7 Killings in 6 weeks:
BS Aquino Government Continues  to Ignore Extrajudicial Killikngs


DOJ, Padre Faura


March 6, 2014







7 Killings in 6 weeks
BS Aquino govt continues to ignore extrajudicial killings

Karapatan today called on Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to put meaning to the word JUSTICE in her department and prosecute and punish all the perpetrators of human rights violations. "The BS Aquino government continues to turn a blind eye to the incidents of extrajudicial killings, now with seven victims in the first six weeks of 2014.”

“The trend is alarming and the DOJ is not doing anything about it. We are seeing a repeat of the Oplan Bantay Laya days of Gloria Arroyo," Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said.

Karapatan slammed the Aquino government on the escalating incidents of extrajudicial killings committed by state security forces. The group has documented 169 victims of extrajudicial killings and 179 frustrated killings under the Aquino regime. The group brought with them seven “corpses” in front of the DOJ to depict the seven victims of extrajudicial killings for this year.

The latest reported killing received by Karapatan is that of a Higaonon datu (tribal chieftain) Rolando Ambungan in Brgy. Lumbuyan, Sitio Balakalan, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte on January 31. A certain Eddie Ampiawan aka “commander Bawang” and two other men wearing masks shot Ambungan at around 7:00 p.m. while he was in his house’s veranda.

The killers were identified by Datu Ambungan's sister who saw Commander Bawang fired an M-14 rifle. Datu Ambungan's nephew Janmar Sulhayan was also hit during the shooting. Datu Ambungan was brought to a health facility but was declared dead on arrival.

Prior to the killing of Datu Ambungan, “Commander Bawang” tried to convince Datu Ambungan to be on their side and allow a mining company to operate in their community. On January 28, Datu Ambungan received a phone call from Commander Bawang who offered him Php 2 million. When Ambungan declined the offer, Bawang threatened to kill Ambungan. The whole phone conversation was heard on the speaker phone by Datu Ambungan and his sister Merlinda Sulhayan.

The six others killed from the period of January to February were:

· Marcelo Monterona, Barangay Elizalde, Maco town, Compostela Valley, killed January 5.

· Arman Padino, Hacienda Dolores in Pampanga, died on January 13.

· Henry C. Orbina, Cabid-an, Sorsogon City, killed January 30.

· Julieto Lauron, Haindangon, Valencia City, killed February 5.

· Rosauro Rayteran, Brgy. San Pascual, Libon, Albay, killed February 6

· Rasty Rayteran, 18, son of Rosauro, killed February 6

Most of those killed were peasants, indigenous people and a worker.

"With the 169 documented cases of extrajudicial killings under the BS Aquino government, none of the perpetrators were punished. In fact, even the charges against the killers of the Capion family, of Fr. Pops Tentorio, although with witnesses and strong evidence were dismissed. The killing spree continues as the government through its armed forces speeds up the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan," Palabay said. ###




Ecumenical group to report killings, govt neglect of typhoon victims in PH to UN

03/05/2014 - 11:40
Pastor Jerome Baris, National Coordinator, justice, peace and human rights program of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines
Atty. Ephraim Cortez, deputy secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers

The Ecumenical Voice for Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (EcuVoice), a network of human rights and faith-based organizations, will be participating in the 25th sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland from March 9-20, 2014 to raise the pressing human rights concerns in the Philippines, including the unabated extrajudicial killing of political activists and the Aquino administration’s incompetence in addressing the needs of typhoon Yolanda victims.

Pastor Jerome Baris, national coordinator of the justice, peace and human rights program of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, and Atty. Ephraim Cortez, deputy secretary general of the National Union of People’s Lawyers, will represent the network in the said UN sessions.

Baris and Cortez are also set to report on the increasing attacks against activists and rights defenders via fabricated charges filed against them by state security forces; killings of children and attacks against schools: on the violent and forced eviction of urban poor dwellers in San Roque, Quezon City and in San Juan City; and the harassment and threats against typhoon victims in the Panay region by units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“The human rights situation under the Aquino administration is as worrisome as the situation during the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Perpetrators from state security forces are not made accountable for their crimes, and much worse, they get juicy promotions, thereby keeping and perpetuating themselves in power. Instead of addressing the people’s urgent concerns and needs such as housing, relief and rehabilitation for typhoon victims, education, and livelihood, the Aquino administration suppresses the people’s voices through various schemes,” Baris and Cortez said.

Under the Aquino administration, human rights group Karapatan recorded 169 victims of extrajudicial killing, 825 victims of illegal arrest, 13,528 victims of demolition and 63, 077 victims of threats and harassment. (please check Karapatan’s latest report on the human rights situation http://karapatan.org/2013+Human+Rights+Report)

The delegation is a follow-up engagement to the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines in 2012 and the review of the Philippine government’s compliance to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. ###




Go after the killers of typhoon Pablo victim Cristina Jose
03/04/2014 - 14:45

“While the show is still on and the Aquino government is still ‘in the mood’ to look into cases of extrajudicial killings following the US government’s report on human rights violations, Karapatan dares Malacañang to look into the cases of killings of victims of typhoon Pablo, Cristina Jose and Pedro Tinga and punish their perpetrators,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Cristina Jose was killed a year ago, on March 4, while Pedro Tinga was slain nine months later, on December 6. Both were involved in a series of protests exposing corruption, inefficiency and discrimination in the distribution of relief goods among survivors of typhoon Pablo.

“The prosecution and jailing of the perpetrators of these killings are significant in the light of the recent red tagging of typhoon victims of Yolanda by the ‘rehabilitation czar’ himself, Gen. Panfilo Lacson,” Palabay added.

“We are alarmed on the government’s red tagging to justify the violations and cover up its negligence on the plight of the typhoon survivors. Such red baiting resulted to the killing of people like Cristina Jose and Pedro Tinga,” Palabay said.

On February 20, Lacson branded the protesting Yolanda victims as ‘communist pawns’. The Yolanda victims are in Manila to call the attention of the national offices of different government agencies in-charge with relief and rehabilitation in Yolanda-stricken areas.

Before Cristina Jose was killed, she also exposed the military’s control over the distribution of relief goods in her town and their use of red tagging tactics to deny the typhoon victims relief goods. She was a subject of military harassment. Cristina Jose was shot dead by unidentified men on a motorcycle. Tinga, also a Mansaka tribal leader like Jose, was killed in a military operation led by elements of the 71st Battalion Alpha Company-Philippine Army.

Cristina Jose was tagged by the 67th IB-PA commander Lt. Col. Krishnamurti Mortela as ‘councilor of the NPA’.

“None of the perpetrators of extrajudicial killing, 169 of them under the Aquino regime, has been prosecuted and jailed. Majority, if not all of those involved in the killing are from the units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its adjunct paramilitary groups,” Palabay concluded. ###



by Trina Federis

Unfurling the banner, the protesters
begin the march. The placards ascend,
so do fists. It is as if they are
fighting against the heat.


But fists have their own logic.
They rise when others fall--- bodies,
dignity, rights. And how they rise.
They rise as if waves of water,
towering before crashing before
rising again. They rise like seedlings,
shooting up, overcoming the darkness
and safety of the earth. Or mountains,
slow, but the triumph over gravity,


The fists rise and fall, rise and fall:
the beating of the collective heart.
The heart that never tires.
The heart that is faithful.
The heart that beats for a
red sunrise.







Karapatan condemns the vigilante-style harassment and red tagging of activists, rights workers in Ifugao
03/03/2014 - 13:21

"This is reminiscent of the situation under the Cory Aquino regime, when military-backed vigilante groups are doing the dirty work of counter-insurgency," Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general said in reaction to reports of posters found in Ifugao province signed by a certain "Ifugao People's Council" labelling leaders of people’s organizations and partylists, including human rights worker Jude Baggo, secretary general of Cordillera Human Rights Alliance, as members of the New People's Army (NPA).

"This time, under the regime of Cory's son, Noynoy, this form of harassment continues," Palabay added.

Posters with the heading "Rupa Ken Nagan ti NPA nga Agsuswledo" (Faces and names of the New People's Army receiving salaries) were spotted on February 26, 2014 in markets and waiting sheds in different municipalities in Ifugao.

"This is alarming because this form of labelling often leads to graver human rights violations such as killings, illegal arrests and disappearances. Many activists had been subjected to different forms of rights violations after being red-tagged," Palabay said. "If anything untoward happen to these victims of political persecution, should they be subjected to graver threat or their rights to life and liberty violated, we will hold the BS Aquino government accountable," Palabay warned.

Baggo, with Katribu National Chairperson Beverly Longid, Cordillera Peoples Alliance regional staff member Emerson Soriano, Makabayan leaders Liza Maza, Teddy Casiño and Satur Ocampo, National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ Chairperson of the Negotiating Panel Luis Jalandoni and Prof. Jose Maria Sison were tagged as 'enemies of the people'.

Baggo was again labelled as 'NPA brains'. In October 2012, the 5th Infantry Division and 86th Infantry Battalion came out with a Target List, where Baggo was also named as "Utak ng NPA" (Brains of the NPA).

“These acts of political persecution and the continuing practice of target or order of battle lists by the military are among the human rights violations that persist under Noynoy Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan, to silence human rights defenders and political activists,” Palabay said, referring to Karapatan’s documentation bearing 63, 077 victims of threats, harassment and intimidation by state security forces under Aquino.

Karapatan called on Pres. Aquino “to stop the redtagging and political persecution of activists and to put an end to Oplan Bayanihan.”




Human rights abuses in PH abetted by US
03/02/2014 - 13:00

Karapatan said the US State Department report on the human rights abuses in the Philippines is “hypocritical”, saying the US is also responsible for the said abuses through military aid, deployment of troops and a counterinsurgency program that is the blueprint of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan.

“The US government foments human rights abuses in the Philippines by filling up the military war chest of the Aquino government. The US military aid is used for the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan which already victimized thousands of Filipinos especially in the rural areas,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay. She cited the $40 million military aid to the Philippines promised by State secretary John Kerry in December when he visited the Philippines.

Palabay said, “Impunity persists precisely because of US backing. For its own political and economic interests, the US propped up regimes which are human rights violators—from the time of the Marcos dictatorship up to the present.”

The report, which came out two months after Kerry’s $40 million pledge, is “deceitful” according to Palabay. “It is image building. The US government is trying to soften its image among Filipinos and also in the international community as it prepares for an increased and permanent presence in the Philippines for its vaunted Asian pivot.”

In an article written by Azadeh Shahshahani and Vanessa Lucas of the National Lawyers Guild in the US, they said that US military aid to the Philippines rose to $30 million in 2012, from $11.9 million in 2011, signaling “U.S. government's renewed support for Oplan Bayanihan, the Aquino administration's counter-insurgency program and the latest attempt to end a 45-year-old insurgency led by the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).” [seehttp://www.thenation.com/blog/178453/how-us-aid-fosters-human-rights-violations-philippines#]

“Oplan Bayanihan has adopted a similar framework and similar techniques to Oplan Bantay Laya (counter-insurgency program under Macapagal-Arroyo administration), and has led to human rights violations,” they wrote.

Not a ‘communist propaganda’

Palabay took note of the “prompt response” of the Aquino government and its agencies to the report by the US government while practically ignoring the killings that have been going on since the Aquino’s presidency. Palabay recalled how BS Aquino “immediately dismissed documented human rights violations perpetrated by State forces as ‘communist propaganda’.

From July 2010 to December 2013, Karapatan documented 169 victims of extrajudicial killing. In the first six weeks of 2014, Karapatan already documented six victims of extrajudicial killing.

“Impunity exists because there is not one perpetrator arrested, prosecuted and jailed—they are promoted. The Commission on Human Rights cannot simply agree to the report. It is equally accountable because it issued clearances to military officials promoted by BS Aquino, despite pending court cases against them,” Palabay said.