Press release

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.

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. 

Arrest the thief and murderer Imelda Marcos! Release all political prisoners!

When peasant Bernabe Ocasla, 66, was brought to a hospital in November 2016, he had already been detained for nine years for fabricated charges. He had a cardiac arrest while incarcerated at the Manila City Jail, and yet even in the hospital, his jail guards kept him handcuffed to his bed and didn’t allow the nurses and his relatives to change his yellow shirt for “fear” that he might escape. Ocasla died on November 30, 2016, after he suffered another cardiac arrest and had been in a coma.  

Human rights worker and peasant Gerardo dela Pena was 74 when he was wrongly convicted in a Bicol court. He was arrested by the 49th Infantry Battalion in Brgy. Matango, Vinzons, Camarines Norte on March 21, 2013 and charged with false cases of murder along with five other John Does. He was detained at the provincial jail for more than a year and was immediately brought to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa City on July 2014 after his conviction. He said he was given only one chance to speak in court and was convicted shortly after his case was heard. He is enduring hypertension and cataract while in detention. 

Karapatan on the recent Sandiganbayan ruling on Imelda Marcos

We welcome the recent Sandiganbayan ruling finding Imelda Marcos guilty under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act as among the victories by the Filipino people in obtaining justice and accountability against the Marcos dictatorship. We however lament that it had to take 22 long years since the ouster of Marcos to attain such a ruling under the Philippine justice system. We are also ambivalent on the implementation of such a ruling based on two issues: 1) the current regime’s coddling and political rehabilitation of the Marcoses and 2) the machinations of the Marcoses to evade accountability. 

On the arrest of peace consultant Vicente Ladlad and his companions

Peace consultant Vicente Ladlad was arrested last night, November 7, 2018 with elderly couple Alberto and Virginia Villamor in Brgy. San Bartolome, Novaliches, Quezon City. Lawyers from the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), Ladlad’s wife Fides Lim, doctor from the Health Action for Human Rights and Karapatan are on our way to verify their whereabouts and to gain access to him and his companions. 

Justice for Atty. Benjamin Ramos! - Karapatan

Karapatan strongly denounces the killing of Atty. Benjamin Ramos, a people’s lawyer who inflinchingly stood alongside the poor and oppressed in Negros and a feisty human rights defender who dedicated his life to selfless service for the downtrodden. While we grieve with the family of Atty. Ben, his friends and colleagues, and the communities he served, we are enraged with this dastardly and unspeakable act of cowards who hide behind the cloak of anonymity through their usual modus operandi, the riding-in-tandem groups. 

October ends with a new set of rights violations in Compostela Valley

“The people of Compostela Valley in Mindanao is consistently being met with State repression as the Duterte regime continues to terrorize the communities and residents who are defending their rights. Peasant activists are considered threats by a government who wants to preserve itself amid widespread clamor for justice and systemic change,” said Karapatan secretary Cristina Palabay, mentioning the recent cases of political killing and disappearance in the said province. 

Duterte’s statement, charges vs 2 NFSW leaders absolve real perpetrators in Sagay 9 massacre - Karapatan

President Duterte’s order to arrest or kill farmers who occupy land is reflective of the government’s long-existing practice of maintaining the feudal exploitation of peasants to maintain the interests of landlords and hacienderos in the Philippines. It shows how the government is complicit in the killings and rights violations against the peasants perpetrated by landlords and their private armies acting in cahoots with the military and police. Instead of implementing genuine agrarian reform to pave the way for land distribution to peasants, the government chooses to kill and arrest those who act to air their grievances and uphold their right to the land they have tilled and made productive for years.

Karapatan condemns kidnapping, serious illegal detention charges vs NUPL lawyer

Karapatan strongly condemns the kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges reportedly filed by Vic Pedaso, the biological father of “Lester”, a 14-year old witness-survivor of the Sagay massacre, against Atty. Katherine Panguban, National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) Women and Children's Committee Head.

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