Picket rally at the Manila Regional Trial Court to protest the trumped-up charges
against peace advocates and human rights defenders




April 1, 2014






News Release
April 1, 2014
Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general
Bonifacio Ilagan, SELDA vice-chairperson

Rights groups slam trumped-up charges vs activists, peace consultants in talks with government

Rights groups held a protest action in front of the Manila Regional Trial Court Tuesday morning, when the court conducted a clarificatory hearing on the multiple murder case filed against former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and peace consultants in talks with the government, including Randall Echanis, Rafael Baylosis, Vicente Ladlad, and recently arrested consultants Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria.

“The revival of these trumped up charges against Ocampo and the peace consultants signals the intensification of political persecution under the Aquino administration. These were charges hatched under the auspices of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG), which was deemed by United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston as a means by which the government prosecutes and punishes “enemies of the state,“ said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.

Palabay said that while the IALAG was abolished due to extensive campaign of human rights groups and the international community, the policy and practice of filing trumped-up criminalized charges continues under the Aquino government.

Karapatan has documented 570 cases of illegal arrests and detention from June 2010 to December 2013. The group also documented 427 political prisoners, as of December 2013, including 152 persons arrested under Aquino’s term. Palabay added that almost all of cases, like those of detained NDFP consultants, are criminal charges spuriously filed based on highly questionable evidence and fabricated testimonies.

“Leaders of people’s organizations in Negros, for instance, are constantly threatened with fabricated criminal charges of the AFP and the PNP. Under the Aquino government, the assault on political dissenters through the filing of trumped-up charges is on the rise. In an attempt to silence opposition, they make up all sort of charges using the wildest of their imagination,” Palabay said.

Organization of ex-political detainees SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto), of which Ocampo is board member, also condemned the revival of charges against Ocampo and consultants who are performing tasks in the peace talks on the side of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

“How the police and military have arrested, demonized and dealt with the latest political prisoners Benito Tiamzon, Wilma Austria and their five companions, and the arrest of the late Ka Roger Rosal’s daughter, is vintage martial law practice. The “planting” of evidence has been a long-standing practice of the police and military, extensively used during the Martial Law period. They use this to justify illegal arrests and detention. They also exploit the use of John and Jane Does, even aliases, to charge anyone as respondents to a case,” Bonifacio Ilagan, vice chairperson of SELDA, said.

Ilagan, who was imprisoned during the Martial Law years, recalled “As early as the 1970s, I remember being accosted with fellow activists after a rally, brought to the police precinct at UN Avenue and slapped with illegal possession of explosives, even if we only carried banners and streamers.”

“Circumstances of arrests and detention are highly anomalous, and the so-called evidences improbable,” said Ilagan, “human rights lawyers call the circumstances cited in trumped-up charges as beyond human experience, like soldiers’ testimonies that they identified the respondents by virtue of seeing their faces in alleged military encounters.”
Karapatan and SELDA joined calls to free all political prisoners, and demanded that the Aquino government stop filing trumped-up charges.

“Trumped-up charges are obviously meant to stifle the freedom of movement of political dissenters. This is the bigger crime. The Aquino government should stop silencing its critics, or his regime is bound to face bigger protests for violating human rights here and there,” Palabay ended. ###






Bounty for Tiamzon and Austria, a one-time bigtime organized racket

“Mukhang pinagkakakitaan pa ng gobyerno at militar ang iligal na pag-aresto at pagdukot ng mga peace consultants, mga aktibista at ordinaryong sibilyan,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the 10-million peso bounty each for the arrest of Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria.

“The Aquino government’s practice of criminalizing political acts to cover up the illegal arrests of peace consultants, activists and civilians is legitimized by the highly questionable Joint memorandum 2012-14 of the Department of National Defense and of Interior and Local Government,” added Palabay.

Karapatan called the reward system as ‘one-time, big-time’ organized racket of the DILG and the DND and the list, a “secret hit list” akin to Gloria Arroyo’s Order of Battle.

The said hit-list carries the name of 236 alleged communist leaders with total reward money of P426 million for their capture. It was the same list that legitimized the illegal arrest, torture and detention of security guard Rolly Panesa, whom the military alleged CPP-NPA leader “Benjamin Mendoza” for P5.6 million. The money was awarded by the AFP to an unidentified person.

The same violation, Karapatan said, was committed against Oligario Sebas, a farmer from Manjuyod, Negros Oriental, who was also jailed because the AFP’s claimed he was “Felimon Mendrez”, allegedly a CPP leader in Negros.” The AFP said Sebas had a P5.2 million bounty on his head and was on the said list.

Also, the said DND-DILG Joint Order was used to legitimize the enforced disappearance, illegal arrest, and detention of Estelita T. Tacalan, a 60-year old peasant organizer and rural health worker in Misamis Oriental. Tacalan was reported missing on April 27, 2013 and was surfaced more than a week later at the Dipolog City Jail.

Tiamzon and Austria, with P10million each for their capture are in the said list, among other detained and missing peace consultants.

“The reward/bounty system is dangerous because it can be used to justify the victimization of any person so the military and police may get the reward money," Palabay said.

In earlier statements, Karapatan lambasted the joint memorandum saying “it is no different from the secret hit list of Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya which resulted to thousands of cases of human rights violations ranging from illegal arrest and detention, enforced disappearances and political killings.”

Karapatan called for the scrapping of the DND-DILG’s secret hitlist saying the “AFP should also be held accountable for squandering the people’s money to violate people rights”.




Media Release
29 March 2014

Workers to Aquino: Resume peace talks with reds

Amidst developments that imperil the Aquino government’s peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno called on Pres. Noynoy Aquino today to resume talks and address the root causes of the armed conflict.

“We want a just and lasting peace, which could only be achieved by solving the worsening unemployment, landlessness, and poverty being experienced by workers and the Filipino people. Aquino should stop pretending that he is pro-peace talks when he is doing everything to undermine the talks,” Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, said.

KMU noted that the Aquino government is making it hard for talks with the NDFP to begin even as it celebrates the signing of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB) with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

The labor center said it would be hypocritical for the Aquino government to boast of the results of its peace talks with the MILF while violating its agreements with other armed groups.

“It is hypocritical for the Aquino government to pretend to be pro-peace talks when it is unwilling to talk peace with the NDFP, and even sabotages the talks by violating agreements already concluded with the NDFP. It is clear that it only wants rebel groups to surrender and not carry out significant reforms,” Labog said.

Labog cited the Aquino government’s violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) with the arrest of and filing of trumped-up charges against Benito and Wilma Tiamzon and other NDFP consultants, saying these acts are hindrances to the peace negotiations.

“The Tiamzons and all illegally arrested and detained NDFP consultants must be released so the peace talks could resume. The GPH and the NDFP should start discussing the socio-economic reforms that would address the growing hunger and poverty among the Filipino workers and people,” Labog said.

Peace talks between the NDFP and the GPH were stalled before the scheduled discussion on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER) after the Aquino government started a massive manhunt and arrest of NDFP consultants.

“The Aquino government is not interested in resuming talks with the NDFP especially when regarding socio-economic reforms that would mean reversing anti-people policies. Aquino is more interested in waging US-backed counter-insurgency programs that have resulted in an increase in human-rights violations,” Labog said.

The labor center also said that Aquino’s unwillingness to address the roots of the armed conflict is a factor in the continuing existence and even growing strength of the New People’s Army which is celebrating its 45th anniversary today.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597




Killings, illegal arrest and detention: BS Aquino’s kind of peace

January 03, 2014—MONTERONA, Marcelo, 41, Farmer, Indug Kautawan, Maco, Compostela Valley
January 12, 2014—TOLENTINO, Antonio, 62, Farmer, Aniban, Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga
January 30, 2014—ORBINA, Henry, Worker, Cabadian, Sorsogon
January 31, 2014—AMBONGAN, Datu Rolando, 39, Higaonon tribe, Katribu Partylist member, Buenavista, Agusan del Norte
February 05, 2014—LAURON, Julieto, 41, Farmer, Kasama - Bukidnon, Valencia, Bukidnon
February 06, 2014—RAYTERAN, Rosaldo, Driver, Albay People's Org, Libon, Albay
February 06, 2014—RAYTERAN, Rasty, 18, Youth, Libon, Albay
February 18, 2014—ARCHIVAL, Noel, 53, Lawyer, Dalaguette, Cebu
February 18, 2014—MIÑOZA, Candido, 47, Archival's aide, Dalaguette, Cebu
February 18, 2014—JAYME, Alejandro, 45, Archival's driver, Dalaguette, Cebu
March 03, 2014—LIGIW, Fermin, 29, Binongan-Tinguian tribe, Anakbayan/Kastan (CPA provincial chapter), Baay-Licuan, Abra
March 03, 2014—LIGIW, Eddie, 45, Binongan-Tinguian tribe, Kastan, Baay-Licuan, Abra
March 03, 2014—LIGIW, Licuben, 77, Binongan-Tinguian tribe, Kastan, Baay-Licuan, Abra
March 15, 2014—CAPALLA, Romeo, 65, entrepreneur, PFTC, SELDA, Oton, Iloilo
March 22, 2014—LUBIANO, Julio, 31, Small-scale miner, Caramoan, Camarines Sur
March 22, 2014—LUBIANO, Rene, 28, Small-scale miner, Caramoan, Camarines Sur
March 22, 2014—VIRTUS, Salem, 24, Small-scale miner, Caramoan, Camarines Sur
March 22, 2014—BRONDIA, Jesse, 35, Small-scale miner, Caramoan, Camarines Sur
March 25, 2014—BUGATTI, William, 43, CHRA, CPA, BM provincial coordinator, Kiangan, Ifugao

“These are names of 19 people killed as a result of BS Aquino government’s killing frenzy in the first 13 weeks of 2014. This is the kind of peace the Aquino government pursues desperately to silence the vocal critics of his anti-people governance,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

Palabay said, for the same period Karapatan also documented 43 victims of illegal arrests and detention based on fabricated criminal charges, “but the BS Aquino and his cohorts never ever acknowledged these human rights violations committed by the armed forces. Instead, the Aquino government continues to brag about and propagate lies that peace means people keeping mum and submitting to its policies and programs that spell death to the majority of the poor Filipinos.”

“The peace that BS Aquino knows only fires up wars as people clamour for concrete steps to address poverty and underdevelopment. Aquino’s duplicity on the issue of peace is further emphasized. On one hand, he boasts of forging peace with the MILF, while military offensives continue in Mindanao victimizing thousands of civilians. On the other hand, he lies on his administration’s interest on the peacetalks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), while his government illegally arrests peace consultants, right defenders and and individuals, kills those whom he perceives as his government’s enemies,” said Palabay.

Karapatan earlier called on BS Aquino to step down from office following the spate of killings committed by the armed forces of the BS Aquino government.

The latest victim of extrajudicial killing is William Bugatti, a human rights worker and regional council member of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance-KARAPATAN. He also represented the Ifugao Peasant Movement in the regional council of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance. He was also provincial coordinator of Bayan Muna partylist.

Bugatti, from the Tuwali tribe, succumbed to three gun shots that pierced his heart on the evening of March 25 at Bolog, Kiangan, Ifugao. Bugatti was among the 28 people whose names appeared in a poster-target list by the 5th ID and the 86th IB Target List in Tinoc, Ifugao tagged as brains, members and supporters of the New People’s Army. ###

News articles from Bulatlat:

  • Groups slam arrest of Ka Roger’s pregnant daughter

  • Arrest of Tiamzon couple not good for peace talks – church peace advocates

  • Activist killed in Cordillera, rights group demands justice

  • Activist in Negros released

  • Rebel’s kin slam military’s breach of humanitarian law



    Chairperson, International Women’s Alliance
    +63 917 828 6015

    International Women’s Group Expresses Concern Over Violation of UN Rules on Women in Custody in the Case of Andrea Rosal

    International Women’s Alliance Chairperson Liza L. Maza expressed concern over the arrest of nine month pregnant Andrea Rosal last March 27 and the reported denial of her access to legal advice for hours after her arrest in violation of her basic right to legal counsel and the “UN Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders” otherwise known as the Bangkok Rules. Furthermore, Ms. Rosal was only given medical attention two days after her arrest under pressure from protests.

    The Bangkok Rules unanimously adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2010 set out rules for the treatment of women prisoners. The Bangkok rules recognizes “[…] the fact that many existing prison facilities worldwide were designed primarily for male prisoners”. It was crafted with consideration for women prisoners who “[…] are one of the vulnerable groups that have specific needs and requirements”.

    “We are concerned that Ms. Rosal’s basic civil right to counsel was denied by Government forces enforcing the arrest warrant” says Maza. She calls attention to rule 2 paragraph 1 of the Bankok Rules, which states that, “Adequate attention shall be paid to the admission procedures for women and children, due to their particular vulnerability at this time. Newly arrived women prisoners shall be provided with facilities to contact their relatives; access to legal advice […]”


    Maza further expresses concern that “Ms. Rosal has not received adequate medical attention considering the advanced stage of her pregnancy, this is in clear violation of rule 23 paragraph 1 of the “Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners”, which states, “In women's institutions there shall be special accommodation for all necessary pre-natal and post-natal care and treatment. Arrangements shall be made wherever practicable for children to be born in a hospital outside the institution.”

    Citing rule 64 which states, “Non-custodial sentences for pregnant women and women with dependent children shall be preferred where possible and appropriate, […]”, Maza asserts that Rosal, in her delicate condition, may be released on recognizance or set free unconditionally given the questionable grounds for her arrest.

    “As a matter of fact, Andrea Rosal may only be guilty because of her blood relation to former New People’s Army (NPA) spokesperson Ka Roger Rosal and was the reason why she was abducted by the military in 1989 to force Ka Roger to surrender.” Maza concluded ###






    The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) is a global alliance of grassroots-based women’s organizations, institutions, alliances, networks and individuals committed to advancing the women's movement in the 21st century and in moving forward the liberation of women. For more information, visit IWA's website at www.internationalwomensalliance.wordpress.com.




    On the false Allegations of Alex Padilla and intrigues of the Aquino regime
    March 31, 2014
    Luis Jalandoni
    NDFP Negotiating Panel

    Alex Padilla’s allegation that the Negotiating Panel of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines proposed informal talks with the Aquino government only after the arrest of the Tiamzons is completely untrue and malicious. He knows that in our meeting in Makati on 27 February 2014, we already stated our willingness to agree with the proposal of the Royal Norwegian Government to hold informal talks or consultations with the Aquino government in May 2014.

    The RNG Foreign Minister, during his visit to the Philippines in early January 2014, conveyed our proposal to hold such informal talks to GPH President Aquino and Secretary Teresita Deles of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP). In two meetings NDFP Panel member Coni Ledesma and I had with the Norwegian Embassy official in Manila, on 14 and 21 February, he knew of the NDFP’s willingness to hold such informal talks, and he informed Alex Padilla of such willingness in a meeting just before our meeting with Padilla on 27 February.

    Alex Padilla’s statement that the Aquino government now wants to talk only with the Communist Party of the Philippines in the Philippines and not with the NDFP Negotiating Panel is not a new intrigue. He and Secretary Deles, and other spokespersons of the Aquino government, have made such declarations. This is just another move to avoid negotiating with the NDFP Negotiating Panel, which has been mandated by the CPP and other revolutionary forces in the NDFP. In the face of this type of intrigue on the part of the Aquino administration, this mandate has been reiterated.

    The possible agenda of the RNG proposed informal talks or consultations, in accordance with the Agreement on Ground Rules of 26 February 1995, were doables like rehabilitation projects for Yolanda affected communities such as coconut farmers. A session on the Colombian talks was mentioned, because one of the Norwegian Foreign Ministry official, Ingrid Ekker, is involved in these Colombian negotiations. The two Parties would have to agree on the agenda in consultation with the Norwegian officials.

    If the Aquino administration continues to refuse to respect JASIG and other bilateral agreements, and puts forward intrigues and false allegations to avoid even informal talks, then BS Aquino must take the responsibility for killing the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations


    On the lies dished out by the AFP against the Tiamzons

    March 28, 2014

    Over the past few days, the spokesman of the AFP has been doing the rounds of the media, spending most of the day in radio and media interviews, to justify their arrest and continued incarceration of comrades Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria, peace consultants of the NDFP and senior leaders of the CPP. The AFP has resorted to dishing out one concocted story after another against the Tiamzons and against the revolutionary movement.

    In the spirit of fair-reporting, we hope that the big media organizations will give space to the views of the CPP and report on the other side of the truth.

    1. The arrest of Comrades Benito and Wilma are in gross violations of the JASIG. Wilma Tiamzon is clearly among the list of NDFP peace consultants, as she has been listed under her true name, i.e. she is not listed under an assumed name, with Document of Identification No. ND978226. Comrade Wilma’s case can not be covered by the tactic used by the Aquino government over the past months blocking the release of NDFP consultants because their aliases can not be verified.

    The NDFP asserts that Comrade Benito is among the listed consultants of the NDFP under the assumed name Crising Banaag with Document of Identification No. ND978227.

    Contrary to Aquino’s Justice Sec. Leila de Lima’s opinion, the criminal justice system of the government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) is not above the JASIG nor the other agreements forged between the GPH and the NDFP. All the agreements between the GPH and the NDFP are of the nature of international treaties, to which national laws are subsumed.

    This is explicitly stated in the JASIG where the signing parties agree to subsume their police and court processes to the higher goal of peace negotiations. Part II, Section 2 stipulates: “the prosecutors shall move for the suspension, during the peace negotiations, of criminal proceedings or processes including arrest and search, for acts allegedly committed prior to the effectivity of this Joint Agreement.”

    Thus, Comrade Wilma’s jumping bail cannot be used against her protected status under JASIG. In fact, the Ramos regime, then, recognized Comrade Wilma’s status as NDFP consultant, knowing full well that she had standing cases in the courts of the GPH.

    Failing to disprove Comrade Wilma’s status as NDFP consultant, Aquino’s officials has resorted to coming up with another excuse claiming that the JASIG cannot be in effect because the talks are suspended. This is easily refuted by taking a look at the agreement itself which states that the JASIG can only be terminated with a written notice and only 30 days after receipt of such notice.

    2. Contrary to the fascist intrigues of the AFP, there is no rift between Comrades Benito and Wilma or the Philippine-based leadership of the CPP and the senior members of the CPP in The Netherlands. The NDFP Negotiating Panel and Comrade Joma were among the first to condemn the arrest of Comrades Benito and Wilma.They are among the comrades who are vigorously fighting for the release of Comrades Benito and Wilma, as well as all NDFP consultants and the 400 plus political prisoners.

    Comrades Benito and Wilma and the entire central leadership of the CPP continue to support the work of the NDFP negotiating panel. The Philippine-based leadership has retained the offices of the NDFP negotiating panel with hopes that peace negotiations with the GPH, however tenuous and difficult, will continue to proceed. Comrades Benito and Wilma and the CPP have long wanted peace negotiations with the objective of addressing the people’s myriad problems of landlessness, unemployment, low wages, skyrocketting costs of living, human rights violations and military abuses, lack of government infrastructure to address natural calamities and other outstanding socio-economic problems which continue to fuel the armed revolution.

    At the same time, the CPP leadership continue to firmly grasp the principle that without arms, the people have nothing. Negotiations under the Ramos and Estrada governments have proved that substantial agreements can be forged despite (or perhaps because) of the raging civil war. Aside from the historic Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed under Estrada, and the JASIG signed by Ramos, there are no less than 10 significant agreements signed from 1992 to 1998. Such a principle was cast away by the Arroyo regime during which time peace negotiations lost significance as a forum to address the outstanding issues at the roots of the armed conflict; and became a tool for deception in the vain hope of inveigling the NDFP and the NPA to surrender.

    Aquino, despite all his peace rhetoric, has adopted the anti-peace negotiations stance of the Arroyo regime.

    3. The Tiamzons were arrested on the basis of trumped up charges. Contrary to in the media that they were being arrested for murder charges filed in Northern Samar, the warrants of arrest presented to Comrades Benito and Wilma was for the charges of murder for the so-called Hilongos “mass graves”, which have been the same case filed against at least 50 other activists, including former congressman Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna. The Hilongos “mass graves” is a legal concoction of the AFP started under the Arroyo regime’s so-called Inter-Agency Legal Advisory Group (IALAG) headed by then Justice Sec. Raul Gonzales, one of the most rabid of Arroyo’s officials.

    Fearing that the Hilongos case will not stand against the Tiamzons, they also filed a case of illegal possession of firearms despite the fact that the Tiamzons had no firearms when accosted. The Tiamzons and their five staff members where unarmed when arrested. Even the initial report of the Carcar police, which effected their arrest, did not mention that they were carrying firearms (something which the AFP spokesman insists on forgetting). This is consistent with the practice of key officials and cadres of the CPP to not carry firearms when travelling outside the war zones as this makes them prone to random checks and arrests by the reactionary police and military forces.

    The CPP condemns the Aquino regime and the AFP for filing one criminal case after another against the leaders and members of the CPP in order to justify their arrests and prolonged detention. Such a practice is in violation of the Hernandez Doctrine, a principle upheld even by the GPH Supreme Court which stipulate that filing criminal charges for offenses committed in the course of one’s political belief is a violation of human rights.

    4. The arrest of the Tiamzons will not stop the advance of the revolution. The displacement will be temporary and short-lived. The responsibilities that were being shouldered by Comrades Benito and Wilma have been automatically transferred to other officials of the CPP Central Committee.

    As succinctly pointed out by Comrade Joma, the CPP has a “deep bench”. The CPP has 15 regional committees, scores of subregional committees, more than a hundred front committees and tens of thousands of Party branches and sections in the New People’s Army and organs of political power that daily lead the work of the CPP and carry forward the people’s war.

    Add to that is the fact that the CPP’s leadership and membership is ever expanding with young blood as it continues to draw from among the ranks of the Filipino youth whose future can only be secured by waging a revolution to put an end to the oppressive and exploitative ruling system.

    5. The Tiamzons were not living a lavish lifestyle. The AFP was utterly frustrated that they failed to show any shred of evidence from the house rented by Comrades Benito and Wilma to support their long-standing claims that the leaders of the CPP were leading a lavish lifestyle. They have long used this as a media spiel against the CPP leaders. As shown in the footages taken by news reports, the Tiamzon’s rented house only had work tables and chairs, wooden beds, a dining table, a small television set and nothing much more.They upheld the standards of simple living and arduous struggle.

    A look into the report of the National Finance Committee will indicate that the Tiamzons and their staff were spending around P50-P55 per day for every individual. This is within the budget of around P60 which the CPP allows to be spent for the daily food allowance of its full-time members.

    Having failed to do prove that the Tiamzons were living lavishly nor of spending money for themselves, the AFP resorted to accusing them of spending large amounts of money for their pets. Indeed, despite her asthma, Comrade Wilma is a cat lover who takes in pusakals (pusang kalye or common household cats) and feeds them leftovers.

    The pet dogs, however, were part of the finance projects and source of additional income of the Tiamzon staff. They were breeding dogs to help augment their budget and make them less reliant on the central fund. Breeding dogs and cats for sale is common among working-class and middle-class families seeking additional income. Dog and cat food, when bought in bulk, can be bought for around P500-700 per sack from among breeders (contrary to the exaggerated claims by the AFP that each sack costs P2,000).




    Pahayag ng RCTU-ST kaugnay sa pagkadakip sa mag-asawang Tiamzon

    Fortunato Magtanggol
    RCTU Southern Tagalog Chapter

    April 01, 2014

    Mariing kinukondena ng Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions – Southern Tagalog (RCTU-ST) ang iligal at di-makataong pag-aresto ng mga elemento ng Armed Forces of the Philippines sa mag-asawang Benito Tiamzon at Wilma Austria Tiamzon at 5 pang kasamahan nito. Ito ay tahasang pambabalasubas sa Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) sa pagitan ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) at Government of the Philippines (GPH).

    Noong ika-22 ng Marso, ganap na 2:30 ng hapon, nang iligal at sapilitang hinuli ng pinagsanib na pwersa ng pulisya at militar ang mag-asawang Benito at Wilma Tiamzon at 5 pang kasamahan nila sa isang bayan sa Cebu. Ang mag-asawang Tiamzon ay nagsisilbing mga consultants ng NDFP sa usapang pangkapayapaan sa GPH. Nasa panahon sila ng pagsasagawa ng mga serye ng konsultasyon para sa usapang pangkapayapaan nang sila’y dakpin ng pinagsanib na pwersa pulisya at militar . Hawak ni Ka. Wilma Austria Tiamzon ang NDFP Document of Identification ND 978226 sa ilalim ng kanyang tunay na pangalan at ni Ka Benito Tiamzon ng NDFP Document of Identification ND 978227 sa pangalang Crising Banaag bilang mga katibayan na tinatamasa nila ang mga proteksyon sa ilalim ng JASIG.

    Sa pag-aresto sa mag-asawang Tiamzon at mga istap nila, inilalantad lamang ng rehimeng US-Aquino II ang tunay na mukha ng kanyang rehimen – ang kawalan ng interes nitong lutasin ang ugat ng armadong rebelyon sa bansa. Tutol ang rehimeng Aquino sa pagkakaroon ng tunay at matagalang kapayapaan sa bansa. Ang tanging hangad nila ay isalong ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan ang kanilang armas at magbalik loob sa gubyerno.

    Sa kabilang banda, patuloy ang paglala ng mga problemang kinakaharap ng mga manggagawa at sambayanan dahil sa mga dikta at panghihimasok ng dayuhan sa ating pamahalaan. Kaliwa’t kanang mga batas at regulasyon ang ipinatutupad na lalong nagpadausdos sa bagsak na kalagayan ng mga manggagawa sa loob at labas ng pabrika, tulad na lamang ng kontraktwalisasyon, labor-only contracting, two-tiered wage system, union busting, at marami pang iba.

    Sa matagal na panahon napako na sa napakababang halaga ang sahod na natatanggap ng mga manggagawang Pilipino. Patuloy ang pag-iral ng kawalan ng sapat na benipisyo at masahol na kalagayan sa paggawa sa kalakhang mga pabrika at empresa sa bansa. At sa kabila nito, patuloy at walang habas ang pagtataas ng singil sa mga pangunahing pangangailangan at serbisyo ng mamamayan. Tulad ng pagtaas ng, presyo ng bigas, petrolyo, tubig, kuryente, edukasyon, at serbisyong medikal. Lahat ng ito ay para sa kapakanan ng mga malalaking burgesya komprador at dayuhang kapitalista na siya namang malugod at maluwag na tinutugunan ng sunud sunurang Aquino.

    Ang mga kalagayang ito ang dahilan kung bakit makatarungan para sa mga manggagawa at mamamayan na magrebolusyon laban sa umiiral na sistema. Ang mismong nabubulok na sistema ang nagtutulak sa mga manggagawa na mag-organisa, kumilos, at sa kalaunan ay humawak ng armas at lumahok sa armadong rebolusyon sa kanayunan. Laging mainam at hinog ang kalagayan ng daigdig at bansa para sa paglakas ng rebolusyonaryong kilusan sa bansa. Ilang lider man ang madakip at mapaslang tiyak na maraming papapalit at magpapatuloy ng rebolusyon. Napatunayan na ito sa loob ng 45 taon na paglilingkod at pakikidigma ng CPP-NPA-NDF hindi sila kailanman kayang durugin at wasakin ng reaksyunaryo at pasistang estado ilang matataas na lider man ang madakip at mapaslang. Ang pambansang demokratikong rebolusyon na isinusulong sa bansa ay isang rebolusyon ng mga masang api’t pinagsasamantalahan na naglalayong wasakin ang bulok-sa-kaibuturang sistemang panlipunan sa bansa at itayo ang isang lipunan na tunay na malaya, demokratiko at masagana. Ang adhikaing ito ay hindi lamang adhikain ng mga lider ng rebolusyon kundi adhikaing niyayakap ng buong sambayanang nagnanais Tiyak na may lilitaw na mga bagong lider mula sa hanay ng mga nakikibakang mamamayan na handang magpatuloy at magsulong ng rebolusyon hanggang sa tagumpay.

    Mukhang hibang at wala sa sarili ang rehimeng Aquino at pasistang AFP nang banggitin nila na ang pagkakahuli sa mag-asawang Tiamzon ay matatapos na rin ang buhay ng CPP-NPA-NDF. Ang ganitong pananalita ng rehimeng Aquino ay nagpapakita lamang ng kanilang kamangmangan at kamusmusan sa kaalaman at pag-unawa sa batas ng rebolusyong Pilipino at sa mga kilusan para sa pambansang pagpapalaya.

    Palayain ng walang kundisyon sina Benito at Wilma Tiamzon!
    Kilalanin at ipatupad ang JASIG!
    Papanagutin ang Rehimeng US-Aquino II!
    Isulong ang Digmang Bayan!
    Mabuhay ang CPP-NPA-NDFP!




    CPP denounces AFP for rounding up civilians for fake surrender
    March 31, 2014

    The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) denounced the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for using civilians, including a number of minors in staging a fake surrender ceremony last Saturday. The public ceremony was initiated by the 4th Infantry Division in Cagayan de Oro City.

    “This AFP claim of a mass surrender is a hoax,” said the CPP. “It is a desperate bid to cover up its losses in the field and the steady growth of the New People’s Army, especially in the areas covered by the 4th ID in the Caraga region.”

    Last Saturday, the AFP chief of staff himself presided over the “surrender ceremonies” where they rounded up scores of civilians, including children and elements of paramilitary forces from the provinces of Bukidnon, Surigao del Sur, Misamis Oriental and Agusan del Norte.

    “The AFP has been resorting to such ‘surrender’ ceremonies since the time of the Marcos dictatorship,” pointed out the CPP.

    “The military is resorting to fake surrenders and empty declarations amid its gross failure to achieve Oplan Bayanihan’s declared objective in 2011 to render the NPA inconsequential by 2014 and transfer so-called counter-insurgency operations to the police,” said the CPP.

    As exposed by a barangay captain in Paquibato District, Davao City, AFP officials have been doing the rounds of homes and asking people to sign a document that would portray them as “NPA surrenderees”.

    “These fake surrenders are also among the biggest sources of corruption as AFP field commanders pocket the reward money allocated for the firearms supposedly turned in,” added the CPP. “Most of the firearms are either the personal property of the so-called surrenderees or recycled by the military from its rust stockpile.”

    The CPP further condemned the AFP for abducting a 14-year old child in Magpet, North Cotabato last March 24 and later presenting him as an NPA combatant. The boy, who was abducted by troops of the 57th Infantry Battalion while conducting operations in Barangay Bantak, is a graduating student of the Bangkal Elementary School with complete class records. The military’s sole basis for claiming that he is a child combatant is the boy’s purported ability to sing the NPA anthem and familiarity with the NPA officers in their area. He was later remanded to the local social welfare office.

    The CPP also dismissed declarations made by the chief of staff over the weekend that the NPA will be a ‘spent force’ in five years time. “All previous AFP generals, current AFP chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista included, are wont to make declarations of victory beyond their tour of duty because this exempts them from being answerable when their projections fail.”




    MARCH 26, 2014
    Revolutionary women’s group calls for release of Wilma Austria, others

    MANILA — Wearing masks, members of Makabayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan (Makibaka), an allied organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), staged a lightning rally, March 25 at downtown Carriedo.

    Makibaka condemned the arrest of alleged top communist leaders Wilma Austria, Benito Tiamzon and five others and called for the immediate release of the two. Austria, Tiamzon and five others were arrested by state security forces on Saturday in Carcar, Cebu and are now detained at Camp Crame.

    In a statement, Malaya Libertad, spokeswoman of Makibaka, described Austria as the “epitome of a revolutionary woman and cadre who should be exalted and not be incarcerated like an ordinary criminal.”

    The underground women’s organization also marked the 43rd anniversary of Makibaka and the 45th anniversary of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

    Libertad called on women to join the revolution, which the group said, is “the only solution to the systemic crisis of the country.”

    Photos by BOY BAGWIS

    - See more at: http://bulatlat.com/main/2014/03/26/revolutionary-womens-group-calls-for-release-of-wilma-austria-others/#sthash.AN9NLyP8.dpuf





    We are enraged over the extrajudicial killing of William Bugatti, a Tuwali and a devoted human rights worker yesterday, March 25, 2014, at around 6-7 in the evening. William is a Regional Council Member of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance-KARAPATAN, a Regional Council Member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance representing the Ifugao Peasant Movement and the Provincial Coordinator of Bayan Muna partylist.

    We condemn this human rights violation in the strongest possible terms.

    William was on his way home to his family at around 7 p.m. at Bolog, Kiangan, Ifugao when unidentified assassins shot three bullets piercing his heart. They shot at him treacherously from the back as cowards do to brave men.

    William has been receiving threats to his life and security since the start of Oplan Bayanihan implementation in the Cordillera from State security forces and their agents. This heightened after the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly the 5th ID and the 86th IB Target List in Tinoc was obtained in October 2012. Bugatti was listed as #21 in the list in a roster of 28 people tagged as brains, members and supporters of the New People's Army who are now also vulnerable to attack by State security forces and their agents. He has constantly been accused of being a member of the NPA. This has resulted to notable incidents of surveillance and harassment against him that derailed him from doing his work. He was even barred several times from visiting political detainees at the Ifugao Provincial Jail. The Jail warden claims that there is a "Regional Memorandum" stating that Bugatti was not allowed to enter the jail and visit the political detainees because of the red-tagging.

    Yesterday he attended the hearing of the case of political prisoners Rene Boy Abiva and Virgilio Corpuz in Lagawe, Ifugao. He went to the office of the Ifugao Peasant Movement and was last seen alive by his colleagues at around 5:00 pm before he went home.

    William has been a diligent paralegal. As a human rights worker, he has always made sure that the welfare and rights of human rights victims are addressed and well-taken cared of. Despite the threats to his life, he persisted in the work.

    We are in deep grief over this loss of a human rights worker whom the people of Ifugao relied on during the most difficult times when they were under attack by State terror.

    The killing is meant to silence human rights workers and defenders in the region. This will not happen.

    We will draw strength from the life and work of William. We will persist in the work for human rights and justice as our fitting tribute to him.

    We condole with his wife and three children, and the communities in Ifugao that he has served and have considered him as their son.

    We demand justice for William Bugatti. We call for an impartial and competent investigation of the case. We demand that perpetrators be brought to the bar of justice.

    We hold the Aquino regime accountable for the extrajudicial killing of William. Its bloody record of human rights violations clearly delegitimizes it as a government for the people. The spate of extrajudicial killings, now tallying to 12 only on the first quarter of this year, has to end. This can only be done when Oplan Bayanihan is scrapped and the formal peace talks resume.






    For reference:
    Audrey Beltran
    Deputy Secretary General
    Cordillera Human Rights Alliance
    Mobile Number: 09189199007

    March 26, 2014



    1-5687 West Blvd Vancouver, BC Canada
    Email: cps_hr@yahoo.ca

    March 26, 2014

    To His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
    RE: The extrajudicial killing of WILLIAM BUGATTI

    Mr. President,

    The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights and the Victoria-Philippines Solidarity Group join the call for justice for William Bugatti and for all victims of extrajudicial killings. The Philippine government is a party to human rights instruments and international conventions and as such, it has the moral and legal obligation to prevent and punish the practice of enforced disappearance and extra-judicial killings.

    WILLIAM BUGATTI, a Tuwali human rights worker, was shot dead by unidentified assassins at around 7:00 pm on March 25, 2014 while on his way home to his family. Bugatti was a Regional Council Member of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance-KARAPATAN, a Regional Council Member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance representing the Ifugao Peasant Movement, and was the Provincial Coordinator of Bayan Muna partylist.

    Bugatti had worked for his community and the people of Ifugao, mostly marginalized peasants and farmers in land rights and environmental protection issues and mining issues.

    Mr. President, we noted that on March 27, 2013, we wrote you an Open Letter re: Serious Threats Against Human Rights Workers and Development Workers in the Cordillera Region with recent incidents of harassment, surveillance and political vilification. In that Open Letter, we mentioned individual human rights workers and one of them was William Bugatti!

    Following a fact-finding visit to the Philippines in 2007, then United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston wrote a scathing report indicting the government and its security forces for pursuing an anti-communist counterinsurgency strategy that deliberately targets legal personalities or organizations it suspected of being rebel “fronts.” Among others, Alston noted that this strategy includes the public vilification of “enemies” and the use of so-called “orders of battle,” with many who are included in these lists ending up victims of extrajudicial killings.

    Mr. President, this is the height of State IMPUNITY! William Bugatti is the third case of extrajudicial killing this month. This was preceded by the Ligiw massacre on March 2 and the killing of Romeo Capalla on March 15. To date, 188 cases of extrajudicial killings have happened since you became President in June 2010, including the 19 who were killed in this year alone.

    In your campaign, you capitalized on commitments to promote and protect human rights, and emphasized the importance of ending extrajudicial killings. But the perpetrators of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, abductions, and other human rights violations directed against those who are critical of the government walk freely and with impunity under your watch.

    We strongly urge you, Mr. President, to investigate arrest and prosecute the perpetrators of and accessories to the extrajudicial killing of William Bugatti.

    We further urge you to:

    1) Stop Operation Plan Bayanihan which is a declaration of an all-out war against the people.

    2) Stop the military’s vilification campaign against unarmed and legal activists and progressive organizations, specifically linking them to the New People’s Army, making them vulnerable to intimidation, harassment and violence.

    3) Take summary action against military commanders whose scope of responsibility includes areas where extrajudicial killings take place and against police superintendents who make no headway in investigating these killings and other gross human rights violations

    4) RESUME FORMAL PEACE TALKS with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines NOW.


    - Canada-Philippines Solidarity
    for Human Rights for Human Rights

    - Victoria-Philippines Solidarity Group


    Leonila Ka Leleng Sarsuela is chairman emeritus of KADAMAY.
    She is 79 years old and takes to the streets to join protest rallies and pickets like this.



    For Immediate Release
    March 29, 2014
    Denise Ford, NY Committee to Defend Filipino Peace Consultants, email: nydefendpeace@gmail.com
    Yves Nibungco, Anakbayan USA, email: yvesnibungco@gmail.com

    New Yorkers Rally for Release of Wilma Austria & Benito Tiamzon; Call on Aquino to Resume Peace Talks

    NEW YORK, NY—Approximately 75 supporters from various organizations held a rally yesterday in front of the Philippine Consulate to call for the immediate release of Wilma Austria and Benito Tiamzon, peace consultants with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Austria and Tiamzon were illegally arrested last March 22nd while conducting typhoon relief work in Cebu. The rally was organized by the New York Committee for Defend Filipino Peace Consultants.

    Organizations present at the rally include the Revolutionary Student Coordinating Committee, IGNITE, People’s Organization for Progress, ANSWER, International Action Center, the University of the Philippines Chapter of Alpha Sigma Fraternity, the Brecht Forum as well as a number of Filipino organizations.

    Inspiring Leaders, Serving the Poor

    “Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria serve as an inspiration for many young people in the Philippines, especially in our fraternity when they chose to commit their lives to serving the poorest Filipinos in the countryside as members of the New Peoples Army, ” stated Vince of University of the Philippines chapter of Alpha Sigma. “We stand here calling for truth, reason, and justice. Release our brother Benito and his wife Wilma now!”


    “Wilma Austria was conducting relief work with typhoon-impacted communities in Cebu when she and her husband were illegally arrested,” stated Candice Sering of Gabriela New York. “As someone who has also participated in relief work after Haiyan, I’ve seen the Aquino regime’s criminal neglect of the typhoon victims first hand. It’s been over 100 days since the typhoon hit, and there is still massive, massive devastation and need for relief. What are Wilma and Benito’s crimes? Serving the poor? Doing what should be the government’s job? Why does Aquino arrest Wilma and Benito, who were doing relief work, and yet make no effort to track down and arrest the likes of Jovito Palparan, who still has to answer to arrest charges for gross human rights abuses?”

    Revolution is No Crime!

    Rallyist chanted “Free Wilma and Benito! Revolution is no crime!”

    “We condemn this outright violation by the Aquino regime of binding agreements, such as JASIG. These arrests confirm the Philippine government is not interested in a peace process that addresses the roots of social unrest such as poverty and hunger,” stated Chrissi Fabro of Anakbayan New York. “Aquino thinks he is above these agreements and international laws and can decapitate the revolutionary movement in the country with these arrests and extrajudicial killings of his critics, but he is wrong. The revolutionary movement in the country will only grow stronger, “ stated Chrissi Fabro of Anakbayan New York, a Filipino youth organization.

    Resume Peace Talks

    In addition to calling for the immediate release of Austria, Tiamzon, and the five other colleagues they were arrested with, the rally called for the immediate resumption of peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the NDFP, which are currently at impasse.

    “We know this arrest of NDFP consultants and stalling of the peace talks is part of the plan to open up the Philippines to greater foreign intervention through the US pivot to Asia,” stated Ben Becker of the ANSWER Coalition. “This includes bringing the Philippines into the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. But we only need to look back at the destruction that US intervention has left in the region it is pivoting from- the Middle East- to see why people are resisting increased US intervention in the Philippines and across the Asia-Pacific region.

    Preparing for Obama’s Visit

    “It may have been Philippine state forces that arrested Wilma and Benito and their colleagues, but the order and the resources to do so came from the Pentagon,” states Bill Doares of the International League of Peoples Struggle (ILPS). “The US has been intervening in the domestic affairs of the Philippines since 1898, and now it wants to re-establish US military bases in the Philippines. This is on the agenda when Obama visits the Philippines next month.”