Human rights and church
organizations expose the lies
of the GPH report to the Universal
Periodic Review in Geneva
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May 30, 2012
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For Immediate Release | May 29, 2012
PH government hounded by persistent concerns on extrajudicial killings,
disappearances and torture at UN rights review
GENEVA-- As the Chief Justice of the Philippines was being handed down a
verdict in the impeachment trial, the Philippine government was also
undergoing a similar process of accountability, this time before the
Around 69 countries quizzed the Philippine government on its human rights
record, Tuesday May 29 in Geneva, Switzerland. The Philippines
participated in the second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of the
United Nations Human Rights Council. One after the other, at least 22
countries expressed concerns on the continuing spate of extrajudicial
killings, enforced disappearances and torture in particular, and impunity
in general, according to the Philippine UPR Watch. Several countries also
called on the Philippine government to dismantle all paramilitary groups
The Australian mission urged the Philippine government to arrest fugitive
Gen. Jovito Palparan, who is wanted for the abduction of two UP activists.
The UK, Spain and the Holy See called on the Philippine government to
“completely eradicate extrajudicial killings”.
The United States said that “impunity in human rights violations”
continued. It cited institutional barriers to the attainment of justice
for victims of rights abuse. Ireland called for “decisive measures” to
address the problems. Germany urged the strengthening of accountability
mechanisms and the conduct of impartial investigations in cases involving
state forces, reminding the PH government of the recommendations of Prof.
Philip Alston, former Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary and
Arbitrary Executions. The Netherlands asked that the issue of impunity be
addressed and called for the prosecution, trial and conviction of
perpetrators. Denmark called for the full implementation of the
anti-torture law, saying that state forces are still involved in abuses.
Spain and Canada called for the dismantling of all paramilitary groups and
militias, a position that has gained support after the Maguindanao
massacre in 2009, with the latter mincing no words, saying that despite
training programs on human rights for security forces, human rights
violations are “still serious and all too widespread.” Belgium asked the
PH government on measures to record cases of EJKs and urged the
Philippines to ratify the convention against enforced disappearances.
Austria expressed concerns over attacks on journalists and cases of
France said it was “alarmed by extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances and continuing violations against journalists and human
rights defenders”. Japan echoed this, saying “extrajudicial killings
continue as a significant political issue.”
The questions and comments from the foreign missions were directed to the
GPH delegation headed by Philippine Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.
At least six countries meanwhile asked the Philippines to act on requests
of UN special rapporteurs who want to visit the Philippines to examine the
rights situation in the country. To this, de Lima remarked that they are
still studying the requests and said the PH government cannot act on all
requests because of alleged shortage in resources.
“We view the questions and statements of continuing concern by the
different foreign missions as very telling. It shows even greater interest
by the international community on the human rights situation. They know
that the Philippine government has not lived up to its commitment to
completely eliminate extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and
torture. The language used may have been diplomatic, but clearly the
international community wants the Philippine government to do more,” said
Fr. Jonash Joyohoy of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines
(NCCP) and co-head of delegation of the Philippine UPR Watch.
Present during the session were two Filipino human rights victims, Fil-Am
activist and torture and disappearance survivor Melissa Roxas and Aklan
municipal councilor Ernan Baldomero, son of slain councilor Fernando
Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino
Leaders from Karapatan, NCCP, Tanggol Bayi, NUPL, Bayan, KAMP,
MCPA-Kawagib, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Defend Job Philippines,
Migrante, Cordillera People’s Alliance, Promotion of Church People’s
Response, IFI-Ramento Project for Rights Defenders, Migrante
International, International Coordinating Committee on Human Rights in the
Philippines (ICCHRP) and Campaign for Human Rights in the
Philippines-United Kingdom and CHRP-Switzerland also attended the session.
Prior to the start of the session, the UPR Watch delegates flashed their
I-Pads bearing calls to end extrajudicial killings and impunity in the
“The questions raised by the foreign missions were nearly identical to the
questions we have submitted to them prior to the UN session. Human rights
defenders, the victims and their families have submitted reports that
belie the overstated achievements of the Philippine government. We count
76 victims of extradjudicial killings since Aquino took office. While the
PH government now claims a dramatic decline in the killings, - no thanks
to its supposed efforts - our data shows that the PH government has not
lived up to its commitment to eliminate these violations altogether,” said
Karapatan chair Marie Enriquez.
Selective presentation of data
Atty. Edre Olalia, secretary general of the National Union of People’s
Lawyers and also a UPR Watch delegate commented that the Philippine report
was very selective in its presentation of data. “The report tends to
highlight lesser achievements by gloating over showcase steps it has
belatedly done while conveniently drowning the more essential issues such
as the almost nil conviction rate of perpetrators of rights abuses, the
failure of the Aquino government to press charges and arrest suspects, and
the continuing effects of the government’s counter-insurgency program on
the people. There is basically deafening silence from the GPH on all these
issues,” he said.
Even on the issue of social and economic rights, the GPH report was very
selective in its presentation, says Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes,
Jr. “They highlighted so-called achievements in the conditional cash
transfer program while glossing over rising poverty, unemployment and
hunger,” Reyes said.
“While Aquino and his allies whoop it up in their victory in the Corona
impeachment, human rights victims are still fighting for the longest time
for accountability from a state that continues to commit and condone
abuses with shameless impunity,” Reyes added.
At the end of the review, the whole Philippine UPR Watch, who were all
seated in one long row inside the session hall of the Palais des Nations
and wearing different pins with various calls for justice and
accountability, simultaneously gave a thumbs-down sign of the Philippine
the entrance: UPR delegates, Human RIghts violations victims and support
groups queue early in the morning to attend the Philippines' Universal
Periodic Review. From Left: Jacquiline Ruiz (Children's Rehabilitation
Center), Melissa Roxas (torture survivor), Bai Ali Indayla ((KAWAGIB and
Moro-Christian Peoples' Alliance), Ric Gacayan, Jr. (Campaign for Human
Rights in the Philippines- United Kingdom), Jamima Fagta (CHRP-UK), Atty.
Edre Olalia (National Union of Peoples' Lawyers) and Garry Martinez (Migrante
Delegates: Inside the session hall, delegates listen intently to the
report and interactive dialogues between the Philippine mission and other
I-pad protest: End Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines!, End
Impunity!, Free all Political Prisoners! - the Filipino people speak out.
Filipino activists hold
picket at UN over rights abuses
Hullabaloo about Chief Justice Conviction Diverts Attention from
Outstanding Rights Impunity
GENEVA - Filipino activists, Geneva-based migrants, and representatives
from international NGOs conducted a picket-protest in front of the United
Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland to express their criticism of
the Philippine government report immediately after the Universal Periodic
Review on the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council last Tuesday,
tagging the report as ‘selective,’ with the PH government drowning their
dismal compliance to international human rights instruments with their
The Philippine UPR Watch delegation in Geneva said “the GPH report failed
to mention that state authorities have yet to arrest several notorious
human rights violators such as Maj. General Jovito Palparan, while there
is much gloating on the enactment of few local legislation and
ratifications of some international instruments.”
“Palparan’s continued evasion of arrest and mockery of justice exemplifies
the prevalent climate of impunity. This is probably the reason why the GPH
failed to mention this important fact -- to gloss over the non-existence
of justice for victims of human rights violations in the country and the
continuing spate of rights abuses,” stated Cristina Palabay, spokesperson
of Karapatan and member of the Philippine UPR watch delegation in Geneva.
Present during the picket were Fiipino-American activist and torture and
disappearance survivor Melissa Roxas and Aklan municipal councilor Ernan
Baldomero, son of slain councilor Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of
extrajudicial killing under the Aquino administration.
Leaders from Karapatan, NCCP, Tanggol Bayi, NUPL,
Bayan, KAMP, MCPA-Kawagib, Children’s Rehabilitation Center, Defend Job
Philippines, Cordillera People’s Alliance, Promotion of Church People’s
Response, IFI-Ramento Project for Rights Defenders, Migrante
International, Peace for Life, International Coordinating Committee on
Human Rights in the Philippines (ICCHRP) and Campaign for Human Rights in
the Philippines-United Kingdom and CHRP-Switzerland also attended the
picket in full view of diplomats, pedestrians and tourists.
In a post-UPR forum at the World Council of Churches today, Atty. Edre
Olalia, Secretary General of the National Union of People’s Lawyers and
member of the Philippine UPR watch delegation, said that “it is totally
unacceptable that with all the powers, resources and machinery of the
government, Gen. Palparan, remains out there. If President Aquino has
thrown all his weight, power and supposed popularity to make dead sure
that Chief Justice Corona is convicted at all costs, why can’t he do the
same thing to bring behind bars the poster boy of the most horrendous
kinds of human rights violations?”
Olalia pointed out that “more than the rightful conviction of the Chief
Justice for valid charges, the immediate arrest, speedy prosecution and
certain punishment of remorseless and incorrigible human rights violators
would inspire greater interest and create lasting impact to the
international community more than the hullabaloo and inordinate fixation
on the impeachment trial.”
The Philippine UPR Watch delegation noted that the “breaking-news” glowing
announcement by the Philippine government that the Chief Justice was
convicted ostensibly for corruption was met with muted disinterest and
lethargic reaction at the UN Human Rights Council floor. ###
Fr. Jonash Joyohoy
ZERO JUSTICE, OPLAN BAYANIHAN ENGENDERS IMPUNITY AND RIGHTS ABUSES –
“For one, impunity exists under the Noynoy Aquino administration because
big-time human rights violators such as Maj. General Jovito Palparan are
not being held accountable for their crimes. And two, because Aquino
promotes the same brand of counter-insurgency policy that engenders
extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and
detention, forcible displacement and other forms of rights abuses,” said
Cristina Palabay, spokesperson of Karapatan and End Impunity Alliance.
Palabay is part of the delegation of the Philippine UPR Watch, a network
of rights activists who are in Geneva in time for the Philippine
government’s Universal Periodic Review by the UN Human Rights Council.
Palabay stated this in the light of the release of the US State Department
report on human rights in the Philippines and the upcoming review of
compliance to rights treaty obligations of the GPH on May 29, 2012.
Under the Arroyo administration, Karapatan has documented 1,206 victims of
extrajudicial killings and 206 victims of enforced disappearances, while
there were 2,059 victims of illegal arrests and 1,099 victims of torture.
“There is zero justice for the victims and their families. It is important
to point out that the efforts to make the perpetrators accountable have
been largely due to efforts of the victims and their kin’s persistence.
Only one perpetrator among these cases of EJKs has been convicted, while
Palparan, the most notorious among them, continues to mock and evade
justice. While Aquino has gone after Chief Justice Corona for corrupt
practices, he has left GMA untouched for human rights abuses. Military
generals and police officials who committed torture and other grave
violations even got promoted,” she commented.
Karapatan has documented 76 victims of extrajudicial killings, 9 victims
of enforced disappearances, 62 cases of torture, 3 rape victims, and 417
victims of illegal arrests under Aquino’s watch (as of March 2012).
Palabay added that “killings, enforced disappearance, arrests and torture,
forced evacuation, bombings of communities and indiscriminate firing by
the military are committed against the people in the course of the
implementation of Oplan Bayanihan.” Oplan Bayanihan, according to
Karapatan is Aquino’s version of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s bloody Oplan
Bantay Laya, which left hundreds of people killed. Oplan Bayanihan is
closely patterned after the US’s counter-insurgency guide, added Karapatan.
Earlier, the US government announced that it will increase its military
aid to the Philippine government by three-fold, from last year’s $11.9
million to $30 million this year. The US and Philippine governments, in a
“two plus two” meeting early May discussed how both countries can
strengthen their common defense programs.
“With its political influence and military aid to GPH and the direction of
its counter-insurgency policy, the United States government is in fact a
party to the continuing human rights abuses under this government,”
KALIKASAN PEOPLE’S NETWORK FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
26 Matulungin St. Central Dist., Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel./Fax; +63 (2) 924-8756; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
May 29 2012
‘Bloody May’ for ecologists: killings, harassments and acquittal of
violators under Aquino
As the United Nations Human Rights Council is currently reviewing
government and independent reports in the Philippines’ universal periodic
review, green groups expressed alarm today over what they described as
“Bloody May,” as documented extrajudicial killings and other human rights
violations (HRVs) towards ecological defenders this May are historically
the most to occur in just a month.
“Like a grim reminder to the continuing universal periodic review of the
Philippines’ state of human rights, four ecologists have been killed in
the month of May alone. Community leaders like farmer Francisco Canayong
and advocates like journalist Nestor Libaton are the latest reported among
a total of 16 killed under the persisting impunity of the Aquino
administration,” said Leon Dulce, convenor of Task Force-Justice for
Environmental Defenders (TF-JED).
Canayong, a farmer leader from Salcedo, Eastern Samar, was repeatedly
stabbed to death on May 1 by unidentified assailants who are suspected to
be motivated by his staunch opposition to illegal Chinese mining companies
in their lands. Libaton, an environmental broadcaster, was shot on May 8
by gunmen in motorcycles while he was attending a fiesta celebration in
Tarragona, Davao Oriental.
Earlier reported cases were the killing of biodiversity conservationist
Frederick Trangia last May 6 in Compostela Valley, and anti-dam activist
Margarito Cabal the following day in Bukidnon.
“While environmental advocates are meeting their untimely deaths at the
forefront of environmental struggles, President Aquino has neither done
definitive actions to quell impunity towards ecologists and other mass
activists, nor fast-tracked outstanding cases filed against perpetrators
of killings. The search for the Reyes brothers, suspected masterminds in
the killing of Palawan environmentalist Gerry Ortega, until now has
produced no results. Mario Kingo, the suspect in the killing of Romblon
anti-mining activist Arman Marin, has recently been acquitted from murder
charges,” said Dulce.
Harassment and vilification of ecologists, especially anti-mining
activists, also persist under the Aquino administration. The latest case
involved Sr. Stella Matutina, a Benedictine nun and secretary-general of
Mindanao-wide environmental alliance Panalipdan Mindanao, who is being
tagged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as a member or supporter of
the New People’s Army.
Matutina has subsequently filed a complaint in the Commission on Human
Rights against the AFP’s 28th and 67th Infantry Battalion.
TF-JED, alongside with other green groups and in cooperation with the
German human rights group Gesellschaft für bedrohte Völker (GfbV
International) have submitted a statement to the United Nations Human
Rights Council detailing the human rights situation of environmental
activists in recent years.
“We want to demonstrate to the international community the persisting
impunity in the Philippines, and the incompetence and culpability of the
Aquino government along with mining and other corporate interests in
protecting environmentally-destructive investments that catalyze these
HRVs,” said Dulce.
In the statement, TF-JED, the Kalikasan People’s Network for the
Environment and GfbV International called on the UNHRC to urge the Aquino
administration to address human rights violations in the country, stop the
vilification of activists, recognize and uphold indigenous people’s rights
and withdraw the counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.###
Rev. Fr. Greg Obejas, OSM
Karapatan submits complaints on forced evacuation
and continued EJK to UNHRC
Created 05/19/2012 - 12:00
A few days before the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH)
undergoes the 2nd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN
Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Karapatan said that it will bring to the
attention of the United Nations Human Rights Council the recent cases of
forced evacuation and the continuing cases of extrajudicial killings (EJK)
in the Philippines, under the Noynoy Aquino government.
The complaints will be submitted through the respective Special
Rapporteurs on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons and on
Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.
According to Cristina Palabay, Karapatan spokesperson, “we would
specifically bring up the recent cases of forcible evacuation,
indiscriminate firing, threats and intimidation and other rights
violations that happened in the course of intense military operations in
Bukidnon province, CARAGA region, and other provinces in the Philippines.
The military operations are believed to be the government’s practices of
clearing up the areas for, and silencing the people’s opposition against,
large-scale corporate mining operations and the construction of a mega-dam
project for the consumption of foreign owned corporations.”
Karapatan documented some almost 4,000 individuals who left their homes
from August 2010 to October 2011 due to coercion and harassment of
security forces. During the first quarter of 2012, some 6,500 individuals
forcibly evacuated from their communities and sought temporary shelter
elsewhere due to bombings and indiscriminate firing by soldiers who
likewise occupied their villages and camped in village halls, day care and
health centers and schools.
The continuing extrajudicial killing will also be brought out as a major
concern in the complaint. Among the cases that will be highlighted is the
killing of indigenous chieftain, Jimmy Liguyon, who was killed on March 5.
In its individual report submitted for the Universal Periodic Review of
the GPH, the group stated that there are 60 victims of EJKs (from July
2010 to October 2011) while military operations in the rural areas have
resulted to “the torture, illegal arrests and detention, harassment and
intimidation, closing down of NGO-supported schools and literacy programs,
indiscriminate firing resulting to injury and death and forced evacuation
of individuals.” (For the full text of Karapatan’s Individual Submission
for the UPR, please refer to this link: http://karapatan.org/Karapatan+Submission+UPR)
Palabay said that “the AFP has zero credibility especially in terms of
human rights protection and realization. Its claim that its units have not
been involved in any case of human rights violations is sheer lie that
stems from Noynoy Aquino’s attempt to deodorize the brutality of its
counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan and disassociate this from the
bloody Oplan Bantay Laya of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The increasing number
of cases and victims of rights violations committed with impunity are
proofs that contradict the government’s claim.”
Palabay and Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao Enriquez are members of the
Philippine UPR watch delegation, who are slated to monitor and conduct
activities in time for the UPR of the Philippines on May 29 at the UNHRC
in Geneva, Switzerland. ###
Aktibistang pangkalikasan, pinaslang
May 21, 2012
Kabilang sa pinakahuling mga biktima ng Oplan Bayanihan ng rehimeng US-Aquino
ang isang aktibistang pangkalikasan, isang sibilyan, isang kapatid ng
testigo laban sa berdugong heneral na si Jovito Palparan at isang madre.
Mayo 16. Napatay si Rolando Manalo, 41 anyos, sa San Rafael, Bulacan bunga
ng anim na tama ng bala sa kanyang katawan. Hindi pa agad mapag-alaman
kung sino ang pumaslang kay Manalo subalit mga elemento ng 306th
Provincial Mobile Group ng PNP ang nagdala sa kanyang bangkay sa Baliwag
District Hospital. Si Manalo ay isa sa mga kapatid ni Raymond Manalo, ang
pangunahing saksi laban kay Ret. Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. sa kasong
pagdukot at pagtortyur sa dalawang estudyante ng University of the
Philippines na sina Karen Empeño at Sherlyn Cadapan at sa magsasakang si
Manuel Meriño noong 2006.
Ayon sa sinumpaang salaysay ni Raymond Manalo, hinahanap noon ng mga
dumukot sa kanila si Rolando dahil isa umano itong Pulang mandirigma.
Mayo 8. Pinagbabaril hanggang sa mapatay si Margarito Cabal, lider ng Task
Force Save Pulangi sa Barangay Palma, Kibawe, Bukidnon. Ang Task Force
Save Pulangi ay isang organisasyon na nangangampanya laban sa pagtatayo ng
hydroelectric dam sa Pulangi River. Tinatayang humigit-kumulang 6,000
pamilya ang mawawalan ng lupa at kabuhayan kung matutuloy ang proyekto.
Maitataboy din ang tribong Manobo mula sa kanilang lupang ninuno.
Bago siya pinatay, binansagan ng militar si Cabal na kasapi ng Bagong
Hukbong Bayan. Si Cabal ang ika-13 aktibistang pangkalikasan na pinatay sa
ilalim ng rehimeng Aquino. Siyam sa 13 kaso ng pagpatay sa mga aktibistang
pangkalikasan sa ilalim ng rehimeng Aquino ay naganap sa Mindanao.
Mayo 8. Isang sibilyan ang pinatay ng mga sundalo sa Barangay Pinamanaan,
Donsol, Sorsogon. Kasama ni Jocelyn Trinidad, 37 anyos, ang mga Pulang
mandirigma sa Barangay Pinamanaan, Donsol, Sorsogon, bandang alas-5 ng
umaga nang paulanan ng bala ng mga sundalo. Si Trinidad ay malubhang
nasugatan at isinugod sa ospital ng mga kasama subalit hindi na siya
umabot nang buhay sa pagamutan. Tatlong kasama ang namartir sa labanan,
kabilang ang asawa ni Trinidad na si Leopoldo "Ka Jig" Nebres, 43 anyos.
Marso 2. Tahasang pinaratangan ni 1Lt. Hermie Montelibano ng 28th IB si
Sr. Stella Matutina na kasapi ng BHB at nagpapanggap lamang daw na madre.
Ginawa ito sa isang pulong na ipinatawag ng militar sa Barangay Lantawan,
Lupon, Davao Oriental. Si Sr. Matutina, isang madreng Benedectine, ay
pangkalahatang kalihim ng Panalipdan (Defenders and Advocates of
Environment, Creation and Patrimony).
Inireklamo na ni Sr. Matutina ang harasment laban sa kanya sa Commission
on Human Rights at sa United Nations Human Rights council meeting sa
Geneva, Switzerland noong Marso na dinaluhan niya bilang kinatawan ng
Panalipdan at Sisters Association in Mindanao.
Read and download quarterly Karapatan Monitorhere.