In the middle of New York City's snow storm:

Fil-Am human rights advocates protest for the release

of 43 illegally detained healthcare workers

 

February 11, 2010

 

 

   
   
   
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Photos courtesy of BAYAN - USA
           
           

 

11 February 2010

In the Middle of NYC's Snow Storm, Fil-Am Human Rights Advocates Protest for the Release of 43 Illegally Detained Healthcare Workers

Contact: Cris Hilo, Bayan Northeast Coordinator, cshilo@gmail.com

New York, NY- Although over 9 inches of snow was falling on New York City yesterday, Filipino community members rallied in front of the Philippine Consulate in NYC to protest the illegal detainment of the 43 Healthcare workers in Rizal, Philippines. Members of BAYAN USA and National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON) picketed the Consulate to raise awareness to the local community.

Even though it was blistering cold weather, community members gathered outside the Philippine Consualte to demonstrate against the current human rights violations in the Philippines clamoring "FREE FREE the 43!" and holding signs bearing the words "END IMPUNITY NOW!". Some members of the contingent spent their lunch breaks in below zero temperatures in solidarity for the 43 victims of illegal detention and torture.

"It is of utmost importance to raise awareness about this situation because every minute that they are in military custody, we have no idea what type of torture, sexual harassment, or abuse is being done to them. Despite the Philippine Constitution that expressly prohibits these types of actions, such events are not unknown to occur in contemporary times. The event brings back memories of past events during the martial law years," stated Berna Ellorin, chairperson of BAYAN USA and member of New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP).

This action was one part of a simultaneous series of demonstrations by BAYAN USA and NAFCON all over the nation, including San Francisco and Los Angeles.

BAYAN USA, is an alliance composed of Fil-Am progressive groups nationwide. National Alliance for Filipino Concerns is engaged in community-based and worker-based organizing and leadership development across the United States. Organizations that were present at the picket include Philippine Forum, Anakbayan NY/NJ, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment (FiRE), and New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP).

 

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10 February 2010
In front of Philippine Consulate
New York, USA

Kahit na may bagyo, kahit na may unos...

Representatives of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP), Philippine Forum, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), BAYAN USA, GABRIELA USA, Filipinas for Rights & Empowerment (FiRE) and Anakbayan in the US East Coast trooped to the Philippine Consulate in New York for a quick protest action despite snowstorm to express condemnation on the illegal arrest (without warrant) of 43 community health workers in Morong, Rizal, Philippines by the Philippine Military last February 6. The community health workers were baselessly accused of being NPA's/communists and were subjected to torture and are still in detention as of press time.

Please sign the online petition for the immediate and unconditional release of the 43 community health workers: http://www.petitiononline.com/Free43/petition.html

FREE THE 43 COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS ILLEGALLY ARRESTED, DETAINED & TORTURED BY THE PHILIPPINE MILITARY/GOV'T!!!

STOP TORTURE IN THE PHILIPPINES!!!

NO TO IMPUNITY!!!

JUSTICE FOR THE MORONG 43, MELISSA ROXAS AND ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!!!
Location: In front of the Philippine Consulate in New York

 

     
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President Barack Obama
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Sec. of State Hillary Clinton
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Senator Barbara Boxer
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Senator Dianne Feinstein
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(202) 224-3841

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacañang 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

Atty. Agnes Devanadera
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
Trunkline 523-84-81 loc.214
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: soj@doj.gov.ph

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

Norberto Gonzales
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

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
Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org
 

We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the "Morong 43!"

February 8, 2010

We, the undersigned, strongly condemn the Philippine police and military’s illegal raid and abduction of 43 community health workers and doctors who were conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal, Philippines on Saturday, February 6, 2010. The health workers and doctors administer health services to poor communities, and were participating in a First Responders Training, sponsored by the Community Medicine Foundation, Inc. (COMMED) and Council for Health and Development (CHD). Their personal belongings, as well the training materials used, were all confiscated by the military.

According to reports by the media and the human rights alliance KARAPATAN, approximately 300 soldiers and police of the Southern Luzon Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Rizal Philippine National Police (PNP) forcibly entered the farmhouse of Dr. Melecia Velmonte at 6:15 AM. The training participants were then lined up, violently frisked, blindfolded, and taken to Camp Capinpin, headquarters of the 202nd Infantry Brigade, AFP. The health workers have been held incommunicado since then, and have been denied their right to legal counsel. A team from the Commission on Human Rights was also blocked from seeing the detainees.

We condemn the government for sending the message that Filipino doctors and nurses are welcome to go abroad to work, but they are unjustly targeted and arrested if they stay in the Philippines to serve the poor and the underserved. These illegally arrested and detained health workers are the first responders that have tirelessly served the communities affected by the flooding and landslides in the aftermath of Typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng last year.

We are deeply concerned for the safety of these healthcare professionals who have committed their lives to serve the underserved communities in the Philippines. We are equally concerned that it is our tax dollars that are being sent to finance the Philippine government and its’ military in on-going operations that are clear violations of basic human rights. We support the following demands so that they can immediately return to their families and the communities that they serve without further violations of their human rights.

1. The immediate release of the health workers who are illegally arrested and illegally detained at Camp Capinpin, Tanay, Rizal.
2. The government must ensure the safety of the victims and that they are not harmed; their belongings be returned immediately to them.
3. 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 investigate the raid and illegal arrest of the health workers conducting health skills training in Morong, Rizal.
4. The military to stop the labeling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”
5. 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.
6. The immediate withdrawal of US military aid to the Philippine government and military that continue to perpetrate violations of human and civil rights.


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SERVE THE PEOPLE! Makibaka! Huwag Matakot!

Anakbayan (in english: "sons and daughters of the nation") is a comprehensive mass organization that aims to build unity among Filipino youth -- immigrant, US-born/raised, student, working, LGBT, women, artists, etc -- striving for nationalism and democracy and for the promotion of cultural awareness and the advancement of rights, welfare, and social justice. All Filipino youth are agents of social change, so all Filipino youth are welcome to join.

Anakbayan New York/New Jersey is a full-fledged chapter of Anakbayan in the Philippines and a member organization of BAYAN USA, MIGRANTE International, National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON), International Migrants' Alliance (IMA) and International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS).

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Email: anakbayan.nynj@gmail.com
Blogspot: http://anakbayan-nynj.blogspot.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=9868109595

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News Release
February 10, 2010
Reference: Yoko Liriano, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, email: nychrp@gmail.com

Arrest of 43 Another Case of Torture as a State Policy-- NYCHRP

NEW YORK-- A local human rights advocacy organization denounced the arrest and ongoing maltreatment of the detained 43 health workers in a Philippine military camp as another example of the Philippine military's routine use of torture in its counter-insurgency campaign known as Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL). It called for the immediate and unconditional release of the health workers affiliated with the Community Medicine Development Foundation (COMMED) and Council for Health and Development (CHD) who are currently still in detention in Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal.

"The Arroyo government acts as if it is above International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law," states Gary Labao of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP). "Since OBL's first launch in 2002 and re-launch in 2007, one of its distinctive features is the targeting of unarmed civilians critical of government policies in the name of annihilating armed insurgency in the countryside. The arrest of the 43 health workers, who were conducting a medical training seminar to service of the poor, shows how the Philippine military employs arbitrary arrests, denies legal counsel, and inflicts torture upon civilians, forcing them into 'admit' they are armed rebels. This so-called 'evidence' gathered by Philippine security forces should not be deemed admissible in any court of law."

The rights group also recalled the case of Melissa Roxas, a US citizen and community health worker from Los Angeles, whose testimony to the Philippine Supreme Court last year stated that she was abducted, blindfolded, and tortured for six days by captors who were forcing her to admit she was a member of the New Peoples Army (NPA). Though the Philippine Supreme Court denied a petition filed by Roxas to conduct a investigation of Fort Magsaysay, headquarters of the 7th Infantry Division of the Philippine military and the location where Roxas believes she was detained, it ruled to grant Roxas a writ of amparo (protection) that validated the claim of abduction and torture based on supporting testimony from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and reports from medical examiners.

“What the Arroyo government repeatedly ignores is the mandate of the various covenants on human rights it has ratified which unconditionally entitles armed groups such as the NPA protection from any form of torture or degrading treatment,” Labao added.

In its concluding observations of the Philippine delegation's presentation during its 42nd session in Geneva last April, the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UN CAT) expressed concern over the "routine and widespread use of torture and ill-treatment of suspects in police custody." The Philippines ratified the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment of Punishment in 1986, the same year that marked the fall of the Marcos dictatorship.

Two international non-governmental organizations (NGO's)— the International Federation of Actions by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (FIACAT) and Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT) submitted an alternative report on the Philippines to the UN CAT that same year.

"Torture and ill-treatments are often committed [by the Philippine military] in order to extract confessions...and obtain forced testimonies," the 2009 FIACAT-ACAT report on the Philippines states.

The same report also outlines the practice of "arrests with excessive violence" and "the use of fabricated charges" as a "method to keep targeted persons in unjustifiable detention."

NYCHRP also warned that the upcoming May 2010 elections are another indication of escalating violence in the country, as demonstrated by the clash of governing warlords competing for a gubernatorial seat in Maguindanao that resulted in the gruesome Ampatuan Massacre last November 23rd.

"OBL and the case of the Morong 43 validates of the UN CAT's published observations on the Philippines," Labao added. "But as long as a culture of impunity persists in the Philippines, allowing the perpetrators of arbitrary arrests and torture to roam unaccounted, the international community plays a role in supporting the people's movement in the Philippines for the advancement and protection of basic human rights and dignity." ###
 

--
New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
www.nychrp,org
email: nychrp@gmail.com

 

     
     
           
     
     
     

 

Streetwise
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Study in contrasts

The contrast is too stark to be missed. “But they are NPA (New People’s Army)!” Thus did Executive Secretary and former General Eduardo Ermita justify the arbitrary arrest of 43 health workers and professionals attending a training seminar in Morong, Rizal last Saturday, their torture, subjection to indignities, deprivation of legal counsel, and denial of visits by relatives and officers of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

This is the same Secretary Ermita who, along with other Arroyo henchmen, immediately invoked the right to due process of the Ampatuans, Arroyo’s warlord allies in Muslim Mindanao suspected to be behind the gruesome mass murder of relatives and supporters of their political enemies, a bevy of media personnel as well as innocent bystanders.

To be labeled as NPA, ergo an “enemy of the state”, is tantamount to a death sentence (via extrajudicial execution) or being subjected to the worst human rights violations by state security forces with the blessings of Malacañang. On the other hand, to be a valued political ally of Mrs. Arroyo, able to deliver hundreds of thousands of fraudulently acquired votes for her presidential bid, to beat back government opposition in an entire region and to terrorize a dirt-poor and restless populace is to be dealt with kid gloves despite being the prime suspects in the most heinous of crimes.

According to General Ermita there was nothing illegal in the arrest of the 43 - two of whom are doctors, two others a nurse and midwife and the rest community health workers - because this is based on solid intelligence information. If this were the case, why were the combined AFP/PNP raiding force of 300 who came in four military trucks and two armored personnel carriers, unable to present any valid search or arrest warrants? Why did they conduct their search of the private resort owned by Dr. Melecia Velmonte, an infectious disease expert at the UP-Philippine General Hospital, to come up with so-called evidence without any impartial witnesses to corroborate their find.

The same military intelligence that led to the "discovery" of a bundle of arms and explosives in a health training seminar had failed to detect an entire arsenal of weapons, ammunition and even armored vehicles in the Ampatuans' possession. It took the declaration of emergency rule and eventually martial law before the authorities could come up with anything substantial against the Ampatuans.

And this same AFP-PNP combine that willfully allowed the Ampatuans to commit the massacre, if they did not actually participate in it by refusing to provide security to the prospective victims, has turned its brutal, coercive power on hapless doctors and health workers whose only intent was to learn how to care for the sick in a setting of want and government neglect.

In order to give the Gestapo military and police time to manufacture more evidence and extract tortured confessions from their victims, the 43 were blindfolded and shackled, held incommunicado, denied food and toilet privileges for maximum discomfort, and deprived of mandatory visits by their legal counsel and CHR officers.

After two days, when the relatives of some of the arrested were allowed in, they were given a very short time to inquire into the condition of their loved ones and always in the intimidating presence of their captors for which reason many could not speak about the despicable treatment they had received.

While refusing to present the 43 to the media, the AFP keeps issuing press releases in a ludicrous attempt to concoct a story about their latest victims: that they were undergoing training in bomb manufacture; that the 60-year-old physician in the group, Dr. Alex Montes, is actually the NPA operative assigned to kill retired General Jovito Palparan, the bloodthirsty general who confesses to “inspiring” his men to kill NPA suspects vigilante style; that several of the women have been identified as having participated in NPA attacks.

And lo and behold, the AFP reported that campaign materials of the progressive party list Bayan Muna were also seized from the group. All the better to keep up the military’s vilification campaign against the party that has successfully won several seats in Congress since 2001 and is now fielding a senatorial candidate? Why limit the propaganda to the AFP’s having chalked up a big blow against the NPA when you can also, by innuendo, implicate Bayan Muna, currently in the thick of the electoral campaign, as an NPA “front” and scare away potential voters?

The raid against the health workers can only be seen as part of the Arroyo regime’s propensity to crack down on those who oppose its policies and its illegitimate rule. The Council for Health and Development, under whose auspices the training was undertaken, is a non-government organization committed to rendering health services to poor and underserved communities. They are critical of government policies and programs that underlie the people’s poverty, ill health and inadequate, low quality health services. As advocates of community-based health care, health training for community volunteers is a staple of their program.

The practice of treating “NPA” or “NPA suspects” as “enemies of the state” and therefore undeserving of due process rights and, more important, non-derogable human rights such as the right to life, against being tortured, against unjust arrest and detention, etc. has brought about a situation wherein military and police officials up to the Executive Secretary can blithely justify their fascist actuations on their mere say so that someone is an NPA.

But more than the fascist military mindset, it is the overweening brutality, ruthlessness and arrogance of power that characterizes the Arroyo regime, in combination with its rabid craving and desperation to remain in power that has cultivated and nurtured the culture of impunity for perpetrating such horrendous atrocities.

With elections crucial to the fate of the Arroyo cabal just around the corner, there is reason to fear that the worst is still to come. #

 

     
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PRESS RELEASE
February 12, 2010

On the Habeas Corpus Case of Morong 43 vs. AFP
Proof of Illegally Obtained Evidence Enough to Free 43 Health Workers

The League of Students declared today that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has absolutely no case against the forty-three health workers illegally arrested and detained in Morong, Rizal last weekend. The student group pressed for the immediate release of the Morong 43 during a protest action outside the habeas corpus proceedings at the Court of Appeals.

“If the AFP is relying on the illegally obtained and planted evidence of supposed explosives and firearms discovered at the Morong resthouse to build their spurious case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, they are completely out of their minds and ignorant even of their own laws. ” This was the statement of Terry Ridon, National Chairperson of the League of Filipino Students, as the LFS explained that illegally obtained evidence through illegal searches and seizures are completely inadmissible in any criminal prosecution.

Ridon said the inadmissibility is due to the historic propensity of security forces to plant evidence during illegal searches especially against political dissenters, similar to the experience during the Marcos dictatorship.

“The supposed filing of mere illegal possession of firearms and explosives is incontrovertible proof that the AFP has no case against the community health workers they shamelessly label as NPA rebels. Had they been truly confident, they would have filed outright rebellion charges, but they have not.” Ridon said.

He said that on the basis of illegally obtained evidence being inadmissible to prove the charges of the AFP and their inability to show that they indeed have a serious case, the Morong 43 should be released immediately.

Ridon also lambasted the supposed confession of one of the members of Morong 43 as being an NPA member while accusing the others of being NPA members themselves.

“Under the conditions of torture and coercion in Camp Capinpin as stated by the Commission on Human Rights, such an admission can certainly be expected. It is nonetheless of zero probative value to make the case of the AFP because admissions can only bind the ones making it and not other persons. Moreover, confessions done in the absence of counsel are absolutely inadmissible as evidence, and such was the case with the Morong 43.”

Ridon again reitereated that the AFP personnel involved in the illegal arrest, search and detention of the Morong 43 shall be liable under international humanitarian law for targeting medical personnel uninvolved in armed conflict.

“These AFP personnel no different form the Nazi Gestapo and are thus war criminals of a modern kind.” Ridon finally said.

Reference:

Terry Ridon, National Chairperson, League of Filipino Students
09158513904, teridon18@gmail.com
 

     
           

 

BAYAN
Southern Mindanao Region
Regional Office: Door #2, RGU Apartment, Medical Drive, Bajada, Davao City
Contact #: (082) 224-2642 Email Ad: bayan.smr@gmail.com

Press Release
February 11, 2009

Nogie's defense for Palparan, Alcover contemptible--Bayan

Davao City – Bayan lambasted here today Cong. Prospero “Boy” Nograles for utterly defending a known “butcher” in the name of Jovito Palparan and Pastor Alcover saying “ Nograles has bear boldly his link with Palparan and this is indeed alarming for the city’s peace and order.”

"Speaker Nograles's defense over Gen. Palparan is contemptible. Remember that it is the same Gen. Palparan who has now figured with the arrest, continued detention and torture of 43 health workers in Morong, Bataan. One of the arrested, 61-year old and hypertensive Dr. Alex Montes, who is a church worker for the United Churches of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and official of the Community Medicine Development Foundation, was falsely accused as an assassin of Gen. Palparan. Dr. Montes was electrocuted and repeatedly hit on the chest while under interrogation," Bayan-SMR spokesperson John Birondo said.

Boy Nograles was quoted in today’s news reacting on the alleged move of the City Council to pass a resolution declaring Bantay partylist representative Jovito Palparan and Anad partylist representative Pastor Alcover persona-non-grata in Davao City.

“Unfounded or not his statements are, Boy Nograles’ expression of sympathy for Palparan and Alcover is an affront to the dignity of the people of Davao City. The attacks of Palparan and Alcover against the city are of serious gravity and such display of arrogance deserves the highest possible form of condemnation,” Birondo said.

“Not only that Boy Nograles acted in betrayal of the people’s trust, his statement was an affirmation of his conspired effort with Palparan and Alcover to manuever the upcoming local elections and take advantage of the propaganda against City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and his local political party Hugpong sa Tawong Lungsod,” Birondo added.

“What is more alarming are the excesses of the dirty politics being employed by Boy Nograles and his camp. The capacity of Jovito Palparan to perpetuate violence is a known fact and his efforts to continue with his fascist strategies are slowly becoming evident in the city,” Birondo stressed.

Palparan and Alcover recently issued a statement revealing their efforts to revive “Alsa Masa”. “This implies a dangerous scenario in the practice of the people’s freedom of association. The resurrection of Alsa Masa is meant to neutralize the progressive groups which are tagged by Palparan and Alcover as fronts of the communist movement,” Birondo said.

“We anticipate the conspiracy of Nograles, Palparan, and Alcover to create havoc in the city. These cold blooded people have proven all these times their disrespect for human rights and greed for power. Their political motives are evidently self-perpetuating and will always be against the will and welfare of the people,” Birondo ended.

For Reference: John Birondo, Spokesperson, Bayan-SMR, Contact #: 09396568925


visit our blog at: bayansmr.blogspot.com

 

     
           

 

League of Filipino Students
Jacinto St. Davao City, Mindanao, Philippines
09108124204

Students jeer “Secretary of Arroyo’s Defense"; slams Gonzales's bigotry

Press Release
February 11, 2010

DAVAO CITY – Students led by youth groups League of Filipino Students (LFS) and Anakbayan staged a lightning rally yesterday as Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzales spoke in a forum on at the Ateneo de Davao University.

Ironically, as he urged for a democratic election, Gonzales was interrupted by students who called him as "Secretary of Arroyo’s Defense" and lambasted his brainchild, the government's counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL) as having victimized thousands of youth and civilians.

“How can someone who masterminds political killings in the country represent democracy?” said Karlos Manlupig, LFS-Southern Mindanao spokesperson. “Hindi makakalimutan ng mamamayan na isa si Gonzales sa arkitekto ng Oplan Bantay Laya 2. Hindi makakalimutan ng kabataan ang libu-libong walang-awang pinatay sa ilalim ng rehimeng Arroyo.”

The student protesters were immediately dispersed by security personnel. One student was dragged and was forced to surrender his school ID. Gonzales blatantly tagged Manlupig as a communist whom he said belongs to a group who wants him dead.

“Gonzales is a bigot. His ideas are not only preposterous, his anti-communist tirade belongs to the dustbin of history, as old as US Senator Mc Carthy in the 1950s. We belong to a legal organization fighting for just demands. By publicly declaring that we are communists, Gonzales signed our death sentence, as it is an indirect order for the state mercenaries to arrest, torture and kill us,” Manlupig stressed.

The youth insisted that the objective of Gonzales in the city is to further manipulate the election to serve the interest of Arroyo.

“The presence of Arroyo’s most rabid dogs, including Palparan, Alcover, Nograles and Gonzales, in the city means that Arroyo is desperate to cling to power,” stressed Manlupig. “But we warn you. The youth will not think twice to defend their rights.”

“We will fight these demons until Arroyo and her minions be severely punished,” Manlupig said.

OBL 2, the controversial counter-insurgency program of the US-Arroyo Regime, brought havoc among the citizenry killing thousands of activists, church people, social workers and innocent civilians. As May 10 elections and June 2010 deadline of Arroyo to crush the revolutionary movement nears, massive military operations occur in the regions particularly in Southern Mindanao. ###

Reference:
Karlos Manlupig
Regional Spokesperson
League of Filipino Students – Southern Mindanao Region
09108124204, lfs.smr@gmail.com
 

           

 

PRESS RELEASE
February 12, 2010
REFERENCE: Roy Morilla, Public Information Officer (0907-418-0098)

Farmers group condemns latest illegal arrest of fisherfolk-Anakpawi s leader in Rizal

Four days after the illegal arrests of doctors and health workers in Morong, Rizal, another militant was arrested in Binangonan, Rizal simply because he carried with him an ID card of the Anakpawis Partylist. The militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) and Tanggol Magsasaka (Peasant Network for Land, Justice and Human Rights) condemned the illegal arrest by the Binangonan Philippine National Police (PNP) and said that this is pure harassment and persecution as the police are trying to connect him with the New People's Army (NPA).

Arrested was Pamalakaya (fisherfolk) organizer Ronel Arambulo, 28 years old and also the former chair of Anakpawis Partylist – Binangonan chapter. He was arrested later 10 pm, February 10 while on his way to Pamalakaya-Binangon an staffhouse by elements of PNP conducting a drug-related saturation drive. Arambulo was detained at the Binangonan Police station around 11pm without clear charges. When police learned that he is a leader of Anakpawis Partylist, they turned over his mobile phone to the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (ISAFP) based at the said town.

"This is dreadful act of violating basic rights, arresting without charges, detention without basis and theft of personal property," said Antonio Flores, KMP Spokesperson and Tanggol Magsasaka Co-Convenor.

Tanggol Magsasaka reported that Arambulo was charged with vagrancy but anxious about the turn-over of his mobile phone to the military.

"We know that vagrancy is penalized only by detention overnight, at present he is detained for more than 24 hours, thus, this is abuse and violation of his basic rights. Moreover, the military is popular in fabricating charges in order for militants to be detained for longer period," said Flores .

KMP and Tanggol Magsasaka believe that this is part of the Arroyo government's heightened political persecution on militants, such as implemented on the Morong 43 or the illegaly arrested doctors and health workers presently detained at Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal. The doctors and health workers belong to the Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD), Council for Health Development (CHD) and Community Medicine Foundation, Inc. (COMMED) who were tortured and held incommunicado for days.

The groups added that this is to "desperately oppose" the increasing popularity of progressive partylists such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis Partylist and Gabriela Women's Party for the coming elections. It was reported that Bayan Muna is being implicated with Morong 43 and in Binangonan, Arambulo's Anakpawis ID card is being used as evidence for his connection to the NPA.

"The Binangonan police really needs human rights education as they are dumb on the process of arresting people. Arambulo was arrested without charge, detained for more than a day for a light offense such as vagrancy," said Flores .

"Also, the police officers do not formally introduce themselves, as Pamalakaya and Anakpawis leaders are asking for the names of the arresting officers, Binangonan police are withholding them," added Flores.

"We support the plan of Pamalakaya national office to file charges against those who illegally arrested and detained him. We call for justice for the violations of Arambulo's rights by the PNP and all of the victims of human rights abuses," called Flores . #

 

           

BONUS TRACKS

Setting the record straight

           

 The sign says:

THANK YOU! PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO FOR THIS FOOTBRIDGE

The Gabriela signs says:

THIS FOOTBRIDGE WAS BUILT BY THE TAXES PAID BY THE PEOPLE!

The above photo courtesy of Gabriela

           
           
     
       
           
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