At the 3rd Saturday gathering:

Arroyo human rights victims protest lies

told at UN Human Rights Council


April 19, 2008




HUSTISYA  head convenor Evangeline Hernandez likens Arroyo to a "joker with bloody hands": Arroyo thinks she can present a "smiling" image of the Philippines to the international community but the truth is that a cruel regime lurks behind the mask.

Mrs. Hernandez is the mother of  Beng, human rights worker and journalist, who was killed by the military in Mindanao 6 few years ago. Click here for page on Beng



Linda Cadapan, mother of abducted UP student Sherlyn, called for a stop to the killings and the lying. She also gave an update on her search for her daughter who has been missing for more than a year.

Click here for page on abduction





19 April 2008

Press Release
References: Evangeline Hernandez, Hustisya Head Convener

'Living testament to regime's bloody rights record'
Arroyo human rights victims protest lies told at UPR

Victims of human rights violations of the Arroyo regime  held its 3rd Saturday gathering today, April 19, 2008 to register their objection to the lies told by the Philippine government during the Universal Periodic  Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council  (UNHRC) last week.

To dramatize their protest, the organization Hustisya (Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice), depicted Mrs. Gloria Arroyo as a dummy, "joker with bloody hands." They scored the Arroyo government for its stubborn view of protests against the worsening human rights situation
in the country as nothing but propaganda.

Hustisya said that like a joker, Mrs. Arroyo thinks she can present a 'smiling' image of the Philippines to the international community. However, a cruel regime lurks behind the mask.

Evangeline Hernandez, Convenor of Hustisya, said, "Mrs. Arroyo's soldiers killed my daughter. They killed and caused the disappearance of many others whose relatives banded together under Hustisya to demand justice."

"Our loved ones were victims of the national policy called Oplan Bantay Laya. We are living testaments to the bloody human rights record of the Arroyo government," said Hernandez, whose group joined the Philippine UPR Watch that engaged the UN during its scrutiny of the Philippine government's compliance to human rights treaties.

Hustisya members were incensed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita's harping on the applause he allegedly received for the government's report to the UN body.

Hernandez said, "He was only too happy about pulling his so-called great performance. Many are not convinced despite the supposed applause which for all we know is a polite gesture to anyone who has ended his speech."

Hernandez is referring to the 17 countries that reportedly grilled Ermita during the UPR session on the Philippines. Japan and Great Britain questioned the government on how they deal with stakeholders on issues
affecting vulnerable groups. Great Britain was dissatisfied that their question on the same was unanswered.

Slovenia, France, Norway, Japan, Australia, Great Britain, The Netherlands, USA, Mexico argued that more significant measures were needed to solve extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

Hustisya said the concerns raised by many countries during the UPR, stripped of diplomatic language, is an indication that they saw through the lies and in effect they are saying that the enumeration of actions taken by
the government to address the problem of extrajudicial  killings and enforced disappearances has failed to solve these crimes committed by state security forces and failed to bring perpetrators to the bar of justice.

Members of Hustisya and human rights groups gather every 3rd Saturday of the month to call for an end to political killings, enforced disappearance and political repression of the Arroyo government. The monthly event started in 2006.

The gathering today was held at the Peace Bell area in Quezon Memorial Circle chosen because of the bell's significance and affinity with the United Nations. The bell used to be in the inner court of the UN's  headquarters in New York and is made up of medals and coins contributed by some 65 member countries of the UN. ###

Download statement

Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary of Karapatan:


It is important to point out that what brought about the downward trend of cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance last year, was the strong outcry here and abroad against the killings and abductions resulting from the government's Oplan Bantay Laya.


It is not Malacanang and AFP's recognition of human rights. It is only the Supreme Court which has been taking positive steps. Worse, there was still one extrajudicial killing every week and an enforced disappearance every other week in 2007.

Armand Abarillo of Southern Tagalog whose parents were victims of extrajudicial killings

Aya Santos whose mother was abducted and is presently imprisoned at Camp Crame

Families of victims of killings and abductions

Cultural group SINING BUGKOS dramatizes the horrible impact

on people's lives of the continuing human rights violations in the country


KARAPATAN * Hustisya * Desaparecidos * National Council of Churches in the Philippines * BAYAN * IBON Foundation
Bayan Muna * IPHR-Monitor * GMA Watch

Stop the lying! Stop the Killings!

Following the ceremonial approval of the Draft Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on the Philippines, the Philippine UPR Watch continues to be outraged by the unrepentant and self-delusional claims by the Philippine government of its human rights record before the international community.

In his closing statement following the submission of the Draft Report, DFA Undersecretary Enrique Manalo, co-head of the Philippine delegation, said the Philippines “fully engaged” civil society in the preparation of the Philippine National Report (PNR). He also said the high level delegation from the Philippines speaks well of the seriousness of the Philippine government on human rights and that there are “clear manifestations” that the Philippines is a “human rights advocate and defender”. It again paid lip service to fulfill so-called voluntary commitments concerning women and children, extrajudicial killings and the needs of the poor.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The so-called engagement with civil society was perfunctory and smacks of tokenism. The high level Philippine delegation was a platoon of bureaucrats sent by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in its damage-control and face-saving efforts. Secretary Ermita himself was not ready to answer questions from the Missions. The PNR is not an indication of the Philippine government’s resolve to stop human rights violations in the Philippines. The report is a series of generalized statements primarily to appease the international community.

Earlier, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita deceived the Filipino people by reporting that the Philippine National Report (PNR) was well applauded at the UNHRC session. What his account did not say is that the applause was initiated and came mostly from the rest of the Filipino bureaucrats who formed part of Ermita’s 40-member team. It was initiated and a cheap self-congratulatory stunt, scandalous and self-serving.

As the UPR on the Philippines winds up, we thank the Missions who have raised the issue of extrajudicial killings and disappearances, the welfare of migrant workers, corruption, the trafficking of women and the rights of children. While the Philippine report says the number of killings has gone down and that the government has instituted mechanisms for the protection of all human rights, it could neither hide nor disguise the truth that the human rights violations still continue with impunity and that no perpetrator has really been convicted. The concerns and questions raised by at least sixteen countries is an indication that the world is watching the human rights situation in the Philippines.

We urge the UNHRC to be constructively critical, especially in the preparation of the final report in June during its 8th session. We call on NGOs, church group and people’s organizations to speak out against this deception peddled by the Philippine government. In the name of the victims of all forms of human right violations, we entreat the UNHRC to put to task the Philippine government for its responsibility and culpability.

The Philippine UPR watch reiterates its call that the Philippine government is unworthy of a seat in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The responsibility of the state to protect every citizen continues to be totally negated with repressive government policies under the guise of the war on terrorism that curtail legitimate dissent.

For as long as the Philippine government is in a “state of denial” over its responsibility for human rights abuses, continues to paint rosy pictures to cover-up its crimes against the people and deceive the community of nations, the Filipino people will be vigilant and continue to expose the government’s rottenness. One killing is one too many. #


Fr. Rex B. Reyes, Jr.
Head of Delegation
Philippine UPR Watch
(063) 918 9447538

Marie Hilao-Enriquez
(063) 917 8176274

Download statement


 The T-shirt says what to do:



Press Release:
April 19, 2008

Reference: Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary General (09228149751)

Arroyo regime can't hide its gruesome human rights record

Human rights alliance Karapatan, today said that the Philippine government's report before the United Nations in the recently concluded Universal Periodic Review is but an attempt to hide the Arroyo government's gruesome human rights record. While the Philippine delegation led by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita pulled his act with an out-and-out tale of deception before the UNHRC session, victims of human rights violations and their families in their second monthly gathering for the year expressed disapproval and disgust.

"It is important to point out that what brought about the downward trend of cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance last year, was the strong outcry here and abroad against the killings and abductions resulting from the government's Oplan Bantay Laya ", said Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary of Karapatan. "It is not Malacanang and AFP's recognition of human rights. It is only the Supreme Court which has been taking positive steps. Worse, there was still one extrajudicial killing every week and an enforced disappearance every other week in 2007."

United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston urged the President to take concrete steps to put an end to those aspects of the counterinsurgency operations which have led to the targeting and execution of many individuals working with civil society organizations. Recently, the European Union also hit the counterinsurgency program and asked the Philippine government and the AFP to review it in dealing with the insurgents.

"We believe that these pressures from the international community contributed a lot to our call to stop the killings. And we also recognize the fact that the killings have been put in the sideline as GMA faces yet another political crisis in her administration with the disclosure of the anomalies behind the ZTE National Broadband $330-million project and the consistent decline of her already negative satisfactory rating," Clamor continued.

"Human rights advocates must remain vigilant. The government has yet to neither review nor withdraw Oplan Bantay Laya, worse, it vows to intensify it as another of its deadlines approach. The fact remains that the Filipino people are still subject to continuing gross and systematic human rights violations with impunity." Clamor concluded.


Download statement


This singing group composed of internal refugees singing of Bakwet and other songs that tell of the travails of people who are forcibly driven out of their community because of continuing military operations.

■    NUPL: Philippine Report to the UPR: Failing grade for impunity

■    Rights violations, legal raps vs mining activists up

■    Farmers denounce militarization in COMVAL province

■    Monica is an innocent victim, rights group say AFP cover up death of a child


She is the daughter of Gabriel Calubad who was abducted together with his father Rudy. Beside her is her grandmother Elizabeth who has been looking for her husband and son since June 17, 2006

Click here for page on the abduction of the Calubads


These two kids from the families of desaparecidos found time to enjoy a summer's day while listening to the program of their elders.

Friends, relatives mark 6th anniversary of Beng’s death

From: Davao Today

Angelic Hernandez still grieves over the loss of her eldest sister, Benjaline Hernandez, who was killed by the Cafgu and military in Sitio Bukatol, Barangay Kinawayan, Arakan, North Cotabato on April 5, six years ago.


Hernandez was in the area doing documentation work on the killing of peasant members of Arakan Peasant Progressive Organization (APPO) when the Cafgus peppered the house where she was eating lunch with bullets. According to human rights group Karapatan, of the more than 10 suspects charged in court for the murder of Hernandez, only two were arrested. One of them, Army Master Sergeant Antonio Torilla, is still in Camp Aguinaldo.

Hernandez’ family returned to Davao recently to join friends and colleagues in a simple commemoration rites of Hernandez’ death. Atenews, the campus publication of Ateneo de Davao University where Hernandez used to be an editor, sponsored the event . ( photos by Barry Ohaylan)


Send us your feedback