November, 2018

Duterte fueling State terrorism through devious government policies

“From martial law in Mindanao to a state of emergency in the Visayas and Bicol, to making legal the creation of death squads and perpetuate Tokhang-style killings, the use of laws and the alleged destabilization plot in Metro Manila to justify its vilification campaign and attacks against the people, the Duterte government is quickly treading the path towards a full-blown fascist dictatorship,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay during a press conference in Quezon City to kick-off the week-long commemoration of International Human Rights Day on December 10. 

On the recent Sandiganbayan decision on the case of Imelda Marcos

At first glance, the recent Sandiganbayan decision granting bail and providing remedies for Imelda Marcos, despite their guilty verdict on the graft charges against her, may seem like an act that respects the right to due process. But placed in a context where due process is a concept repeatedly tampled by the Duterte regime, the remedies granted to Imelda Marcos by the Sandiganbayan reek of outrageous privilege or entitlement and plain double standard given to persons who have bled the country’s coffers dry. 

On the National Humanitarian Mission in Talaingod, Davao del Norte

Karapatan demands the immediate release of members of the National Humanitarian Mission and the Lumad students and teachers who were fleeing from military operations in Talaingod, Davao del Norte from custody at the Talaingod Police Station. 

On the conviction of three police officers in the killing of Kian delos Santos

Karapatan welcomes the conviction of three police officers in the killing of Kian delos Santos in August 2017. We lament, though, that Police Station Commander Amor Cerillo and Caloocan City Police Chief Senior Supt. Chito Bersaluna have not been charged for condoning and orchestrating murders done in similar police operations which resulted in the killing of Delos Santos and many others. They, too, should unequivocally be held accountable. We are enraged that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, then Philippine National Police Chief Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa and several other high officials who ordered, encouraged, endorsed and even mandated the police to commit such dastardly crimes have remained unpunished. 

Duterte’s death squad signals open season for killing Filipinos

“As if this sham drug war and Duterte’s counterinsurgency program is not enough, this government is continuously coming up with more sinister schemes to kill more Filipinos. The process of identifying targets will inevitably be arbitrary and will result in the deaths of activists and critics already red-tagged by this government and of the poor in its anti-drug campaign. This is an insidious ploy that will add to the number of murders that this regime has already ruthlessly committed – all denied of their right to due process,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on President Duterte’s statement creating a death squad to target the New People’s Army (NPA) and “idlers” in a recent speech at Camp Rajah Sikatuna in Carmen, Bohol.

Philippines is a dangerous place for women and women human rights defenders (WHRDs)

“The Philippines is a dangerous place for women and women human rights defenders. The situation has aggravated because the Duterte government is hell-bent on protecting the foremost violators of women’s rights – the military and the police. We have a government that coddles rapists and murderers, headed by a leader who spouts demeaning statements against women and actively orders his mercenaries to act with the same disrespect and lack of regard for women’s rights,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay during the commemoration of the International Women Human Rights Defenders Day on November 29, 2018.

Justice for Elisa Badayos and Eleuterio Moises! Stop the attacks against rights defenders!

It has been a year since the killing human rights defenders Elisa Badayos and Eleuterio Moises. On November 28, 2017, two unidentified gunmen linked to a local politician’s private army shot and killed Badayos and Moises while they were on a fact-finding mission in Brgy. San Ramon, Bayawan City, Negros Oriental. Elisa, or “Nene” among friends, was the coordinator of Karapatan Negros Oriental while Eleuterio was a farmer and active member of Mantapi Ebwan Farmer’s Association.  

Karapatan Monitor - July - September 2018

Overture to a rapid political and economic decay

Two weeks in Mindanao: Two farmers shot, four teachers abducted, five students tortured and a family assaulted

“Two dead, four missing, a family assaulted and five minors tortured by government forces in Mindanao – all in a span of two weeks! This is the real face of martial law, the reality that the Duterte regime is desperately trying to whitewash. The government, however, is still eyeing the extension of military rule in Mindanao, insistent on cracking down against marginalized sectors raising legitimate demands. The perpetrators are guaranteed protection, while the Filipino people are left to suffer unbridled repression and plunder,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, citing the recent cases of killings and frustrated killings, abduction, and torture in Mindanao. 

Karapatan on Memorandum No. 32: “Ito ang galawang diktador at terorista”

“Ito ang galawang diktador at terorista. In addition to the already worsening attacks on people’s rights in the country, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte through his Executive Secretary released Memorandum Order No. 32, adds another weapon in the current administration’s arsenal of directives that will certainly up the level of State terrorism against the people, especially in Samar, Negros Oriental and Occidental and in Bicol,” Karapatan secretary general said on the issuance of Memorandum Order No. 32 which reinforces guidelines under state of national emergency on account of alleged lawless violence in the aforementioned regions. 

9 years after Maguindanao massacre, impunity and injustice persist

Today, November 23, marks the 9th anniversary of what is considered to be the worst case of election-related violence and journalist killings in the country. The Maguindanao massacre left 58 civilians dead -- 32 of them journalists, also making it the single deadliest attack against journalists. 21 victims were female, some found with traces of semen and positive for sexual abuse. Of the 58, 15 were motorists who were just driving by and were unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Three mass graves were dug for the intended cover-up. About 188 suspects were accused including the primary suspect, Andal Ampatuan Jr., who is said to have planned the attack. The Ampatuans were known allies of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Many of the perpetrators were private armies of the Ampatuans working in cahoots with government security forces. The creation and utilization of private armies as force multipliers in the government's anti-people campaigns was inked by Gloria Arroyo in 2006 through Executive Order 546.

Karapatan Position Paper on House Bill 1617

Karapatan Position Paper on House Bill 1617 or the Human Rights Defenders’ Protection Bill
Presented by Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General
Committee on Human Rights, House of Representatives
August 15, 2017

Madam Chairperson and members of the Committee on Human Rights and members of the House of Representatives, a very pleasant day to all of you. This is an important occasion, because in our recollection, this hearing on the proposed legislation on the rights of human rights defenders is a first in the many years since this measure was filed. This day is significant for human rights defenders in the Philippines, as a step forward in the discussions in House Bill 1617, which has been seen as one of the best examples of proposed legislations in the South East Asian region on human and people’s rights. 

Karapatan Position Paper on HB 4413, HB 8364, HB 5453

November 14, 2018
Hearing of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality
House of Representatives

To members of the Committee on Women and Gender Equality, to all stake-holders present in today’s hearing, good afternoon. We thank you for inviting our organization in this important hearing.

Karapatan Urgent Alert: Rights defenders tailed by riding-in-tandem identified to be members of the military in Negros

Karapatan Urgent Alert - November 17, 2018: Men onboard a single Honda motorcycle and those on the silver Hilux pick-up have been following our convoy since noon from Bacolod City to Sipalay (a 3-4 hour land trip), where Karapatan, NUPL, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and many other people’s organizations were to attend the wake and funeral of Atty. Benjamin Ramos at the Sipalay Gym in Negros Occidental.

End martial law in Mindanao now! -Karapatan

The martial law proclamation in Mindanao is set to lapse on December 31 this year. The military and several lawmakers have already floated the idea of further extending martial law to another six months. AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. has expressed that he will recommend martial law’s extension to the President. This was followed by a resolution filed by Iligan City representative Frederick Siao on November 14, 2018, urging the extension of military rule in Mindanao for another six months. 

Karapatan to Duterte: Stop gift-wrapping our sovereignty and our territory

“The Duterte government has chosen a soft stand on China, opting for a defeatist and meek attitude towards China’s aggression and hogging of our territories. Duterte remains mute and has failed to assert the international tribunal ruling in The Hague, which recognized parts of the West Philippine Sea as part of the country’s exclusive economic zone. In effect, the government is gift-wrapping our sovereignty and territory in exchange for being the next debt colony of China,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, as people’s and human rights groups conduct a protest in front of the Chinese consulate in Makati on November 20, 2018 in time for the first state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

On the PNP’s revival of Alsa Masa-like forces

Karapatan opposes the creation and mobilization of all forms of paramilitary groups, auxiliary forces, “force multipliers” and civilian forces akin to Alsa Masa through the Community Mobilization Project by the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines. 

Threats to file charges vs “Ang Probinsyano” a form of censorship and harassment – Karapatan

The Department of Internal and Local Government (DILG) has recently considered filing a case against the popular television series “Ang Probinsyano” for its “unfair and inaccurate” portrayal of the Philippine National Police (PNP). This is among the latest expressions of paranoia of the DILG and PNP, who seek to censor programs that reflect and allude to some realities on the corruption, brutality and dire state of affairs within the police, military and government. However, the DILG and the PNP are attacking a work of fiction, instead of resolving the very real problems plaguing the police and the whole gamut of the government’s security forces. 

Injustice, continuing peasant killings and prevailing landlessness mark 14th year of Hacienda Luisita massacre

“Justice remains elusive for the seven farmers massacred at the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita on November 16, 2004.  The fact that nine sugar farmworkers were also massacred in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last month is not lost on us. This is a glaring indication of the prevailing landlessness in the country and the worsening situation of our farmers and farm workers, as well as the climate of impunity carefully preserved by those in power. Gloria Arroyo is sitting comfortably in Congress while the Aquinos are careful not to draw any more attention to themselves; the victims’ relatives and the Hacienda Luisita farm workers, however, are still shouting for justice and accountability,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.


Dear friends and colleagues,

In the aftermath of the massacre of nine individuals in Sagay, Negros Occidental, and the killing of Atty. Benjamin Ramos of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer (NUPL) in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental, women human rights defenders are facing increased threats and harassment presumably because of their assistance to the relatives of the massacre victims and their human rights work. 

Statements of Bärbel Kofler, Jean Asselborn and Romain Schneider on the killing of Atty. Ben Ramos

Dear friends, 

We are sharing with you the statement of Barbel Kofler, German Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights and Policy and Humanitarian Aid, and that of Luxembourg ministers Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, on the killing of Atty. Benjamin "Ben" Ramos. 

Detention of peace consultant at Camp Karingal reveals degrading prison conditions

Fides Lim, wife of detained National Democratic Front (NDF) peace consultant continues to decry the illegal arrest and detention of her 69-year-old husband Vicente Ladlad at Camp Karingal, simultaneously disclosing the poor prison conditions that her husband and other detainees are made to endure. Ladlad was arrested on November 8, 2018, along with couple Alberto Villamor, 64, and Virginia Villamor, 67. The three were charged with trumped-up non-bailable cases of illegal possession of firearms and explosives. 

Human Rights Commissioner on the murder of Benjamin Ramos, Filipino human rights defender and lawyer

Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (7 November) on the murder of human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos on 6 November 2018 in Negros Occidental :

Luxembourg Ministers Jean Asselborn and Romain Schneider strongly condemn the assassination of human rights defender Ben Ramos

Declaration of Jean Asselborn, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and Romain Schneider, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs, on the assassination of human rights defender Ben Ramos: “We strongly condemn the killing of human rights defender Benjamin Ramos, executive director of the Peace and Development Group, by unidentified persons on November 6 2018 on the island of Negros in the Philippines.

Tanggol Bayi: ‘Palit-puri’ and other such schemes prove uniformed men the foremost violator of women’s rights

Tanggol Bayi, an association of women human rights defenders (WHRDs) in the Philippines, strongly condemns the succession of violence against women by State forces amid the implementation of the Duterte government’s anti-people policies, foremost the war on drugs and counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan.

The drug war did not only spin a series of brutal killings perpetrated by police forces who hide behind their twisted narratives. This campaign by the Duterte regime also gave rise to cases of gross violence against women and children committed with impunity. Several non-government organizations revealed a heinous scheme called sex-for-freedom scheme or “palit-puri” rampant among police operations, but have exponentially worsened amid the drug war. This involves police operatives using the drug war to rape women, by way of bargaining unwanted sexual intercourse with suspected women drug suspects or women relatives of persons they accuse of peddling drugs in exchange for freedom.