[Action Alert] Philippines: Shoot to kill threat against alleged community organizers and left-leaning organizations by Cordillera Police

Action Alert
April 3, 2020

(Philippines) Shoot to kill threat against alleged community organizers and left-leaning organizations by Cordillera Police based on the pronouncement of President Duterte on April 2, 2020

Dear Friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the alleged harassment against alleged community organizers and left-leaning organizations by the Cordillera Police based on the pronouncement of President Duterte against left-leaning organizations and their alleged violations of the enhanced community quarantine
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Based on a news article in Sunstar Baguio, on April 3, 2020, Director of PRO-COR, Brigadier General R’win Pagkalinawan allegedly cautioned members of left-leaning and lawless groups not to take advantage of the people during the COVID -19 pandemic, otherwise, they would face the bullet.

Pagkalinawan’s statement anchored on the pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte to “shoot them dead, the violators of the curfew, in case they fought back or nanlaban”. Pagkalinawan was quoted to have said, “He (President Duterte) is talking about the leftists. I will order my snipers to shoot communist organizers on the spot who will unnecessarily organize the masses at this time. But only when they fight back.”

Duterte’s statement came after the residents of Sitio San Roque, Quezon City conducted a demonstration to demand for food and relief packages, as promised by the Duterte government upon the implementation of the enhanced quarantine in Luzon and the granting of emergency powers to Duterte.

Government officials, including the President, blamed the urban poor organization, Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahirap (KADAMAY) for the protest, despite the initial police report that said that the activity was initiated by the Samahan Ng Magkakapitbahayan North Triangle Association (SAMANA).

The government considers KADAMAY as left-leaning and has red-tagged the organization in the past.

It should be noted that the Anti-Subversion Act had already been repealed in 1992 through Republic Act 7636. In addition, Article 2, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution states that, “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.” The Duterte government, however, has been advocating for the revival of the anti-subversion law.

Conflicting statements have been given by the national government in relation to the implementation of the said “shoot them dead” order. Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief General Archie Gamboa said that the president was only “overemphasizing” the rules in the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine, but they will not be shooting people dead. However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that there was nothing wrong with the president’s shoot to kill order against those who will create trouble and chaos during the enhanced community quarantine.

The government’s defense that the “shoot them dead” order only refers to those who will create trouble and chaos is very alarming. Every human being has the inherent right to life, and no one, in any given situation, shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life. Moreover, those that the government deems to be creating trouble and chaos are the poor who are rightfully demanding for food and relief.

The Duterte government also has a record of using the term “nanlaban” to justify its actions against those who they allege to be violating the law. Prior to the pandemic, the Duterte government had been criticized for its drug war. Based on the report of the PNP, as of May 31, 2019, it has killed 6,600 drug suspects during anti-drug operations. Most of those who were killed allegedly fought back or “nanlaban.”

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write a letter to the following authorities, urging them to respect each person’s right to life and freedom of association and initiate inquiries of possible human rights violations in the Cordillera region and the whole of the Philippines.

A. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of people asserting their rights during the enhanced community quarantine.

B. Stop the practice of “red-tagging” legitimate organizations and accusing them of having connections with the communist movement.

C. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the 1987 Philippine Constitution, international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by the Philippines, especially in these trying times of the COVID 19 Pandemic.

Please send your letters:
1. His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Building, Malacanang Palace Compound
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
1005 Philippines
Tel: +632 87368645; +632 87368603; +632-87368606; +632-87368629; +632-87368621
Telefax: +632 87368621
E-mail: pcc@malacanang.gov.ph

2. Hon. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila
1000 Philippines
Tel: +632 85218348
Telefax: +632 85262618
Trunkline: +632 85238481 loc 217
Email: osecmig@gmail.com, communications@doj.gov.ph

3. Hon. Eduardo Aňo
Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
DILG-NAPOLCOM Center
EDSA corner Quezon Avenue, Quezon City
Tel: +632 89250330; +632 89250331
Fax: +632 89250332
Trunkline: +632 88763454 loc 1001
Email: emano@dilg.gov.ph

4. Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +632 89285655; +632 89266188
Telefax: +632 89290102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

5. PNP Chief Lt. Gen. Archie Gamboa
Philippine National Police
PNP National Headquarters
Camp General Crame, EDSA
Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines 1100
Tel: +632 87230401; +632 87220650 local 3453/3473

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