More cases of illegal arrest, trumped-up charges with martial law extension – Karapatan

“For many lawmakers and justice of the Supreme Court, martial law has become a black or white statement of support for the fascist policies of the Duterte regime. No longer are the situation of the Mindanaoans taken into consideration nor the rights violations happening on the ground. It has become a matter of defining alliances, with the real plight of those affected reduced in the background. It seems that the Duterte government need not follow the conditions set by the Constitution, it only needs to have enough numbers. This looming martial law extension will breed more rights violations, aggravating the already worsening situation in Mindanao,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor.

Minda mob 

(Photo:  Around 500 Mindanawan victims of Martial Law in Mindanao under the group Barug Katungod Mindanao held a protest rally at the Department of Justice today, December 6, 2018. Photo from Amirah Lidasan)

Militarists including AFP Chief Carlito Galvez has already expressed his support for another martial law extension. House speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo also said he would push for an extension of military rule should a proposal be filed in the House of Representatives. 

From May 23, 2017 to November 30, 2018, with the imposition of martial in Mindanao, Karapatan has documented 88 individuals killed by soldiers, police and paramilitary groups, while 128 individuals are victims of frustrated killings. At least 1,450 have been illegally arrested, while hundreds have already been detained on false charges. At least 148 individuals are being harassed with trumped-up criminal charges. Moreover, at least 346, 940 were also affected by bombings of communities by the military.Clamor, however, emphasized that these figures only refer to documented violations. “Those that are undocumented would give a much more grim picture of the effects of martial law,” added Clamor.

Karapatan noted that the Duterte government has increasingly used the filing of trumped-up charges and the planting of evidence as maneuver to criminalize dissent. Among the recent cases of such ludicrous accusations are the filing of trafficking and child abuse charges against former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro, and Lumad teachers of Salugpongan Ta ‘TanuIgkanogon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) while they were helping secure teachers, students, and personnel from paramilitary groups loitering in the community.

Martial law in Mindanao has made it more convenient for criminals to roam around peasant and indigenous communities. Paramilitary group Alamara, for example, has continued to commit violations against communities while the military is not only turning a blind eye, but actively coddling their fellow murderers. The Alamara has been implicated in many rights violations against indigenous communities in Mindanao, including the killing of 15-year-old student Alibando Tingkas in January 2016, the killing of 60-year-old Umayamnon tribe leader Matanem Pocuan in February 2017, the shooting of farmer Ande Latuan in July 2017, and the shooting of 19-year-old Obello Bay-ao in September 2017. 

“Military rule remains a dangerous tool, especially in the hands of ruthless mercenaries and deranged leaders. Martial law easily curtails the civil and political, social, economic and cultural rights of the people with impunity. Another martial law extension will further this unchecked government that can freely pass dubious deals, plunder resources, kill, and abuse,” ended Clamor.

Reference:

Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, 0999-7721233

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580