Tag Archives: Armed Forces of the Philippines

[From the web] Refugee International report on IDPs in the Philippines

Refugee International report on IDPs in the Philippines

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In September 2013, fighting between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and a Muslim rebel group in the port city of Zamboanga on Mindanao forced 120,000 people – primarily minority Muslims – to flee. More than a year later, tens of thousands remain displaced, living in deplorable conditions. Having endured overcrowded, unsanitary, and unsafe evacuation centers in which they initially sought refuge, they now are being sent to transitional sites that lack water, health, education, and livelihoods. Worse yet, now that another major typhoon has hit the Philippines, attention and resources are likely to shift away from the crisis. Rather than continuing to neglect their urgent needs, the Philippine government, with the support of the United Nations and donors, must prioritize finding durable solutions for Zamboanga’s forgotten IDPs and recognize that doing so is an important step in the region’s peace and reconciliation process.

Read full article @www.refugeesinternational.org

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[Urgent Appeal] Arrest and alleged torture of a 16-year old boy in Zamboanga City by members of the AFP -TFDP

URGENT APPEAL

Dear Friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, writes to inform you about an arrest and alleged torture of a 16-year old boy in Zamboanga City by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on September 20, 2013. He is an alleged member of the Moro National Liberation Front.

Case Details

Mudzmer Abdulla, 16 years of age, was arrested along with seven other men suspected to have taken part in the siege in Zamboanga City, Philippines by the Moro National Liberation Front.

According to Mudzmer, they were all wounded when they were forced to surrender. He said that the military commanded them to put their hands over their heads and to drop flat to the ground. After, the military in boots stepped on them and tied them up with a rope. After, they were kicked and punched as they were being forced to admit being MNLF fighters.

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Mudzmer claimed that one of his companions was slashed to death by one of the military personnel when he denied involvement with the MNLF. Fearing for their lives, they all admitted to be members of MNLF under duress.

He was blindfolded and taken to a venue he believes to be the Southern City College since he overheard his captors. Mudzmer was interrogated and asked about the other men. In fear, he confessed that he is originally from Sulu and was part of a certain Commander Nasser Adja’s team. His commander has already been killed by the military.

Mudzmer had shrapnel wounds in his left ankle, right knee and his thighs that needed medical attention but rather than provide him health care, he was punched in the eye, kicked on his injured knee and stabbed at his right hand.

At dawn, Mudzmer was taken to Zamboanga City Central Police Station. According to him, this is when his captors took off his blindfolds. He was put in a detention cell with other alleged members of the MNLF. He said that though he was given bread that day, he along with the other detainees, were not provided food for five days. They were only given water.

Now, Mudzmer has been transferred to the San Ramon Penal and Prison Farm. He said that he was given a dental examination to verify his age but is yet to receive the result of the test.

He said that his co-detainees inside the cell have been treating him harshly and that some even takes his share of food during mealtime.

Mudzmer said that his father, who was an MNLF member, convinced him to join a peace rally to Zamboanga City. He was promised that they will be given five thousand pesos each and that after taking part in the peace rally, they will be becoming integrees of the government. They were given an armalite rifle and an MNLF uniform before leaving Sulu for Zamboanga.

Action requested:

Please write to the authorities in the Philippines to urge them to:

1. Transfer the custody of Mudzmer Abdullah from the San Ramon Penal and Prison Farm to the Department of Social Welfare and Development to ensure the protection of his rights and his best interests.

2. Call upon competent authorities to carry out prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the arrest and alleged torture of a minor and ensure that those who committed the crime be held accountable.

3. Guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards.

Please send your letters to:

1. His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III

President

Republic of the Philippines

Malacañang Palace

JP Laurel Street, San Miguel

Manila 1005

Philippines

Fax: +63 2 7361010

Tel: +63 2 7356201

Email: op@president.gov.ph

2. Hon. Leila M. De Lima

Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)

Padre Faura Street

Ermita, Manila 1000

Republic of the Philippines

Fax: =63 2 5239548

Tel: +63 2 5211908

Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph

3. Hon. Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman

Secretary, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)

Batasan Road, Quezon City

Republic of the Philippines

Tel/Fax: +63 2 9318191

Twitter: @dswdserves, @dinkysunflower

4. Hon. Loreta Ann P. Rosales

Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights

Fax: +63 2 9290102

Tel: + 63 2 9285655

Email: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

5. Gen. Emmanuel T. Bautista

Chief of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)

DND Building, Camp Aguinaldo

Quezon City

Philippines

Email: http://www.afp.mil.ph

6. Secretary Voltaire T. Gazmin

Secretary, Department of National Defense (DND)

Camp Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo

Quezon City 1110

Philippines

Fax: +63 2 982 5640

Tel: +63 2 982 5638

Email: info@dnd.gov.ph

7. Hon. Teresita Quintos-Deles

Secretary, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process

7th Floor, Agustin 1 Building

F. Ortigas Jr. Road,

Ortigas Center, Pasig City

Philippines

Tel: +63 2 6360701

Email: stgd@opapp.net

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[Statement] Groups condemn dismissal of murder case against Army’s 27th IB -Justice for the Capion massacre DENIED

Groups condemn dismissal of murder case against Army’s 27th IB
Justice for the Capion massacre DENIED

Support groups of anti-mining communities affected by the Tampakan Copper Gold Project condemn the dismissal of the criminal charges against members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines 27th Infantry Battalion.

Juvy Capion

Last year, Oct 18, Juvy Capion and her sons John and Jordan were killed in what the 27th IB admitted as “operational lapses”.

Before the 1st anniversary of the massacre, the Provincial Prosecutor of Davao del Sur dismissed the case as they find that evidences filed are “circumstantial and insufficient to establish probable cause of murder.”

“This is outrageous! This is outright denial of justice not only for the Capions but all victims of killings and human rights violations by military personnel. This tells us that military agents can easily run away from criminal charges,” said Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina.

According to Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, Executive Director of the Philippine Human Rights Information Center ”The dismissal of the case against the military is an outright travesty of justice and a clear indication of the kind of justice system that prevails in the country.”

“The victims and their families are crying for justice and for the perpetrators of the killings to be held accountable for their actions. Mining-affected communities particularly of indigenous peoples have consistently experienced various forms of human rights violations committed by groups and individuals who are supposed to protect their rights and interests. . The killing of the Capions is only one case and we should continue to seek justice for them and the other victims,” Dr. Simbulan stressed.

What happened?

The Social Action Center of Marbel Diocese have documented the whole incident and according to the statements signed by the witnesses, the military operation was legitimate and planned to capture Daguil Capion-husband of Juvy and father of the two (2) children who died during the operation.
Additionally, witnesses heard a military say “Tapusin na yan (finish them off!).” The only survivors of the Capion massacre is Vicky (then 4y/o) and Ressa (then 11y/o) who were able to run to the adjacent hut. Vicky was shot in her right ear.

SAC-Marbel Advocacy Officer Rene Pamplona added: “We call on the national agencies, specifically the Department of Justice and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to intervene and not let this case pass.” He added that the documents gathered from the witnesses, Commission on Human Rights Resolutions, Board of Inquiry of the AFP and the ongoing Court Marshall Proceedings gives bearing to the case.

More killings; HRVs

January 29, 2013: Kitari Capion and Diyo Capion were killed during a raid conducted by Task Force KITACO.

June 28, 2013: Eking Freay and his brother-in-law, Sonnny Boy Planda, were ambushed after selling corn and buying goods from Brgy. Kimlawis. Planda was killed on the spot.

August 23, 2013: Anteng Freay and son Victor Freay, were killed near their home in Bulol Kalon allegedly by the members of the Division Reconnaissance Team of the 10th ID, PA, together with the members of the Task Force KITACO detailed in Datal Alyeng detachment.

Garganera concluded: “We call on the Aquino Administration to take this issue seriously—Tampakan is only one of the mine sites infested by military forces and that result in different forms of violations—these should be pertinent actions done to this. It is about time that we focus on human rights over mining investments.”

”We do not know how the provincial prosecutors have come to their resolution but we know that the Capion murder happened and that we will not stop until we give justice to the Capions, Freays, and the militarized communities,” Pamplona further added

Tampakan and nearby communities are militarized to protect the mining investments of Sagittarius Mines Inc, Xstrata and Indophil.

ATM is part of the Tampakan Forum, a coalition of international and local organizations that serves as technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue. ATM is also part of the TAO MUNA, HINDI MINA Campaign.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net

Dr. Nymia Pimentel Simbulan, PhilRights Executive Director nymia.pimentel@gmail.com
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

Press Statement
October 24, 2013

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[Statement] Break through the Marcos impunity: Pass the Freedom of Information bill now -PAHRA

Break through the Marcos impunity:
Pass the Freedom of Information bill now

21 September 2013-41st Anniversary of the Imposition of Martial Law

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On September 21, 2011, the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHRP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) launched a joint endeavor to implement the first Principle of the United Nations Updated Principles in Combating Impunity – the Right to Truth.

The Updated Principles present two aspects of this right: the individual(s) right to know as well as the victim(s)’ families and relatives to know the circumstances and the reasons for the victim’s torture, enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killing. The other aspect is the collective aspect, wherein the nation should remember the tragedies that were consequent of the human rights violations. The obligation to preserve documents and other related evidences to the violations arise from the state’s duty. So is the obligation that public access is facilitated.

None of the documents subsequently turned over by the military would help add to the numbers of those who with “conclusive presumption” would be recognized and compensated as victims of human rights violations during the martial law period. The AFP documents have not even start to come close to the documentation done by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) which was set up in 1974 by the Association of the Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).

No additional information as of now may be seen as forthcoming from any initiative of the security forces. We may never know how many even how many have been arrested, tortured, subjected to extra-judicial execution and enforced disappearance. Much less would there be a naming of perpetrators of these serious human rights violations and bringing them to justice.

The September 21, 2011 joint endeavor is now proved to be no more than an empty gesture to obtain the right to truth to combat impunity.

It is the people who must initiate to surface the truth about the gross violations against human rights, not only of civil and political rights but also of the violations of the people’s economic, social and cultural rights, especially of the impoverished, the marginalized and the vulnerable. Even then, it is also imperative to bring to the open the violations done against our Muslim sisters and brothers during the repressive period of martial law.

Now, more than ever, with the expose of grand corruption of Napoles-ian scale, should all people of good-will determinedly work for the passage of the people’s initiative bill on the freedom of information.

Accountability must be obtained for both human rights violations and criminal activities.

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[Press Release] Abuses by Government, Rebel Forces in Zamboanga Conflict, Both Sides Need to Do All They Can to Prevent Further Loss of Civilian Life -HRW

Philippines: Abuses by Government, Rebel Forces in Zamboanga Conflict
Both Sides Need to Do All They Can to Prevent Further Loss of Civilian Life

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(Zamboanga City, September 19, 2013) — Philippines security forces and Muslim rebels have committed serious abuses during fighting in the southern city of Zamboanga, Human Rights Watch said today. After taking over five coastal villages on September 9, 2013, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) took dozens of residents hostage, though many have since been released. The Philippine military and police have allegedly tortured or otherwise mistreated suspected rebels in custody.

In one incident, rebels used Christian hostages as human shields, whom Philippine government forces attacked, apparently indiscriminately, Human Rights Watch said.

“A confrontation in Zamboanga in which the rebels hid behind hostages and the army fired on them shows how ugly this fighting became,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Both sides need to do all they can to prevent further loss of civilian life.”

The government responded to the rebel intrusion by sending in thousands of troops, blocking off the villages, and “clearing” most areas of rebel elements, officials said. More than 112,000 residents have been displaced by the fighting as of September 18, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Human Rights Watch has interviewed villagers held hostage, MNLF rebel suspects, relatives of victims, police officials, and officials from the Commission on Human Rights.

Allegations of Mistreatment

On September 18, Philippine authorities announced that rebellion charges were being prepared against 70 of the 93 suspected members of the MNLF in custody. A dozen detainees who spoke to Human Rights Watch alleged mistreatment in custody by the police or military.

Human Rights Watch interviewed six suspected MNLF rebels jailed at the Zamboanga Central Police Office who alleged that they had been mistreated. Five said police or military agents interrogated them by putting a plastic bag over their head, suffocating them. They said they were also punched and kicked by their interrogators. The suspects said their interrogators sought to force them to confess to being MNLF members. One told Human Rights Watch he admitted as much because he “couldn’t stand the pain anymore.” An elderly detainee alleged that his interrogators blindfolded him and dunked his head into a toilet bowl twice. Another said alcohol was poured into his nose to get him to confess.

At the Philippine National Police’s Camp Batalla in Zamboanga City, three men and two boys aged 14 and 17 were handcuffed to each other since September 12. They were arrested after police found a gun on one of the adults in the group. The five said they knew each other as bottled water vendors at the city port but denied being members of the MNLF. Police officials said on September 18 that the five were no longer suspects and would soon be released.

Police officials told Human Rights Watch that they had arrested dozens of people since the fighting erupted but had since released most of them. One of those arrested was a man with a mental disability who was accused of being an MNLF rebel – the police at first refused to release him or permit his family to see him, but eventually freed him without charge.

Under Philippine law, authorities must charge criminal suspects within 36 hours or release them. Most of the rebel suspects in custody had not been charged after up to 10 days in cramped jails. Interior Secretary Mar Roxas told a media briefing on September 18 that charges had not been brought because the offices of the Department of Justice in Zamboanga City have been closed since the crisis began.

“The government has a responsibility to ensure that everyone taken into custody, including suspected rebels, are treated humanely,” Adams said. “Closing down the Justice Department offices is no excuse for seeing that those arrested are properly charged or released.”

Rebel Hostages and “Human Shields

The MNLF rebels that took over the coastal villages at one time held perhaps hundreds of residents hostage in different locations and used them as human shields to deter Philippine army attacks, Human Rights Watch said.

Michelle Candido, 27, told Human Rights Watch that she, her husband George, and son Jeomi, 2, were inside their home on Lustre Street in Zamboanga City on the morning of Monday, September 9, when they heard gunshots. “We didn’t get out of the house until my uncle told me moments later that we are evacuating,” Candido told Human Rights Watch. They sought refuge at a Christian church down the street but were intercepted by the rebels. The rebels herded them into the church where they were joined by more than 50 other residents, six of them Michelle’s relatives. All were Christians as the rebels had freed those who were Muslim.

“They did not hurt us but they warned us that if we tried to escape, they would shoot us,” Candido said. At 10 p.m. that night, the hostages, including many children, were moved to a daycare center where they were fed snack food and soft drinks.

Two days later, on September 11, the rebels tied up the hostages and directed them to move to the center of the street outside. For two days, amidst sporadic sniper and automatic weapon fire in their area, from 10 a.m. until evening, the hostages would stand outside under the sun. They would shout “Ceasefire!” every time a helicopter passed by or if they saw soldiers aiming their rifles at them, to avoid being attacked.

On September 13, Candido said she heard the rebels talking about a two-hour ceasefire that was to last between 10 a.m. and noon. The rebels told the hostages that they would soon be released. “They wanted us to escort them and then they will leave us,” Candido said.

At around 10:30 a.m. the hostages were ordered out into the street with rebels armed with rifles taking cover behind them, using them as human shields. Candido said that as soon as they were out, gunfire erupted between the military and the rebels. “The shots came from afar,” she said. “It’s as if they didn’t care about the hostages.” One of the hostages was struck by gunfire and killed.

The hostages and the rebels tried to seek cover. For several hours, until 4 p.m., the shooting continued, stopping intermittently, Candido said. She said a helicopter dropped confetti in which the pieces were in the shape of doves. “We were happy because a dove means peace,” she said. “It would soon be over.”

Three military vehicles, which Candido described as tanks but likely armored personnel carriers that were widely used in this conflict, then arrived:

We got up and shouted “Ceasefire!” But the tanks started shooting at us. One old man was hit and died. One man in a yellow shirt died, too. The firing went on and on until we had no choice but jump into the sewer, whose cover had been removed by the rebels so they can turn it into a shield.

“The shooting was relentless,” said Monica Limen, a 50-year-old housewife who was among the hostages with two of her children. Gunfire struck her in the head while her daughter Nerica, 7, sustained a small wound in her right foot. Limen later found out that her son Rubin, 20, was killed. “We have not found his body yet,” she told Human Rights Watch at her hospital bed.

Another hostage, Lemuel Agucita, 17, described how terrified he was when the shooting started. “It was like a massacre,” he said. “The shooting just went on and on. We dropped to the ground, some jumped into the sewer.”

While in the sewer, Michelle and her husband tried to keep their son Jeomi’s chin and head above the sewage but she said even she could not help but swallow some. The shooting continued and suddenly there was a huge explosion right above the sewer. “We must have lost consciousness for a moment,” Michelle said. When she came to, she felt Jeomi’s head and it was bloodied, but he was alive. Her right pinkie finger had been hit. Her husband was unharmed.

Once the shooting stopped, the rebels told the hostages to return to the daycare center, where Michelle administered first aid to her son. They stayed in the daycare center until the next day, fearful of being shot if they went outside. The next day, the rebels let Michelle and her child go, but not her husband. Joemi died at the hospital 24 hours later and George was among those released on September 17.

International Law

In the fighting since September 9, both state security forces and the MNLF have acted in violation of international law. The “taking of hostages” and “cruel treatment” by all parties to a conflict is specifically prohibited by international treaty law. Customary international law also prohibits deliberate attacks on civilians, attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and combatants, and attacks in which the anticipated harm to civilians is greater than the expected military gain. Parties must take all feasible steps to protect civilians and avoid deploying in densely populated areas. The use of “human shields” – deliberately using non-combatants to deter an attack – is a serious violation. However, violations by one side never justify violations by the other. Thus, the holding of hostages and use of human shields by the MNLF does not permit the Philippine army to conduct attacks in disregard of the civilians who have been placed at risk.

International law prohibits torture and other ill-treatment of persons in custody. Individuals apprehended by the government should be promptly brought before a judge and charged with a credible criminal offense or released. The government has an obligation to investigate those responsible for the mistreatment of persons in custody and discipline or prosecute them as appropriate.

“When the smoke finally clears in Zamboanga, the government will need to investigate what happened, including holding accountable members of the military and police who committed abuses,” Adams said.

To read “Philippines: Residents Trapped in Zamboanga Fighting,” please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/09/15/philippines-residents-trapped-zamboanga-fighting

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/-philippines

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

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[Press Release] Protect Civilians in Southern Fighting; Some 70,000 Displaced; Residents Trapped in Zamboanga Standoff -HRW

Philippines: Protect Civilians in Southern Fighting
Some 70,000 Displaced; Residents Trapped in Zamboanga Standoff

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(Manila, September 16, 2013) – The Philippine government should take all necessary measures to reduce the risk to civilians while conducting military operations against Muslim rebels in the southern city of Zamboanga, Human Rights Watch said today. The fighting began on September 9, 2013, when several hundred fighters of the Moro National Liberation Front moved into five coastal villages of Zamboanga City and allegedly took dozens of residents as hostages.

An undetermined number of civilians remain trapped in at least five coastal villages as a result of an armed standoff between rebel forces and the Philippine military and police. Several residents who escaped the villages told Human Rights Watch that many civilians left in the villages could not leave for fear of getting caught in the crossfire or are being prevented from leaving by Philippine security forces because they lack identification documents and thus are suspected of being rebels.

“Both sides to the fighting need to be doing more to protect civilians from harm,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Government forces should not be making blanket assumptions about whether individuals are rebels based on whether they have proper documents or not. Officials can check those leaving the conflict zone, but they need to ensure that civilians have safe passage and are not put at unnecessary risk.”

Residents who had escaped their coastal villages told Human Rights Watch they feared that civilians left behind would be accused of being rebels and could be subject to government attack or mistreatment in custody. Aside from demanding documentation, it is unclear how the authorities are distinguishing civilians from rebel fighters as required by international law. Police sources told Human Rights Watch that more than half of the individuals arrested since September 9 have subsequently been released.

In the village of Rio Hondo, dozens of civilians, perhaps as many as 300, are trapped in an ice plant building, having abandoned their homes for the safety of the concrete structure, one resident told Human Rights Watch. Several residents told Human Rights Watch that many of them decided to stay in the villages to safeguard their homes and belongings. Others could not leave because they did not have the money to pay operators of outrigger boats, which became the only safe way to escape the coastal villages caught up in the fighting.

The government responded to the rebel occupation of the coastal villages on September 9 by sending in thousands of troops, blocking off the villages, “constricting” the area, and, by September 14, “clearing” some villages of rebel elements, officials said. Between 70,000 and 84,000 residents – or about 10 percent of Zamboanga City’s population of around 810,000 – have been displaced by the fighting, according to the Department of Social Welfare and Development and local nongovernmental organizations.

The fighting has resulted in numerous fires, including one that burned down dozens of homes. As of September 14, officials said as many as 500 homes in Zamboanga City were razed. Authorities alleged that rebels started the fires, with rebel snipers targeting the fire trucks that responded to the blazes. Human Rights Watch could not confirm these allegations.

Philippines military forces may also have violated the laws of war by turning the largest hospital in Zamboanga City, the Zamboanga City Medical Center, into a veritable garrison, Human Rights Watch said. After the hospital staff evacuated all the patients on the first day of the crisis, the military promptly moved its forces into the hospital, parking their trucks inside the hospital compound and even sending snipers to two spots on the rooftop to fire on rebels a few hundred meters way.

There have been reports that the fighting has spread to nearby Basilan island, where officials said the Moro National Liberation Front rebels have forged an alliance with the armed Abu Sayyaf militant group to stage attacks to ease the pressure on the rebels in Zamboanga. Local human rights monitors on Basilan Island have reported that the Philippine army has fired 105mm artillery shells that have struck near populated areas. Heavy artillery that has a large blast effect should not be used against enemy forces near civilian areas because of its indiscriminate effect, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch expressed concern that all sides to the fighting abide by international humanitarian law, or the laws of war, particularly with respect to ensuring the protection of the civilian population.

The intensity of the fighting between Moro National Liberation Front forces and Philippine government security forces in Zamboanga City has risen to that of an armed conflict and the laws of war are applicable. Under the laws of war, all sides are prohibited from deliberately attacking civilians, conducting attacks that do not discriminate between civilians and combatants, or could be expected to cause disproportionate civilian harm.

Forces must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and to avoid deploying in densely populated areas. Civilians must be allowed to safely leave combat areas. It is unlawful to take hostages or use individuals as “human shields” by deliberately using them to prevent enemy attacks. Civilian structures, including hospitals, are protected from attack, unless they are being used for military purposes. Medical personnel, transport, and facilities have special protections.

Parties to an armed conflict must treat everyone in their custody humanely. The government must promptly bring anyone apprehended before a court and either charge or release them.

“Civilians who fled their homes without proper documents are still civilians and must be treated that way,” Adams said. “Even though this is a very complicated situation, the military and the police cannot take shortcuts by jeopardizing the rights of the civilian population.”

For more Human Rights Watch reporting on the Philippines, please visit:
http://www.hrw.org/asia/-philippines

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[Press Release] Recent military attack of tribal leaders alarm anti mining groups -ATM

August 29, 2013

Recent military attack of tribal leaders alarm anti mining groups
Confirms murder of Blaan Bong Fuling and son

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Marbel Diocese and support groups in Manila are alarmed at the escalating militarization and human rights violations in the mine area of Tampakan.

After an ocular visit conducted by the team headed by SAC Marbel in Bulol Kalon, Bong Mal Bong Banwe’, recent violent incident occurred confirmed the brutal killing of Anteng and Victo after the house of Anteng Freay was raided by the AFP personnel under the 39th IB, PA and the CAFGUs of 72nd IB in Bulol Kalon. After the killings an encounter ensued between Blaan “Fulong Kamlon Banwe’ (Blaan Tribal warriors) and the government troops.

“We seek the immediate action of the Commission on Human Rights, Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Office of the President on this. It has become natural for the people in Tampakan and nearby areas to have guns and different ammunitions for fear of their lives everytime the military and paramilitary groups pass by,” said Fr Joy Pelino, SAC-Marbel Director.

He added: “The government must conduct a thorough investigation on this event. The Blaan Indigenous People’s are dying protecting their ancestral domain. Government troops are killing the IP’s and the government is waging war against them by encroaching into their territories.“

The incident

August 23, between 3:00 to 5:00am, the Bong Fulong Anteng Freay was shot few meters away from his house and almost in front of his wife. Their house was also strafed with bullets—church and support groups of mining-affected communities in South Cotabato and Davao del Sur confirmed after a visit to Bulol Kalon.

Minutes after, Kiit called out to her son who was sleeping in a makeshift hut to tell him his father was killed. Kiit shared Victor went running towards his house and together with his wife and son they run but CAFGUs and the member of the 39th IB were waiting for him and shot him with an M16 rifle also few meters from his wife and son.

Different kinds of empty shells were found including 134 empty shells were found in Anteng Freays house, and 27 empty cartridges where Victor was shot.

The ocular visit report found that military allegations of encounter between the tribal warriors the 39th IB PA and CAFGUs only happened after the killing of Anteng and Victor.

Tampakan Human Rights Impact Assessment Report

In June 2013, the Institute for Development and Peace together with the Commission on Human Rights launched the Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) for the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project. It examined the different impacts of the mining project to the human rights of affected communities. This included the concerns regarding the militarization of the ancestral lands where the mine is located.

The HRIA found that the situation in the area to be precarious, and that “responsibly operating an open-pit mine does not seem feasible.” It added: “Violent incidents and the potential for further violent conflicts interact with and add to these imbalances. Regular armed forces and paramilitaries deployed in the area have intensified frictions between those who have hopes in gaining from a potential mine and those who oppose the project. Thus, the prospect of the mine and the company’s presence have triggered dynamics of militarization and the escalation of violence in the region.”

“The government cannot keep still and quiet on this. This increasing incidents and regularity of the encounters and attacks by our own military against indigenous peoples is unacceptable. Military groups should be pulled out and the incident be immediately investigated on”, Jaybee Garganera, national coordinator of Alyansa Tigil Mina said.

Recent Killings in Tampakan

October 2012: Juvy Capion, 27 and two of her sons Jordan, 13 and John, 8 were massacred.

January 29, 30: Kitari and Diyo Capion, tribal defense warriors were killed in military encounter. Kitari Capion brother of Daguil Capion was killed during the raid of the members of the Task Force KITACO, 72nd IB.

June 28: Eking Freay, eldest son of Bong Fulong Anteng Freay and his brother in-law were ambushed in Brgy. Kimlawis, Kiblawan, Davao Del Sur. Sonny Boy died instantly.

One of the stumbling blocks of SMI-Xstrata’s mining project is the absence of the free prior and informed consent (FPIC) of the indigenous groups in the area who oppose the mining project.

ATM is part of the Tampakan Forum, a coalition of international and local organizations that serves as a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue.

Alyansa Tigil Mina is an alliance of mining-affected communities and their support groups of NGOs/POs and other civil society organizations who oppose the aggressive promotion of large-scale mining in the Philippines. The alliance is currently pushing for a moratorium on mining, revocation of EO 270-A, repeal of the Mining Act of 1995, and passage of the AMMB. (30)

For more information:
Fr. Joy Peliño, SAC-Marbel Director, sacmarbel@yahoo.com
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Advocacy Officer (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

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[Statement] A call to human rights defenders: conduct creative & courageous actions on four (4) fronts to end impunity! -PAHRA

A call to human rights defenders: conduct creative & courageous actions on four (4) fronts to end impunity!

July 22, 2013

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“Ang mali – gaano katagal man ito nanatili – ay mali pa rin. Hindi puwedeng “Oks lang, wala lang iyan.” Kapag kinalimutan natin ang mga ito,mangyayari lang ulit ang mga kamalian ng nakaraan.Kung hindi magbabayad ang mga nagkasala,parang tayo na rin mismo ang nag-imbita sa mga nagbabalak gumawa ng masama na umulit muli.” President Benigno Aquino III. SONA July 2011

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) recalls that:President Benigno Aquino III, in his 2011 State of the Nation Address (SONA) popularly well defined impunity: That which is wrong, no matter how long it takes, is still wrong. No way can anyone say after sometime that:

“It already is OK. Let bygone’s be bygone’s.” Otherwise, the same wrongs will recur. If no one pays for what has been done, it would be like we ourselves have encouraged the wrong doer to do it all over again.
Impunity is a deadly social virus of such strain that addressing it with half-measures and / or insufficient dosages of actions only emboldens its bearers more while it instills more widely within Philippine society the climate of fear and of helplessness against impunity’s next choice as its victim. The danger is increased when those infected belong to the high echelons of government, the security sector and the business sector – as shown in the unwillingness of PLDT to comply with the final decision of the Supreme Court in favor of the Digitel Employees Union as well as in the still un-captured ex-Maj.Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. and the highly possible involvement of military and police officers in rub-outs.

Yes, the reported number of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and torture are down. But very few have been made to pay for what they have wrongly done. Government and the security sector has miserably failed to diligently investigate and appropriately prosecute the past and present violations. The culture of impunity persist. And the private sector, in varying degrees, is being infected with it. The President’s past SONA words are a warning unto itself: Kung hindi magbabayad ang mga nagkasala, parang tayo na rin mismo ang nag-imbita sa mga nagbabalak gumawa ng masama na umulit muli.

An outbreak of impunity can again occur anytime.

Extrajudicial killings, for one, by death squads are no longer confined in Davao City. Similar incidents, according to Human Rights Watch, are being reported in the cities of Zamboanga, General Santos, Cagayan de Oro and Cebu.

To prevent this backlash, we call on all human rights defenders to conduct creative and courageous actions to:
1. Assert the right to truth.
2. Pursue the right to justice.
3. Organize to obtain the right for an effective remedy and to received reparations.
4. Work for structural and institutional reforms to prevent recurrence of systemic abuses.

Determinedly work for the passage of the Freedom of Information Bill. Now we need to push for the success of the People’s Indirect Initiative as it has been freed from the clutches of political unwillingness.

Barriers to obtain the truth about graft and corruption as well as criminal activity and/or human rights violations must be demolished to deliver justice to victims and their families and to the Filipino people as a whole.

The intransigence of both the AFP and the PNP, as pointed out by the Court of Appeals, in cooperating with the CHR to obtain information relevant to the resolution of Jonas Burgos case must be decisively dealt with.
If wrongly permitted to take this course, Jonas Burgos and his family would be, despite being a high profile case, added victims of impunity, piled on cases like that of the enforced disappearances of six young casual workers from Surigao known as the PICOP 6. If there is no full consideration, as another example, of the truth about the massacre of the Capion family in Davao del Sur, proper redress and compensation along with justice will be not achieved.

Truth should not only be obtained in the realm of civil and political rights, but also in economic, social and cultural rights. The right to information is not only on the accessibility of police blotters, military camp records but also of transparency of business plans and records containing also financial reports affecting people, their sources of subsistence and the environment particularly in areas of extractive industries.

Till now there is no official National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) that would guide this administration’s compliance of its human rights obligations. It must be remembered that most of the time, impunity in the realm of civil and political rights is rooted in the impunity of economic, social and cultural rights. The completion of CARPER and the people’s control, not foreigners, over sources of subsistence should be ensured to progressively root out the causes of the armed conflict and concomitant abuses.

The touch-and-go or piece-meal style in human rights will not weaken, much less stop, impunity but rather strengthen impunity by using new learned technicalities to subvert actions that respect, protect and fulfil human rights, such as blind-folding a person to escape identification in a torture case.

Passage of some legislation related to human rights, such as the laws on reproductive health, enforced disappearances, compensation for human rights victims during Martial Law and on domestic workers, are noted and commended.

While awaiting the said laws’ full implementation, there are others which should be soonest addressed by the Chief Executive who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The President should order, not merely endorse, that transparency and accountability be diligently done in dealing with serious accusations of criminal and/or human rights violations implicating both rank-and-file personnel and officers. The President should review and / or rescind executive actions which give rise to human rights violations, like the Executive Order 546 which allows the arming of militias by local officials.
Alongside the ban, he should issue an Executive Order which bans all para-military formations and to dis-arm immediately all the said groups. There is urgency as well to check that Command Responsibility does not deteriorate into a ‘command conspiracy’ between officials both in the civilian bureaucracy and the security sector and their corresponding rank-and-file personnel.

Finally, to ensure that systemic abuses do not recur, structural and institutional changes should take into serious consideration without discrimination the promotion and protection of human rights of all, especially, the indigenous peoples, the peasants, the workers, women, children, the LGBTs, the elderly and persons with disabilities. Human Rights Defenders should monitor government compliance.

No trade-off’s to end impunity.

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Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.

[From the web] Inter-Agency Com on ELK & Enforced Disappearance Guidelines for Investigation & Prosecution

Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal Killings and Enforced Disappearance Meet to Adopt Guidelines for Investigation and Prosecution

Source: www.doj.gov.ph

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On April 18, 2013, the Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) on Extra-Legal Killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons, chaired by the Department of Justice (DOJ), held its third regular meeting at the GHQ Conference Room, Camp Aguinaldo. The IAC composed of the DOJ, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), Office of the Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs (OPAPA), Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), adopted the Operational Guidelines or the implementing rules and regulations of Administrative Order No. 35 which was signed by President Benigno S. Aquino III last 22 November 2012.

The Operational Guidelines is an important step towards engendering an investigative environment that will benefit greatly from the legal knowledge, experience and leadership of a prosecutor to ensure an airtight investigation and successful prosecution of a greater number of cases. The Guidelines call for the creation of special investigation teams which are composite teams of investigators and prosecutors that will undertake case build-up of human rights violations covered by the administrative order. Their efforts to secure a successful prosecution will be monitored closely by special oversight teams composed of seasoned prosecutors and investigators who are mandated to provide guidance to the investigators and prosecutors on the ground and also submit recommendations to the JAC. Special tracker teams may also be created to secure the apprehension of perpetrators who continue to successfully elude the enforcement of their warrants of arrest.

In an interview, DOJ Secretary Leila M. Dc Lima shared her observations that, “these Guidelines will be the important tools to train the composite teams of investigators and prosecutors all over the country, not only to secure the paradigm shift in our ranks that will encourage our prosecutors to take a more pro-active approach at the investigation level, but indubitably to ensure a higher conviction rate on cases involving grave human rights violations.” De Lima observed, “our main challenge is make sure we have the full support of the PNP, NBI and the National Prosecution Service to see the spirit of A.O. No. 35 through which is to secure the arrests and eventual convictions of perpetrators of these human rights violations and to address, through these institutional mechanisms, the perceived continuing culture of impunity.”

The IAC has also undertaken the inventory of cases of extra-legal killings (ELK), enforced disappearances (ED), torture and other grave human rights violations from lists of all government sources. De Lima confirmed that the Technical Working Group (TWG) assisting the IAC has initially submitted a recommended list of priority ELK and ED cases which will be validated by the IAC members within the week. These cases will thereafter be assigned to the various A.O. No. 35 teams for investigation, prosecution or monitoring, as the case maybe.
Present in the said meeting were Sec. Voltaire Gazmin of DND, Sec. Teresita Quintos Deles of OPAPP, Gen. Emmanuel Bautista, Chief of Staff of AFP, Usec. Rafael Santos of DILG, Usec. Luis Martin Gascon, Usec. Pio Lorenzo Batino of DND, Gen. Nestor Fajura of PNP and Atty. Ferdinand Lavin of NBJ. Also present as resource persons and observers, were Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Loretta Ann Morales, CHR Commissioner Ma. Victoria Cardona and Assistant Ombudsman Evelyn Baliton, who signed as witnesses to the Operational Guidelines. The Office of the Ombudsman and the CHR also contributed to the list of A.O. No. 35 cases being processed by the TWG.
The next meeting of the IAC will be on the second week of June.

Enclosed: Operational Guidelines of A.O. No. 35

OPERATIONAL GUIDELINES OF ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER NO. 35

WHEREAS, Article II, Section ii of the 1987 Constitution declares that the State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights;

WHEREAS, Article III, Section i of the 1987 Constitution provides that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law;

WHEREAS, Article III, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable;

WHEREAS, Article III, Section 12(1) of the 1987 Constitution provides that any person under investigation for the commission of an offense shall have the right to be informed of the right to remain silent and to have competent and independent counsel preferably of his own choice;

WHEREAS, Article III, Sedtidn 12(2) of the 1987 Constitution provides that no torture, force, violence, threat, intimidation, or any other means which vitiate the free will shall be used against any person, and that secret detention places, solitary incommunicado, or other similar forms of detention are prohibited;

WHEREAS, Article III, Section 14(1) of the 1987 Constitution provides that no person shall be held to answer for a criminal offense without due process of law;

WHEREAS, Article III, Section 18(1) of the 1987 Constitution provides that no person shall be detained solely by reason of political beliefs and aspirations;

WHEREAS, the Philippines is a state party to key international human rights instruments, among which are: (a) the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights and (b) the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment;

WHEREAS, in becoming a State Party to these international human rights conventions, the Philippines undertook to harmonize and reflect in its laws, policies and practices the provisions of such conventions;

WHEREAS, being such a State Party, the Philippine Government passed Republic Act No. 9745, entitled, “An Act Penalizing Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Presctibing Penalties Therefor” penalizing torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment;

WHEREAS, to further institutionalize the commitment of the Philippines to improve its human rights record, the Philippine Government enacted Republic Act No. 9851, entitled, “Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity;

WHEREAS, to fully adhere to the principles and standards of absolute condemnation and prohibition of enforced or involuntary disappearance, the President signed into law Republic Act No. 10353, “An Act Defining and Penalizing Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance,” a first of its kind in Asia and another major legislative milestone on the protection and promotion of human rights;

WHEREAS, commitment to resolve cases of political violence in various forms of human rights violations caused President Aquino to establish an institutional legacy through Administrative Order No. 35, entitled, “Creating the Inter-Agency Committee on Extra-Legal killings, Enforced Disappearances, Torture and Other Grave Violations of the Right to Life, Liberty and Security of Persons,” a comprehensive government machinery mandated to monitor cases of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other human rights violations;

WHEREAS, in order to ensure that political activist and media killings are effectively investigated and successfully prosecuted, the Secretary of Justice and the Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government jointly formulated and issued through a Joint Department Order No. 003-2012, which outlines the Operational Guidelines for Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Investigators in Evidence-Gathering, Investigation and Case Build-Up; Inquest and Preliminary Investigation; and Trial of Cases of Political-Activist and Media Killings;

WHEREAS, there have been reported and validated violations of human rights of the individuals throughout the years, which have served to create an impression of a culture of impunity, wherein State and non state forces have been accused of silencing, through violence and intimidation, legitimate dissent and opposition raised by members of the civil society, cause-oriented groups, political movements, people’s and non-government organizations, and by ordinary citizens;

WHEREAS, most of these violations remain uninvestigated and unsolved, with the perpetrators unidentified or unprosecuted, giving rise to more impunity;

WHEREAS, there is a need to revisit these unsolved cases of grave violations of the right to life, liberty, and security of persons, whether committed as part of an apparent government policy in the past or as recurring cases of unsanctioned individual abuse of power and authority by State and non-state forces under the present;

WHEREAS, it is important to establish a respectable and validated databank of all specific allegations of human rights violations in the form of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty, and security of persons in order to ensure the comprehensive, coherent, well-coordinated and quick response of the Philippine Government; and

WHEREAS, the present Administration declares as a matter of paramount policy that there is no room for all these forms of political violence and abuses of power by agents or elements of the State or non- state forces, and towards this end commits to establish an institutional legacy of an efficient, coherent, and comprehensive government machinery dedicated to the resolution of unsolved cases of political violence in the form of extra-legal killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty, and security of persons;

NOW THEREFORE, in order to carry out the implementation of Administrative Order No. 35, the following Operational Guidelines are hereby prescribed and promulgated.

ARTICLE I
DEFINITION OF TERMS

In the implementation of Administrative Order No. 35 (A.O. No. 35) and these Guidelines, the following terms shall mean:

Extra-Legal Killings (ELK) or Extra-Judicial Killings (EJK) – For purposes of operationalization and implementation of A.O. No. 35, the ELK/ElK will refer to killings wherein:

a. The victim was:
i. a member of, or affiliated with an organization, to include political, environmental, agrarian, labor, or similar causes; or

ii. an advocate of above-named causes; or

iii. a media practitioner or

iv. person(s) apparently mistaken or identified to be so.
b. The victim was targeted and killed because of the actual or perceived membership, advocacy, or profession;

c. The person/s responsible for the killing is a state agent or non-state agent;

d. The method and circumstances of attack reveal a deliberate intent to kill;

For purposes of the focused mandate of AO No . 35, killings related to common criminals and/or the perpetration of their crimes shall be addressed by other appropriate, mechanisms within the justice system.

2. State Agent – is a person who, by direct provision of law, popular election or appointment by competent authority, takes part in the performance of public functions in the government, or who performs in the government or in any of its branches, public duties as an employee, agent or subordinate official, of any rank or class1.

Sec 3, Anti-Enforced Disappearance Act.
Any other person who does not fall under the above-definition shall be deemed as a Non-State Agent.

3. Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance (EID)—refers to the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty committed by the agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by the refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which places such person outside the protection of the law2.
4. Torture – refers to an act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him/her or a third person information or a confession; punishing him/her for an act he/she or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed; or intimidating or coercing him/her or a third person; or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the! consent or acquiescence of a person in authority or agent of a person in authority. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in, or incidental to lawful sanctions3.
5. Other Grave Human Rights Violations – refer to acts that grossly violate an individual’s right to life, liberty and security of persons and/or their physical or mental integrity
and dignity.4
The Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) shall identify the different grave human rights violations to be prioritized for investigation and prosecution under these Guidelines and pursuant to A.O. No. 35.

6. AO 35 Cases – refer to cases of extra-legal killings, enforced or involuntary disappearances, torture, and other grave human rights violation cases, involving right to life, liberty and security of peçsons.
7. Special Investigation Teams for New Cases (SITN) – refers to composite teams of prosecutors and investigators designated by the IAC purposely to investigate, prosecute and monitor new cases or incidents that occurred after the effectivity of A.O. No. 35 on 22 November 2012.
8. Special Investigation Teams for Existing/Current Cases (SITEC) – refers to composite teams of prosecutors and investigators designated by the TAC purposely to investigate, prosecute and monitor existing or current cases that are actively being investigated or prosecuted in court and those that have been archived by the court, where such cases or incidents occurred prior to the effectivity of A.O. No. 35 on 22 November 2012.
9. Special Investigation Teams for unsolved Cases (SITU) – refers to composite teams of prosecutors and investigators designated by the IAC tasked to conduct further investigation of unsolved AO 35 cases for the purpose of identifying and arresting the persons responsible for the crime and ensuring the successful prosecution of the cases.

10. Special Oversight Team (SOT) for unsolved cases – is a composite team of investigators and prosecutors created by the TAC tasked to evaluate and oversee the reinvestigation by the SITUs, supervise the management of unsolved AO 35 cases, and to regularly report and submit recommendations to the JAC regarding these cases.

11. Special Oversight Team (SOT) for existing and new cases – is a composite team of investigators and prosecutors created by the IAC tasked to evaluate, to monitor and supervise the investigation and prosecution of new and existing cases, and to regularly report and submit recommendations to the JAC regarding these AO 35 cases.

12. Inter-Agency Committee (IAC) – is a body created under Administrative Order No. 35 dated 22 November 2012 tasked to monitor and ensure the speedy resolution of extra judicial killings, enforced or involuntary disappearances, torture, and other grave violations of the right to life, liberty and security of persons.

13. Technical Working Group (TWG) – a body composed of the representatives of the member-agencies and observers/resource persons of the IAC which shall serve as the central support system to the Committee in the monitoring and handling of A035 cases.

14. Observers/Resource Persons —refers to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Ombudsman or any of their authorized representatives.

15. High Profile Cases – are cases identified by the IAC as such because of the presence of any of the following circumstances:
a. High media attention;
b.Highlighted or monitored by international agencies, organizations, or institutions;
c. Given special attention by other stakeholders;
d. The victim or suspect is a public personality; and
e. Other cases as may be declared “high profile” by the JAC.

16. Unsolved Cases – are incidents that were previously investigated by the Philippine National Police (PNP), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) or the Commission on
Human Rights (CHR) prior to 22 November 2012 that would have been treated as AO 35 cases but where no complaint for preliminary investigation was filed with the National Prosecution Service (NPS) or the Office of the Ombudsman due to lack of sufficient evidence, or unwillingness of eyewitnesses to cooperate in the investigation, or to give information, or for total lack of witnesses.

Unsolved cases may also refer to cold cases.

17. Closed Cases – AO 35 cases which, upon thorough review and final determination of the IAC, are denominated as “closed” because vital witnesses are no longer available or can no longer testify, or have already died, or for total lack of evidence, or where all possible suspects have already died.

18. Cases Under Investigation – are incidents that are presently undergoing investigation by law enforcement offices for the possible filing of cases for preliminary investigation with the NPS or the Ombudsman, or those that have been dismissed by the prosecution due to lack or insufficiency of evidence, or dismissed by the court for lack of probable cause and ordered to be reinvestigated by law enforcement agencies.

19. Cases under Re-Investigation – refer to the following cases:

a. Unsolved cases identified by the SOT to be prioritized for further investigation ‘for the purpose of identifying the person/s responsible for the crime and witnesses and the collection of evidence for possible case build-up;
b. Cases dismissed by the prosecutor for lack or insufficiency of evidence and identified by the SOT to be prioritized for further investigation ‘for the purpose of identifying the person/s responsible for the crime and witnesses and collection of evidence for possible case build-up and;

c. Cases dismissed by the court for lack of probable cause and ordered to be reinvestigated by law enforcement agencies. Such cases must also be identified by the SOT to be prioritized for further investigation for the purpose of identifying the person/s responsible for the crime and witnesses and collection of evidence for possible case build-
up.
20. Cases Under Preliminary Investigation – refer to cases that are undergoing preliminary investigation either by the NPS or the Ombudsman.

21. Cases on Appeal – refers to cases where the resolution of the prosecutor is appealed by way of petition for review before the Office of the Secretary of Justice or to the Ombudsman.

22. New Cases – refer to incidents covered by A.O. 35 that occurred after its effectivity on 22 November 2012.

23. Inquest – is an informal and summary investigation in a criminal case conducted by the prosecutor involving person/s arrested and detained without the benefit of a warrant of arrest for the purpose of determining whether said person/s should remain under custody and correspondingly charged in court.

24. AO 35 Prosecutors – refer to the prosecutors designated by the IAC to lead special investigation teams (SIT) in the investigation and build-up of AO 35 Cases.

25. Investigating Prosecutor – refers to the prosecutor who is tasked to conduct a preliminary investigation in an A035 Case.

26. Trial Prosecutor – refers to the prosecutor who actively handles the trial of an AO 35 case in court.

27. Law Enforcement Agency – refers to the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), or to any of its offices or sub-offices or other law
enforcement agencies of the government ordered by competent authorities to investigate AO 35 cases and/or arrest those responsible therefor.

28. Law Enforcement Investigator/A0 35 Investigator – refers to the investigator from a law enforcement agency as defined in the preceding paragraph designated by the IAC as part of the composite team led by the AO 35 prosecutor in the investigation and build-up of AO 35 cases.

The investigators designated under their respective law enforcement agencies’ normal processes of forming SITG (Special Investigation Task Group) or Task Forces may form part of the various Special Investigation Teams by default.

29. Composite Team Approach – refers to the strategy or scheme adopted by the IAC as mandated by A035, where prosecutors and investigators collaborate, cooperate and
coordinate in the investigation and build-up of AO 35 cases.

30. Case Build-Up – refers to the entire process of investigation and case preparation, including the collection and preservation of evidence, documentation, and identification of suspects to ensure the successful prosecution of the case.

ARTICLE II
SOURCES OF INFORMATION

1. Police, NBI and other law enforcement agencies;

2. Fact-Finding Committees and other ad hoc bodies created by laws, ordinances, department orders, administrative issuances, or judicial orders for purposes of information-gathering, the conduct of investigation, and submission of findings and recommendations relative to AO 35 cases;

3. CHR, being the constitutional body tasked to investigate cases involving human rights violations;

4. AO 35 Member-Agencies which may separately provide information on AO 35 cases which are submitted to the IAC for appropriate action;

5. Other government offices or units;

6. Media and Reports from other private entities, including civilians, human rights organizations, civil society organizations and other groups which report incidents of grave violations of the right to life, liberty and security of persons;

7. Reports from international entities including United Nations Bodies, Committees, Working Groups, Special Representatives, international NGOs and foreign governments, on possible human rights violations identified under AO 35;

ARTICLE III
SYSTEM OF COOPERATION

Unsolved Cases

Section 1. Reinvestigation by Special Investigation Teams (SITU). Unsolved cases identified by the IAC, especially those that transpired between 2001 up to November 22, 2012 shall be re-evaluated and re-investigated by Special Investigation Teams for Unsolved Cases (SITU) that shall be created by the IAC.

Section 2. Duties and Responsibilities of a SITU. As soon as practicable after their creation, a SITU, led by an AO 35 prosecutor, shall convene in order to thoroughly study the records of the case, interview the relatives of the victim, conduct an ocular inspection of the crime scene, interview possible witnesses to the incident, and exert all other efforts which may lead to the identification of the person/s responsible for the crime.

Section 3 . Period of Reinvestigation; Extensions. The SITU shall expeditiously work on the unsolved cases and finish their reinvestigation and case build-up within a period of thirty (30) days from their initial meeting, unless otherwise extended by the SOT for another thirty (30) days upon their prior written request and only on meritorious grounds such as difficulty in obtaining testimonies or cooperation of witnesses.

Section 4. Investigation Report. Upon completion of re- investigation, the SITU shall submit a Final Investigation Report to the IAC Secretariat containing the following:

(a) Summary of the Incident (which shall include name and affiliation of the victim/s and the suspect/s);
(b) Brief narrative on the previous investigative efforts and their results;
(c) Detailed narrative on the SITU’s reinvestigation efforts and their results;
(d) Enumeration and evaluation of evidence;
(e) Findings;
(f) Conclusion;
(g) Recommendation; and
(h) Annexes of pertinent documents.

Section 5. Deliberations and Recommendations of SOT for Unsolved Cases. The Secretariat shall, upon receipt of the Investigation Report from the SITU, calendar the same for discussion by the SOT for unsolved cases which, depending on the result of deliberations and thorough review of the records, may recommend to the IAC any of the following actions:

(a) That the case be immediately filed with the appropriate prosecution office against the respondent;
(b) That the case be further reinvestigated on the basis of some other leads;
(c) That the case be declared closed, especially if vital witnesses to the incident can no longer testify, have already died or can no longer be located, or for total lack of evidence, or where
the suspect(s) have already died; or
(d) That the case be delisted on the ground that the same is not an AO 35 case.
Section 6. IAC Action. Acting on the recommendations of the SOT for unsolved cases based on the result of SITU’s reinvestigation, the IAC may adopt, modify, or otherwise overturn the same, or altogether create another team to reinvestigate the case anew.

The IAC may solicit the assistance of other agencies which may not be a member of the Committee and/or take any other appropriate action.

Section 7. Filing and Indorsement of AO 35 Case. If the IAC adopts the recommendation for filing of a complaint, the SITU shall file the corresponding complaint before the appropriate prosecution office. The complaint shall contain an Indorsement signed by the A035 Investigator who is a member of the SITU, indicating that the investigation was conducted pursuant to AO 35 and these Guidelines.
Section 8. Closed Cases Not To Be Delisted. Whenever the IAC resolves to close an unsolved case reinvestigated by the SITU due to the impossibility of obtaining sufficient evidence to move it forward, the same shall not be delisted from the inventory of alleged AO 35 cases.

However, the person/s implicated in an Unsolved Case that was resolved to be closed, shall forthwith be delisted from the case after due assessment is conducted by the SOT on the said person/s’ purported participation. The SOT shall thereafter recommend to the IAC the approval to delist the aforesaid person/s. The delisting of such name/s shall be without prejudice to their inclusion if the case is revived due to newly-obtained evidence sufficiently showing the person/s participation as the perpetrator/s thereof.

Section 9. Change of SITU Composition. If it appears at any time during the investigation and case build-up that an A035 agency may be somehow involved in the incident subject of the investigation, the IAC Chairperson, upon recommendation of the AO 35 prosecutor or the TWG, may reorganize the SITU.

B. New Cases

Section 10. Initial Assessment and Report. When a killing (which shall be deemed to include an attempted or frustrated killing) or a deprivation of liberty or a suspected case of torture or other suspected AO 35 violations occurs or are reported, the local law enforcement agency, office or unit concerned, shall make an initial assessment within forty-eight (48) hours from deployment, whether or not the incident may be treated as a possible AO 35 case, guided by the following:

(a) For an EJK case, the presence of any two of the elements of Article 1(i) of these Guidelines is present;

(b) For an enforced or involuntary disappearance, when the deprivation of liberty is suspected to have been committed by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons suspected to have acted with the authorization, support or acquiescence of agents of the State; and

(c) For a torture case, when there are signs, reports or allegations of severe pain or suffering suspected to have been inflicted by persons in authority or their agents.

Immediately but not later than six (6) hours after the initial assessment of the incident or information by the local police office or law enforcement agency, office or unit, a report shall be submitted to the Chief of Police, provincial, or regional director as the case maybe. If the initial assessment indicates that the incident is a possible AO 35 Case, the report shall be certified as “Extremely Urgent”. After receipt of the report, the Chief of Police, Provincial or Regional Director, shall immediately but not later than six (6) hours forthwith inform the designated A035 prosecutor in the locality about the same.
Section 11. Designation of AO 35 Prosecutors. There shall be in every city, province or region of the country, a roster of AO 35 prosecutors who shall be available on an on-call basis in order to serve as team leaders in the investigation and case build-up of AO 35 Cases.

Section 12. Convening of the SITN. Immediately within 24 hours upon receipt from the Chief of Police, Provincial Director or Regional Director of the information and the names of investigators that will form part of the SITN, the designated A035 prosecutor shall convene the team to start the case build-up.

If in case the investigation has been started by a local team of investigators, or a Special Investigation Task Group or Task Forces of the PNP or similar teams of the NBI or other law enforcement agencies, the SITN shall oversee, supervise and monitor the investigation to ensure that the case is supported by sufficient and strong evidence, provided however, that the Chairperson of the JAC may, in the exercise of plenary powers, direct the designated SITN to take over the investigation and case build-up from the local investigators, or Special Investigation Task Group or Task Forces of the PNP, or similar teams of the NBI or other law enforcement agencies, or to direct their absorption into the SITN. The investigator(s) thus absorbed shall be deemed as A035 investigator(s).

Section 13. Duties and Responsibilities of the SITN. The SITN shall have the following duties and responsibilities:
(a) To immediately investigate a possible AO 35 case for purposes of filing the appropriate charges with the prosecution office;

(b) To identify witnesses and assist in the preparation of their sworn statements;

(c) To recommend the immediate or provisional coverage of witnesses and/or their immediate families under the Witness Protection Program (WPP) of the Department of Justice (DOA)

(d) To evaluate the scene of the crime report and other physical or object evidence necessary in the filing of the case with the prosecution office;

(e) To invite the participation of other government agencies as may be deemed necessary or beneficial to the investigation;.

(f) To periodically submit reports about the progress of the investigation to the Secretariat of the JAC;

(g) To ensure the proper preservation and custody of all the evidence collected; and

(h) To perform such other tasks as the IAC, SOT or the TWG may direct them to perform.

Section 14. Change of SITN Composition. If it appears at any time during the investigation and case build-up that an A035 agency may be somehow involved in the incident subject of the investigation, the IAC Chairperson, upon recommendation of the AO 35 prosecutor or the TWG, may reorganize the SITN.

Section 15. Investigation Report. Within thirty (30) days from the time it convenes, the SITN shall submit an Investigation Report to the IAC Secretariat.

The Investigation Report shall contain the following:
(a) Summary of the Incident (which shall include the name and affiliation of the victim and the suspect);
(b) Detailed narrative on the SITN’s investigation efforts and their results;
(c) Enumeration and evaluation of evidence;
(d) Findings;
(e) Conclusion;
(f) Recommendation; and
(g) Annexes of pertinent documents.
In case the STTN recommends the filing of charges, the Investigation Report shall likewise be accompanied by a copy of the corresponding Indorsement to the appropriate prosecution office for preliminary investigation.

Section 16. Extension of Investigation Period. If, on account of difficulty in the identification of the person/s responsible for the crime, or in seeking the cooperation of the victim or the witnesses to the crime, the SITN cannot submit the Investigation Report within a period of thirty (30) days, the SOT for new/existing cases may, upon prior written request from the SITN, extend the investigation period for another thirty (30) days.

Section 17. Deliberations and Action of SOT for New and Existing Cases. The Secretariat shall, upon receipt of the Investigation Report from the SITN, calendar the same for discussion by the SOT for new/existing cases.

The SOT, after conduct of deliberations and thorough review of the records, may direct the SITN to do any of the following actions:

(a) That the case be immediately filed with the appropriate prosecution office;
(b) That the case be further reinvestigated by the SITN; or
(c) Delist the case on the ground that the same is not an AO 35 Case.

If the SITN recommends that the case be declared closed, especially if vital witnesses to the incident can no longer testify, have already died or can no longer be located, or for total lack of evidence, the SOT for new/existing cases, after a thorough evaluation of the report, may either concur or cause the reinvestigation of the case.

If the SOT for new/existing concurs with the recommendation to close the case, the same shall be reported to the IAC for its consideration.

Section 18. IAC Action. Acting on the recommendations of the SOT for new/existing cases to close the case, the IAC may adopt, modify, or otherwise overturn the same, or altogether create another team to reinvestigate the case anew.

The IAC may solicit the assistance of other agencies which may not be a member of the Committee, and/or take any other appropriate action.

Section 19. Filing and Indorsement of AO 35 Case. If the SOT for new/existing cases adopts the recommendation to file a complaint, the SITN shall file a complaint before the appropriate prosecution office.

The complaint shall contain an Indorsement signed by the A035 Investigator who is a member of the SITN, indicating that the investigation was conducted pursuant to AO 35 and these Guidelines.
Section 20. Closed Cases Not To Be Delisted. Whenever the IAC resolves to close a case due to the impossibility of obtaining sufficient evidence to move it forward, the same shall not be delisted from the inventory of alleged AO 35 cases.

Section 21. Continued Monitoring and Reporting. Notwithstanding the referral of the case to the prosecution office, the SITN shall continue to convene for the purpose of evaluating and gathering of additional evidence necessary to further strengthen the case. The SITN shall likewise continue to monitor and periodically report the progress of the preliminary investigation to the IAC Secretariat.

Section 22. Inquest of AO 35 Cases When SITN Has Not Yet Been Convened. In instances of warrantless arrests, the arresting officers shall immediately conduct an initial assessment in order to determine whether the offense for which the person was arrested falls in any of the circumstances enumerated under Section 1 of Article III.B. of these Guidelines. If any of such circumstances is present, the arresting officers shall inform the AO 35 prosecutor, through any expedient means, about the arrest and pending inquest proceedings.

The said arresting officer/s shall also certify before the inquest prosecutor his or her initial assessment that the person/s arrested subject of inquest may have committed an A035 offense.

The A035 prosecutor, upon receipt of the notice from the arresting officer/s, shall convene the SITN pursuant to Sections 3 and 4 of this Article to further enhance case build-up.

Section 23. Inquest of AO 35 Cases When SITN Has Been Convened.

In instances where the SITN I has been convened and the person suspected of committing an AO 35 ‘ case is taken into custody by other law enforcers without a warrant under circumstances allowed by the law/rules, the arresting officer shall immediately inform, by any expedient means, the AO 35 prosecutor of the said SITN of such warrantless arrest.

The arresting officer/s shall then furnish the inquest prosecutor with all documents necessary for the conduct of inquest proceedings and shall indicate that the complaint is a probable AO 35 case.

The SITN shall continue to monitor the case in accordance with Section 12 above.

For purposes of this Section, both the AO 35 investigator and the AO 35 prosecutor are enjoined to take advantage of the innovations or advancements in communications technology in order to facilitate and expedite their coordination efforts.

C. Existing/Current Cases

Section 24. Existing or Current Cases shall refer to cases that are being investigated or re-investigated by law enforcement officers per order of the Court; or undergoing preliminary investigation; or is already pending in Court whether there be an active trial or has been archived by the Court, as of 22 November 2012, where such cases fall under the classification of any of the enumerated human rights violations under the said Administrative Order.

Section 25. Identification of Existing/Current Cases By TWG. The TWG shall identify existing/current cases that may possibly fall within the ambit of A.O. No. 35. The TWG shall thereafter recommend possible interventions or actions involving such identified cases to the IAC for their appropriate instructions.

Section 26. IAC Action. Acting on the recommendations of the TWG, the IAC may order that a SITEC be convened:
(a) To investigate or prosecute certain cases pursuant to Article 111(B);

(b) To oversee, supervise or monitor the investigation or prosecution by other investigative or prosecutorial bodies or office; –

(c) To monitor the handling and management of such cases including the submission of regular reports to the SOT and IAC; or

(d) To solicit the assistance of other agencies which may not be a member of the IAC; or to undertake any appropriate actions pertaining to such A.O. 35 case.

Section 27. Convening of the SITEC. Immediately within twenty four (24) hours upon receipt of the directive from the IAC to convene the special investigation team for existing/ current cases (SITEC), the designated. A035 prosecutor shall convene the team pursuant to Article III (B) hereof.

Section 28. Duties and Responsibilities of the SITEC. Depending on the stage of the case, whether investigation or prosecution, the SITEC shall have the following duties and
responsibilities:

(a) To immediately investigate a possible AO 35 case for purposes of filing the appropriate charges with the prosecution office;

(b) To identify witnesses and assist in the preparation of their sworn statements;

(c) To recommend the immediate or provisional coverage of witnesses and/or their immediate families under the Witness Protection Program of the Department of Justice;

(d) To evaluate the scene of the crime report and other physical or object evidence necessary in the filing of the case with the prosecution office;

(e) To invite the participation of other government agencies as maybe deemed necessary or beneficial to the investigation;

(f) To periodically submit reports about the progress of the investigation to the Secretariat of the IAC;

(g) To ensure the proper preservation and custody of all the evidence collected;

(h) To assess if the case being investigated constitutes an AO 35 case; and

(i) To perform such other tasks as the IAC, SOT or the TWG may direct them to perform.

Section 29. Change of SITEC Composition. If it appears at any time during the investigation and case build-up that an A035 agency may be somehow involved in the incident subject of the investigation, the TAC Chairperson, upon recommendation of the AO 35 prosecutor or the TWG, may reorganize the SITEC.

Section 30. Investigation Report. Within thirty (30) days from the time it convenes, provided that the intervention falls within the investigation phase of the case, the SITEC shall submit an Investigation Report to the IAC Secretariat.

The Investigation Report shall contain the following:

(a) Summary of the Incident (include name and affiliation of victim and suspect);
(b) Detailed narrative on the their results; SITEC’s investigation efforts and
(c) Enumeration and evaluation of evidence;
(d) Findings;
(e) Conclusion;
(f) Recommendation; and
(g) Annexes of pertinent documents.

In case the SITEC recommends the filing of charges, the Investigation Report shall likewise be accompanied by a copy of the corresponding Indorsement to the prosecution office for preliminary investigation.

Section 31. Extension of Investigation Period. If, on account of difficulty in the identification of the person/s responsible for the crime, or in seeking the cooperation of the victim or the witnesses to the crime, the SITEC cannot submit the Investigation Report within a period of thirty (30) days, the SOT for new/existing cases may, upon prior written request from the SITEC, extend the investigation period for another thirty (30) days.

Section 32. Deliberations and Action of SOT for New and Existing Cases. The deliberations and action of the SOT shall be undertaken pursuant to Art III (B) hereof.

Section 33 . Filing and Indorsement of AO 35 Case. The filing and Indorsement of an existing or current case shall be undertaken pursuant to Art III (B) hereof.

Section 34. Closed Cases Not To Be Delisted. Whenever the IAC resolves to close a case due to the impossibility of obtaining sufficient evidence to move it forward, the same shall not be delisted from the inventory of alleged AO 35 cases.

Section 35. Continued Monitoring and Reporting. Notwithstanding the referral of the case to the prosecution office, the SITEC shall continue to convene for the purpose of evaluating and gathering of additional evidence necessary to further strengthen the case.

The SITEC shall likewise continue to monitor and periodically report the progress of the preliminary investigation to the IAC Secretariat.

Section 36. Inquest of AO 35 Cases. Whether or not the SITEC has been convened prior to an inquest, the action of the AO 35 investigator or AO 35 prosecutor shall be made in pursuant to Article III (B) and Article IV hereof.

ARTICLE IV
INQUEST

Section 1. When Commenced. The inquest proceedings shall be considered commenced upon receipt by the inquest prosecutor of the following:

(a) Affidavit of Arrest duly subscribed and sworn to before him by the arresting officers;
(b) Investigation Report;
(c) Sworn Statements of the complainants and their witnesses; and
(d) Other supporting evidence gathered by the law enforcement agency in the course of their investigation of the criminal incident involving the arrested person.

Section 2. Determination of Propriety of Arrest. During the inquest proceedings, the inquest prosecutor shall first determine if the arrest of the detained person was made in accordance with the provisions of Section 5, sub-paragraphs (a) and (b) of Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure (Rules) and other applicable jurisprudence.

Should the inquest prosecutor find that the arrest was not made in accordance with the aforesaid Rule, he or she shall do the following, to wit:

(a) Recommend the release of the person arrested or detained;
(b) Prepare a resolution indicating the reason for the action taken; and
(c) Forward the same, together with the records of the case to the Office of the Prosecutor General, or the City/Provincial Prosecutor for appropriate action.

When the recommendation for the release of the arrested person is approved but the evidence on hand warrants the conduct of a regular preliminary investigation, the inquest prosecutor shall:
(a) Serve the Order of release on the law enforcement officer concerned having custody of the arrested person; and
(b) Serve upon the arrested person the subpoena or notice of preliminary investigation, together with the copies of the charge sheet or complaint, sworn statements of witnesses and other supporting evidence.
If, on the other hand, the inquest prosecutor finds that the arrest was done in accordance with the Rules, he or she shall ask the arrested person if the latter desires to avail of a preliminary investigation. If he or she does, the consequences thereof must be explained to him or her in a
language or dialect known to him or her.

Section 3. Additional Duty of Inquest/Investigating Prosecutor When the Person Delivered is a Victim of Enforced Disappearance. Any inquest or investigating prosecutor who learns that the person delivered for inquest or preliminary investigation is a victim or a probable victim of enforced or involuntary disappearance shall have the duty to immediately disclose the probable victim’s whereabouts to his or her immediate family, relatives, lawyer/s or to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) or any human rights organization such as but not limited to FIND (Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance) and Desaparecidos (Families of Desaparecidos for Justice), by the most expedient means through any of the following
modalities, including but not limited to:

(a) Telephone;
(b) SMS; or
(c) Electronic mail.

The inquest or investigating prosecutor shall inquire from the person presented for inquest or preliminary investigation whether or not the respondent’s immediate family or relatives, lawyer, the CHR or any human rights organization, have been informed of the respondent’s arrest and/or detention, including his or her whereabouts; and if so, the details or particulars of such communication as regards to name/s of person/s communicated to, their contact details, and the time of communication.

If the respondent is accompanied by his or her family or relatives, lawyer, or other persons other than the arresting officers, the prosecutor shall likewise verify from the said companion/s the time or particulars of the communication with the respondent.

The prosecutor shall include in the minutes of proceedings the facts and details of communication to the respondent’s family, relatives, the CHR and/or other human rights organizations, and require the said respondent, as well as his or her companion and the arresting officers, to sign thereon.

The DOJ shall ensure that a list of updated contact details of concerned CHR Offices, FIND, Desaparecidos, and other human rights organizations shall be available at all times to prosecutors.

Section 4. Waiver of the Provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code (RPC). The arrested person, with the assistance of counsel of his own choice, shall then be made to execute a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code.

In the event that the arrested person does not have a counsel to assist him or her, the inquest prosecutor shall coordinate with the Public Attorney’s Offlde in his or her area in order to ensure that the rights of the person arrested are amply protected.

If the arrested person refuses to execute a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 of the RPC, the inquest prosecutor shall immediate proceed to resolve the case on the basis of the evidence presented by the complainant or law enforcement agency.

If on the other hand, the arrested person executes the waiver, the preliminary investigation shall continue and be terminated within fifteen (15) days from its inception.

Section 5. Counter-Affidavit. The arrested person shall be required to file his or her counter affidavit and the affidavit of his or her witnesses within a period of ten (io) days from receipt of the complaint sheet and its attachments from the inquest prosecutor.

Immediately thereafter, the inquest prosecutor shall proceed to resolve the case. No Reply or Rejoinder shall be allowed and neither shall motions for extension be entertained.

Section 6. Discussion of Nature of Case. In preparing the resolution, the inquest prosecutor shall state that the same is an A035 case and provide the appropriate discussions therefor. The recommendation of the inquest prosecutor shall be submitted to the Prosecutor General, or the City or Provincial Prosecutor within three (3) days from the time it was submitted for resolution. If the inquest prosecutor finds that probable cause exists, he or she shall, in addition to
the preparation of the resolution, shall also prepare the corresponding Information and submit the same to the Prosecutor General, City or Provincial Prosecutor for approval.

ARTICLE V
PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION

Section 1. Subpoena and Counter-Affidavit Upon receipt of the complaint, the Prosecutor General, City or Provincial Prosecutor shall immediately assign the complaint to an investigating prosecutor, who shall issue subpoena within two (2) days from his/her receipt of the assigned case and require the respondent/s to submit their counter- affidavit within ten (in) days from receipt thereof.

To obviate requests for extension to file counter-affidavit, the investigating prosecutor shall ensure that copies of the complaint and all attachments are attached to the subpoena, and that the same are personally served by the process server or by the law enforcement unit handled the investigation upon the respondent/s.

Section 2. Duration of Preliminary Investigation. The investigating prosecutor shall terminate the preliminary investigation within thirty (30) days from the receipt of the complaint. No Reply or Rejoinder shall be entertained, nor motions for extensions be allowed.

Section 3. Submission of Resolution and Information. The investigating prosecutor shall submit the resolution for the approval of the Prosecutor General, City or Provincial Prosecutor within five (5) days from the time the case is submitted for resolution.

If the resolution contains a finding of probable cause, then the investigating prosecutor shall likewise prepare the corresponding Information and submit the same to the Prosecutor General, City or Provincial Prosecutor for approval.

The Prosecutor General, City or Provincial Prosecutor shall act on the recommendation of the investigating prosecutor within two (2) days from receipt of the same.

Section 4. Transmittal of Information to Court. Once the resolution finding probable cause is approved by the Prosecutor General, City or Provincial Prosecutor, the transmittal to the appropriate Office of the Clerk of Court shall state that the case involves an extra-legal killing, enforced or involuntary disappearance, torture, or other grave human rights violation as the case maybe.

If the case involves an extra-legal killing, the transmittal should invoke Administrative Order No. 25-2007 of the Supreme Court in order for the case to be raffled to any of the designated special courts.

Section 5. Report to IAC Secretariat. The AO 35 prosecutor shall prepare monthly reports to the IAC Secretariat on the efforts of the SITN and the status, progress and challenges of the case during preliminary investigation.

ARTICLE VI
TRIAL

Section 1. Coordination Among the Trial Prosecutor, the A035 Prosecutor, and AO 35 Investigator. Once a case involving extra-legal killing, enforced or involuntary disappearance, torture or grave human rights violation, is raffled to the proper court, the trial prosecutor shall immediately coordinate with the Special Investigation Team which investigated and built-up the case. He or she shall also submit a report of the fact of raffle to the IAC Secretariat, furnishing
copies thereof to the City or Provincial Prosecutor.

Periodic reports shall also be submitted to the above-mentioned officials informing them of the status and progress of the case.

Section 2. Creation of Panel of Prosecutors. As far as practicable, the Prosecutor General, City or Provincial Prosecutor shall create a special panel of prosecutors composed of the A035 prosecutor, investigating prosecutor and trial prosecutor for the purpose of handling the actual prosecution of the A035 Case.

In such cases, the JAC Secretariat shall be furnished with copies of the Office Orders creating special prosecution panels.

Section 3. Pre-Trial and Trial. In the course of the pre-trial and trial, the panel of prosecutors or the trial prosecutor shall ensure that:

(a) A pre-trial brief containing the following is preferred:
i. Brief summary of facts;
ii. Applicable laws and jurisprudence;
iii. Proposals for stipulation and requests for admission;
iv. List of witnesses and synopsis of their respective testimonies;
v. List of exhibits; and
vi. Proposed schedule for the presentation of prosecution witnesses.

(b) The case conferences are conducted with the AO 35 prosecutor, the A035 investigator, and the prosecution witnesses at least three (3) days before the scheduled trial date; and

(c) At least two (2) prosecution witnesses are available every scheduled hearing date.

Section 4. Plea Bargaining. No plea bargaining shall be allowed without the prior written consent or authority of the IAC.

Section 5. Duration of Trial. The panel of prosecutors should ensure that the presentation of evidence for both the prosecution and the defense shall as far as practicable be terminated within sixty (60) days.

Section 6. Report to IAC Secretariat. The AO 35 prosecutor shall prepare monthly reports to the IAC Secretariat on the efforts of the Special Investigation Team and the status, progress and challenges of the case during trial.

Section 7. Supervision and Reporting by SOT. The SOT shall have the authority to supervise the Special Investigation Teams in the handling and management of all AO 35 cases on trial to include recommendation of trial strategies, review of court pleadings, attendance in court trials, monitoring of case development and conduct of case conferencing.

The SOT shall report to the IAC every month on the status of all cases it is monitoring.

ARTICLE VII
A.O. 35 STRUCTURES

A. Inter-Agency Committee (IAC)

Section 1. Composition: – The IAC shall refer to the high- level policy-making and oversight body tasked to monitor and ensure the speedy resolution of AO 35 cases which shall be headed by the Secretary of the Department of Justice (DOJ) as the Chairperson.

The members of the IAC shall be the following:

(a) Secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG);
(b) Secretary of the Department of National Defense (DND);
(c) Chairperson of the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC);
(d) Presidential Adviser on Peace Processes (PAPP);
(e) Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs (PAPA);
(f) Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP);
(g) Director General of the Philippine National Police (PNP); and
(h) Director of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The Committee shall invite the Chairperson of the CHR and the Ombudsman as observers and resource persons of the Committee.

The above members of the IAC may designate their representatives to the Committee, who shall have the rank not lower than Assistant Secretary, or General and Chief Superintendent in the case of the AFP and the PNP.

Section 2. Functions – The IAC shall direct the policy – formulation and implementation with regard to the investigation and prosecution of cases involving an A035 case. As such it shall have the following functions:

(a) To develop a mechanism for the unification and inventory of all cases of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and other grave violations of human rights, committed by both State and Non-State Agents from all government as well as non-government sources, to include independent and non-partisan international and national human rights organizations;

(b) To create special oversight teams for unsolved, new and existing cases that will supervise the investigations of AO 35 cases;
(c) To create or revise the composition of special investigation teams for unsolved, new and existing cases that will supervise, monitor and/or coordinate actual investigations of AO 35 cases until its final resolution;

(d) To create, upon the recommendation of any AO 35 structure or JAC member, Special Tracker Teams, or to direct existing tracker teams from law enforcement agencies, or a
combination thereof, to operate under the ambit of AO 35, specifically to locate and effect the arrest of the accused in AO 35 cases in order to undergo trial;

(e) To monitor the development of cases under investigation, preliminary investigation and trial through the duly designated special oversight teams and adopt, modify, or otherwise overturn the recommendations of the same;

(f) To cause, in the exercise of their oversight functions, the administrative investigation of the officers mentioned in Section 1 above for alleged violations or administrative offenses in connection with the implementation of these Guidelines and pursuant to the Civil Service Rules and other pertinent administrative discipline policies of concerned agencies;

(g) To engage and liaise with the Supreme Court (SC), through the Office of the Court Administrator (OCA), to raise the Judiciary’s awareness on Administrative Order No. 35 cases
and the efforts of AO 35 structures to ensure the successful prosecution and speedy disposition thereof.
(h) To develop and support programs that will enhance and strengthen relations of the IAC and its member-agencies with domestic and international stakeholders such as, but not limited to, International Organizations, Non- Governmental Organizations, Civil Society Organizations;

(i) To report to the President, every six months, on the inventory of cases, describing the accomplishment and progress made for each case, or the problems and obstacles encountered, highlighting problematic high profile cases; and

(j) To present recommendations for any additional action that may be taken by the President requiring coordination on a common course of action with the CHR, the Ombudsman,
Congress and the Judiciary.

Section 3. Meetings – The IAC shall meet every second Tuesday of the month or as may be requested by the chairperson on matters of policy coordination or cases which may require high-level discussion of principals.

Section 4. Quorum – A majority of the member agencies of the IAC shall constitute a quorum.

B. Special Oversight Team

Section 5. Composition – There shall be an SOT for unsolved cases and an SOT for new/existing cases.

Each SOT shall be composed of five (5) members with a prosecutor and one investigator each from the PNP and the NBI, all of which must have at least ten (10) years of experience. The two (2) remaining members shall be another prosecutor and a PNP investigator, both of whom with at least five (5) years of experience.
The most senior prosecutor shall be the head of the SOT.

Section 6. Functions- The SOT shall have the following powers and functions:

(a) To approve requests for extension of reinvestigation and case build-up;
(b) To recommend to the IAC that a case be filed with the appropriate prosecution office, or that the case be reinvestigated, or that the case he closed; and
(c) To supervise the SIT in the handling and management of all AO 35 cases on trial for new and existing cases pursuant to Section 7 of Article VI.

Section 7. Meetings – Both SOTs shall have separate regular meetings at least once a month. The IAC or the Chairperson of the Committee may, however, convene any of the SOT at any time.

C. Special Tracker Teams (STT)

Section 8. Composition – Special Tracker Team(s) shall be composed of personnel from the PNP, the NBI, the PNP Special Investigation Task Group (SITG)/Task Force/Task Group, or from other law enforcement agencies of the government ordered by competent authorities, or a
combination of any of the foregoing, created to effect the arrest of the accused in AO 35 cases.

Personnel from the AFP or other security forces of the government may be directed to complement the Special Tracker Teams created, especially if the accused to be arrested is from the agency concerned.

Section 9. Functions – Special Tracker Team(s) shall have the following functions:
(a) Submit an Operational Plan to the TWG;
(b) Conduct manhunt operations to locate the accused in AO 35 cases;
(c) Effect the arrest of the accused in AO 35 cases;
(d) Immediately return the Warrant of Arrest to the issuing court; and
{e) Deliver the arrested person/s to a lawful detention facility in accordance with the order of the court.

The tracker teams shall ensure that arrested persons shall be afforded their constitutional or statutory rights under Republic Act No. 7438, Republic Act No. 9745, Republic Act No. 10353 and all other applicable laws during their arrest and detention and also during the conduct of
their physical/psychological examinations.

Section 10. Reporting Functions —Tracker Teams shall submit, by any expeditious means, its report on the progress of its efforts to the SOT at least twice a month.

Section 11. Dissolution— Tracker Teams may be dissolved upon compliance of their functions or upon order of the JAC.
D. Technical Working Group (TWG)

Section 12. Composition – There is hereby created the Technical Working Group (TWG) which shall be composed of representatives from IAC member-agencies.

Section 13. Functions – The TWG shall have the following powers
and functions:
(a) To process unsolved cases for the consideration of the IAC;

(b) To ensure the effective and efficient implementation of A.O. 35 and the continuous and periodic evaluation thereof;

(c) To report and recommend to the JAC the administrative investigation of the officers mentioned in Section 1 above for alleged violations or administrative offenses in connection with the implementation of these Guidelines and pursuant to the Civil Service Rules and other pertinent administrative policies of concerned agencies;

(d) To formulate and monitor plans, projects and activities of A.O. No. 35 structures thereby enabling them to contribute more fruitfully to the objectives of A.O. No. 35;

(e) To undertake and supervise information publication and public relation programs for nationwide dissemination of information regarding the programs/projects of the IAC,
thus drawing more participation in such activities;

(f) To prepare regular reports to the IAC and to the President; and

(g) To recommend policy direction to the IAC.

Section 14. Meetings – The TWG shall hold regular meetings where named members or nominees of JAC member-agencies are enjoined to actively participate.

E. Secretariat

Section 15. Composition – There is hereby the Secretariat which shall be composed of representatives from JAC member-agencies.

Section 16. Functions – The JAG Secretariat shall have the following powers and functions:
(a) To coordinate the business of the JAC, including the preparation of agenda for each meeting, the circulation of papers and the communication and consultation among member-agencies;
(b) To help coordinate the efforts of all other AO 35 structures;
(c) To manage the databank, of AO 35 cases;
(d) To manage the reportorial requirements of all A035 structures, including being the repository and conduit of all reports; and
(e) To provide personnel, legal, budgetary and other services supportive of the functions and activities of the JAC, SOTs and Special Investigation Teams;
Section 17. Meetings – The Secretariat shall hold regular meetings where named members or nominees of JAC member-agencies are enjoined to actively participate.
Section 18. Administration of the IAC Secretariat – The IAC Secretariat shall be headed by a Chairperson who shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the JAC upon recommendation of the majority of the member-agencies. The Chairperson of the Secretariat shall administer and supervise the internal operations of the Secretariat as well as the implementation of the various programs of the IAC.

ARTICLE VIII
ACCOUNTABILITY

Section 1. Duties – All officers involved in the implementation of A.O. No. 35 are enjoined to faithfully, completely and diligently execute their functions and responsibilities as provided by these Guidelines.
Section 2. Oversight Function of IAC – The JAG, in the exercise of its oversight functions, may cause the administrative investigation of the officers mentioned in Section 1 above for alleged
violations or administrative offenses in connection with the implementation of these Guidelines and pursuant to the Civil Service Rules and other pertinent administrative discipline policies of concerned agencies.

The representative of the concerned IAC member-agency may be the complainant in such administrative investigation which may be filed either before the concerned agency or the Ombudsman.

Section 3. Any administrative investigation, as provided for in the next preceding section, shall not preclude the filing of other actions before other appropriate bodies or tribunals.

ARTICLE IX
COOPERATION WITH INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
(IOs), NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS (NGOs),
CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANIZATIONS (CSOs) AND OTHER
STAKEHOLDERS

Section 1. Sharing of Information – The IAC, in pursuance of its adopted communication plan, may share information it deems relevant with IOs, NGO5, CSOs and other stakeholders, provided that the rights of the accused will not be violated or that the disclosure would not interfere with the administration of justice.

Section 2. Engagement with IOs, NGOs, CSOs and other stakeholders – In pursuit of its mandate, the IAC may seek and accept the assistance of the IOs, NGOs, CSOs and other stakeholders, among others, in obtaining relevant information, promoting grassroots advocacy and strengthening the capacity of the AO 35 structures. The IAC may make suitable arrangements for consultation with the said parties.

ARTICLE X
FINAL PROVISIONS

Section 1. Funding. The initial funding requirements for the implementation of A.O. No. 35 shall be charged against current appropriation of the member-agencies. Thereafter, funding for the succeeding years shall be incorporated in the respective regular appropriations.

Section 2. Separability. If any section of these Guidelines or part thereof is held invalid or unconstitutional, the remainder not otherwise affected shall remain valid and subsisting.

Section 3. Effectivity. These Guidelines shall take effect immediately. The Joint Department Order No. 003-2012 (Operational Guidelines for Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Investigators In Evidence-Gathering Investigation and Case Build; Inquest and Preliminary Investigation; and Trial of Cases of Political-Activist and Media Killings) and internal rules of procedure of the PNP, NBI and the NPS shall be supplemental to this Operational Guidelines.

Adopted and signed by the Inter-Agency Committee, this 18th day of April, 2013.
SEC. LEILA M. DE LIMA
Department of Justice
IAC CHAIR
SEC. TERESITA QIJINTOS-
DELES
Presidential Adviser on the
Peace Process
Member

SEC. VOLTAIRE T. GAZMIN
Department of National Defense
Member
USEC. RAFAEL ANTONIO
SANTOS
Department of the Interior and
Local Government
Member

USEC. JOSE LUIS MARTIN
GASCON
Office of the presidential Adviser
on Political Affairs (OPAPA)
Member
P/CSUPT. NESTOR M. FAJURA
Philippine National Police
Member
USEC. SEVERO S. CATURA
Presidential Human Rights
Committee
Member
GEN. EMMANUEL T. BAUTISTA
Armed Forces of the Philippines
Member
DIR. NONNATUS CAESAR R.
ROJAS
National Bureau of Investigation
Member
Witnesses:
CHAIRPERSON LORETTA ANN
P. ROSALES
Commission on Human Rights
Observer
ASST. OMBUDSMAN EVELYN A.
BALITON
Office of the Ombudsman
Observer

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wk of disappeared copy

[In the news] How the military hid the truth behind Jonas Burgos abduction -bulatlat.com

How the military hid the truth behind Jonas Burgos abduction
By RONALYN V. OLEA, Bulatlat.com

bulatlatMANILA – Following the recent developments on the case of missing activist Jonas Burgos, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said it would submit to the legal processes.

The Special 7th Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) issued a ruling holding the AFP accountable for the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos. Also this week, the victim’s family filed an urgent motion before the Supreme Court (SC) urging the re-investigation of the case.

“The AFP condemns any act of violation of the basic and constitutional rights of individuals. We are doing every necessary step to ensure that all our personnel strictly follow the AFP rules, regulations and policy which are consistent with the internationally accepted agreements and laws,” the AFP said in a statement.

The Jonas Burgos case itself, however, is a testimony to what the family calls “institutional cover-up” of the military in cases of human rights violations.

Read full article @bulatlat.com

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[Urgent Appeal] Court records, military asset and mil docus used as evidence to affirm fabrication of charges on activists -AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-010-2013
3 April 2013
[RE: AHRC-UAU-036-2012: PHILIPPINES: Two urban poor leaders and 30 others falsely charged with murder]
———————————————————————
PHILIPPINES: Court records, military asset and military documents were used as evidence to affirm fabrication of charges on activists
ISSUES: Human rights defenders; administration of justice; fabrication of charges
———————————————————————

Dear friends,

Asian Human Rights CommissionThe Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is writing with deep concern that the investigation conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) after our appeals concerning the fabrication of charges on two urban poor leaders was ineffective. It appears that CHR investigators did not investigate adequately and thoroughly. Rather than conducting a serious investigation they collected documents from the court, cited confessional evidence of a military asset and documents from the military to conclude their report.

UPDATED INFORMATION:

In December 19, 2012, we issued an appeal concerning the fabrication of charges on Roy Velez, regional chairperson of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Amelita Gamara, of Defend Job Philippines, and 30 others. For details please see: AHRC-UAU-036-2012.

In response to our appeal, on January 21, 2013 the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Regional Office in Naga City conducted their investigation. In their investigation, however, the CHR reaffirmed the filing of charges on them and concluded that:

“……..It appears on the evidences presented by the side of the complainant that the witnesses were former members of the NPA who positively identified the list of accused in this case. The witnesses were able to recount the incident of the attack as it happened……..

The right to due process includes the right to meet your accusers and their witnesses face to face. The witnesses in this case were willing to testify for and in behalf of the victims. They stand by their testimony that they have witnessed the commission of the crime and that they were able to identify the names of the accused for they were once of the NPA but are now rebel returnees.

The accused should face the accusations against them in order for them to be able to give their side of the case and to prove their innocence in the crime they are accused of. (Attys. Arlene Alangco & Donnah Federico-Madrona, CHR Region V sub-office Investigation Report, January 21, 2013, pp. 4-5)”

Upon receipt of the CHR’s report, the AHRC forwarded the copy to Roy Velez and Amelita Gamara who are presently forced to go into hiding.

In her reply, Gamara pointed out:

“……The contents of the report was a disappointment to me. It was a rephrased copy of the Information and Resolution from the prosecutor who filed the case before the Branch 64 Labo Regional Trial Court

…..we were denied of this right because not a single piece of this information came to our knowledge until two persons were arrested (Raul Camposano and Randy Vegas of COURAGE) under the same warrant of arrest. The CHR one sidedly relied on the complainants’ and witnesses’ statements that we live in some general location address, and conveniently stated in the resolution that no response came from the address to where they sent the notices.”

In his reply, Velez pointed out:

“In the declaration of their definition of “truth”, is it as if the CHR merely use the statements of facts information which came from only one side? If the military is the one accusing a certain person, and you are not biased, you will not use/issue a statement of fact that is purely one-sided.

Did the confirm that me and Amelita Bravante were really there? It is VERY CLEAR that they DID NOT. They did not even attempted to go to the KMU National’s office which is just a 30-minute ride from their office in UP. They did not even ask for our opinion or our side of the story and they just used the information in the court that came only from the military.

COMMENTS AND OBSERVATIONS OF THE AHRC:

In concluding their report, the CHR relied heavily on the court documents they obtained from a Court Interpreter at the Regional Trial Court Branch (RTC), Branch 64, in Labo, Camarines Norte on January 15, 2013. The CHR ignored the victims’ alibi that they could not have been physically present in Barangay Maot, Labo, Camarines Norte on April 29, 2012, where the attack that killed four soldiers took place.

In the unofficial translation of their sworn statements originally written in Filipino, in Gamara’s statement & Velez’ statement it was clear that they were both in Metro Manila, and could not have been physically present at the location where the crime happened. However, there is nothing in the CHR’s investigation report that includes their testimonies.

The testimonies of the witnesses, where the CHR pointed as evidence of the “positive identification of the accused,” were witnesses: Gil Oresaca, an intelligence person working for the military and SP02 Reynate Nacario, who neither knew the perpetrators of the attack in person or by their names. Also, the documents of the investigation the CHR has quoted is information provided by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), not the police, because the CHR did not even get the forensic investigation report despite repeated requests.

Also, it is unthinkable for Oresca to identify with accuracy the names, aliases and exact home address of the 23 rebels, two of whom are the accused Velez and Gamara, at once in a very chaotic situation of attack. Also SP02 Nacario’s ‘positive identification’ of the accused was not his identification, but from the military men who had debriefed him and given him the names of the supposed identities of the perpetrators.

Gamara and Velez were both in Metro Manila on the same day the killing happened. In fact, Gamara could not walk properly due to her illness and medical condition. Also, there were witnesses who could testify that Velez was physically present in the Silverio compound, Paranaque City, to assist the burial of a villager who was killed in a demolition.

Moreover, when the CHR conducted its investigation neither Velez nor Gamara was given the opportunity to respond to the allegations. The AHRC is deeply concerned by the manner in which the CHR is conducting its investigation in this case.

Therefore, we urged the CHR to review their investigation. The victims, who are also the accused in the fabricated criminal charges should be given an opportunity to respond substantively to the allegations against them.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme

Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (ua@ahrc.asia)

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[In the news] AFP vows ‘cooperation’ after CA tags military in Jonas Burgos ‘abduction’ -InterAksyon.com

AFP vows ‘cooperation’ after CA tags military in Jonas Burgos ‘abduction’
By Abigail Kwok, InterAksyon.com
March 28, 2013

InterAksyon logo2The Armed Forces of the Philippines on Thursday pledged to cooperate and comply with Court directives aimed at fully uncovering the details behind the disappearance of activist Jonas Burgos, one day after the Court of Appeals affirmed suspicions that the military was behind Burgos’ abduction in April 2007.

The AFP said it has yet to receive a copy of the Court of Appeals ruling on the matter, and declined any further comment pending the official transmission of the report. Both AFP spokesman Colonel Arnulfo Burgos and Army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Randolph Cabangbang said they would give a more detailed statement after they obtain the official report of the CA.

However, Colonel Burgos said “the AFP in all its undertakings will continue to follow the rule of law and strictly adhere to the protection and promotion of human rights and International Humanitarian Law.”

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[In the news] Rights body hails CA ruling AFP behind Burgos abduction -INQUIRER.net

Rights body hails CA ruling AFP behind Burgos abduction
By Gil C. Cabacungan
Philippine Daily Inquirer
March 28, 2013

inquirerThe Court of Appeals (CA) ruling declaring the Armed Forces of the Philippines and not Leftist rebels was directly responsible for the “enforced disappearance” of journalist and activist Jonas Burgos is being hailed as a “concrete, positive step” towards getting to the bottom of the climate of impunity which gripped the Arroyo administration.

Commission on Human Rights Chair Loretta Ann P. Rosales on Wednesday bared the March 18 decision of the Court of Appeals on the petition for habeas corpus filed by Burgos’ mother, Edita, against the AFP and its officers led by former Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon which she said reinforced the perception of a military cover-up of the abduction.

In a statement, Rosales said the CA decision recognized the abduction of Jonas Burgos as an enforced disappearance case covered by the rule on the writ of amparo. “The decision is noteworthy because it categorically declares the AFP, as an institution, directly accountable for the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos. This conclusion effectively discredits the theory propounded by the Armed Forces that Jonas was the victim of an internal CPP-NPA plot,” said Rosales.

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[In the news] Jonas Burgos was ‘abducted by AFP’, court commission concludes -InterAksyon.com

Jonas Burgos was ‘abducted by AFP‘, court commission concludes
By InterAksyon.com
March 27, 2013

InterAksyon logo2MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED 5:18PM) The Court of Appeals has completed its Supreme Court-directed inquiry into the abduction of Jonas Burgos and declared the military, “particularly the Philippine Army, accountable for the enforced disappearance” of the activist-farmer who has become the poster boy for Philippine desaparecidos.

In a report capping a nearly three-year inquiry, the CA ruled to recognize “the abduction of Jonas Burgos” as an enforced disappearance covered by the Rule on the Writ of Amparo”—the most damning official confirmation yet that the Armed Forces of the Philippines had seized Burgos on April 28, 2007 as he lunched in a Quezon City mall. His family had insisted on this right from the start, but the AFP repeatedly denied it.

The ruling, signed by CA Associate Justice Rosalinda Asuncion-Vicente, was concurred in byAssociate Justices Francisco Diamante and Remedios Salazar-Fernando, the former chair of the special Former 7th Division that was first tasked by the high tribunal to conduct the investigation when the Burgos family, led by Jonas’s mother Edita, first sought a writ of amparo.

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[Statement] Protect the right to defend human rights! Freedom and Justice for Women Human Rights Defenders! -TFDP

Protect the right to defend human rights! Freedom and Justice for Women Human Rights Defenders!

TFDP logo small

Even with the existence of laws supposedly protecting women from violence, there are still women including those working with human rights and peoples’ issues who are subjected to killings, enforced disappearance, torture, illegal arrests and detention and other human rights violations.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) declares its unwavering solidarity with our women human rights defenders in calling for an end to all forms of violence against women and their children and calls on the Philippine government to free women defenders who are being politically incarcerated and demand justice for all women victims of human rights violations.

An anti-mining woman leader of the B’laan tribe in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Juvy Capion, also a mother of four was killed on October 18, 2012 by members of the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. The army claimed that it was a legitimate operation and that they were in pursuit of Daguil Capion, Juvy’s husband and allegedly a member of a rebel group.

Juvy Capion and her children were unarmed and resting inside their hut.

Charity Diño, 30 years old was arrested, tortured and detained on November 23, 2009.   Maricon Montaje was arrested on June 3, 2010.  They were both detained at Batangas Provincial Jail and  charged and suspected to be members of the New Peoples’ Army (NPA).

Just recently, 14 farmers including women were harassed, arrested without warrant and detained in Sarangani Province in Mindanao.  The victims include a pregnant woman and a two year old girl. The Kiamba Police, Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-SarGen and 73rd Infantry battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines arrested the victims and raided their houses without warrant of arrest and search warrant.

They are just a few of the countless women activists and human rights defenders in the Philippines who suffered human rights violations.  Women defenders are tortured and detained. Others were even killed because of their assertion of their rights against development aggression.  Many were defenders of the right to food, housing and access to means of subsistence.  And still there are women who are fighting for freedom and against oppression.

Women deserve equal respect and protection by the law.  Women have the right to practice their political belief, freedom of expression and association. Women have the right to defend human rights. Women have human rights!

Protect women’s right to defend human rights! Freedom and justice for our women defenders! Free all political prisoners!

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[From the web] Youth calling for clean elections slam killing of Barug Katawhan leader -www.rockthevoteph.com

Youth calling for clean elections slam killing of Barug Katawhan leader
http://www.rockthevoteph.com
March 4, 2013

rock the vote ph

A network of young individuals calling for free and transformative elections condemned the killing of a political leader of Barug Katawhan, a group of Typhoon Pablo survivors who protested the slow distribution of relief goods, and urged the electoral candidates to have a firm stance against human rights violations.

Cristina Jose, a barangay kagawad of Bagangga Municipality, Davao Oriental and a member of Barug Katawhan and Bayan Muna partylist, was shot dead yesterday at 6 p.m. After staging a three day campout with other survivors in front of the Department of Social Welfare and DevelopmentDavao City, Jose and her companions were reportedly harassed by the barangay captain and members of the 67th Infantry Battalion of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“The time at which Jose was killed should raise suspicions on the motives of the perpetrators. It is alarming that she was killed while on her way to report the cases of military harassment, and after the three day campout of the protesting Pablo survivors. The administration should immediately conduct a thorough investigation on the incident and carefully examine the purported involvement of the military,” said Pauline Gidget Estella, spokesperson of Rock The Vote Philippines, a network of young individuals and groups calling for transparent elections and genuine political reforms.

Read full article @www.rockthevoteph.com

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[In the news] NPA twin attacks in Bukidnon violate human rights — AFP -GMA News

NPA twin attacks in Bukidnon violate human rights — AFP
Amanda Fernandez, GMA News
February 20, 2013

gmanewsonlineThe Philippine military condemned on Wednesday the twin attacks by suspected New People’s Army rebels on two plantations in Bukidnon on Tuesday night, describing the raids as violation of human rights.

In a statement sent via e-mail, Armed Forces spokesperson Col. Arnulfo Burgos Jr. said the attacks violate Chapter III, Section 4, Item 2 of RA 9851 or the Act Defining and Penalizing Crimes against International Humanitarian Law which defines one of the ‘war crimes’ as the intentional attack against civilian objects or non-military personnel, and/or properties.

“It is also a clear and deliberate violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIL) to which the NPA is one of the signatories,” Burgos said.

Read full article @www.gmanetwork.com

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[Statement] B’laan tribe members killed in alleged military ops -ATM

B’laan tribe members killed in alleged military ops
SMI-Xstrata Mines-affected communities call for court martial, high-level investigation

atm-logoTribal communities affected by the SMI-Xstrata Tampakan Copper-Gold Mining Project and their support groups are calling for a high level investigation by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Commission on Human Rights on the escalating tension and violence in the area, military presence and unstable peace and order situation in the mining-affected communities in South Cotabato.

Only three months after the massacre of the B’laan family composed of Juvy Capion, 27 and two of her sons Jordan, 13 and John, 8 last October 18, another alleged encounter was reported killing B’laan clan members, Kitari and Diyo Capion.

January 29, 30 encounter

According to reports gathered by the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel (SAC-Marbel), on January 29, Kitari was going to Sitio Bong Mal when he saw military men identified as members of Task Force Kitaco. Fearing for the safety of his family, he ran back to his home in Nakultana and told his wife and children to leave and stay at their relatives’ place. Thereafter, an encounter took place. Kitari was shot twice.

He was brought to the Allah Valley Hospital in Koronadal City where he underwent operations from the sustained gunshot wounds, but after two hours was declared dead. The family together with SAC-Marbel immediately claimed his body.

January 31, Kitari’s remains were to be buried in Nakultana when another shoot-out between armed men took place in Bong Mal. A relative of Capions was wounded in that encounter and brought to Kiblawan for medication.

Juvy, Kitari and Diyo are related to Daguil Capion, a tribal defense warrior opposing the entry of mining companies in their ancestral domains. After the killing of his wife Juvy and their children, Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante announced a reward for his captivity—dead or alive. (Reported by Inquirer Mindanao, 20 October 2012)

Peace situation and militarization in Tampakan

Communities and their support groups fear that the increasing presence of militias as investment defense forces is due to the entry of SMI-Xstrata in pursuit of the Tampakan mining project.

The SMI-Xstrata Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) for the Tampakan Gold-Copper Mining Project covers 23, 571 hectares in four provinces namely, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, and Saranggani. The permit overlaps four ancestral domains including CADT 102, CADT 108, CADT 72 and CADC 74.

A pre-requisite before actual operations is the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of indigenous communities who will be affected by the development project. In this case, B’laans and other tribes have not issued their approval/FPIC for the project that will take their ancestral lands from them. It is believed that the presence of the military has increased tensions in the area since the indigenous communities are preventing the mining company from conducting any activity, due to this lack of FPIC.

People, Church and IP Rep call for immediate action

A postponed high-level investigation by the Commission on Human Rights and the Philippine Army is still awaited by the communities and support groups there.

Fr. Joy Peliño, SAC-Marbel Coordinator said: “We condemn this tragic incident even the killings on both sides of indigenous peoples and militaries. This is too much already for the communities that is why we are calling on the President to command the government agencies to investigate and resolve this situation.

We need the intervention of the Commission on Human Rights, together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Philippine Army and the Philippine National Police in the Region, to investigate the situation in the mountains. We are aware that there is increasing deployment of military forces and the area, but we believe that there is no concrete reason for them being there other than looking after the mine area thereby threatening the rights of indigenous communities there.”

During a dialogue in the presence of Bp. Gutierrez, Gen. Bernardo, Col. Flores and Lt. Col. Imperial, and the representative from the Bong Mal communities last February 3 the military assured the communities that they can go back to their place safely. Military officials also promised that more restrictions would be ordered against Col. Bravo and that a court martial will proceed in two weeks time.

Another agreement was that space would be granted to the Fulong in Bong Mal to discuss and decide what is best for their communities given the current realities, and to know more who Daguil Capion is and so as not to be labeled simply as a bandit but someone who defends their ancestral land.

“I believe this threat alerts the communities and pushes them to fight against the military for fear of their life and to defend their ancestral land,” Peliño added.

Meanwhile, Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, chairman of the committee on national cultural communities has scheduled a Congressional Hearing to be held in General Santos to hear from the community leaders themselves their problems concerning human rights and extra judicial killings.

Baguilat said: “I condemn the killing of my IP brothers and sisters and the continued threat of violations against them. In our planned Congressional Inquiry this coming Feb 21, my colleagues in Congress and I will study the different cases and put forward concrete actions to the government offices.”

Peliño concluded: “We look forward to the Congressional Inquiry this February but we also want immediate actions. We strongly call on PNoy to carefully examine whose interest is promoted and protected here but with a clear bias to the least—especially of the IP communities, not just the foreign investment and to command the pull out of military deployment in the area or at the minimum order the cessation of all military activities and violence in areas affected by the Tampakan mining project. Thus allowing the spaces for the Fulong and Bong Fulong. We rather their fundamental rights as guaranteed by the Constitution for self-determination and right to defend their ancestral land.”

Task Force Kitaco is a special task force created under the Army’s 1002nd Infantry Brigade assigned to oversee the secure areas where SMI-Xstrata’s mining project operates.


For more information:
Fr. Joy Peliño, SAC-Marbel Coordinator, sacmarbel@yahoo.com
Atty. Mario Maderazo, PMPI-AMC Project Coordinator, pmpsecretariat@yahoo.com
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, (0927) 761.76.02 nc@alyansatigilmina.net
Farah Sevilla, ATM Policy Research&Advocacy Officer, (0915) 331.33.61 policy@alyansatigilmina.net

Press Statement
February 5, 2013

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[From the web] AFP should show proof that security guard Rolly Panesa is CPP’s “Benjamin Mendoza” -Karapatan

AFP should show proof that security guard Rolly Panesa is CPP’s “Benjamin Mendoza”
January 25, 2013

karapatan_logo4Karapatan dared the Philippine Army of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to prove before the Court of Appeals that the man they arrested illegally and tortured is indeed who they claim to be in their press releases as CPP’s high ranking official ‘Benjamin Mendoza’ “because clearly, they picked the wrong man,” Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan said at today’s hearing at the Court of Appeals for detained Rolly Panesa’s Petition for Habeas Corpus.

“Panesa has been in jail for three months since his abduction on October 5, 2012, yet the government has not presented any document to prove their claim. The man should be immediately released and indemnified,” Palabay said.

Marites Chioco, Panesa’s common-law wife and petitioner to the habeas corpus case, submitted to the court Panesa’s birth certificate, baptismal certificate, school records, records of his employment, Social Security System Identification Card, Philhealth Card, driver’s license, NBI clearance and a certificate that he has gone through a training for the CAFGU.

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[Statement] Murder is murder, not a ‘legitimate encounter’ -AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission

PHILIPPINES: Murder is murder, not a ‘legitimate encounter’

On December 19, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) was reported to have concluded after over two years of investigation that the killing of botanist Leonard Co and his two assistants in Leyte in November 2010 “was due to the military’s failure to distinguish civilians from combatants.” The CHR has submitted its report to the Department of Justice (DoJ) but did not make recommendations on as to what criminal charges should be filed against the soldiers involved in the operation and killings. The CHR has left it to the DoJ to “determine what charges will be filed.”

The AHRC welcomes the CHR’s report though it is of the opinion that it could have been resolved more promptly. The AHRC feels that the publication of the report is long overdue and rejects the CHR’s inability to conclude what charges should be filed against the soldiers. Killings on the pretext of ‘legitimate encounter’ are very common in remote areas when soldiers conduct military operations and the justification of killings as ‘legitimate encounters’ has been the convenient excuse used by the soldiers and the police to escape criminal liability.

The AHRC strongly believes that the killing of Leonardo Co and his two assistants was not due to the “military’s failure to distinguish civilians from combatants,” but rather a ‘premeditated murder’. This judgement is based on the numerous cases of killings on the pretext of ‘legitimate encounter’ which were later found to be murders. Unless the CHR categorically concludes and recommends to the DoJ to prosecute the soldiers for murder, the soldiers and the policemen will continue to use ‘legitimate encounter’ as the justification for their ‘widespread and systematic’ killing of civilians.

Operations conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), including the operation that killed Leonardo Co and his aides, in fighting against the communist and the separatist insurgencies are thoroughly planned. The soldiers have deeply embedded intelligence networks in these communities and are fully aware about who and what is going on. In fact, it is very common for the soldiers and the police to keep records of people who live in the villages, those who come and go because most of these villages are under curfew and hamletting, which is the collection of villages under military control.

In view of this to claim that these soldiers would go on military operations proceeding to areas under their complete control not knowing who the people in the communities are is to deny reality. In fact, to know or not whether the victims were civilians is irrelevant in Co’s case. Ms. Loretta Rosales, chairperson of the CHR, herself has said: “The truth is, there was no legitimate encounter because it was one-sided, there was no exchange of fire.”

Apart from the killing of Co and his aides, local human rights organisations have since documented numerous cases of killings on the pretext of ‘legitimate encounter.” Of late is the massacre of the Capion family on October 18 this year in Tampakan, South Cotabato. In our 2012 Human Rights report (p. 10) we have concluded that;

“To justify civilian deaths in massacres as ‘legitimate encounter’ is common practice by soldiers. They are able to escape scrutiny because of practical difficulty for the police to effectively and impartially investigate these cases in their remote sites of occurrence. Before the Ombudsman resolved to indict soldiers for the death of Bacar Japalali and his pregnant wife Carmen in September 2004, the deaths were also justified as a ‘legitimate encounter’. The Ombudsman, however, rejected the soldiers’ claim, because the bodies of the couple were still inside the mosquito net when found. The soldiers also portrayed the couple as members of a Muslim rebel group in an attempt to discredit them and to escape criminal liability. However, investigation by the prosecutors and the police revealed the couple had nothing to do with armed rebellion.

The AHRC strongly recommends to the CHR and the DoJ to prosecute soldiers and policemen, not only in Co’s case, but in many other cases where the killings of civilians have been justified as a ‘legitimate encounter’ on charges of murder. It is the utmost responsibility of the CHR and the DoJ to make it clear to the authorities and the public that murder is murder, not ‘legitimate encounter’. It must be made clear to the military and the police establishments that they will be held accountable for murder in order to end this practice.

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About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation that monitors human rights in Asia, documents violations and advocates for justice and institutional reform to ensure the protection and promotion of these rights. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-274-2012
December 21, 2012

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