Launching of DEFEND ST:
A Task Force to Defend the Victims of Political Persecution in Southern Tagalog
Benitez Hall, College of Education, UP Diliman
November 22, 2008
UN Human Rights Committee finds RP government guilty
of rights violations on the Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy case
Bonus Tracks: KARAPATAN Human Rights Monitor, July-Sept. 2008
|At the UP Diliman Sunken Garden: a message to the Arroyo government|
Representaives of the families of arrested activists cpmdemn the persecution of their kin at the launching of the Defend ST Task Force
A total of 72 individuals, all known leaders, spokespersons and members of activist organizations have been charged with multiple murder for an alleged NPA ambush in Mindoro in 2006. Included in the charges and facing possible arrest is Gabriela Southern Tagalog Secretary General Helen Asdolo and Gabriela provincial coordinator for Cavite, Amelita Sto. Tomas.
Arrested activists in Mindoro jail. Photos courtesy of Jeff Ocampo of Pinoy Wekly
|Poet Axel Pinpin recitss a poem wearing his back-to-back placard: "Aktibista hindi kriminal", " NPA hindi terorista"|
URGENT CALL FOR INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY
Defend Human Rights Defenders! Stop Persecution of Filipino Activists!
Warm greetings of solidarity from the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (New Patriotic Alliance) Philippines!
We are seeking your support to denounce the continuing persecution of Filipino social and political activists and human rights defenders.
A total of 72 persons in Southern Tagalog, Philippines, mostly leaders and members of people's organizations, are unfairly accused of multiple murder and frustrated murder. Since October 23, 2008, six of the 72 have already been arrested and detained: labor lawyer Remigio Saladero; bedridden peasant leader Rogelio Galit, who is seriously afflicted with diabetes; Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) party-list local organizer Nestor San Jose and Bayan Muna (People First) party-list local organizer Crispin Zapanta; labor union organizer Arnaldo Seminiano, and labor NGO official Emmanuel Dionida.
The United Nations (UN) Declaration on Human Rights Defenders describes the situation of human rights defenders, to wit: "A great many human rights defenders, in every region of the world, have been subject to violations of their human rights. They have been the target of executions, torture, beatings, arbitrary arrest and detention, death threats, harassment and defamation, as well as restrictions on their freedoms of movement, expression, association and assembly. Defenders have been the victims of false accusations and unfair trial and conviction".
As the world observes 60 years of the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights, we urge you to support our campaign to bear pressure on the Philippine government to stop the wave of unjustified arrests and detention of Filipino activists and human rights defenders.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
1) Sign the petition of DEFEND - Southern Tagalog at: http://bayan.ph/petition/
2) Organize protest actions in front of Philippine embassies/consulates on the 3rd of December, International Day for Solidarity with Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War, the 10th of December, marking the 60th International Human Rights Day to demand the Philippine government to stop persecution of human rights defenders and all forms of attacks on human rights.
3) Send messages of support and solidarity to the victims and their families through email@example.com.
4) Send protest letters to the Philippine government addressed to:
H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Sec. Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.
Sec. Raul M. Gonzalez
*Please cc: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, please read the Bayan briefer and DEFEND-ST petition against persecution of activists at www.bayan.ph.
BAYAN invitation for Nov.
22 launching of Defend ST
Legal persecution of Southern Tagalog activists continues Bayan says corrupt GMA allies go free, critics sent to jail
|Relatives and friends of the 72 activists persecuted by the Arroyo regimel|
|Recently-released Pastor Berlin Guerrero and some members of the DEFEND-ST Task Force|
“The alarming state of human
rights in Southern Tagalog has long been one of our bases for calling for
Arroyo’s removal from office. Now, her continuing fascist administration
is implementing a wide-scale criminalization of political acts that
includes youth and student leaders. She has long denied the youth our
basic rights, thus she should not be allowed to fulfill her obvious
ambition to cling to power beyond 2010 through Charter Change,” Bautista
|Former Vice-Presdient Tiofisto Guingona||Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano||BAYAn Chair Dr. Carol Araullo|
Trade Union and Human Rights (CTUHR)
|Stills from a video by ST-Exposure|
Release – November 22, 2008
Karaptan Secretary General makes a presentation
of the continuing violation of human rights by the Arroyo regim
The Free Atty. Saladero et. al. Coalition has put up a website dedicated to the campaign to release prominent labor lawyer Atty. Remigio D. Saladero Jr., and to stop the criminalization of other Southern Tagalog activistS, Nov. 21, 2008.
Reference: John Paulo Bautista
Deputy Secretary General, ANAKBAYAN-ST
November 19, 2008
SOUTHERN TAGALOG YOUTH LAUNCH “BLACK WEDNESDAY HABIT” TO CONDEMN
POLITICAL PERSECUTION, CALL FOR PROMPT IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
In defense of the rights of their leaders, members of militant youth group ANAKBAYAN-Southern Tagalog wore black shirts and held a noise barrage at the University of the Philippines-Los Banos to kick-off what they called a “Black Wednesday habit” of students and youth in the region. The campaign is in condemnation of the “wholesale filing of criminal cases against activists in the region” including ANAKBAYAN-ST secretary general Pedro “PJ” Santos, Jr. They also called for the prompt holding of the impeachment trial “to make Pres. Arroyo accountable for this heightening political persecution and the issues of corruption such as the fertilizer fund scam.”
John Paulo Bautista, deputy secretary general of ANAKBAYAN-ST, said that black symbolizes the death of human rights and civil liberties in the country under the Arroyo administration. He said ANAKBAYAN chapters in communities and schools in the provinces of Laguna, Batangas, and Quezon are participating in the campaign that will culminate on December 10, the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which falls on a Wednesday.
Santos is also a convenor of youth alliance Youth Act Now-Southern Tagalog (YAN-ST) and regional coordinator of KABATAAN Partylist in last year’s elections. He is among the 72 persons, which includes regional and provincial leaders of progressive organizations in the region, accused with multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder for an NPA ambush in Mindoro Oriental last March 3, 2006. A warrant of arrest was released by the Calapan Regional Trial Court even without a preliminary investigation leading to the arrest of 6 of the accused, the first of which was labor lawyer Atty. Remigio Saladero. Also included in the case are Sheryll Villegas, former ANAKBAYAN-Cavite secretary general and current BAYAN-Cavite secretary general; Karen Ortiz, former ANAKBAYAN-Cavite provincial coordinator and current deputy secretary general of Cavite Ecumenical Movement for Justice and Peace.
A separate case of arson and conspiracy to commit rebellion has also been filed against 27 individuals, some of which are also included in the ST 72 case, in at the Batangas RTC. Included in this case is Noriel Rocafort, former ANAKBAYAN-Batangas secretary general and current BAYAN-Batangas secretary general.
Bautista said that students are not spared from this renewed wave of political persecution by the Arroyo government. Three student leaders of the Polytechnic University of the Philippines-Lopez in Quezon are facing charges of rebellion filed by the military: Catherine Rufo, editor-in-chief of school paper The Epitome; Eugene Nollas, president of KAESKWELA student party; and Jerome Obligar, former student council officer.►►►
“These student and youth leaders are actively advancing the rights and welfare of the youth. They have consistently been fighting for a stop to tuition and other fee increases and clamoring against the increasing prices of oil and other basic goods and services. Aware of the rampant poverty and hunger under the Arroyo administration, they know that the Arroyo administration does not prioritize the interests of the youth. Because of this they are part of the broad mass movement calling for Arroyo’s ouster. It is clear then that they are being subjected to such harassment because they have dared stand up for their rights and are exposing the many ills of the Arroyo administration,” Bautista said.
Bautista noted that corruption is one of the issues highlighted by PJ as one of the convenors of Youth Act Now-Southern Tagalog. “We call on Bolante to look at and take from the courage and principled stand of these student and youth leaders who, despite such forms of harassment and risk to their lives, have chosen to continue fighting for what is right and just. Arroyo must be made responsible for the massive corruption she has benefited from. This issue, and that of political repression, are strong bases for our support to the impeachment complaint currently filed in Congress,” he said.
Meanwhile, Charisse Bernadine Banez, spokesperson of YAN-ST, called on fellow youth to once again unite in the face of the still unresolved corruption scams and the impeachment complaint. “Let us fight for our youth leaders, and let us be vigilant in our campaign for truth and accountability in these pressing times,” she said.
Bautista said they will be holding a prayer service and launch the Defend PJ Santos Movement, an alliance of friends and supporters of PJ, tomorrow. They will also be holding a series of other activities such as signature campaigns in schools and communities to support the victims of political persecution.###
For inquiries, please contact Pau – 09282039214.
ISANG BUKAS NA LIHAM MULA
KAY HELEN ASDOLO, PANGKALAHATANG KALIHIM NG GABRIELA TIMOG KATAGALUGAN,
IKA-LIMANG NOMINADO NG GABRIELA WOMEN'S PARTY AT KABILANG SA SOUTHERN
Malinaw na ang lahat ng ito ay
ginawa nitong rehimen ni Gloria macapagal Arroyo upang supilin ang aming
mga lehitimong karapatan na isiwalat sa publiko ang mga katiwaliang
kinasasangkutan ng kanyang administrasyon at kanyang pamilya. Ginawa ito
upang busalan ang aming mga bibig dahil sa patuloy niyang ambisyon na
manatili pa sa kapangyarihan.
|Origami sent by one of the activists charged with criminal raps, Bani Cambronero|
The KARAPATAN Human Rights Monitor
|Download: Complete KARAPANTAN human rights monitor for 3rd Quater of 2008|