Progressive partylists’ conference in Cagayan,

raided by suspected members of the AFP

 

Sanchez Mira, Cagayan

 

June 11, 2009

 

 

 

At around midnight of June 11, not less than 30 men, some of whom were masked and wearing camouflage pants, combat boots, and armed with M16 rifles and .45 caliber pistols, forced their way into the sleeping quarters of the participants at MasCoop Resort, Bgy. Masisit, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan province.

The perpetrators threatened to kill the victims and took all of their personal belongings including laptops, personal documents and money. The manner, accuracy and swiftness of the raid show a similar pattern of military attacks in many of the earlier cases of abductions and raids committed in other areas and in other cases.

 

-- from Karapatan report
 

 
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/p
Photos courtesy of KARAPATAN
           
           

 

Press Release – 17 June 2009

Reference: Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General ( Mobile No. +63917 561 6800)

Rights group raises alarm over rising violations cases in the run –up to the 2010 elections;
KARAPATAN condemns continuing assault on activists and progressive organizations

The human rights alliance Karapatan today denounced the continuing state-perpetrated attacks on activists and progressive organizations. Particularly, the Alliance condemns the June 11 raid of an electoral consultation and conference in Cagayan Valley, participated in by 19 representatives of people's organizations, as well as local coordinators of progressive partylist organizations Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women's Party and Kabataan.

At around midnight of June 11, not less than 30 men, some of whom were masked and wearing camouflage pants, combat boots, and armed with M16 rifles and .45 caliber pistols, forced their way into the sleeping quarters of the participants at MasCoop Resort, Bgy. Masisit, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan province.

The perpetrators threatened to kill the victims and took all of their personal belongings including laptops, personal documents and money. The manner, accuracy and swiftness of the raid show a similar pattern of military attacks in many of the earlier cases of abductions and raids committed in other areas and in other cases.

Earlier in the day, the victims noticed surveillance being conducted by suspicious persons, who, according to police investigators, called themselves “human rights evaluators.” The Sanchez Mira PNP, however, blottered the incident as mere robbery.

The brazen terrorist attack came in the wake of the government-announced abolition of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) which authored the trumped up charges against leaders and key members of progressive people’s organizations labelled as “enemies of the state.” “Is this now the proof of General Ermita’s declaration that even without the IALAG the government will pursue "other means of monitoring the activities of those trying to destabilize the government?” Karapatan Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez asked.

Right after the incident, Northern Luzon Command's Maj Gen. Isagani Cachuela stated in a Cagayan Bombo Radyo interview that the military is also "targeting white areas in urban areas." Such statement proves that the government's offensives against people’s organizations are in accordance with the objectives of Oplan Bantay Laya 2 (OBL), which remains operational.

Karapatan also decries the increase in the cases of human rights violations as election in 2010, even if mired in uncertainty because of the con-ass moves in the House of Representatives, is being tackled by electoral groups in the country.

Karapatan's data show an increase in extrajudicial killings and other rights violations in the years prior to the 2007 election.

Karapatan calls on the people not to be cowed by the government’s moves to silence the progressive partylist voices in the face of these attacks. By all means, the people have a Based on reports gathered by Karapatan right to defend and assert their democratic rights.###

 

     
     
           
           

 

 

Progressive partylists’ conference in Cagayan, Philippines

raided by suspected members of the AFP

 

UA No: 2009-06-01
UA Date: 16 June 2009
UA Case: Threat/ Harassment/ Intimidation; Illegal Search and Seizure; Divestment of Properties; Destruction of Properties; Physical Assault and/or Injuries

Victim/s:

Threat/Harassment/Intimidation; Illegal Search and Seizure; Divestment of Properties; Destruction of Properties:

Lita Iloreta, Gretchen Valdez, Angelita Bulseco, Joleida Garcia, Vincent Guzman, Ignacio Ugaddan, Nestor Siddayao, Jasmine Nelmida, Rubylyn Alabo, Robert Pascua, Jessie Alan, Wyner Tamayo, Wilma Valencia, Aldwin Kenneth Baldovino, Reynaldo Abrogena, Virgilio Corpuz, Noven Concepcion, Reymel Resposo at Isabelo Adviento

Physical Assault and/or Injuries

Noven Concepcion, Jessie Alan, Rubylyn Alabo

Date and Time of Incident: Around 12:00 midnight of June 11, 2009

Place of Incident: Mascoop Resort, Brgy. Masisit, Sanchez Mira, Cagayan, North Luzon, Philippines

Alleged Perpetrator/s: Not less than 30 unidentified men armed with M16 rifles and .45 pistols, wearing ski masks, camisa de chino shirts, camouflage pants or maong (denim) pants, and combat boots. Perpetrators are believed to be elements of the 17th IBPA under the command of Lt. Col. Jacinto Bareng

Account of Incident:

The victims were conducting a workshop-planning on Regional Development Center-Northern Luzon/ Katinnulong Daguiti Umili iti Amianan’s (RDC-NL/KADUAMI) Projects Monitoring and Evaluation back-to-back with a Regional Leaders' Conference on Election and Governance. The participants were members of the partner organizations of RDC/KADUAMI and the activities were being facilitated by its staff. The workshop-planning and conference was for June 9 to June 11, 2009.

Participants are known leaders of the mass organizations and peoples’ organizations DANGGAYAN-Cagayan Valley (CV), DAGAMI-Isabela, KAGIMUNGAN-Cagayan, AMIHAN-CV, Save the Valley Serve the People Alliance for the Environment-CV, KARAPATAN-CV, Anakbayan-CV, League of Filipino Students-CV, SAMASA-Ilagan, and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan- Cagayan and Isabela; Citizens' Alliance for Reformed Elections (CARE); some are leaders of the partylists ANAKPAWIS, KABATAAN, GABRIELA, BAYAN MUNA; four (4) are RDC-NL/KADUAMI staff-Cagayan Valley.

The delegation arrived at the Mascoop Resort around noon of June 9, 2009.

At midnight of June 11, Vincent Guzman was smoking by the bedroom window when an M16 rifle was pointed at his face. As soon as he saw this, he immediately ran away from the window to wake up his roommate Ignacio Ugaddan. Both of them ran out of their room towards the session hall where they saw more armed men swarming inside the building. Guzman and Ugaddan ran back to their room and wakened Robert Pascua and Nestor Siddayao. Siddayao immediately ran to lock the bedroom door, but a man armed with a .45 caliber pistol forcibly pushed the door open and entered the room. Another man with an M16 rifle and bandolier followed suit. The perpetrators pointed their guns at the victims and commanded, “Dapa!” (“Drop to the ground!”). One of the perpetrators demanded from Pascua, “Nasaan ang laptop? Nasaan ang laptop?” (“Where's the laptop?”). Pascua replied that he doesn't have a laptop.

The commotion woke up the other male participants billeted in the same room, Aldwin Kenneth Baldovino, Reymel Remoso and Wyner Tamayo, but they were also ordered to drop face down on the ground. The armed men then proceeded to search through the victims' belongings and took Pascua's wallet and Tamayo's sling bag.

Another group of armed men were forcing their way inside the other male participants' quarters next door, where Noven Concepcion and Reynaldo Abrogena were sleeping. Awakened by the banging on their bedroom door, Concepcion braced the door with his body. But the men outside banged and finally kicked the door open.

Concepcion was dragged out of their room and was kicked hard by one perpetrators who commanded him, “Dapa! Dapa! (“Get down!”). He was forced to get down on his knees and was hit on his back with a riffle butt, while the other perpetrators were already seizing his and his companions' belongings, including a laptop. Concepcion screamed in pain.

The victims from the first room saw what was happening to Concepcion and reacted, but their captors said, “Walang magre-react, babarilin ko” (Nobody react, or i'll shoot you!).

In another sleeping quarters, Virgilio Corpuz had already seen through the windows the perpetrators’ entry into the building and woke up his roommate, Jessie Alan. Alan hid inside the adjacent bathroom and Corpuz threw himself under one of the beds. Their bedroom door was also forced open, and from where he was hiding, Corpuz saw 2 men, one in combat boots and camouflage pants, and another in maong (denim) pants, enter the room. The perpetrators also forced open the bathroom door, grabbed Alan, threw him on the bed amd pointed the barrel of a rifle on his neck. The perpetrators seized their bags and other belongings.

The women, sleeping in the rooms at the other side of the building, also suffered a similar ordeal. Some of the perpetrators also banged against, kicked at and hit with rifles the bedroom door where Lita Iloreta, Gretchen Valdez, Angelita Bulesco and Joelida Garcia were sleeping.

Iloreta, Valdez and Bulesco ran inside their bedroom's adjacent bathroom, as Garcia ran to the window to shout for help. Seeing no other residential houses nearby, she tried to prevent their bedroom door from being opened by pushing herself against it.

The perpetrators outside the women's bedroom continued to hit against the door and was able to break the doorknob. A rifle was poked through the hole where the doorknob used to be, and when Garcia saw this, she immediately ran for safety inside the bathroom where her companions were already hiding. The bedroom door was finally forced open and an armed man ran after Garcia who locked themselves inside. The man banged against the bathroom door and shouted, “Buksan n'yo ito! Lumabas kayo diyan!” (Open this door! Get out of there!). Again, the bathroom door was forced open and the man pointed and cocked his rifle at the fear-stricken women, and ordered them to keep quiet, “Walang maingay!”. The women raised their hands and pleaded, “Huwag kuya!” (Please don't).

Other perpetrators were already collecting the women’s bags and a laptop. The victims heard another man saying, “Tayo na!” (Let's go!) and the armed men left the room.

In another female quarters next door to Garcia's, more armed men forced their way inside the room where Jasmin Nelmida, Wilma Valencia and Rubylyn Alabo were sleeping. Alabo screamed in fear and a rifle was pointed at her face by a man who ordered her to shut up.

Alabo attempted to jump out of the bedroom window but was grabbed and dragged back inside the room. She was forced to the ground and was hit with rifle butts on her thighs. Alabo heard the man who grabbed her shout to another, “Panyo, panyo!” (Handkerchief!) Fearing that she will be tied and gagged, she willed herself to stand up and she jumped out the window.

Alabo was able to crawl her away around the seminar house, hoping to escape, but she saw more armed men surrounding the building. She then crawled back to her bedroom window and her colleagues helped her back inside. By this time, the armed men had already left their bedroom, taking with them all the women's belongings and a laptop.

Isabelo Adviento was alone in his sleeping quarters during the entire incident. His bedroom door was also being kicked and banged against, but he pushed himself against it to prevent the perpetrators from entering the room. Adviento heard a voice outside the room saying, “Tara na! Tara na!” (Let's go! Let's go!) and the banging on the door stopped.

The victims recounted that the perpetrators ran off towards the direction of the beach. The incident happened in only about five minutes.

The perpetrators took a total of 15 cellphones, 3 laptops, cash amounting to almost PhP20,000, a digital voice recorder, 2 digital cameras, flash drives and other gadgets, notebooks, planners, bags containing clothes, wallets and other personal belongings such as IDs, vital documents, jewelries, and ATM cards.

The victims’ food supplies were also destroyed.

The police, who later responded to the incident, recovered three (3) live M16 ammunitions from the site. The police also noted that the lock on the sliding glass door in the main hallway was bent, which they suspect that the armed men also forced the door open discretely.

Prior to the attack, the victims noticed that they seem to be under surveillance. On their arrival at the resort, a member of the delegation reported to the secretariat that he noticed that their group was being followed by two men on-board a motorcycle during their journey.

On June 10, some of the participants noticed two unidentified men and two unidentified women standing outside at the front of the seminar house taking pictures of the building. The group of strangers then entered a cottage, approximately 100 meters away from where the delegation was staying.

At around 5PM of the same day, while taking a break from the workshop, the participants saw an owner-type jeep parked in front of the same cottage where they saw the strangers enter that morning. Some of the participants decided to go to the beach that afternoon, and while walking towards the beach, they passed by near the cottage. They saw a man setting up a video camera on top of the jeep, who seemed to be taking video of the group. Later, the group saw another man went out of the cottage and watch them from the shore.

Some of the victims have reported other prior incidents of being followed or being under surveillance during the course of their work.

RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling on:

1. The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the raid of the progressive partylists’ conference in Cagayan Valley, and to assist the victims in the recovery of their belongings.

2. The military to stop the labelling and targeting of progressive partylist groups as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”

3. The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

You may send your communications to:

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacańang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph
 

Gen. Avelino Razon, Ret. PNP
Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
osec@opapp.gov.ph

Atty. Gilberto C. Teodoro Jr.
Secretary, Department of National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
Email: osnd@philonline.com

Atty. Raul M. Gonzalez
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: raulgonzalez_doj@yahoo.com

Atty. Leila De Lima
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chr.delima@yahoo.com

Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the abovenamed government officials, to our address below.

URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)
National Office
2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
Emails: <karapatan.ua@gmail.com> / <karapatan.pid@gmail.com>
Website:
www.karapatan.org


--
KARAPATAN Urgent Action Alert
KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights
2/F Erythrina Building, #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag Sts.,
Central District, 1101 Quezon City, Philippines
Telefax: (632) 435 4146

 

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
           
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PRESS RELEASE

PHILIPPINES ELECTED TO BUREAU OF WORLD LAWYERS BODY: Set to Host big Conference of Asia Pacific Lawyers on Human Rights in Manila

DATELINE HANOI, June 15, 2009: The XVIIth Congress of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL) in Hanoi called on the Philippines to host the Fifth Conference of Lawyers in the Asia and the Pacific (COLAP V) on September 18 to 19, 2010. The host association is the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), the largest association of active human rights lawyers in the country and the Philippine member organization of the IADL a worldwide association of human rights lawyers from 100 countries founded in 1947. The IADL, which has consultative status with ECOSOC and UNESCO of the UN, is one of the oldest and the biggest organizations of progressive lawyers internationally.

The IADL Congress also elected Filipino human rights lawyer Edre U. Olalia to be a member of its Bureau, the 27-member governing body of the IADL. Representatives from Austria, Belgium, Cuba, France, Haiti,, Hungary, India, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Puerto Rico,Romania, Spain, United Sates of America, United Kingdom, Vietnam were also elected to the Bureau. Newly-elected members of the Bureau met with Nguyen Minh Triet, President of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam at the Presidential Palace. The elected President is Jeanne Mirer of the US; Secretary General is Osamu Niikura of Japan and Joan Roig Plans of Spain as Treasurer. Niikura was the official delegate of IADL and our guest during the NUPL Founding Congress in Cebu last September 2007.

The Philippine human rights lawyers gained IADL’s recognition during its Paris Congress in 2005 because of its active campaign against attacks on lawyers, judges and civil liberties. It further gained the respect of IADL when it delivered well written papers during the Hanoi Congress on Philippine human rights condition including issues on the writ of amparo, attacks against judges and lawyers and national liberation movements. The NUPL delegation was nominated to be the Rapporteur in three of the six Commissions during the congress, namely, Atty. Rachel Pastores, NUPL Deputy Secretary General for Legal Services for Commission 1 on Right to Peace; Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Deputy Secretary General for International Solidarity Work for Commission 1 on Anti-Terrorism Laws; and Hon. Neri Colmenares, NUPL Secretary General for Commission 3 on Independence of the Judiciary. Its head of delegation, NUPL Secretary General Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares was also asked to be one of the speakers in the Plenary.

The theme of the COLAP V conference in Manila is “Human Rights, Development and the International Economic Crisis”. It will be attended by more than two-hundred lawyers and jurists from the region such as Japan, the Asean countries such as Vietnam and Korea, United States, Canada, Australia and the South Asian countries such as India and Pakistan. It is expected that one of the main issues that will be tackled during COLAP V is the human rights situation in the Philippines including the killings of judges and lawyers. COLAP IV was held in South Korea, while the previous COLAPS were held in New Delhi, Hanoi and Tokyo.

Reference Person : Atty. Edre Olalia: 09267202844
(Deputy Secretary General for International Solidarity Work )
Date : June 16, 2009
National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers(NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.No.920-6660,Telefax No. 927- 2812
Email addresses:nupl2007@gmail.com and nuplphilippines@yahoo.com
"Visit the NUPL at http://www.nupl.net/

By calling yourselves the 'people's lawyer,' you have made a remarkable choice. You decided not to remain in the sidelines. Where human rights are assaulted, you have chosen to sacrifice the comfort of the fence for the dangers of the battlefield. But only those who choose to fight on the battlefield live beyond irrelevance." Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno, in his message to the NUPL Founding Congress,Sept. 15, 2007

 

     
           
           

 

3 rights lawyers seek amparo vs military

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:26:00 06/18/2009

Filed Under: Human Rights, Military

DAVAO CITY, Philippnes—Three human rights lawyers here, including Inquirer columnist Carlos Zarate, have filed separate petitions for a writ of amparo against top military officials in the region.

Zarate, Lilibeth Ladaga and Councilor Angela Librado-Trinidad were among the 106 persons tagged as militants and allegedly listed in the military’s order of battle (OB).

Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo made the OB public, saying it was leaked to him by “a very conscientious soldier.”

Col. Lysander Suerte, chief of staff of the 10th ID, confirmed that the military prepares orders of battle from time to time but did not comment on whether Ocampo’s copy was authentic.

“An OB is not for public consumption,” he said.

Manuel Quibod, president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, said the lawyers filed the petition as they were “preventing an impending threat.”

“These lawyers are lawyers of the poor ... and they have become targets,” he said.

Named respondents in the petitions were Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, commander of the 10th Infantry Division; Lt. Col. Kurt Decapia, chief of the 10th ID Public Affairs Department; Col. Oscar Lactao, head of Task Force Davao; and Senior Supt. Ramon Apolinario, city police chief.

While confirming that the military has an OB, Suerte said it did not mean that those in it were targets. The order of battle is just a guide, he said.

“We know the hazard of lawyering for the people,” Zarate said. “I have been in this profession for 15 years already and we are like legal gladiators fighting for the rights of the oppressed. And for that we were included in the order of battle.”

In her petition, Ladaga branded the OB as malicious. “(In the) current political condition prevailing in the country … (the OB) may place petitioner’s life in danger,” she said.

Librado said she wanted the military to remove her name from the list or explain why her name was on it.

She said her inclusion was a threat to “her right to be left alone by the state and its agents.” Jeffrey Tupas, Inquirer Mindanao

 

Office of Rep. Raymond ‘Mong’ Palatino
Temporary Office c/o Office of Rep. Lisa Maza
Room 309, South Wing, House of Representatives
Batasan Complex, Quezon City

June 17, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Solon condemns attack on Cagayan Valley party-list officials
Points to military harassment of groups vs. con-ass, cha-cha

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino today condemned the brutal attack and illegal raid of unidentified military men of a meeting of party-list groups in Cagayan Valley Thursday last week.

In a press conference with Bayan Muna Reps. Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino and Neri Colmenares, Gabriela Reps. Liza Masa and Luz Ilagan and Anakpawis Reps. Rafael Mariano and Joel Maglunsod, Palatino said that ‘the Cagayan Valley incident reeks of clear political harassment and military terrorization of party-list groups’ regional members and leaders.’

The solons reported that around 30 heavily armed men donned in camouflage uniforms ‘raided’ Masscoop Resort in Masitist, Sanchezsmira, Cagayan Valley while 19 leaders of the party-list groups were sleeping.

The officials were in the resort for a regional consultation and planning-workshop for the projects monitoring of the Regional Development Center-Katinnulong Daguiti Umili iti Amianan (RDC-Kaduami), a development service institution.

Victims and witnesses recounted that alleged soldiers, some in bonnets, forced their way into the venue, beat and manhandled the leaders, pointed guns at them, then took away with them three laptop computers, cellular phones, P20,000 cash and other personal belongings of those present.

“It is an understatement to say that we are very angered by this incident. What right had the military to barge in on our leaders in their most defenseless states, beat them up and threaten them, and then steal away their belongings?” Palatino said.

Palatino added that the incident may be the military’s reaction to nationwide protests against the railroading of the constituent assembly in Congress. “This may be part of moves to monitor and frighten activist and opposition groups from launching more protests against charter change.”

Palatino said that party-list representatives are calling on the House Committee on Human Rights to immediately conduct an investigation on the matter.

“We cannot just let something as draconian and militarist as this to pass. We will get to the bottom of this, who ordered this and what were their motives? Heads will roll,” Palatino said. ###

Reference:
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Mong Palatino, 09085927099
Email: cong.mongpalatino@gmail.com
Jose Cosido, Media Officer, 09235037264
 

     
           
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