Tag Archives: Joker Arroyo

[In the news] Families of Martial Law victims urge Senate to pass bill compensating them for atrocities -InterAksyon.com

Families of Martial Law victims urge Senate to pass bill compensating them for atrocities
By Karl John Reyes, InterAksyon.com
September 3, 2012

Families of victims of Martial Law atrocities led by a human rights group urged the Senate on Monday to pass a compensation bill now pending in one of its committees.

“We have lobbied to our legislators even protested at the steps of the House of Representatives and the Senate demanding that the bill to indemnify victims of Martial Law be finally enacted into law. The Lower House passed its version of the indemnification bill, House Bill 5990, on March 21. Unfortunately, the Senate’s version, Senate Bill 2615, is still at the committee…level,” Ronniel Clavor, national coordinator of Samahan ng ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya.

However, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero debunked Clavor’s claim that Senate Bill 2615 is still pending at the committee. He said that the committee report is scheduled for plenary debate. The committee is still waiting for inputs about the report from Senator Joker Arroyo.

Read full article @ www.interaksyon.com

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Remember Belen – #rememberML@40

HRonlinePH.com celebrates Mother’s Day by remembering stories of Mothers who fought against Martial Law – women who have given us a vision of potential for human strength and renewal. Those who died leave us their stories of heroism. A repost from #rememberML@40 

“Naging biktima kami ng pangangamkam ng lupa ng mga malalaking asendero; biktima ng manipulasyon sa pautang sa bangko; sa pautang ng abono at pestisidyo; sa gilingan ng tubo pati na ang bilihan ng asukal na mas lalong tumingkad nang nabuoa ang NASUTRA (National Sugar Traiding Authority) – Belen

Belen

Source TFDP

Belen is a widow and a mother of two adopted daughters. Back in Negros Oriental, she used to teach home economics in the public elementary school.

Seated on top of her tarima (iron cot) inside the Philippine Contabulary/Integrated National Police jail of Camp Crame, she related her story.

Belen saw and felt how their economic status crumbled at the hands of the big landlords, in Negros. Her father belonged to a middle land owner class, one of the classes in the countryside that fall prey to the monopolistic practices of the big hacienderos.

Her fathers land was reduced from 75 hectares of sugarcane to several hectares of rice and coconut lands. The operations of the sugarcane land were ordered to stop by the monopoly of the big landlords and the land laid idle since then.

Belen’s relatively comfortable life did not blind her to the suffering of the sacada (sugarcane workers) who worked on her father’s farm. She and her husband convinced his old man to the increase the wages of his workers. The act displeased the other landlords that the old man was called to the local precinct for questioning. The pressure from the other landlords made Belen’s father cancel the wage increase but unknown to the others, he added a cavan of rice to his farm workers monthly wages.

Belen’s experience in the economic struggle was transformed into one that had a wider perspective – that of political struggle. In he process of helping the workers, she was caught by the military.

Belen was one of the seven women and seventeen men rounded up by elements of Task Force Makabansa in different parts of Metro Manila from February 26 to March 1, 1982. She was arrested with no warrant of arrest in a raid of a worker’s house in Novaliches. She told the military that she was just a visitor but that did not seem to be a good reason for the military to let her go.

She was made to undergo tactical interrogation at the Metrocom Intelligence Service Group (MISG) Conference Room, Camp Crame for the first 48 hours and later at the Transient Officers’ Quarters, Fort Bonifacio where she was detained with other female detainees. For 10 days, tactical interrogation continued while they were place incommunicado from relatives and friends.

It is not without anger that she recall her torture, both physical and mental. Her life was threatened and made a fair game with Russian roulette. Bullets were inserted in between her fingers and were squeezed tight by her interrogators. The threat of rape and of stripping was ever present. Military men, usually drunk, went in and out of her room and so sleep was not all possible. Tension, exhaustion and anger took its toll. Vomiting, diarrhea, and near-dehydration made Belen demand the service of a doctor. Only then did the interrogation cease.

Finding no remedies for what had been done to Belen her co-accused, a collective torture complaint was filed by them on July 1982 before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. The following year, they filed a P6.5 million civil damage suit against Gen. Fabian Ver, Chief of Staff of the Philippine Armed Forces and several others for violation of detainees’ constitutional and human rights. Their lawyers Atty. Joker Arroyo and Rene Saguisag walked out with their families when the judge announced the dismissal of the case for “lack of merit”.

Source: “Filipino Women in Struggle” TFDP

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=406568269383775&set=a.406566046050664.98469.383902711650331&type=3&theater

On the 40th Anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, let us push for the ‘Compensation Act’ for all victims
of human rights violations of the Marcoses,

JOIN us in our pledge to remember, inform and inspire the youth with the truth and lessons that our nation learned from this dark period of our history.

I pledge to…

Never Again to Martial Law!
We remember, we inform, we inspire
Our youth with the truth and lessons of Martial Law.
#rememberML@40

and Invite people to…
1. Like and share the “Remember ML@40” FB page
2. Invite/recruit 40 or more others to like “Remember ML@40” FB page and ask them to recruit 40 more
3. Submit and/or post own “Pinky Pledge Photo” and ask others to do the same
4. Like and share all posts from “Remember ML@40” FB page
5. Participate in the “Online action day”
6. Change profile pic on September 21, 2012

[From the web] Defining moments – RAPPLER.com

Defining moments
BY THEODORE TE, RAPPLER.com
February 6, 2012

At the rate it’s going, it might boil down to definitions.

The past week saw the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice being occupied by the mundane task of defining terms, a task which could actually have been done outside the trial not only by the parties but by the senators themselves.

When the senators asked the panels (defense and prosecution) to define terms such as “dissolution,” “revocation” and the like, it not only wastes valuable time and effort, it also indicates that the senators are not too sure themselves of what it is they are looking for.

At one point on Day 11 of the trial, the Presiding Officer and Senate President Enrile asked prosecutor Elpidio Barzaga if being untruthful in a SALN entry was a high crime and when he got the answer that it was not, Enrile then said that only high crimes were impeachable offenses.

Taking their cue from the Senate President, other Senators (Joker Arroyo and Francis Escudero notably, both asking about the “level” and “gravity” of the crimes alleged) asked questions along the same line, i.e., the offense not being a high crime.

That, for me, was a defining moment for both the prosecution and the Senator-Jurors.

Clearly, the commission of “other high crimes” is an impeachable offense under the Constitution and the Senate President was correct in pointing that out.

But, it was certainly an irrelevant comment as none of the grounds raised in the Articles of Impeachment alleged that the Chief Justice had committed “other high crimes.” The 8 grounds alleged revolved around only two of the grounds for impeachment: betrayal of the public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

Unfortunately for Barzaga, he never pointed that out and it took a very belated riposte from prosecutor Niel Tupas to put on record what the entire Senate should have been very clear about from the very start—that the trial is not about the commission of “other high crimes” but about “betrayal of the public trust” and “culpable violation of the Constitution.”

To Tupas’s comment, the Senate President simply then said that the Senate will discuss what “betrayal of the public trust” means—again indicating that there is no fixed or clear understanding of what the term means to the Senator-Jurors 11 trial dates into this impeachment trial.

So, what exactly does “betrayal of the public trust” mean?

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

[In the news] Supreme Court coco levy ruling ‘too late, too obscure’—Sen. Arroyo- INQUIRER.net

Supreme Court coco levy ruling ‘too late, too obscure’—Sen. Arroyo
By TJ Burgonio, Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 26, 2012

  The Supreme Court ruling that the government owned a portion of the multibillion-peso coconut levy funds collected from farmers during the Ferdinand Marcos regime was “too obscure,” “too late” and “too little,” Senator Joker Arroyo said yesterday.

Arroyo rued that the court ruling was unclear over how the coconut farmers, who had been forcibly levied taxes by the government under the Marcos dictatorship, could benefit from it.

“Where does the reduced 24 percent go?” he said of the block of shares in San Miguel Corp. (SMC) registered under the Coconut Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) and its holding companies, and held in trust by the government for coconut farmers. “To the government or to the farmers? That is the question.”

This was originally 27 percent but was reduced to 24 percent after it was diluted with the investment of Japanese brewer Kirin in SMC. The remaining 20 percent claimed by businessman Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco had earlier been ruled by the court as having been legally acquired by the uncle of President Benigno Aquino III.

Read full article @ newsinfo.inquirer.net

[Press Release] EPIRA a “massive failure” – FDC

MANILA, Philippines – For not succeeding in achieving its objectives of reducing the debts of the National Power Corporation (NPC) and bringing down the power rates in its 10 years of implementation, the Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) is a “massive failure,” according to the Freedom from Debt Coalition.

FDC issued the statement echoing the opinion of Senator Joker Arroyo who said that “EPIRA is a failure” during a public hearing of the Joint Congressional Power Commission (JCPC) last Thursday at the Senate.

The advocacy group asked the JCPC to compel the NPC and the Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM) to make public their financial statements. PSALM is the agency in charge of selling government power assets.

FDC secretary-general Milo Tanchuling, who participated in the JCPC public hearing, stressed that after ten years since EPIRA was passed the power rates have increased and the total amount of NPC debts have remained virtually the same.

He explained that the figures presented by PSALM showed that the NPC’s debt and other financial obligations stood at US$16.387 billion in 2001 when EPIRA was passed. At the end of 2010, it amounted to US$15.821 billion, or a difference of only US$500 million.

“With regard to the basic generation rates of NPC, there have been two rounds of increases since EPIRA was approved, first in 2005 when NPC was granted a P1.03 per kilowatt per hour (kWh) increase and in 2009 when NPC was again granted increases of P0.4682 per kWh in Luzon, P1.1460 per kWh in the Visayas and P0.7147 per kWh in Mindanao,” he said.

Tanchuling said during the JCPC public hearing that his organization was “dismayed by the fact that the huge debts of NPC have remained in spite of repeated power rates increases and power adjustments under EPIRA which were all shouldered by ordinary consumers, not to mention the burden of additional taxes used to invest in the NPC power plants—most of which have now been sold supposedly to pay the NPC debts.”

“It was clear that, EPIRA did not provide for any substantial and meaningful renegotiation of NPC’s contracts with independent power producers (IPPs), even though these contracts require NPC to purchase electricity whether or not these are actually generated or dispatched, and to supply fuel to IPPs that are in operation. The price NPC agreed to pay for this electricity was overstated to begin with, and many of these contracts have clauses that allow the IPP to raise rates over time,” he pointed out.

Tanchuling noted that EPIRA’s failure to meet these two objectives were also the reasons mentioned by Senator Arroyo during the JCPC meeting for the failure of the EPIRA.

Tanchuling proposed to the JCPC that NPC and PSALM should release their annual financial statements to the JCPC so that the public may know why NPC’s indebtedness was not reduced even after selling the bulk of its assets, hiking its generation rates twice and, on top of these, receiving regular payments of its so-called deferred accounting adjustments through the Generation Rate Adjustment Mechanism (GRAM) and Incremental Currency Exchange Rate Adjustment Mechanism (ICERA).

“Moreover, a debt audit of the NPC debts and financial obligations is needed to determine if these were contracted under fair terms and conditions, and then used wisely and prudently. The Filipino people will also have a solid basis to demand the repudiation of any onerous debts and financial obligations of NPC,” he added, “which if passed on to electricity consumers and taxpayers would be a grave injustice.”

Press Release
Contact Person: Milo Tanchuling
Tel. No. (02) 921-19-85