The Arroyo regime and the Philippine
Military must stop immediately the killings and violence against the
It has been 2 years since the extra-judicial arrest of peasant activists
of Cavite, Philippines, Mr Q. Sarmiento and his 4 colleagues on 28 April
2006. They are still under detention on fabricated charges all this while.
Nevertheless, what has happened to Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues is only
part of the violent and oppressive measures taken by the Arroyo regime and
the junta throughout the Philippines. We denounce the Arroyo regime and
the junta's oppression against the people.
After being kidnapped by armed policemen in plain clothes, Mr Sarmiento
and his colleagues were forcefully examined and tortured at police
stations and military bases. The Philippine police opened a press point
where it announced that Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues were members of
the New People's Army, a Philippine armed communist group, and that they
had threatened the government. Moreover, it additionally charged Mr
Sarmiento for attempting to assassinate soldiers, in order to justify the
undeserved arrest and detention. As the evidence showing a connection
between them and the New People's Army was fabricated only after the
arrest, families and activists of Mr Sarmiento and his colleagues have
been petitioning the Ministry of Justice for reexamining the case.
However, the petition remains pending so far since September 2006, and Mr
Sarmiento and his colleagues are still in jail waiting for courses
repeated over and over again for 2 years.
Groundless arrests, detention, and tortures are widespread in the
Philippines against workers, peasants, students, religious leaders,
journalists, intellectuals, and civil activists, such as Mr Sarmiento and
his colleagues. On 19 April 2008, armed policemen in plain clothes and the
army showed up at Mr Satur Ocamp's home and threatened him, the leader of
Bayan Muna which is one of the Philippine's social groups. In 2007, a
warrant had been served on him on a charge of murder. On 28 January 2008,
the executive director of the Philippine Peasant Movement, Mr Echanis, got
arrested, charged with 15 murder cases. As a matter of fact, the warrant
issued for Mr Randall Echanis' arrest was the same as that served on Mr
Satur Ocampo in 2007. Such exorbitant arresting and detaining practices by
the police should never take place nor be tolerated in a constitutional
Besides such extra-judicial arrests, the Philippine people are seriously
threatened with the killings and missing in which the police and the junta
are involved. According to the report of a Philippine human rights
organization, up to 900 activists have been murdered since the
establishment of the Arroyo regime in 2001. Since 2006, a single week has
barely passed without reports on murder, and only during January and
February this year, 13 activists have been murdered and 2 gone missing.
Philippine social groups and international human rights organizations have
strongly demanded that Philippine government stop such oppression and
punish those that are responsible, yet the government has shown nothing
more than mere gestures and no wonder the threat imposed on activists has
The government report of the Philippines, which was submitted before the
Universal Periodic Review of the UNHRC in April this year, emphasized the
killings and missing of activists as the most urgent problem in the
Philippines and stated that the government was taking measures to send the
accused in court and prevent such killings. However, only 2 murder cases
of activists have been forwarded to court so far since 2001. The
‘measures’ that the Philippine government listed in its report have not
been properly put in practice and amounted to nothing more than stopgap
measures for easing public criticism at home and abroad.
The Philippine government alleged in its report that the number of
activist killings have decreased in 2007. Even if the government's report
states the fact, it is only that the killings are less frequent than
before, not that they have completely ceased. Thus, the intensity of the
threat to life imposed on Philippine activists does not differ from the
past at all. In solidarity with the Philippine people that are doomed to
living in the threat of murder and violence, we strongly demand that the
Philippine government take following measures.
* Philippine government stop immediately the killings, violence and the
oppression of human rights against the people!
* The Philippine government conduct thorough examination and reveal the
real facts of the oppression of human rights including killings and
* The Philippine government adopt immediate and effective measures to stop
any more killings and violence!
29 April 2008
Imagination for International Solidarity (IFIS), All Together (TAHAMKE),
MYNBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Migrants' Trade Union, Korean
House for International Solidarity (KHIS), People's Solidarity for
Participatory Democracy (PSPD), KASAMMAKO-Migrante Korea, Asian Bridge