Release of cops in rub-out case in Leyte, non-release of political prisoners, clear signs of impunity under Duterte

“We express our condemnation and extreme disappointment on the release on bail of police officers involved in the Espinosa case, as among the clear indications of prevailing impunity under Pres. Rodrigo Duterte. We remind the President that his job as commander-in-chief does not entail protecting State security forces from accountability on their crimes,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay on the release of the nineteen (19) accused policemen involved in the killing of Albuera mayor Rolando Espinosa.

KARAPATAN statement on the National Day of Prayer and Action for Peace and Human Rights, June 12, 2017

"There are US soldiers unaccountable to Philippine laws loitering in Mindanao, there are groups that sow terror, we have martial rule and US-driven counterinsurgency programs which continue to repress people’s rights, and there are continuing unequal agreements with countries like the US. What we don’t have and what we are moving away from is the possibility of lasting peace, social justice and our capacity as a sovereign nation,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay during today’s national day of prayer and action to call for peace and respect for human rights by people's organizations, personalities and individuals from various faiths, sectors and political affiliations.

Mindanaons, human rights advocates file petition versus Martial Law in Mindanao

Saying there were no incidents similar to that happening in Marawi simultaneously occurring in the rest of the twenty seven (27) cities and four hundred twenty two (422) municipalities of Mindanao, Mindanao activists and human rights advocates today filed a petiton before the Supreme Court against Martial Law in the entire Mindanao.

The petitioners include five (5) local Mindanao leaders namely Lumad leader Eufemia Campos Cullamat, peasant leader Virgilio T. Lincuna of KMP, Ateliana U. Hijos of Gabriela, trade union leaders Roland A. Cobrado, Carl Anthony D. Olalo and union leader Roy Jim Balanghig of the striking Shin Sun Tropical Fruits Inc. whose picket line was broken up by the PNP last June 2, after Martial Law was declared. 


More rights abuses with martial law in Mindanao

"Since the proclamation of martial law in Mindanao on May 23, Karapatan has already documented four incidents of killings and thousands of civilians displaced due to aerial strikes. Our tally has yet to include incidents in Marawi. Nonetheless, all these has shown the propensity of martial rule to disregard lives and safety of civilians and communities,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, as the organization is set to join the National Day of Prayer and Action for Peace and Human Rights on June 12 and an interfaith humanitarian and fact finding mission in Marawi City, Davao del Sur and North Cotabato on June 13-16, 2017. 

Palabay added that ‘martial law not only curtails civil and political rights, but also the people's economic rights.” Last June 2, 2017, over 100 composite fully armed elements of the 66th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army, Philippine National Police, and company guards brutally dispersed twelve (12) striking workers of the Shin Sun Tropical Fruits Inc. in Compostela Valley. Workers, led by their union Shin Sun Workers Union (SSWU), an affiliate of National Federation Labor Union - Kilusang Mayo Uno (NAFLU-KMU), launched a strike last April 2017 over the illegal dismissal of 53 workers and to demand the regularization of 287 agency-hired workers of the manpower agency ECQ Human Resources Corp.


(Carmelita Atamosa, 67, supported the strike. Her grandson and relatives were among the striking workers. She was mercilessly pulled by Chief Senior Inspector Marvin Hugos. Photo taken from Carl Anthony Olalo)

Release of political prisoners, among Duterte's unfulfilled promises

In a speech delivered by President Rodrigo Duterte on May 31, 2017 at Sasa Wharf, Sasa, Davao City, he said that he has conceded so many things by releasing almost all political prisoners listed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).  Duterte added that most of those released were sickly or were 70 years old and beyond.

“The President’s statements are either misguided or malicious. Whether this is another plot to twist the story in favor of the GRP and frame the NDFP as irrational and unreasonable, or a situation where the President is merely kept in the dark about the real score on his promised releases, the fact remains that only 23 political prisoners - 17 NDFP consultants and two others freed for humanitarian reasons last August 2016, all on bail, and four others pardoned on December 2016 - were released in line with the peace talks,” said Karapatan deputy secretary general Jigs Clamor, clarifying the status of releases of political prisoners.

Karapatan calls for continuation of GRP-NDFP peace talks, lifting of martial law declaration

"This delay would mean the prolonged finalization of the agreement on socio-economic reforms, and will possibly put to halt the further advancement of substantial progress already achieved. The GRP’s decision to opt out of participating in the fifth round of formal talks on the basis of the lack of a conducive environment is ironic, considering the disabling environment of continuing rights abuses in communities made worse by the martial law declaration on May 23, 2017,” said Karapatan secretary general  Cristina Palabay on the announced cancellation of the 5th round of talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and National Demicratic Fromt of the Philippines in The Netherlands.

Attacks against persons and communities have intensified as Mindanao was placed under martial law, alongside the AFP’s continuing implementation of counterinsurgency programs.


Photo taken on May 29, 2017, during a rally outside the Department of National Defense (DND). Delegates from Mindanao, along with Bayan, Karapatan, Suara Bangsamoro, and other progressive organizations called attention to the worsening rights abuses in Mindanao in light of the martial law declaration and ongoing implementation of counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan. (c) Christian Yamzon​

Rights violations intensify in Mindanao, after martial law declaration

A few days after the declaration of martial law in Mindanao, a Moro resident of Brgy. Salat, President Roxas, North Cotabato was killed due to military aerial bombings, and at least two farmers were illegally arrested in Maragusan, Compostela Valley, in the course of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ continuing implementation of counter-insurgency operations and in line with Pres. Duterte’s Proclamation 216.

Talks also a venue for redress for HR victims - Karapatan

Karapatan secretary general and independent observer to the Joint Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), Cristina Palabay, sent a letter to Secretary Silvestro Bello III, Chairperson of the GRP peace panel, to inquire about the actions undertaken by the government on documented cases of human rights violations submitted to them last January 20 and April 1, 2017.

Karapatan secretary general and independent observer to the JMC submits letter to GRP peace panel

Dear friends, we sent the attached letter to the GRP Negotiating Panel a few minutes ago. We deem it important that the issues concerning the release of political prisoners and the violations of the CARHRIHL which will be made worse by the martial law declaration in Mindanao be addressed, but the GRP's recent announcement that it will not proceed to participate in the 5th round of the formal peacetalks puts all of these issues in jeopardy. #PeaceTalksItuloy

Karapatan on AFP, PNP guidelines on martial law implementation: Words of hypocrites and human rights violators

“Martial law does not equate to peace, nor does it equate to security. No matter how good it is on paper, it is always different on the ground. We cannot be assured by the guidelines released by the Department of National Defense (DND) and Philippine National Police (PNP) on the implementation of martial law simply because they themselves are the violators of people’s civil and political rights. At the end of the day, such guarantees come off as hypocritical when contrasted with the human rights records of the military and police,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay, on DND and PNP guidelines in relation to Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of Proclamation 216, placing the entire of Mindanao under martial law.  


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