the group by six human rights organizations in the country, including
Bayan Muna and Karapatan. These groups had asked international human
rights organizations and advocates to visit the country and investigate
alleged cases of human rights violations.

The 18-member ISM arrived in Eastern Visayas last Sunday. They are from
the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands, South
Korea, Taiwan, Japan and China.

They divided into two groups. One group went to Villareal and
Catbalogan towns in Samar. The other went to Calbiga and Basey, also in
Samar.

They were expected to wrap up their investigation on Wednesday and
present their findings before what they described as an “International
People’s Tribunal” on Friday in Quezon City.

In Oriental Mindoro, members of Bayan Southern Tagalog and their
foreign visitors from the ISM were tagged communist sympathizers.

The group was at Gloria town when streamers suddenly turned up accusing
the group of accompanying New People’s Army members.

Arman Albarillo, head of Bayan-Southern Tagalog, in a fax message said
the group was alarmed when they saw streamers bearing “slanderous
accusations” against the ISM along the highway in Oriental Mindoro,
Joey A. Gabieta, PDI Visayas Bureau Romulo O. Ponte, PDI Southern Luzon
Bureau

PEOPLES EVIDENCE AND TESTIMONIALS PROOF ENOUGH TO FIND BUSH/GMA GUILTY OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Person: Chito Quijano Phone: 626-255-5949 E-mail: vc@bayanusa.org



**Bayan USA Media Advisory for August 22, 2005 **



PEOPLES EVIDENCE AND TESTIMONIALS PROOF ENOUGH TO FIND BUSH/GMA GUILTY OF CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND VIOLATING HUMAN RIGHTS WITH IMPUNITY
Evidence turned over for GMA impeachment proceedings

Quezon City, Philippines – Just days after returning from a five region fact-finding stage of the International Solidarity Mission, more than 85 delegates from16 countries are taking full advantage of the current crisis facing President Gloria Macapagl Arroyo by turning over vast amounts of critical testimonies and human rights violation fact findings to be used by Minority Leader Francis Escudera in building the case for her impeachment. The centerpiece of the findings is a GUILTY verdict for U.S President George W. Bush and Gloria Arroyo for Crimes Against Humanity as declared by the International Peoples Tribunal (IPT) on August 19, 2005.

Three boxes of key evidence were the result of human rights documenation teams led by the human rights alliance Karapatan during four brutal years of GMA's rule which revealed total disregard for international human rights laws and conventions such as the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. Along with testimonies of 10 victims and horrifying reports from international delegates brought forward in the International People's Tribunal, the ISM hopes that this extensive legal documenation will play a vital role in putting an end to record human violations and state sponsored terror.

"The timing of the ISM and International People's Tribunal (planned before Gloriagate and alleged family jueteng crimes exploded into calls for resignation and ouster) allowed us to put forward larger concerns and accountability for thousansd of proven human rights violations and abuses outlined by a verdict and judgement from the IPT," said Kawal Ulanday, Chairperson of BAYAN USA and one of 40 delegates from the U.S.A. "International delegates included several human rights and public interest attorneys and social justice advocates who will now go back to their countries to build international pressure againt Bush and GMA by demanding our governments to withdraw any support for what is clearly an illegitmate, inhumane regime that acts with impunity within the frameowrk of George Bush's so-called war on terrorism."

According to Ulanday, U.S. ISM delegates will conduct educations and sharings nationwide as part of a strategy building towards U.S. Congressional meetings with target bodies such as the International Relations Commitee. Overall, support and funding through congressional appropriations committees will be challenged since U.S. tax dollars are supplying troops, arms and training to the Armed Forces of the Philippines who have demonstrated to be the main perpetrators of human rights violations.

International delegates to the ISM formed five fact finding teams assigned to regions where civilians have been massacred and terrorized by rampant human rights violations: Mindoro Island in the Southern Tagalog region, Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Central Luzon, Samar Island in Eastern Visayas, and Surigao del Sur in Mindanao. The teams are shocked to learn that since they left these regions, another peasant leader has been stabbed in Basey, Western Samar and a beloved local organizer recieved a death threat text on his own cellphone. A vocal human rights priest was also nearly killed in Palawan ST.

These type of shocking reports were presented at the International People's Tribunal headed by Vice Chairperson of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), Lennox Hinds and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Irene Fernandez. The ISM was endorsed by former US Attorney General Ramsey Clarke and former Justice of the Supreme Court of India Jittendra Sharma, Mumia Abu Jamal, Dolores Huerta, Jackie Goldberg, Amiri Baraka, and Noam Chomsky along with more than a hundred international personalities and institutions.

From Jan. 21, 2001 to June 30, 2005, Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples' Rights) has documented 4,207 cases of human rights violations affecting 232,795 individuals or 24,299 families in 237 communities. These included 102 victims of frustrated murders and 130 victims of involuntary disappearances. The 411 documented summary executions included 51 leaders and members of the progressive political party-list Bayan Muna (People First), 20 human rights workers, and four lawyers and two judges in 2004 and 2005.

Below is the Jurors Verdict and subsequent Judgement form the International People's Tribunal and International Solidarity Mission In Defense of a People Fighting Repression


INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE'S TRIBUNAL Manila, Philippines, 19 August 2005

JURORS' VERDICT

We the COLLEGE OF JURORS of the International Peoples' Tribunal, after
considering the evidence presented by the People, find the DEFENDANTS,
GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, GEORGE WALKER BUSH et al. on the charges of HUMAN
RIGHTS VIOLATIONS which also constitute as CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, as
proven by ample testimonial and documentary evidence adduced during the
trial and shown specifically by the following illustrative cases, GUILTY AS
CHARGED..

A. For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of
Extrajudicial Killings as proven by the cases of Hacienda Luisita Massacre,
the Albarillo and Marcellana-Gumanoy cases in Mindoro and the Padiwan
Massacre in Sulu in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights
and International Humanitarian Law, the GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement, the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on
the Rights of the Child; and International Labor Standard.

B. For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of
Torture as proven by the cases of the Calubid Case in Samar and the Cata
Case in Surigao in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights
and International Humanitarian Law the International Covenant for Civil and
Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture, including its
provision on sexual violence and the aggravation of violence against women

Due to the particular heinousness of his offenses, we particularly make a
specific finding of guilt against Gen Jovito Palparan, one of the
conspirators of the defendants, for his involvement in the
Marcellana-Gumanoy, Calubid and many other cases.

C. For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of
forced disappearance as proven in the Cata case in Surigao, and the
Marcellana-Gumanoy case, in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987
Philippine Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for
Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

D. For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of
other human rights violations, including from the evidence heard, forced
confessions, forced displacement of communities, violence against women and
systematic persecution of people and their representatives, as proven in the
documents submitted by the International Solidarity Mission, findings of
Karapatan and other peoples' organizations in violation of the Bill of
Rights and Article XIII provisions on social justice of the Philippine
Constitution, international human rights law and generally accepted
principles of international law.


THE MEMBERS OF THE COLLEGE OF JURORS REITERATE OUR VERDICT FINDING
DEFENDANTS GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO AND GEORGE W. BUSH et al: GUILTY AS
CHARGED.









International Solidarity Mission: In Defense of a People Fighting Repression
INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE'S TRIBUNAL, Manila, Philippines - 19 August 2005

JUDGMENT

WE, the JUDGES OF THE INTERNATIONAL PEOPLES' TRIBUNAL, considering the
GUILTY VERDICT handed by the Panel Of Jurors, noting that the evidence
demonstrates beyond a reasonable doubt that these human rights abuses are
widespread, systematic and were done with impunity, WE hereby PROMULGATE the
following JUDGMENT and CALL TO ACTION:

1. The Defendants are hereby adjudged to have forfeited any right or
authority to occupy their current political positions and hereby ordered
removed from positions of power and perpetually and absolutely disqualified
from holding any public office;

2. The international community is urged to support the Filipino
people's struggle to oust Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her
government from power through a broad united front, so that immediate
measures beneficial to the Filipino people be implemented including purging
the military and police of human rights violators, giving justice to victims
of human rights violations and eradicating corruption in government;

3. The Defendants are sentenced to pay compensation and
indemnification for the victims' rehabilitation, restitute their material
and moral damages, and issue a sincere public apology to the Filipino people
and that all prisoners incarcerated because of political repression be
released;

4. The international community is urged to withdraw aid and
recognition from the Defendant Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, and
allow selective repudiation of foreign debt and moratorium on debt payments
by the Philippine government;

5. The international community is urged to exert pressure on the
Defendant George W. Bush to desist from interfering in the affairs of and
committing acts of aggression and infringement of sovereignty against the
Filipino people and other freedom-loving peoples worldwide; and that the
international community oppose the presence of US troops in the Philippines;

6. The Filipino people is urged to file complaints with the United
Nations and its pertinent committees and Special Rapporteurs, the
International Criminal Court (ICC) under the Rome Statute as soon as it is
ratified by the Philippine Senate, the United Nations Human Rights Committee
(UNHRC), the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) and the Joint
Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the Government of the Republic of the
Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines
(NDFP) against the Defendants;

7. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is urged to
resume peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and
to comply with all agreements in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, including
the Hague Joint Declaration, the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity
Guarantees (JASIG) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human
Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL);

8. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is admonished
to renounce its "total war" and other militarist policies, withdraw its
support for the US "War on Terror", repeal all repressive laws and decrees,
dismantle all paramilitary units and private armies, desist from passing
repressive laws including, but not limited to the National ID System and the
Anti-Terrorist Bills; and

9. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines is STRONGLY
ADVISED to uphold the rule of law, respect the civil, political, economic,
social and human rights of its citizens, which are protected and guaranteed
by the Philippine Constitution and by the international human rights and
humanitarian law and desist from adopting policies or measures that
restrict, infringe upon or impair such rights.

International Solidarity Mission: JURORS’ VERDICT

International Solidarity Mission:
In Defense of a People Fighting Repression

INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL

Manila, Philippines
19 August 2005

JURORS’ VERDICT

We the COLLEGE OF JURORS of the International Peoples’ Tribunal, after considering the evidence presented by the People, find the DEFENDANTS, GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO, GEORGE WALKER BUSH et al. on the charges of HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS which also constitute CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY, as proven by ample testimonial and documentary evidence adduced during the trial and shown specifically by the following illustrative cases, GUILTY AS CHARGED.

For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of Extrajudicial Killings as proven by the cases of Hacienda Luisita Massacre, the Albarillo and Marcellana-Gumanoy cases in Mindoro and the Padiwan Massacre in Sulu in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, the GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and International Labor Standards.

For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of Torture as proven by the cases of the Calubid Case in Samar and the Cata Case in Surigao in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law the International Covenant for Civil and Political Rights and the Convention Against Torture, including its provision on sexual violence and the aggravation of violence against women.

Due to the particular heinousness of his offenses, we particularly make a specific finding of guilt against Gen. Jovito Palparan, one of the conspirators of the defendants, for his involvement in the Marcellana-Gumanoy, Calubid and many other cases.

For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of forced disappearance as proven in the Cata case in Surigao, and the Marcellana-Gumanoy case, in violation of the Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, GRP-NDF Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

For Crimes Against Humanity in the form of other human rights violations, including from the evidence heard, forced confessions, forced displacement of communities, violence against women and children, systematic persecution of people and their representatives, as proven in the documents submitted by the International Solidarity Mission, findings of Karapatan and other peoples’ organizations in violation of the Bill of Rights and Article XIII provisions on social justice of the Philippine Constitution, international human rights law and generally accepted principles of international law.

THE MEMBERS OF THE COLLEGE OF JURORS REITERATE OUR VERDICT FINDING DEFENDANTS GLORIA ARROYO AND GEORGE. W. BUSH et al: GUILTY AS CHARGED.

Philippine military behind assassinations

Philippines military behind assassinations

The progressive movement in the Philippines has been rocked in the first months of 2005 by a wave of assassinations of priests, lawyers and union and political leaders, against a backdrop of major military offensives against Moro communities in Sulu, Mindanao, and in the island province of Samar in the central Philippines.

By April 4, 17 activists had been killed, there were three attempted assassinations and five cases of disappearances. The prime suspects in these cases are military intelligence units. Such a wave of killings has not taken place in the Philippines since the end of the Marcos dictatorship.

Meanwhile, the International Federation of Journalists sent a fact-finding team to the Philippines to investigate a wave of murders of journalists in 2004. After Iraq, the Philippines had the largest number of murders of media workers for reasons related to their jobs - the number was 13. Already in 2005 another three have been murdered and one wounded. The IFJ issued a report in April, noting the culture of violence and impunity in the Philippines. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the relatives point the finger at provincial political leaders, mayors, police chiefs, and hired guns.

In Sulu, an island in the Moro region of south-west Mindanao, massive fighting broke out on February 6, after a military unit wiped out a Tausug (indigenous) family. The Moro National Liberation Front fought the army for 10 days, and killed more than 100 soldiers, including the commanding officer of the 53rd Infantry Battalion. Hundreds more were wounded. The MNLF had signed a permanent peace with the Ramos government back in 1996, and had not fought since, but the Moro Islamic Liberation Front took up the fight from there. Only now are MILF peace talks underway in Kuala Lumpur, under Malaysian sponsorship. The Moros seek either independence or substantial autonomy in their lands.

Relief efforts from Manila for the thousands of civilians displaced in Sulu were disrupted when, on March 14, there was an abortive jail break in Taguig, Metro Manila, by an Abu Sayaff gang leader, ‘Commander Kosovo’. In the ensuing military assault, 25 muslim prisoners were killed, including ‘Kosovo’. President Arroyo could not restrain her elation when announcing the breakout crushed.

Moro areas of Mindanao frequently suffer from military conflict, but the Armed Forces of the Philipinnes has also launched air attacks on villages in Northern Samar since April 16, 2005, using helicopters. These were combined with ground offensives, and a food blockades of Brgy Happy Valley, San Isidro. Many of the murders and assaults on legal political activists have also taken place in Samar towns.

Many of the killings in Central Luzon are connected to the repression of the Hacienda Luisita sugar workers strike, where seven workers wer shot dead and 36 wounded on November 16, 2004. Here union leaders, a priest, Fr William Tadena, and a Tarlac City Councillor Abel Ladera, are among the dead. There was a brief, historic negotiation between the unions and the Luisita management at the end of January, brokered by Fr Tadena and Councillor Ladera through the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, and backed directly by President Gloria Arroyo.

But management insisted that it had to sack the union leaders as part of any ‘settlement’, the talks stalled, and the killing started again.

The killings in Samar, Baguio City and other provinces appear to be part of a wider ‘national security’ operation. The military commander in Samar is Major General Jovito Palparan, who was previously a brigade commander in Mindoro, where over 30 BAYAN MUNA leaders, including human rights workers were assassinated in 2001-2003.

Mindoro appears to have been a laboratory for counter-insurgency warfare, where the main victims are unarmed civilians. Now the lessons of Mindoro are being applied in Samar and Central and Northern Luzon. During March, journalists exposed an Armed Forces powerpoint show titled Knowing The Enemy, which set out a long list of legal organisations and left political parties like BAYAN MUNA, alleging that these are controlled by the Communist Party of the Philippines or ‘infiltrated’ by the CPP. It argued that the armed forces had a duty to ‘neutralise’ these infiltrations.

BAYAN MUNA (People First) has three members in Congress, GABRIELA Women’s Party has one, and Anakpawis (workers and peasants) has two.

President Arroyo has not spoken out against these political murders, despite a rising chorus across Philippines society calling for a halt to the killing. Far from objecting to the reign of terror, the government had a protest against these killings crushed - on April 7, priests and religious leading a protest in Manila outside the International Parliamentary Union meeting were clubbed on the street, and then clubbed inside a church where they had to retreat.

Governments like Australia are yet to express concern.

The economy is in big trouble, and President Arroyo’s popularity is at rock bottom again. Moodys and Standard & Poors downgraded the Philippines government domestic and international debt in February. The President’s main response has been to increase the VAT (GST) from 10% to 12%, hitting the poor majority hard. In turn, the left opposition movement that helped overthrow President Estrada in 2001 has been gaining strength and developing unity with poor people’s organisations that were previously under Estrada’s sway.

Their demands are to stop the VAT increase, to roll back the ever-rising price of fuel, and to get a 50% increase in the minimum wage, now just P250 (A$6) per day. They flexed their muscle in a highly successful nation-wide transport strike on April 18, 2005.

The repression could also be aimed at breaking up this political threat to the government. z

See www.bayan.ph

Int'l People's Tribunal: GMA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of HRVs

Int'l People's Tribunal: GMA guilty beyond reasonable doubt of human rights violations, crimes against humanity

In a stinging rebuke from the community of nations, the International People's Tribunal (IPT) on Friday passed judgment on Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, finding her "guilty beyond reasonable doubt" of committing and perpetrating systematic, cruel and widespread violations of human rights tantamount to crimes against humanity.

A total of 4,207 cases of human rights violations committed by the Arroyo administration from January 2001 to June 2005 were presented to the tribunal. The cases affected 232,796 individuals, 24,299 families and 237 communities. At least 400 were victims of summary execution; 110 were victims of forced disappearances. Twenty of those killed were human rights volunteers.

The tribunal ended the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) that probed into incidents of human rights abuses in several regions of the country, particularly in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac, and in Eastern Visayas, where Arroyo promoted and continues to maintain the terrorist reign of mass murderer Gen. Jovito Palparan.

Endorsers of the ISM and the IPT include former US Attorney General Ramsay Clark, US foreign policy critic Prof. Noam Chomsky and former Indian Supreme Court justice Jitendra Sharma.

The evidence presented to the tribunal, the jury's verdict and the tribunal's final judgment would be presented on Monday to members of the House of the Representatives pursuing the impeachment case against Arroyo.

Political repression, or the state's use of force to stifle dissent by civilians and civilian communities under the aegis of the war of terror, is among the high crimes purportedly committed by Arroyo, according to the amended impeachment complaint.

In the 1980s, an international tribunal held in Antwerp, Belgium considered complaints from Filipino organizations against the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

Gen. Palparan leaves post effective today

Gen. Palparan leaves post effective today
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 245 Thursday August 25, 2005
By: Miriam Garcia Decada (Staff Writer)

CATBALOGAN, Samar - Major Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., the controversial Army general in the region who only served for almost seven months, will officially leave his post effective today, Aug. 25.

Major Gen. Bonifacio Ramos, incoming commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, told Leyte Samar Daily Express that the turnover of command today would be presided by no less than newly-designated Army Chief, Lt. Gen. Simeon Esperon.

Ramos said he was informed yesterday that he will be replacing the post that will be vacated by his good friend, Palparan, saying that as a good soldier he will always follow orders.

“I was just called yesterday about this turnover and about this new challenge that I have to go through,” Ramos said . Ramos, who is a native of Southern Leyte, said he will continue the work started by Palparan by clearing Samar Island of NPA rebels when asked if he is not worried should militant groups and other politicians in the region who might also seek for his immediate and untimely relief.

However, Ramos said he is confident the people in the region will now cooperate in the campaign against insurgency.“Well, I am not afraid as long as I will implement this campaign in the manner that the people will be protected. I am here to serve them. I need their cooperation,” Ramos said.

Prior to Palparan’s official relief order, Rep. Catalino “Cata” Figueroa of the second district of this province has threatened to lead the New People’s Army in Samar if controversial Maj. Gen. Jovito S. Palparan Jr. will not be relieved from his post. Figueroa, who was mad at Palparan after around 500 pro-Palparan protesters held a rally infront of his house in Brgy. Mercedes here, said he will go underground and lead the NPA rebels in Samar if Palparan is not kick out from Samar as promised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during their meeting in Malacañang last week.

“I will to go to the mountains and lead the NPA if Gen. Palparan is not kicked out of Samar. If President Arroyo will not listen to my request, I rather join the NPA movement,” Figueroa told newsmen. Figueroa said earlier that President Arroyo has shown him an order relieving Palparan from Samar in exchange for his not signing the impeachment complaint against her.

According to Figueroa, Palparan is now engaged in politicking convincing many people to rally for his retention in Samar. Some 500 residents from different municipalities of Samar trooped to the residence of Figueroa after meeting at the 8th Infantry Division headquarters to voice out their strong opposition to the relief of Gen. Palparan as being the handiwork of Figueroa.

The rallyists who were calling for the retention of Palparan were mostly composed of former NPA rebels, victims of NPA abuses and ordinary barangay officials and municipal elected officials from the towns of Paranas, Motiong, Jiabong, San Jorge, Gandara, Hinabangan, Calbiga, Catbalogan and Catarman in Northern Samar.

Paranas Vice Mayor Leo Dasig and Councilor Cecilio Labine claimed that they need the presence of Palparan in Samar as he is an effective Army official who can stop the insurgency, saying their area is now peaceful and the NPA rebels are no longer felt in their place after Palparan launched an all-out-war against the rebels.

“Samar is now peaceful, particularly in our town where we cannot see anymore NPA rebels and we hope that President Arroyo give a chance for Palparan’s stay in Samar for him to achieve his target of totally eliminating the NPA insurgency in our province,” Vice Mayor Dasig and Councilor Labine said. Motiong Vice Mayor Francisco Langi Sr. said they passed a municipal resolution calling for the retention of Gen. Palparan as commanding general of the Army in Samar.

Vice Mayor Langi said their resolution was addressed to President Arroyo seeking the retention of Palparan as majority of them local officials in Samar favor Palparan while Figueroa is only one behind for his ouster helped only by some militant groups.

The Human Rights Record of the Arroyo Administration:Aug. 17, 2005

Original article is at http://qc.indymedia.org/news/2005/08/4427.php Print comments.

The Human Rights Record of the Arroyo Administration:
by KARAPATAN Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2005 at 10:23 AM
karapatan@tri-isys.com 9286078 43 Masikap St., Brgy. Pinyahan, Quezon City

Battered by chronic economic, political and social crises, the Arroyo regime has gone from weak to desperate. The state-sponsored terror it has unleashed on a people struggling for reforms and fighting for their rights and welfare defines the government’s dreadful human rights record.

The Human Rights Record of the Arroyo Administration:
Four and a Half Years of
State Terror

Prepared by KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
July 18, 2005

==========================================

A People Power President who rules by force, suppression, and deception – that has been the painful irony plaguing the Philippine human rights situation for the last four and a half years.

Instead of promoting democracy and human rights consistent with the spirit of People Power that catapulted Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to power in 2001, her government has curtailed civil liberties, disregarded human rights and international humanitarian law, and launched fascist attacks on its people.

Battered by chronic economic, political and social crises, the Arroyo regime has gone from weak to desperate. The state-sponsored terror it has unleashed on a people struggling for reforms and fighting for their rights and welfare defines the government’s dreadful human rights record.

In the four and a half years of the Arroyo Presidency (January 2001 to June 2005), the government has committed massive violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. It has come to the point that the very people sworn to uphold and protect the people’s rights are committing the atrocities with impunity. (See Appendix: Table of Human Rights Violations under the Arroyo Administration)

The following trends depict the overall human rights situation:

• Intensified Militarization

As the local version of the US-led “War on Terror”, the Arroyo administration’s all-out war against rebel groups such as the CPP-NPA-NDFP, MILF and MNLF has further intensified the militarization of the countryside.

Heavy government troop deployments have led to increased human rights violations, as clearly documented in the Southern Tagalog region where 39 battalions are deployed, including Mindoro Island which hosted nine battalions at one time.

Heightened military presence in the following regions and provinces have been reported: 5 battalions and 1 brigade in Cagayan Valley, 10 battalions in Western Mindanao, 11 battalions in SocSKSargen, 9 battalions in Eastern Visayas, 11 battalions in Southern Mindanao, 1 division and 1 brigade in CARAGA, 5 battalions in Central Luzon, 5 battalions in Bohol and 2 battalions in Cebu.

Reinforcing the military, police and Civilian Armed Auxiliary (CAA) forces are “rebel returnees,” vigilante groups and paramilitary formations like the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army (CPLA), the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade (RPA-ABB) and the Rebolusyunaryong Hukbong Bayan (RHB).

Consistent with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) strategy of concentrating its combat operations in areas where it believes the NPA, MILF, or MNLF are strong, military units have been concentrated in the provinces of Kalinga, Mountain Province, Abra, Ilocos Sur, Tarlac, Pampanga, Mindoro Island, Batangas, Albay, priority barrios in Bohol and Cebu, the three Samar provinces, Compostela Valley, Agusan del Norte, 11 barangays of Agusan in CARAGA, and in the quadri-boundary of SocSKSargen. These areas have borne the brunt of military atrocities and human rights violations.

Reprisals by the AFP against rebel ambushes are swift and brutal, targeting civilians in so-called “rebel-infested” communities. For example, out of the 96 cases of human rights violations in Northern Mindanao, 89 occurred in Agusan del Norte as reprisals for NPA ambushes on AFP troops. Likewise, militarization in Catanduanes Island intensified after an ambush conducted by NPA guerillas. In the same manner, Sulu was a virtual garrison after the MNLF conducted ambuscades on AFP troops after the latter’s massacre of a Muslim family on February 1, 2005.

A state of martial rule is imposed by government troops in areas with massive military operations. Local government and police forces are rendered inutile. In November 2004, municipal mayors in Occidental Mindoro told a humanitarian mission that they could not assure the mission’s safety because the military considered KARAPATAN and other human rights groups as security threats. While rendering medical services to residents of Sta. Cruz town, civilian-clad military men and vigilantes attacked the medical team and the residents as well.

The local government of Tarlac City has not lifted a finger since the assassination of Councilor Abelardo Ladera who died taking up the cudgels for his poor constituents, including striking farm workers at the Hacienda Luisita. To date, hacienda residents are complaining of more than 200 soldiers deployed in their villages.

In Eastern Visayas, the notorious Major General Jovito Palparan, Jr., known as the “Butcher of Mindoro,” lords it over local officials. His pronouncements outline the government’s hard-line, militarist policy towards political dissidents. He told members of the media that he would wipe out anti-government protests in the region as he did in Mindoro during his stint as commanding officer of the notorious 204th brigade. In a public meeting he called in Tacloban City, Palparan announced that the military would be abducting one peasant activist every month from so-called "NPA-infiltrated" barrios.

Following such declarations, a human rights lawyer, a Protestant pastor and scores of farmers have been summarily executed in Palparan’s area of responsibility. Some have been abducted and remain missing.
In 2001, the Macapagal-Arroyo government virtually declared martial law in Basilan. As a result, scores of residents were arbitrarily arrested and accused of being Abu Sayyaf members. The Basilan 73, a group of residents arbitrarily rounded up by the military, were imprisoned and later transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, where they continue to languish. On March 15, 2005, a botched jailbreak of hardcore Abu Sayyaf inmates in that detention center resulted to the deaths of 23 other Moro inmates, including 10 from the Basilan 73. Families of the victims assert that their kin were used as human shields but authorities treated all inmates as hostile elements, hence resulting in the bloodbath.

In the wake of such “anti-terrorist” or “counter-insurgency operations,” human rights violations are committed with impunity, targeting entire communities, legal organizations and even local officials suspected of supporting rebel groups. There is a long list of documented cases of harassments, grave threats, use of civilians as guides and human shields, killings, massacres, forcible abductions and disappearances, forced evacuation and reconcentration, fake surrenders, indiscriminate firing and bombings of communities of peasants and indigenous peoples in suspected guerrilla lairs and strongholds.

• Attacks on Human Rights Defenders, Activists and Journalists

In April 2003, KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog Secretary General Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy were abducted and killed by AFP soldiers while on a fact-finding mission in Oriental Mindoro. The twin murders remain unsolved to this day even as the alleged mastermind, then Col. Jovito Palparan, Jr., was promoted twice by Mrs. Arroyo, despite protests by various human rights organizations and the withdrawal by the Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) of his human rights clearance.

Twenty human rights defenders have been killed under the Arroyo administration. Not even during the fascist Marcos dictatorship were there so many human rights defenders killed. (See Appendx: List of Human Rights Defenders Killed)

Human rights defenders, church people, lawyers, government officials, leaders and organizers of people’s organizations and progressive parties are targets of attacks either by troops in uniform, military agents or their death squads.

The first half of 2005 saw a new wave of extra-judicial killings, abductions, and harassments against unarmed civilians. Twenty-six of the 45 killed in this period belonged to progressive parties and organizations. (See Appendix: List of killed and disappeared in 2005)

There were 6 victims of enforced disappearance in the first quarter of 2005, including BAYAN-Central Luzon leader Danny Macapagal, a distant relative of the president. Macapagal, an activist since the Marcos regime, survived martial law but not the Macapagal-Arroyo government. He was taken from his home in Nueva Ecija on March 3, 2005 and had been missing since then. In four and a half years, there were 130 victims of enforced disappearance.

The killings of journalists likewise increased. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines recorded 69 journalists killed since 1986. Out of the total, 33 were killed from January 2001 to July 2005. Mrs. Arroyo has ordered an investigation but her Task Force Newsman has not solved a single case to date.

KARAPATAN attributes the alarming pattern of killings and disappearances to a policy of state repression aimed not only at silencing government critics and quelling dissent, but also at annihilating the country’s progressive people’s movement. We particularly note the following:

1. The attacks against activists and progressive leaders appear deliberate, orchestrated and national in scope. This can only be part of a centralized campaign funded and organized by the national government through its armed forces.

2. Part of this repressive policy is a campaign of incitement to violence against cause-oriented groups and human rights advocates. In almost all cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances, the atrocities are usually preceded by a military-instigated vilification campaign branding the victims and their organizations as “communists,” “terrorists” or “enemies of the state.” The AFP’s intelligence briefing compact disc, “Knowing the Enemy,” and other briefing materials and “orders of battle” include names of those subsequently killed, incarcerated or forcibly disappeared. For example, before suspected soldiers killed Marcellana and other activists in Mindoro, they were tagged as communists and terrorists in flyers and posters disseminated by the AFP.

President Arroyo herself is guilty of such redbaiting and incitement to violence. On national television, she tagged party-list congressman Crispin Beltran and urban poor leader Carmen Deunida as “communists” for opposing high power rates and her economic policies. She has also branded critics of the RP-US military exercises as “Abu Sayyaf lovers.”

Immediately after an attack, the military usually issues a statement denying involvement and insisting that the victims were killed or abducted either by “anti-communist vigilantes” or, ridiculously, even by NPAs themselves.

3. The action or lack of action of the Arroyo regime on this issue leads to a culture of impunity that facilitates, instead of hampers, the rise of human rights violations. As Commander-in-Chief of the AFP, for example, Pres. Arroyo is abetting human rights violations not only by ignoring the issue but also by promoting military officials with notorious human rights records.

• Constricting Civil Liberties

The Arroyo administration has rehashed repressive decrees from the Martial Law era to constrict the people’s growing unrest. Violent dispersals of rallies and other attacks on civil liberties intensified after the May 2004 elections when Arroyo reclaimed the presidency amid the Opposition’s charges of massive fraud.
Citing Batas Pambansa 880 or the “no permit, no rally” rule, elements of the Western Police District violently dispersed a peaceful rally in front of the Malate Catholic Church on April 7, 2005. The demonstrators wanted to bring the issue of the political killings to the attention of the International Parliamentary Union that had a conference nearby. In the said incident, a priest and a seminarian were mauled and arrested.
Like in the Hacienda Luisita massacre where government troops opened fire on the striking workers, workers’ picket lines are being violently attacked on direct orders by the Labor secretary whose authority to issue “assumption of jurisdiction” orders is based on a Marcos law designed to curtail the workers right to strike. In 2004 alone, the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights documented 91 cases of attacks on picket lines, arrests of union leaders and termination of striking workers involving 1,857 victims. Violent dispersals of picket lines were rampant in the Southern Tagalog region and Cebu.

Military and local police forces are regularly employed to harass, violently disperse and arbitrarily arrest union members. Arrested workers were charged with common crimes such as assault on persons of authority, robbery, destruction of property, etc.

Another Marcos law, General Order #66, still serves as the basis for setting-up military and police checkpoints. Warrantless arrests are still being justified through the Umil vs. Ramos Supreme Court decision and other jurisprudence.

The Movie and Television Review and Classifications Board (MTRCB) and the National Telecommunication Center (NTC), along with the Justice Department, curtailed press freedom when it issued warnings against the airing of the alleged wiretapped conversations implicating the President in electoral fraud. Earlier, the MTRCB issued an order (later recanted due to public pressure) requiring public affairs programs to submit a copy of their taped episodes before broadcast. Both the MTRCB and NTC were created during martial law.

DOJ Secretary Raul Gonzales, acting as the President’s lawyer, has filed and is threatening to file more cases of sedition and rebellion against persons calling for Mrs. Arroyo’s resignation. This was a favorite tactic of the Marcos dictatorship.

Worse, repressive bills that were successfully opposed during the Ramos regime are being revived. Among these are bills on anti-terrorism and a national ID system. Proposals are still pending to water down the Bill of Rights in the Constitution.

The Arroyo regime has used the unsolved series of bombing incidents in Metro Manila, Davao and General Santos to justify its repressive proposals. The Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace Mindanao) has reported 33 bombing incidents that rocked Mindanao in 2003, including that involving US agent Michael Meiring who was spirited away by the FBI after a bomb he was making exploded in his hotel room in Davao City. In July 2003, Army officers involved in the failed Oakwood mutiny said that the Davao bombing incidents were the AFP’s handiwork.

• Increasing US military Presence and Intervention

The US government has been propping up the Arroyo government’s militarism and human rights atrocities. Its military aid package for 2004 includes $30M for training and arming light reaction units and Navy Seals for counter-terrorism. As a “major non-NATO ally,” the Philippines received a $4.6B military and economic package for the year 2004. Recently, the US government earmarked some $26.5M for development projects in Mindanao. (Philippine Daily Inquirer, 16 July 2005)

In exchange, the Arroyo regime has allowed more U.S. military presence in the country in the guise of joint training exercises under the Balikatan (shoulder to shoulder) program. Journalist Pauline Jelinek of the Associated Press reported, “More and more U.S. military activities in the Philippines have been noted under Pres. Arroyo as the U.S. is also considering shifting some of its Pacific forces to the Philippines to relieve the political pressure on U.S. forces especially in Okinawa and South Korea.” (US Military Intervention in the Philippines by Dr. Roland Simbulan, Forum Online, Mar. 2002)

Increasingly, US troops have been sighted in the field purportedly to conduct civic action operations, relief and rehabilitation missions and to study the feasibility of “development” projects.

U.S. troops have been monitored in Western Mindanao, at the quadri-boundary in SocSKSarGen, during intense military operations in Laguna, in known NPA areas in Quezon ostensibly to conduct relief operations, and in the AFP war room at the height of the renewed fighting in Sulu. From its role of training the AFP’s light reaction companies, the U.S. military is now involved in intelligence gathering and performing an advisory role in combat operations.

It is significant that the renewed total war of the Arroyo regime began with the increased presence of U.S. troops in the country. Apparently, the Arroyo administration now relies on U.S. support for its continued rule amid the worsening economic and political crisis. Likewise, pronouncements by U.S. Embassy officials and the active presence of American lobby groups like AGILE (Accelerating Growth Investments and Liberalization with Equity) point to more blatant interventions in the country’s internal affairs.

• Locking-up Dissidents

KARAPATAN-Mindoro Occidental Vice Chairperson Ricardo Solangon was abducted by suspected soldiers on July 9, 1999, tortured and charged with a multiple murder case. He was unfairly tried in a Court whose clerk of court was the murder victim’s sibling. In 2001, Solangon was recommended for release on recognizance on the basis of his arrest’s irregularities and as part of goodwill measures in the GRP-NDFP peace talks. The court refused to recognize this. Eventually, he was sentenced to death.
Other political prisoners meted the death penalty are Armando Vidar, Apolonio Varado, Sonny Marbella and Norberto Butalon. Butalon died of an ailment in October 2004, a month after his transfer to the death row.

To date, there are 260 political prisoners in the country. Two hundred and forty were imprisoned by the Arroyo regime. Among them are minors, women, and elderly persons.

Most of the political prisoners are victims of arbitrary arrest and detention. Among them are peasants involved in land disputes, political activists, suspected NPA and MILF supporters, ordinary Muslims and fall guys presented and paraded before the media in the government’s campaign against “terrorism.”

Many were abducted and made to disappear or were held incommunicado for days routinely tortured, as in the case of Eduardo Serrano, the Cuenca 7 and Angelina Bisuña-Ipong.

Many of them have been charged, tried or convicted of common crimes, which unjustly covers up the true political nature of their cases. This contravenes the political offence doctrine upheld by the Supreme Court in the Amado V. Hernandez case (99 Phil 515, 18 July 1956), otherwise known as the Hernandez doctrine. Together with other prisoners, political detainees suffer the deplorable conditions of congested and poorly maintained jails.

The Macapagal-Arroyo government made a commitment to release some 49 political prisoners in 2001 and 32 more in April 2004. Of the 32, only 10 were released on recognizance, 7 on the merits of their cases while 15 remain incarcerated along with the others.

Among the political prisoners recently released was Donato Continente who was implicated as an accomplice in the 1989 killing of U.S. Col. James Rowe. His jail sentence expired on June 28, 2005. The U.S. government had repeatedly intervened to ensure that Continente served his maximum jail sentence, despite qualifying for several amnesty and release programs since the mid 90s.

• Justice Eludes Victims of Human Rights Violations

There is minimal or no government action at all on complaints of human rights violations. Government human rights agencies play a mere coordinating role and have failed to support or facilitate the prompt investigation and prosecution of cases.

Worse, the increase in judicial fees in 2004 has made it more prohibitive to file cases against perpetrators of human rights violations.

To this day, the 9,539 victims of torture, summary execution and disappearances during the martial law period still clamour for justice and indemnification despite the favourable decision in their class suit against the Marcos family. The victims have expressed dismay at the way the Marcos Compensation Bill is being handled by legislators, especially Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales who heads the House Committee on Civil and Political Rights. They say that provisions in House Bill 3315 exclude and alienate the victims and disregard the rights of the claimants in the original class suit.

Being a human rights violator itself, the Arroyo regime clearly lacks the political will to indemnify the martial law victims. There are fears that a huge part of the $684M recovered Marcos assets originally awarded to the 9,539 martial law victims bankrolled the President’s campaign in the last elections.

• CARHRIHL and Peace Talks in Limbo

The peace negotiations between the GRP and the NDFP bore fruit with the establishment of the human rights Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) including the Joint Secretariat tasked with receiving and investigating violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed by both parties in August 1998.

Since the opening of the JMC office in July 2004, the Joint Secretariat has received 387 complaints against the GRP and 8 complaints against the NDFP (A View on the Status of the GRP-NDFP Peace Talks, a paper by Atty. Edre Olalia). The JMC has yet to reconvene to discuss and act upon these complaints. The GRP says they will do so only when the formal talks are resumed, hence remedial steps that could be taken to address urgent cases have not been undertaken.

The peace talks have been suspended due to the GRP’s insistence on new demands and conditionalities and its refusal to honor previous agreements.

Under Arroyo, the GRP worked for the inclusion of the CPP-NPA and NDF political consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison in the “terrorist listing” of the U.S. government and European Union, thereby adding another stumbling block to the peace process.

• Double whammy: economic and political rights violations

In the guise of economic development, more and more Filipinos are being denied of their economic rights. Such is the case in the mining industry, where residents in the mining areas have experienced massive dislocation and poverty. The biggest mining corporation, Sagittarius Mining, Inc. (formerly Western Mining Corporation), whose mining operation straddles four provinces in Mindanao, is displacing entire B’laan communities from their ancestral domain. Similar things are happening in other parts of Mindanao, the Cordilleras, Cebu and wherever large-scale, commercial mining is present.

In Cagayan Valley, six major projects being implemented by the government, in connivance with big landlords and businessmen, will cover 179,000 hectares, displacing approximately 635,400 individuals. Two big landowning families, the Cojuangcos and Lorenzos, have plantations covering 30,000 hectares each in SocSKSarGen.

Land grabbing cases were reported in Negros Occidental. In Northern Leyte, where most big landlords in the province are concentrated, peasants involved in land struggles are arrested en masse resulting in the most number of political prisoners, 35, in the whole of Eastern Visayas. Agrarian cases have been criminalized in Cebu, Negros Occidental, and North Central Mindanao.

The AFP is positioned in areas where there are CADC, CBFMA, IFMA, logging and mining areas. Bohol is being militarized not only because of the alleged presence of the NPA but also because it is the site of various government projects such as a Palm Oil plantation, regional airport, circumferential project, Bohol Irrigation Project II and the Leyte-Bohol Interconnection project. While the most militarized areas in Negros Oriental are in Guihulngan because of land struggles. These point to the trend towards an increase in agrarian issues and land-grabbing cases especially as land and crop conversion schemes are fast-tracked and agricultural and fisheries modernization programs are intensified.

Documented cases of violation of workers rights have increased in the span of three years under GMA. The practice of union busting is prevalent in most companies. The workers of Nestlé have been on strike since Feb 2002. Legitimate unions at SM, PT&T, LRT, Cosmos Bottling, Meralco, Nestle-Magnolia, Sulpicio Lines, Philippine Rabbit, Bombo Radyo, PNOC, among others were repressed and militant workers terminated and replaced by contractual workers. Workers from IBM, a federation of unions of the Cojuangco group of companies, are experiencing various forms of harassments such as withholding of union dues. In addition, the Arroyo regime remains deaf to the workers plea for increase in wages.
The November massacre of striking workers of Hacienda Luisita exemplifies the worsening exploitation and repression of the Filipino masses. Pushed to the wall by the Cojuangco family, workers affiliated with the United Luisita Workers Union (ULWU) set up their picket line last November 6, 2004. After two unsuccessful attempts to break the picket line by PNP forces and security guards, AFP troops were employed to attack and massacre the striking workers on November 16. As a result, 14 people were reportedly killed, seven of them were identified and documented, 114 injured, 39 forcibly abducted, and 110 unlawfully detained.

Violence was again used in the dispersal of the picket line of striking workers of Lepanto Consolidated Mining Corporation last July 9, 2005. As a result, 19 workers were arrested and scores were hurt.

Demolitions of urban poor communities were reported in almost all regions with urban centers such as Baguio, NCR, Iloilo, and Misamis Oriental, Southern Mindanao Region, and Pagadian City.

Conclusion

C
learly, the past four and a half years under the Arroyo regime has been one of the worst as far as human rights is concerned, comparable even to the martial law years.

In that short span, KARAPATAN documented a record 4,207 cases of human rights violations which included killings, frustrated killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and unlawful detention, indiscriminate firings and forcible evacuation, among others. These cases affected 232,796 individuals, 24,299 families and 237 communities.

The dreadful human rights record of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime is one fundamental reason why Mrs. Arroyo must be removed from office.

Thus, KARAPATAN, along with its members and allied organizations, joins the Filipino people in demanding for Arroyo’s removal from office, which is a step towards justice. KARAPATAN likewise express solidarity with the Filipino people who have all the right to rise up against a cheat and a human rights violator.

The next government should have an agenda for meaningful reforms with a bias for the pursuit of justice and human rights if only to correct the decades of injustice wrought on human rights victims and the people at large. In this light, KARAPATAN also proposes the adoption of a 10-point Human Rights Agenda for the next government.

Recognizing that sovereignty resides in the people, the people’s voice and sovereign will to establish a just and democratic social order must reign supreme.
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International People's Tribunal

INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE'S TRIBUNAL
Aug. 19, 2005, UP Film Center
University of the Philippines
Diliman, Quezon City


The accused
• Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and chief executive, who supported the war of terror
• George Walker Bush as chief architect of the war of terror
• Their subordinates and accomplices, specifically Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan, butcher of Mindoro and Eastern Visayas

Cases against Gloria Macapagal Arroyo
• 4,207 cases of human rights violations covering the period January 2001 to June 2005 victimizing
o 232,796 individuals
o 24,299 families
o 237 communities.
o 400 were victims of summary execution
o 110 were victims of forced disappearances.
o 20 of those killed were human rights volunteers
• The cases constitute crimes against humanity

Types of human rights violations
• extra-judicial killings or summary executions
• assassinations
• massacres
• disappearances, torture
• forced evacuation and displacement
• illegal arrest and detention

Witnesses testified before the Tribunal on the following incidents:
• Hacienda Luisita massacre on Nov. 16 last year;
• abductions and extra-judicial killings committed in Mindoro and Eastern Visayas;
• cases of torture, massacres and other cases in Surigao and Sulu.

Laws and instruments violated by Arroyo:
• Bill of Rights of the 1987 Philippine Constitution
• International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
• Convention Against Torture
• the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law signed by the government and the NDF in 1998
• GRP-MNLF peace agreement

Presidium of Judges of the International People's Tribunal:
• American law professor, Lennox Hinds of Rutgers University, was also a lawyer for Nelson Mandela, independent South Africa's first president
• Nobel Peace Prize nominee Irene Fernandez of Malaysia
• Lawyer Hakan Karakus of Turkey, president of the International Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL)

Clerk of Court
• Edre U. Olalia

Panel of Prosecutors
• United Nations Judge ad Litem Romeo T. Capulong (chief prosecutor)
• Antonio Azarcon
• Fatima R. Balbin
• Alfonso Cinco IV
• Neri J. Colmenares
• Nasser Marohomsalic
• Beverly Musni
• Rachel F. Pastores
• Ameh B. Sato

The jury that handed down a verdict of "guilty"
• Selma Benkhelifa, lawyer, Belgium
• Peter Brock, lawyer, Australia
• Sebnem Korur Fincanci, forensic doctor, Turkey
• Roger Jowett, trade unionist, Australia
• Barry Naylor, Canon, United Kingdom
• Mary Ellen O'Connor, academe, New Zealand
• Ai-jeen Poo, youth, USA
• Danilo Ramos, peasant, Philippines
• Hans Schapp, development workers, The Netherlands
• Kawal Ulanday, Bayan-USA
• Barbara Waldern, human rights defender, Canada

Tribunal endorsed by:
• Ramsey Clark, former U.S. Attorney General and founding chair of the International Action Center
• Prominent scholar and U.S. foreign policy critic Prof. Noam Chomsky of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
• Jitendra Sharma, former justice of the Supreme Court of India

Samar solon to endorse impeachment raps over rights abuses

PRESS RELEASES
Aug. 15, 2005

Samar solon to endorse impeachment raps over rights abuses

A member of Congress today vowed to join the endorsers of the impeachment complaint against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo if a notorious general is not removed as Samar military commander within the week.

At the same time, a party-list solon said that it’s about time to hold Arroyo accountable for barbarities committed against civilians and civilian populations as shown by the goings-on in Samar.

"I will sign the endorsement for Pres. Arroyo's impeachment if Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan is not removed from Samar in one week," declared Samar second district solon Rep. Catalino Figueroa during a dialogue with the Eastern Visayas delegation of the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) 2005.

Figueroa decried the President's seeming tolerance of the atrocities, saying that the "Human rights violations in Samar are enough basis for GMA's impeachment".

The violent repression of activists, including murders and massacres, is among the criminal acts pinned on Arroyo in the impeachment complaint. Included in the complaint is the aggravation of these crimes by the promotion of notorious human rights violators.

Figueroa hosted a dinner for more than 100 foreign and local ISM delegates at his residence in Catbalogan last night. The delegation, composed of international experts and human rights advocates, chose Samar as one of the ISM key sites because of the alarming degree of human rights violations (HRVs) that occurred when Palparan was deployed in the Eastern Visayas region in February 2005.

Regional human rights organization Katungod-SB documented 22 cases of extra-judicial killings form February 10 to May 12 alone. Other documented cases include 36 victims of strafing, bombing, and indiscriminate firing; 13 victims of torture; 16 victims of physical assault and arbitrary arrest; and 17 individuals arbitrarily detained.

Nearly a thousand individuals have been forcibly evacuated from 21 communities in the towns of Calbiga, Tarangan, Motiong, Jiabong, Catbalogan, and Paranas.

The ISM is being conducted six months after Palparan announced that he will stop all political rallies in Samar.

Major Gen. Palparan has been consistently associated with the political killings and HRVs against civilians even before he was deployed to Samar. Similar HRVs were documented in the island of Mindoro in the Southern Tagalog region when Palparan was deployed there, prompting human rights activists to dub Palparan as "butcher of Mindoro".

According to Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, who led the ISM delegation to Samar, the degree of international concern was a breakthrough for the human rights movement in the Philippines.

"GMA will be made accountable for the atrocities of the AFP as its Commander-in-Chief," Casiño declared.

"Human rights as an issue of a President's accountability has come of age. This will be made clear by the ISM, which will forward the evidence of massive human rights violations to the impeachment committee in Congress," Casiño said.

Casiño added that the "issue of human rights gives the impeachment complaint a new dimension and a higher level of legitimacy because it is non-partisan and non-political. The ISM also brings international concern to the issue of the President's impeachment based on charges of human rights violations, among other violations."