UN Human Rights Committee finds RP government guilty of rights violations

on the Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy case

 

Download: Scanned copies of the UN HR Committee decision

 

November 24, 2008

 

 

 

Dana Marcellan, daughter of Eden Narcellaaba, top, and Helen Mercado,

sister  of Eden Narcellaaba at the KARAPATAN press conference

   
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Eddie Gumanoy

 

Eden Marcellan

Click here for photos and documents on the filing of the human rights case at the United Nations in 2006

           
           

 

Press Release -- November 24, 2008
 

UN ruling on human rights violations on the Eden-Eddie slay case out, could boost impeachment vs. Arroyo

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Sec. Gen. (Mobile No. 09178800213)
Ruth Cervantes, Public Information Officer (Mobile No. 09189790580)

The verdict is out. More than two years after the families of slain human rights defenders Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy filed a complaint against the Arroyo government, a United Nations body ruled that the latter is guilty of violating primarily the right to life of said human rights defenders and was negligent in providing remedy.

The UN Human Rights Committee, the UN treaty body monitoring the States parties' compliance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), states that it "is of the view that the facts as found by the Committee reveal violations by the Philippines of article 2, paragraph 3 (the right of violated persons to effective remedies and the State ensuring that such remedies are provided and enforced); article 6, paragraph 1 (the right to life of every person); and article 9, paragraph 1 (the right to liberty and security of persons) of the Covenant."

"The ruling is a welcome development. It would contribute to the wealth of evidence on human rights violations alleged in the impeachment complaint against Mrs. Arroyo," said Karapatan Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez who filed the case on behalf of Marcellana's husband Orly and Gumanoy's son Daniel on March 9, 2006.

Hilao-Enriquez spoke at the press conference held by Karapatan in Quezon City to laud the UN ruling. Also speaking at the press conference were Marcellana's daughter, Dana and Eden's sister Helen Mercado.

The UN decision is a fitting tribute to the women of courage whose memories we give tribute in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (IDEVAW) on November 25, which dates to the remembrance of the valiant Mirabal sisters that fought the US-sponsored Trujillo dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. The sisters were killed by Trujillo's henchmen in 1960.

"As we mark the day that recalls the courage of women against tyrannical regimes, we pay tribute to Eden and all the men and women who paid with their lives to defend human rights," said Hilao-Enriquez.

Twenty-eight (28) Karapatan human rights workers have been killed under the watch of Mrs. Arroyo, six (6) of them are women, including Marcellana who was Karapatan-Southern Tagalog Secretary General at the time of her death. There were 107 women victims of extrajudicial killings and 31 women victims of involuntary disappearance (Karapatan documentation as of January 20, 2001 to September 30, 2008)

Karapatan also lambasted the Arroyo government for slapping human rights defenders, including Karapatan workers Doris Cuario, presently KARAPATAN-ST Secretary General, Dina Capetillo of Karapatan-Batangas and Karen Ortiz of CEMJP with fabricated criminal charges.

"We express outrage at the government's persecution of human rights defenders. We take exception to the IALAG's dirty tactics of slapping trumped-up murder cases against our colleagues in Southern Tagalog," said Hilao-Enriquez.

This sentiment is echoed by Dana Marcellana, one of Eden's daughters, who sadly said that, "We welcome the UN decision but we are also very much worried about my father's safety as he is facing the possibility of arrest. We have lost our mother; we don't like to lose our father, too." Orly Marcellana is among the 72 listed in the fabricated charges.

The rights group deplored the serious threat foisted by state security forces and their agents against human rights defenders and journalists and called on the public to support the impeachment proceedings against Arroyo for presiding over human rights violations.

"Mrs. Arroyo tolerates and encourages the continuing impunity of these forces on their systematic and recurring attacks on human rights and fundamental freedoms."#

 

     
     
     
     
           
           

 

Press Release – November 22, 2008
Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General (Mobile No. 0917 817 6274)

UN Human Rights Committee finds RP government guilty of rights violations on the Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy case

The UN Human Rights Committee, the UN treaty body monitoring the States parties' compliance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), has found the Philippine government guilty of violating primarily the right to life of human rights defenders Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy. The Committee's Views were put out on October 30, 2008 in its 94th session held in the UN in Geneva.

The official UN 12-page communication tabbed as CCPR/C/94/1560/2007 and dated 11 November 2008 was received by Karapatan yesterday, November 21, 2008. It states that the Committee "is of the view that the facts as found by the Committee reveal a violations by the Philippines of article 2, paragraph 3 (the right of violated persons to effective remedies and the State ensuring that such remedies are provided and enforced); article 6, paragraph 1 (the right to life of every person); and article 9, paragraph 1 (the right to liberty and security of persons) of the Covenant."

The Committee further declared that the Philippine government "is under an obligation to provide the authors with an effective remedy, including initiation and pursuit of criminal proceedings to establish responsibility for the kidnapping and death of the victims, and payment of appropriate compensation. The State party should also take measures to ensure that such violations do not recur in the future."
 

 

 

 

Further, the communication states, "the Committee wishes to receive from the State party, within 180 days, information about the measures taken to give effect to the Committee's Views. The State party is also requested to publish the Committee's Views.
 

Under the ICCPR's Optional Protocol, Mr. Orly Marcellana - husband of Eden Marcellana, then Secretary General of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog and Mr. Daniel Gumanoy, son of farmer leader Eddie Gumanoy - both represented by Karapatan National Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez, have filed their complaints with the UN Human Rights Committee on 9 March 2006 for the killing of the two human rights defenders and leaders of progressive organizations on April 21, 2003.

Atty. Edre Olalia, President of the International Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL), assisted the victims' relatives and Karapatan in filing the said complaint.

The members of the UN Human Rights Committee who participated in the examination of the complaint are: Mr. Prafullachandra Natwarlal Bhagwati, Ms. Christine Chanet, Mr. Maurice Glèlè Ahanhanzo, Mr. Yuji Iwasawa, Ms. Helen Keller, Mr. Ahmed Tawfik Khalil, Mr. Rajsoomer Lallah, Mr. Michael O'Flaherty, Ms. Elizabeth Palm, Mr. Rafael Rivas Posada, Sir Nigel Rodley and Mr. Ivan Shearer.

The UN Human Rights Committee findings came out at a time that Mr. Orly Marcellana, husband of slain human rights worker Eden Marcellana is himself presently the subject of political persecution in the country. ###

           
           
     
Documents submitted to the UN Rights Committee
           

 

Press Release
November 20, 2008

Martial law victims decry continued denial of justice,
demand passage of Indemnification Bill

As Congress conduct hearings on the fertilizer fund scam, members of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA) decried the continued denial of justice for the thousands of victims of Martial Law during the Marcos regime and demanded for the immediate passage of Indemnification Bill.

The House of Representatives is now investigating the possible embezzlement by the then DA Undersecretary Joc-joc Bolante of P728 million, part of which is the recovered Marcos ill-gotten wealth. The fund was allegedly diverted to the campaign kitty of GMA in the 2004 presidential election.

SELDA expressed support to the proposed House Bill 3756 or "Martial Law Victims Compensation Bill" filed by Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo, Gabriela Womens Partylist Representative Liza Masa and the late Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran.

The bill recognizes the unspeakable suffering and loss of all those who were victimized during martial law by the worst forms of human right atrocities – involuntary disappearances, summary execution, torture and unjust detention. It affirms the State's moral and legal obligation to grant them indemnification. "This is recognized as one of the fundamental principles of law and in seeking redress for violation of substantive human rights norms," said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, martial law victim and secretary general of SELDA.

Over two decades have passed since SELDA filed a class suit against the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the US Federal Court system. In 1992, the US Federal Court in Hawaii handed down the landmark decision holding Marcos liable for crimes against humanity and awarding exemplary damages of $1.2 billion and compensatory damages of $776 million to 9,539 victims of atrocities during the 14 years of Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines.

The Court identified the Marcos ill-gotten wealth stashed in the Swiss banks to be the source of funds for the victims' indemnification. Through the Philippine Supreme Court ruling finding the then $624 million ordered transferred to the Philippine government by the Swiss Supreme Court decision of 1997 as ill-gotten, the said amount was finally transferred to the National Treasury in January 2004.

The money was supposedly used by the Department of Agrarian Reform for land acquisition for CARP implementation but the victims fear that part of this amount went to graft and corruption.

SELDA also assailed the Arroyo administration and the Administration-dominated 14th Congress for denying them the passage of the bill while the recovered ill gotten funds are disappearing like bubbles.

HIlao-Enriquez said, "The continued denial of justice and indemnification for the martial law victims by GMA and the Administration-dominated Congress is a prolongation of our misery and is actually an extended violation of our rights."

"The long wait should be over for Marcos victims and the entire Filipino people. We were victims thrice over: First by Marcos' cruelty, second by the difficulty of seeking justice, and third by the callousness of the GMA government while embezzling the Marcos' funds." ###
 

Scanned copies of the decision of the UN Human Rights Committee favoring the victims Eden Marcellana and Eddi Gumanoy

     
           
           
Download the UN Human Rights Committee Decision in PDF format
           
           

 

UN Castigates Philippine Gov’t on Marcellana-Gumanoy Case
UN Human Rights Committee Says Arroyo Gov’t Guilty of Violating Rights on Marcellana-Gumanoy case

In February 2007, UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudical, Summary and Arbitrary Killings Philip Alston pointed to the Armed Forces of the Philippines as the culprit behind the spate of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances. Recently, the United National Human Rights Committee concluded that the Philippine government violated the rights of Eden Marcellana, then secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog, and Eddie Gumanoy, former secretary general of peasant group Kasama-TK, who were victims of extrajudicial killings in 2003.

BY RONALYN OLEA
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Bulatlat

Families of slain activist Eden Marcellana and human rights group Karapatan welcomed the United Nations Human Rights Committee’s (UNHRC) findings on the murder of Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy. The UNHRC concluded that the Philippine government failed to protect the rights of Marcellana and Gumanoy and provide remedies for redress for the relatives of the victims.

The incident

Based on a fact sheet released by Karapatan immediately after the incident, the two victims, together with three others, were abducted in Maibon, Naujan on April 21, 2003. They were part of an 11-member quick reaction team (QRT) tasked to investigate cases of abduction and killings in Gloria and Pinagmalayan towns in the province.

On their way back to Calapan City, a group of some 20 bonnet clad armed men in a private jeep and motorcycles blocked them. They took Eden Marcellana, Eddie Gumanoy, Virgilio Catoy “King” II, Melvin Jocson and Francisco Saez with them in the jeep.

Marcellana was then the secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog. Gumanoy was chairperson of the peasant group Kasama-TK.

Jocson and Saez are provincial coordinators of a partylist group Anakpawis, and Catoy is a videographer for audio-visual group ST Exposure and a Cultural Center of the Philippines-awardee.

Catoy, who survived the incident, said the abductors asked who among them was Marcellana. One of their companions was slapped when she denied that Marcellana was with them. Marcellana immediately presented herself, asking that her companions not be hurt. When Marcellana was being taken away, Gumanoy volunteered to come along.

For hours, the men escorted and led the van along a rough and uphill dirt road, said Catoy.

One by one, the three were dropped off leaving only Marcellana and Gumanoy. At one point, Catoy said, he was made to kneel, his back facing his abductors, blindfolded and hogtied. He was told to say his prayers. Then the armed men drove off.
The bodies of Marcellana and Gumanoy were found the next day in Bansud, Mindoro Oriental.

Witnesses point to the “Bonnet Gang,” a paramilitary group linked with the Philippine Army’s 204th Infantry Battalion of which then Col. Jovito Palparan Jr. was the commanding officer.

UN Views

The UN Human Rights Committee is the body monitoring the States parties’ compliance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

The UNHRC’s investigation on the Marcellana and Gumanoy murders stemmed from a complaint filed on March 9, 2006 by Orly Marcellana, husband of Eden Marcellana and Daniel Gumanoy, son of farmer leader Eddie Gumanoy. Both were represented by Karapatan National Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez. Laywer Edre Olalia, president of the International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL), assisted the victims’ relatives and Karapatan in filing the said complaint.

The Committee said the facts reveal violations by the Philippine government of the right to life of every person, the right to liberty and security of persons and the rights of violated persons to effective remedies and the State ensuring that such remedies are provided and enforced as stated in the provisions of the ICCPR.

 

 


The 12-page UN Human Rights Committee’s decision was released on October 30 during its 94th session held at the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

The official communication tabbed as CCPR/C/94/1560/2007 and dated 11 November 2008 was received by Karapatan November 21.
 

Justice

In an interview, Helen Mercado-Macalalad, older sister of Marcellana, said, “Sa tinagal-tagal simula nang pinatay siya, nagkakaroon na ng katarungan.” (After a long while since she was killed, justice is slowly being realized.)

Macalalad expressed frustration over the dismissal of the murder charges filed against the perpetrators in local courts. “Naaabala kami sa mga hearings, wala naming naging resulta.” (We religiously attended the hearings and got no results.) “Nakakapanghina ng loob,” (We were losing hope then.) she recalled.

She said that Palparan, the alleged mastermind of the killings, even attended the hearings.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan secretary general said, “Mabuti pa ang UN, nagkaroon na ng desisyon. Dito sa atin, walang remedyo.” (It is good that the UN decided on the case. Here there are no remedies available for the victims and their families.)

Enriquez said Karapatan, together with the families, exhausted all possible remedies. “Remedies available turned out to be ineffective,” she said.

Macalalad said she hopes the perpetrators will receive punishment. She said she believes Palparan has a hand in the killings. “Malakas ang ebidensya [laban kay Palparan.]” (The evidence against Palparan is strong.)

The Committee said that the Philippine government “is under an obligation to provide the authors [complainants] with an effective remedy, including initiation and pursuit of criminal proceedings to establish responsibility for the kidnapping and death of the victims.”

Macalalad said their parents Isidro and Menecia Mercado would welcome the news. She has yet to inform them of the UN findings when she gets back to Quezon province.

She added though, “Hindi rin lubos ang kasiyahan. Kahit bayaran pa kami ng milyon, di na siya [Eden] maibabalik pa.” (Our happiness is not complete. Even if they pay us millions of pesos, they can never bring her back to us alive.)

The Philippine government, said the Committee, must also provide the complainants appropriate compensation.

Twelve-year-old Dana, daughter of Marcellana, said she is happy about the decision. She was only seven when her mother was killed.

But when asked about their reaction when Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo praised Palparan during her State of the Nation Address (SONA) in 2006, Dana said, “Si Palparan daw ang nagbibigay ng kapayapaan samantalang sila ang gumagawa ng mga pagpatay.” (Palparan was said to bring peace while in reality, they are the ones who do the killings.)

Macalalad said Orly Marcellana, husband of Eden, already received the good news. She said he is happy.

The Committee asked the Philippine government to submit, within 180 days, information about the measures taken to give effect to the Committee’s views.

The Committee said the Philippine government should also ‘take measures to ensure that such violations do not recur in the future.’

Enriquez said the UN’s decision is a clear indictment of the Arroyo government. “It’s a shame that the Philippine government is a party to the ICCPR and has been found to be violating it.”

She added, “There is a basis to prosecute the criminals. The government must fulfill its obligations.”

Enriquez also said the UN decision would contribute to the wealth of evidence on human rights violations alleged in the impeachment complaint against Arroyo.”(Bulatlat.com)

From:
www.bulatlat.com

           

 

 
 

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