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Karapatan to Pnoy: Stop retaliatory tactics against the Morong 43 on hunger strike!

The national human rights alliance Karapatan today called on the attention of the Philippine government authorities to stop the retaliatory tactics against the hunger strike staged by the Morong 43 political prisoners in the Camp Bagong Diwa detention center. 

“Nothing has changed under Aquino” -- Karapatan

THE NATIONAL human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, presented to the public its 2010 Human Rights Report saying that the violation of civil and political rights is “getting worse” and that “nothing has changed” in the rights situation under President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.

“From the 18 killed in the last six months of Macapagal-Arroyo, there were already 20 victims of extra-judicial killings in the first four months of Pres. Noynoy Aquino,” KARAPATAN Chairperson  Marie Hilao-Enriquez said.  “Contrary to his promised change and daang matuwid (straight or righteous path), PNoy not only did not pursue justice for the victims, he is adding more victims to the already long list.  His promised ‘cases of extrajudicial killings need to be solved, not just identify the perpetrators but have them captured and sent to jail’ statement has fast become an empty forgotten promise as killings continue without let up.  In fact, perpetrators have become more atrocious and impunity is worsening,” a distraught Enriquez bewailed.

The report covered documented data up to the end of October this year.

"PNoy's designation of Col. Domingo Tutaan, Jr. as the new chief of the military's so-called Human Rights Office is an alarming message that no essential change will take place in the character of a repressive state," Enriquez added. “For a start, we ask how can Col. or soon to be BGen. Tutaan investigate his brother Lt. Col. Federico Tutaan in his unit’s involvement on the killing of the renowned botanist Leonard Co, and his companions?  This early,   the officer is already denying that they made an error in mistakenly identifying Co’s party as rebels and washing off his hands of culpability, ” Enriquez quipped.

Citizen-based fact-finding mission off to probe botanist's death

An independent citizen-based fact-finding mission, endorsed by the family of the country's top botanist, the late Leonardo Co, and led by the Justice for Leonardo Co Movement, sets off for Kananga, Leyte, today to probe the real cause and circumstances of the death of the renowned scientist and his two companions.

Karapatan calls on PNoy for CAFGU-dismantling as part of justice for Ampatuan massacre victims

AS THE NATION commemorates the first anniversary of the November 23 Ampatuan Massacre in Maguindanao, the national alliance of human rights groups, KARAPATAN, called for the dismantling of the Citizen's Armed Force Geographical Units (CAFGU) and all paramilitary units used by political warlords as their private armies.

KARAPATAN denounces AFP and PNP raid of its Camarines Norte Office

A case of Morong 43 part 2?
KARAPATAN denounces AFP and PNP raid of its Camarines Norte Office: Morong 43 template now being applied to legal offices and other human rights defenders?

The human rights alliance, KARAPATAN, denounced the "Gestapo-style" raid and search conducted by combined  troops of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of the office shared by Karapatan-Camarines Norte, Makabayan and KMP at F Pimentel Ave., Pasig, Brgy II, Daet, Camarines Norte at ten thirty (1030) this morning.

Held in the raid by elements of the Daet Police and the 9th Infantry Division, 902nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army are four activists: Smith Bardon, Denver Bacolod, Mherlo Bermas and Elpidio de Luna.

Bardon is the Chair of KMP (Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or Philippant Movement), Bacolod is a KARAPATAN staff member, Bermas is a member of the Kabataan Party List, while de Luna is a former political prisoner just released last October.  Latest update from Daet is that Bardon, Bacolod and  Bermas, as well as de Luna are now together at the Daet PNP.  Bardon is reportedly charged with murder and the three are awaiting inquest tonight as they are held in the police station still without formal charges yet.

"Killing of the Philippines' top botanist, Leonardo L. Co: another case of shoot first, ask questions later?" -- KARAPATAN

THE KILLING of the country's top botanist, Leonardo L. Co, 56, in Tongonan, Ormoc, Leyte last Monday by Philippine Army soldiers who opened fire on civilians, may be "another case of shoot first, ask questions later," the human rights group KARAPATAN said. 

Morong 43 relatives, supporters mount a caravan to Camp Bagong Diwa

Together with members of the Free the 43 Health Workers Alliance, the national human rights alliance Karapatan, today joined a convoy of vehicles that composed a caravan from the QC Memorial Circle to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City where the Morong 43 community health workers are spending their ninth month of illegal detention.

The caravan participated in by different organizations and sectors is being conducted to express support to the healthworkers in their firm struggle for freedom as well as those of other political prisoners languishing in different detention centers in the country and who are persecurted for their political beliefs.  The participants are calling to “Free the 43; Free all poilitical Prisoners!”

It can be recalled that the health workers were  arrested by combined police and Philippine Army troops on February 6, 2010 while conducting a health training in a resort in Morong, Rizal using a very defective irregular warrant issued by a judge from Cavite. The named person in the warrant was not even a member of the Morong 43 nor was he a resident of the resort that was raided. The healthworkers were subjected to torture and degrading treatment and their rights are continually violated that even PNoy has declared their arrest and detention as a “fruit of a poisonous tree,” a situation, he said, which “must be rectified” by the court.   Five of the Morong 43 were subjected to extreme torture to turn them against their companions, separated from the majority of the 43 and are still under military detention in Camp Capinpin, Tanay. 

Karapatan calls on PNoy to act on Peace based on Justice

REACTING to Malacanang’s position that “it will be better for the NDF to visit the Palace with a signed peace agreement,” as announced by Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda, and that “the President could not be expected to comment” on the proposed visit,” as stated by Peace Adviser Teresita Quintos-Deles, the national alliance of human rights groups in the Philippines, KARAPATAN, called on President Aquino to take a “hands-on action” on the peace process. 

“We are very much concerned about the peace process.  The President should not pass the buck on this all-important issue.  If he closes the door on peace, the gates for more human rights abuses will surely be flung open,” KARAPATAN acting secretary-general Jigs Clamor said.

In his first SONA, the President said that the government is open to resumption of the peace negotiations and in fact, he was asking the  CPP-NPA-NDF:  “Handa na ba kayong maglaan ng kongkretong mungkahi, sa halip na pawang batikos lamang?  (Are you ready with concrete proposals instead of criticism?),” forgetting in the process that there have been several proposals from the NDFP that were never discussed because the previous regime scuttled the peace talks.  Even his desire for a ceasefire before talks has been adequately responded to by the revolutionary group.

Karapatan hits PNoy's double-standard justice

The national alliance of human rights groups in the Philippines, KARAPATAN, hit  President Benigno Aquino III  for "double-standard justice" on the case of the detained Morong 43 health workers when he said during the press conference in Malacanang that he leaves it to the court to decide on the fate of the Morong 43.

What we said from the start was right when the President admitted that the evidences were wrongly gotten and the person in the warrant of arrest is not among the arrested health workers. 

No to double standard, release the Morong 43 -- Karapatan

“No double standards please,” says Karapatan, a national alliance of human rights groups, as it presses  for the immediate and unconditional release of all political prisoners, including the 43 health workers known as the Morong 43.

“We express our support in granting amnesty for all rebel soldiers, but we are dismayed by the inaction of the President on the plight of almost 400 political prisoners who, like the mutineers, fought the corrupt and repressive Arroyo regime,” said Jigs Clamor, Karapatan acting secretary general.

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