Concerned Artists of the
17 September 2009
Reference: Roselle Pineda, 0929-6454102
Military harassment of National Artist and CAP chair Bienvenido Lumbera,
The Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP) denounced the military
harassment by the Arroyo regime of its chairman, National Artist for
Literature Bienvenido Lumbera, following the citizen's arrest of a member
of the Philippine Marines who was part of a group of military personnel
casing his residence early this morning, September 17.
The Philippine Marine, an enlisted AFP intelligence personnel identified
through his ID as Corporal Guerrero Hannival Mosura Mondido, was with a
group that was taking photos of Lumbera's house and asking about the poet
and National Artist when he was apprehended by security guards of the
middle-class subdivision where Lumbera holds residence. Mondido's
companions immediately fled when he was approached and interrogated by the
guards. Mondido was turned over to the Quezon City police after
interrogation by subdivision authorities. (A copy of Mondido's ID is in
the attached PDF file.)
"This is clear intimidation by the Arroyo regime on one of the most
consistent critics of its multifarious abuses against the people," said
Roselle Pineda, CAP spokesperson. She noted in particular that Lumbera is
a leading signatory to a pending petition in the Supreme Court (SC)
seeking to uphold this year's roster of new National Artists recommended
by the joint panel of the country's foremost cultural institutions tasked
by law to supervise the nomination process. Pineda also explained that
Lumbera is a leading signatory as well to the past impeachment complaints
filed by militant people's organizations against President Gloria
Macapagal-Arroyo. Lumbera, a 1993 Ramon Magsaysay Awardee, is also head of
the ACT Teachers' Partylist.
"That such fascist tactics are now being undertaken by the regime
nullifies the idea being implied by the current electoral circus that we
are in a true-blue democracy," Pineda stressed. "This is one way how
megacorruption, government abuse, puppetry and wanton government disregard
of our people's welfare holds sway in our Motherland, and subverts
Filipino democratic and patriotic aspirations" , she added.
Pineda expressed fears the incident may well indicate a rise of military
meddling in politics in the months ahead to "ensure that the Arroyo camp
gets its way, with or without elections, definitely via cheating,
subterfuge and emergency rule a la September 21, 1972, as necessary."
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
In the order of battle
Long before Bienvenido “Ka Bien” Lumbera was named Ramon Magsaysay Awardee
and National Artist, I knew him as one of the most gifted and resilient of
the cultural and political activists coming from the martial law period.
The gifted part has been validated by a body of work not just read by
scholars, students and admirers but performed on stage and watched by a
much broader audience.
The resilient part has just been confirmed by the Armed Forces of the
Philippines (AFP) whose intelligence operatives were caught last week with
their pants down conducting a surveillance operation on the mild-mannered
professor who has continued to recite nationalist, some say incendiary,
poems in protest rallies against the Arroyo government even after
receiving the coveted awards.
Why would the military, which surely has better things to do, target such
a soft-spoken, pleasant and by all accounts, unlikely security threat as
Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro attempts to downplay the incident by
saying it was a complete mistake for the military to have ordered the
surveillance and that heads would roll. (We await the heads that Mr.
Teodoro will offer up as proof of his decisive action.)
The military spokesperson tries to pass off the incident as a routine
intelligence training exercise assigned to a rookie enlisted man who
obviously failed the test by getting caught. (What about the two others
who escaped? Were they more senior and therefore more capable because they
got away?) He also describes a supposedly hypothetical scenario that the
surveillance team was supposed to verify, that alleged communists were
converging in Prof. Lumbera’s residence. (But the Navy claims Prof.
Lumbera’s address was picked out at random and there was no deliberate
attempt to target Prof. Lumbera himself.)
Executive Secretary Ermita tries to trivialize the incident by cracking a
mindless joke, making it appear that the unfortunate incident is just a
fluke in the navy’s intelligence training program.
Tell that to the marines!
Ka Bien is the Chairperson of the progressive Alliance of Concerned
Teachers (ACT) which is listed in AFP briefings since 2006 as an "enemy of
the state". ACT has announced it will take part in the party list
elections in 2010. Pioneering progressive party list organizations such as
Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party and Anakpawis have all been similarly
accused as “enemies of the state”, its leaders, ordinary members and even
mere supporters placed in a veritable death list called an “Order of
Prior to and during the 2007 elections, the AFP undertook a comprehensive
and all-out campaign against these party list organizations, including
what they euphemistically referred to in their documents as “special
operations of the Palparan model”. Subsequently many leaders and members
of these groups ended up victims of extra-judicial killing, enforced
disappearance, torture, illegal arrest and detention and all manner of
state terrorist attacks.
The only byte of truth in the official excuses is the slip-of-the-tongue
reference to the AFP’s suspecting Prof. Lumbera of having links with
communist leaders. This, more than his being one of the most prominent
leaders of the organized umbrage against Malacañang’s use of the National
Artist Award to reward Arroyo ass-kissers, has made Prof. Lumbera a marked
Evidently for the same reason,
another multi-awarded writer, UP Professor Efren “Jun” Cruz, has been the
subject of renewed military surveillance in his home in Hagonoy, Bulacan.
Prof. Cruz first experienced intense surveillance and was warned by
friendly local officials that his name was listed in the military’s “Order
of Battle” in 2007. It was there and then that UP students Sherlyn Cadapan
and Karen Emperor were abducted also in Hagonoy, when General. Jovito
Palparan was the Central Luzon Regional Commander.
The sinister implications of these cases are not difficult to see. UN
rapporteur Alston confirmed the existence of an AFP “Order of Battle”.
Most of those listed are known to have been subjected to surveillance and
harassment before they were killed or abducted. Prof. Lumbera appears to
be on this “Order of Battle”, if not an eminent candidate for inclusion.
The recent noticeable resurgence of extrajudicial killings and enforced
disappearances of progressive activists and human rights defenders
together with the intelligence operations on Professors Lumbera and Cruz
underscore the fact that the Arroyo government has not abandoned its
counter-insurgency policy under Oplan Bantay Laya, of attacking legal
personalities linked with the progressive movement.
There is no irony behind the fact that the specter of a police state
victimizing its citizens as exemplified by the Lumbera case, along with
persistent warnings that despite the elections hoopla, the cabal of
Arroyo-Ermita-Gonzales are plotting to declare, if not martial law, then a
“state of emergency” in order to retain power, are all taking place on the
occasion of the 37th anniversary of martial law. These only underscore the
fact that the overthrow of the Marcos Dictatorship and the so-called
restoration of democracy in 1986 had not decisively eradicated the roots
of tyranny and fascism in Philippine society.
We are starkly reminded that martial rule was not just about the
machinations of a power-hungry, greedy, devious and ruthless man,
Ferdinand E. Marcos, and not even of a “conjugal dictatorship” with his
wife Imelda, but about a system of elite democracy that was even then
falling apart at the seams.
The ruling classes and their foreign backers could no longer resort to
mere deception to keep a restive people in check but had to resort more
and more to coercive means; until the trappings of liberal democratic rule
itself - a functioning legislature, an independent judiciary and a free
press - had to be set aside with the declaration of one-man rule.
The reactions to the Lumbera incident, or lack of these, from those
aspiring to lead our country and promising lofty political and social
reforms once in power, are a useful, if revealing, gauge of what
importance they give to the protection and promotion of human rights.
Sec. Teodoro's statement not surprisingly echoes previous Malacañang and
AFP-DND denials of a state policy in effect. Senator Chiz Escudero, chair
of the Senate Human Rights Committee, rejected the “lame explanation” of
the Navy and said this incident “should not be swept under the rug”. But
the silence of other candidates, including those who parade themselves as
champions of democracy and human rights, certainly says a lot about how
high - or low - human rights and the rule of law are on their list of
How many more are under covert surveillance and in the AFP's “Order of
Battle”? How many more killings, disappearances, illegal arrests,
detention and torture will take place? What reason or assurance do we have
to believe that all these will end, even assuming a change of
administration, in 2010?
It will be up to a more politically aware electorate to demand from the
presidential candidates their stand on human rights and whether and how
they will put a stop to the impunity enjoyed by the masterminds and
perpetrators of human rights violations in this country. #
22 September 2009
A day after the commemoration of the 37th year of Martial Law
CEGP alarmed over military harassment of progressive artists
“Yesterday, we had just commemorated the 37th year of Martial Law in the
Philippines, vowing to never again let its terror rule our lives, when we
find ourselves in its claws once again, with the oppression experienced by
progressive artists such as National Artist Dr. Bienvenido Lumbera and
novelist Jun Cruz Reyes,” College Editors Guild of the Philippines
National President Vijae Alquisola said in a press conference in Quezon
According to Alquisola, the military harassment and surveillance
experienced by progressive artists is alarming. “It is martial rule all
over again without, of course, the official declaration. Artists are being
repressed; they are being prevented from practicing their craft. Which is
very alarming, especially for Drs. Lumbera and Reyes’ cases. They write
about current Philippine social realities; in fact, their works are often
used inside the academe. If such artists are being repressed, what does it
say about the current government?”
Alquisola opines that such reflects the deplorable state of student
journalists. “If acclaimed artists and writers are being treated like
criminals, what more the campus journalists? Campus press freedom
violations continue. Student publications such as The Catalyst
(Polytechnic University of the Philippines- Main), UPLB Perspective (UP
Los Baños) and Wesneco Torch (West Negros University) continue to suffer
from administrative intervention, hampering their ability to publish news
the students need to know.”
“Student journalists must unite with artists in upholding our freedom of
expression. Let us show this farcical ‘democratic’ government that we
value our democratic rights,” Alquisola concludes. ###
"To write is already to choose."
24 September 2009
For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540
Francis Uyanguren (Public Information Officer) 0915-9329407
MAZA HITS MILITARY HARASSMENT AGAINST ARTISTS AND ACADEMICIANS
“The repressive arm of the Arroyo administration seems to expand its
targets of surveillance not only to organizers and leaders of partylist
groups, church people, and journalists but now it also includes artists
and members of the academe.”
This is the statement of Rep. Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party today as
another case of military harassment has been confirmed by writer and
University of the Philippines professor Jun Cruz Reyes after National
Artist Bienvenido Lumbera exposed the same harassment earlier.
“What warrants the brazenness of the military in conducting these
activities? Maza said.
“The government agents are apparently attacking and violating the
constitutional rights of Reyes and Lumbrera and we cannot allow them to
continue this harassment,” Maza said.
Maza stressed that the military should stop conducting all these military
surveillance and should respect the rights of civilians. ###
Gabriela Women's Party National Headquarters
118 Scout Rallos, Brgy. Sacred Heart,
Telefax: (632) 9295342
Office of Gabriela Rep. Liza Largoza Maza
Rm 309 South Wing Bldg.,
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9316268
Office of Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan
Rm. 601 South Wing Bldg.
House of Representatives, Quezon City
Telefax: (632) 9315586
International Committee DEFEND
International Committee to DEFEND Filipino Progressives in Europe
23 September 2009
EUROPEAN COURT TO DECIDE ON 30 SEPTEMBER
SISON CASE VS COUNCIL OF EU ON TERRORIST BLACKLIST
The European Court of First Instance (ECFI) will issue in Luxembourg on 30
September its judgment on Case T-341/07 of Prof. Jose Maria Sison versus
the Council of the European Union (EU), in which he complains against the
maintenance of his name in the EU terrorist blacklist and demands the
removal of his name from said list.
The crucial point against the Council of the European Union is that it has
unjustly maintained Prof. Sison in the so-called terrorist blacklist
without any concrete evidence against him for any specific act of
Previously, the European court issued a court judgment on 11 July 2007 in
favor of Prof. Sison, ordering the Council of the EU to annul its decision
to blacklist Prof. Sison and declaring the Council as having infringed
Prof. Sison's rights of defense, the obligation to state reasons and the
right to effective judicial protection.
But before the issuance of the court judgment, the Council of the EU put
again the name of Prof. Sison in its blacklist on 28 June 2007, thus
prompting him to file a new complaint before the European Court to demand
his removal from the so-called terrorist blacklist on the ground that the
Council has infringed the following: 1) the obligation to state reasons
and make a truthful assessment, 2) Article 2 (3) of Regulation No.
2580/2001 and Article 1 (4) of Common Position 2001/931, 3) the principle
of proportionality and 4) the general principles of Community law and
The International DEFEND Committee is confident that Prof. Sison will win
his case again because of the previous judgment of the ECFI in favor of
Prof. Sison in 2007 and the dropping of the false charges of murder
against him in The Netherlands last 31 March 2009. The Dutch prosecution
service failed to establish any criminal offense of Prof. Sison.
Nicholas James Forwood is the presiding judge of the court in Case
T-341/07 of Prof. Jose Maria Sison versus the Council of the EU. According
to E. Coulon, the registrar of the court, the ECFI judgment shall be read
at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 in one of the ECFI courtrooms
at Kirchberg, Luxembourg, Rue du Fort Niedergrunewald L-2925.
Prof. Sison is represented by Jan Fermon as lead lawyer, the German
lawyers Eberhard Schultz and Wolfgang Kaleck, the Filipino lawyer Romeo T.
Capulong, the French lawyer Antoine Comte and Dutch lawyer Dundar Gurses.
The International DEFEND Committee provides moral and material support to
Prof. Jose Maria Sison.
Journalists are advised to seek entry to the courtroom at the reception
desk of the ECFI 15 minutes before the session. They can interview briefly
Prof. Jose Maria Sison and his lead counsel, Jan Fermon, outside of the
courtroom immediately after the issuance of the decision.
For the benefit of more journalists, there shall be a press conference of
Prof. Sison and his counsel Jan Fermon at 10:30 a.m. on 1 October 2009 at
the NDF International Office, Amsterdamsestraatweg 50,3513 AG Utrecht, The
Netherlands. The press conference shall be hooked up by skype to Manila
where Atty. Romeo T. Capulong will field further questions from the
Philippine mass media.
Journalists are invited by the International DEFEND Committee to attend
the verdict session on 30 September and the press conference on 1 October.
They are also requested to respond to Ms. Ruth de Leon, international
coordinator of International DEFEND Committee. Her phone number is
030-2310431 and her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
The International DEFEND Committee provides moral and material support to
Prof. Jose Maria Sison.###
In the final oral hearing of the Sison complaint against the EU terrorist
blacklist last 30 April 2009, the presiding judge took special note of the
fact that Prof. Sison had never been prosecuted in The Netherlands for any
specific act of terrorism. The lawyer of the Dutch government as
intervener in the case also admitted that the previous dropping of the
murder charges against him by the Dutch prosecution was a new element to
be taken into account.
The false charges of inciting the killing of Philippine military agents
was terminated by the Dutch prosecution service last 31 March 2009 due to
lack of evidence, as had been ruled previously in judgments of Dutch
judicial authorities (district court of The Hague, appellate court and the
The aforesaid termination of prosecution is relevant to the case before
the European court. It shows the lack of concrete evidence for the
allegation that Prof. Sison is Armando Liwanag or chairman of the
Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as well as for the allegation
that he is culpable for any violent act of the New People's Army, despite
the close collaboration of Dutch and Philippine political authorities for
several years in trying to criminalize him.
The Council has continuously failed to cite any decision of any competent
national judicial authority to prove Prof. Sison's involvement in any
specific act of terrorism. In desperation, the Council has misrepresented
as decisions on Prof. Sison's culpability for terrorism Dutch court
decisions on his application for political asylum in the 1990s and the
recent Dutch court decisions on the false charges of inciting murder.
In fact, the Dutch Council of State in 1992 and 1995 and the Dutch Law
Uniformity Chamber in 1997 ruled that Prof. Sison is a political refugee
under Article 1 A of the Refugee Convention because he has no criminal
liability as to disqualify him from being recognized as such. The District
Court of The Hague and the Appellate Court in 2007 ruled that there is no
sufficient evidence against him for the incitation of murder. The passing
statement that there are indications or clues that he plays a prominent
role in the CPP does not mean culpability for any criminal act of
Jan Fermon, lead counsel of Prof. Sison, sharply criticized the Council of
the EU and the Dutch government for misrepresenting judgments of the
District Court of the Hague on 13 September 2007 and the Dutch Appeal
Court on 3 October 2007 on false murder charges against Prof. Sison as
judgments condemning him for terrorism. In fact the court decisions
released Prof. Sison from detention on the ground of insufficent evidence
for the charges of inciting murder.
The so-called terrorist blacklisting of the CPP and NPA by the US, EU and
other foreign governments is completely anomalous because under Philippine
law the CPP is already legal by virtue of the repeal of the
Anti-Subversion Law in 1992 and because under Philippine law the acts of
revolutionary armed struggle by the NPA against military targets are
deemed as acts of rebellion and under international laws of war as acts of
belligerency in a civil war.
On the basis of the Marty report and recommendations, the Parliamentary
Assembly of the Council of Europe has condemned EU blacklisting procedures
as violative of human rights. Legal experts and human rights organizations
have cited the case of Prof. Sison to express outrage over the violation
of his fundamental rights.
Since being blacklisted as terrorist by the US, Dutch and other
governments in August 2002, Prof. Sison has been actually subjected to
punitive measures for more than seven years under the pretext of temporary
administrative restrictive measures. Civil death is imposed on him as he
is prohibited from having legal residence, earning an income, receiving a
living allowance, holding a house, having sufficient insurance coverage,
receiving old age pension and travelling freely.
By being merely blacklisted as a “terrorist”, Prof. Sison has suffered a
fate worse than that of a criminal convicted for murder or even the prime
suspects in 9-11 who are assured of their essential needs by UN Security
Council resolution 1452. Until now, the Dutch Finance Minister prohibits
Prof. Sison from having financial transaction of any kind and from
receiving any social payment for his essential human needs. Friends are
outraged by the inhumanity of the EU and the Dutch government and lend
Prof. Sison the resources for his subsistence and legal expenses.###
Telephone: 00-31-30-8895306 Fax: 00-31-847589930
Address: Amsterdamsestraatweg 50, 3513 AG Utrecht, The Netherlands