Tag Archives: Leila de Lima

[From the web] Supreme Court Decision on Senator Leila de Lima Worsens Deteriorating Human Rights in the Philippines -NAKPhil

Supreme Court Decision on Senator Leila de Lima Worsens Deteriorating Human Rights in the Philippines

NAKPhilippines

The decision by the Philippine Supreme Court on Tuesday to uphold the arrest and detention of Senator Leila de Lima worsens the already deteriorating human rights situation in the Philippines. De Lima has been in detention at the police headquarters in Manila for nearly eight months on politically motivated charges.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court, voting 9-6, rejected de Lima’s petition to void the arrest warrant issued by a local trial court and to dismiss the drug charges filed against her by the Department of Justice. De Lima had argued that the country’s anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has jurisdiction over her, not the criminal courts. But the Supreme Court ruled that the Sandiganbayan jurisdiction “is limited to violations of the anti-graft laws and do not extend to violations of the drugs law.”

The Department of Justice filed three cases against de Lima in February for allegedly receiving bribes from accused drug lords incarcerated at the National Bilibid Prison, the national penitentiary, for allegedly using the money to finance her campaign for the Senate in 2016, and for allegedly violating the country’s anti-drug trafficking law.

The cases relied entirely on spurious testimonies from alleged drug lords inside the penitentiary ran by the Department of Justice, which de Lima previously headed. In exchange for charges against them being dropped, these inmates became state witnesses and took turns testifying against de Lima during the scandalous hearings in the Senate and House of Representatives late last year, alleging that she took money from the drug trade inside the prison.

But Duterte specifically targeted de Lima in his political vendetta because, as chair of the Commission on Human Rights when Duterte was Davao City mayor, she initiated investigations into the summary killings in that city – killings that bear resemblance to the bloodshed now occurring across the Philippines. She even presented in the Senate a former member of the so-called Davao Death Squad who testified about killings directly ordered by Duterte and his police force. As senator, de Lima went on to expose the extrajudicial killings related to the so-called “war on drugs” by President Duterte. As a result, she was removed as chair of the committee and her persecution and demonization continued up to her arrest in February.

The Supreme Court’s decision this week prolongs de Lima’s persecution and affirms this travesty of justice under President Duterte.

For reference:
Father Amado Picardal
NAKPhilippines Convenor

The Network Against Killings in the Philippines (NAKPhilippines) is an independent, non-partisan and broad alliance of various individuals, NGOs and civil society organizations concerned about human rights, civil liberties and rule of law in the Philippines.

Twitter: @nakphilippines
Facebook: nakphilippines
Email: networkagainstkillings@gmail.com

Released October 11, 2017

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[Press Release] Militants slam Serge Osmena for “no collusion” statement -PM

Militants slam Serge Osmena for “no collusion” statement

The militant Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) today slammed Sen. Serge Osmena for pre-empting the probes by the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the huge power rate hike with his statement yesterday that there is no collusion among generation companies and Meralco. The two departments are precisely looking into allegations of collusion.

pmLogo1

“Serge is a consistent supporter of power industry players since his sponsorship of the EPIRA Law which ushered in the era of high electricity rates to his defense of Meralco’s gargantuan rate hike,” opined Wilson Fortaleza, PM spokesperson.

Fortaleza is one of the signatories to the complaint against Meralco and generation companies lodged by groups last Monday with the DOJ Office for Competition. DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima pledged to come up with a finding by January next year.

Meanwhile PM continued its campaign of picketing Meralco branches. Yesterday its Cavite chapter protested at the Meralco branch and depot in Dasmarinas City. Tomorrow, PM members will picket the Meralco branch in Marilao, Bulacan. Last Monday PM staged a coordinated picket of branches in Paranaque, Rizal and Cavite.

“Serge’s statement is a mere opinion and not even a conclusion after an investigation. At the Senate hearing, even as senators grilled officials of the Energy Regulatory Commission and the DOE, they handled with kid gloves representatives of Meralco and the generation companies. As to why, it may be necessary to look into election campaign contributions by power industry players,” Fortaleza averred.

PM asserts that the Meralco price increase is unconscionable since it is an act of economic terror amid calamities, inequality and poverty in the country. Fortaleza argued that “It is also unfair. Workers in NCR were only granted P10 per day or P260 per month under Wage Order No. 18. The P4.15/kwh total increase in Meralco’s rate is an additional P830 burden for households consuming 200 kwh per month.”

“The worker-led consumer campaign against collusion by Meralco and the generation companies to drive electricity prices will continue and intensify next year. Consumers anger will boil over when they get their next electricity bills,” Fortaleza predicted.

Press Release
December 19, 2013
Partido ng Manggagawa
Contact Wilson Fortaleza @ 09178233956

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[Press Release] DOJ asked to dismiss case vs. PALEA 241 -PALEA

DOJ asked to dismiss case vs. PALEA 241

PALEA logo

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to dismiss the case against 241 of its members for alleged violation of the Civil Aviation Authority Act (CAAA) even as it welcomed the filing of charges against a prosecutor for an extortion attempt. Yesterday DOJ assistant prosecutor Diosdado Solidum Jr. was freed after posting bail a day after the Ombudsman filed raps for mulcting P2.4 million from PALEA in return for the dropping of the CAAA case.

“It behooves the DOJ to dismiss the harassment case against the PALEA 241 because of a fatal flaw. Lawyers of Philippine Airlines do not have any clearance from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in filing the case. Any complaint arising from a labor dispute requires such a clearance before civil courts can take jurisdiction,” asserted Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

A new DOJ prosecutor is now handling PALEA’s petition for review after Solidum was arrested in an entrapment operation Thursday last week. PALEA filed the petition for review after a Pasay fiscal found probable cause for violation of Section 81 of CAAA pertaining to disruption and destruction of airport services and facilities during PALEA’s protest against outsourcing in September 27, 2011.

“We salute DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima for her iron will to fight corruption within her department and in government as shown in the entrapment of Solidum and the crusade against Juliet Lim Napoles. But we urge her to struggle for justice too as workers are wronged by fiscals and prosecutors who make erroneous anti-labor decisions,” Rivera asserted.

Rivera added that the harassment case has a chilling effect on labor relations and is a clear and present danger to workers rights. “Labor protests will then be banned in the aviation industry with workers penalized by both imprisonment and fine in violation of constitutionally guaranteed rights. This will be a grave precedent and new special laws can then be enacted to deny workers the freedoms of assembly, expression, self-organization and strike,” he explained.

He explained that “The decision is void of any legal basis as no damages were committed to airport facilities. Moreover the case is a labor issue and thus prior authority from the DOLE and DOJ should have been secured prior to the filing of the complaint. The CAAA is also explicit in providing that ‘only the Director General’ can file the appropriate charges and not the PAL Vice-President of the Airport Services as in this case.”

Press Release
August 15, 2013
PALEA
Contact Gerry Rivera @ 09157755073

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[Press Release] PALEA press for suspension of prosecutor, dismissal of case

PALEA press for suspension of prosecutor, dismissal of case

PALEA logo

The Philippine Airlines Employees’ Association (PALEA) called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to immediately suspend assistant Diosdado Solidum Jr. and to dismiss the case against its 241 members. Solidum was arrested in an entrapment operation Thursday night for extorting P2.5 million from PALEA members in return for the dropping of charges for violation of Section 81 of the Civil Aviation Authority Act (CAAA).

“The arrest of Solidum is but a small step in our quest for justice. We hope that it will pave the way for the dismissal of the harassment case against PALEA. The protest PALEA launched against outsourcing in September 27, 2011 in our workplace was a Constitutionally-guaranteed right to seek redress of grievances and does not fall under the provisions of the CAAA which concerns disruption and destruction of airport services and facilities,” declared Gerry Rivera, PALEA president and vice chair of Partido ng Manggagawa.

Rivera added that “PALEA will fight all lawbreakers whether in barongs or in suits. PALEA members are victims of injustice not once but twice. First, some 2,000 workers were retrenched in a failed outsourcing scam and 241 members were charged in court for protesting. Then prosecutor Solidum tried to extort from retrenched and jobless workers,”

PALEA hailed DOJ Secretary Leila de Lima for authorizing the entrapment operation. “We need more de Limas and less Solidums in government if workers are to have a chance at attaining some measure of justice in this system. Truly the wheels of justice turn slow for workers but the arrest of Solidum should send a signal to all that the labor movement will fight to win.” Rivera ended.

PALEA and the new management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) under the San Miguel group are still in negotiations over the union’s demand for the return of retrenched workers to their regular jobs. Meanwhile the union continues to garner support as the European Transport Workers Federation (ETF) welcomed the talks between PAL and PALEA to settle the long-running dispute.

In a statement released in mid-July after the announcement of the lifting of the European Union ban on PAL flights to the continent (http://www.itfglobal.org/news-online/index.cfm/newsdetail/9299), the ETF urged PAL to “come to a full and fair settlement.”

Further, delegates to the June 2013 Asia Pacific conference of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) restated their solidarity with PALEA. ITF civil aviation secretary Gabriel Mocho promised the full support of all affiliates to use whatever legal means necessary to ensure justice for PALEA. 

Press Release
August 10, 2013
PALEA
Contact Gerry Rivera @ 09157755073

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[In the news] Aquino signs law to modernize prisons, professionalize corrections personnel -INQUIRER.net

Aquino signs law to modernize prisons, professionalize corrections personnel.

By Christine O. Avendaño, Philippine Daily Inquirer

May 28, 2013

inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — The government is now in position to institute reforms and better conditions in the country’s prisons now that President Benigno Aquino has signed a law that will modernize the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor), according to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

The reforms will include hiring more personnel to guard the country’s prisoners now numbering 37,232.

De Lima said President Aquino signed last May 24 Republic Act no. 10575 or the Bureau of Corrections Act of 2013, a law designed to enable government to upgrade prison facilities, professionalize the bureau and increase the salary and benefits of its personnel.

“With the new law, we can now improve prison facilities, recruit more corrections officers, and implement more responsive reformation programs for inmates,” said De Lima, whose office released a copy of the new law to reporters.

Read full article @newsinfo.inquirer.net

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sign petiton2 smallPhoto by TFDP

[People] The horrific crime against 7 year-old Mykie Prado by Fr. Shay Cullen

The horrific crime against 7 year-old Mykie Prado
by Fr. Shay Cullen

325-fr-shay-cullenWe are facing a growing crises and epidemic of child sexual abuse according to the numbers that are being reported and by educated guess that thousands more go unreported. It takes much courage and bravery for a child or threatened adult to report such crimes in a culture of apathy and indifference. Our Catholicism is challenged as useless if there is no action for justice. Sympathy among the authorities for accused rapists is mind-boggling and when it comes to child abuse, with brave exceptions, public opinion is a cold silent iceberg of injustice.

Mykie Prado was found raped and murdered on the 21st of February 2010 in Aklan. She died of multiple stab wounds. There were witnesses, they pointed to the culprit. A rape charge was filed against the suspect Dennis Eustaquio Gonzales, age 26 years (photo on http://www.preda.org). A medical report confirmed that the child had been sexually abused before she was murdered.

On the 19th of October 2010, an arrest warrant was issued against the accused who is in hiding and all the police, local NBI and CIDG have failed to arrest him despite pleas of social workers and the international justice group appealing to the Department of Justice for Mykie Prado and to prevent others like it from happening. An appeal by a German Mayor and many supporters yielded no arrest. The suspect is allegedly protected by the Mayor and the family of Mykie has been constantly threatened and intimidated to withdraw charges. But they hold fast.

In a letter to the Secretary of Justice Leila De Lima and child’s rights advocate Assistant Secretary of Justice Geronimo Sy, a brave woman witness writes:

Please, just call me Lena. I’m living in Sitio Luho, Brgy. Buruanga, Aklan.
May this letter serve to reveal the truth of Mykie Prado’s death. Ever since February 21, 2010 until today, 2013, my conscience hasn’t given me rest anymore because I know what actually happened that day when Mykie Prado died.

We don’t know how to really help to cause righteousness in Mykie’s case, because we are afraid of the Mayor (name deleted) of Buruanga, Aklan and the local police. Following I am writing to you what has actually happened, asking your good office to judge for yourselves whether it’s right and just what they have done.

Mykie is the third of six siblings. Since her parents, due to severe poverty, weren’t able to raise and feed all of them, they felt forced to give Mykie to far relatives. Those relatives promised to offer the child an education and a good future. The man’s name is Bernard Cahilig.

Bernard Cahilig is living together with his live-in partner Felicidad Gonzales, who is separated from her husband whom she has several children with. One of her sons, Dennis Eustaquio Gonzales, age 26 years old, was living with them at the same house together with Mykie.

On February 21, 2010, Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) came home from a birthday party at our neighbor’s. He demanded Mykie to buy alcohol for him. It took a while before she returned home, since our neighbors offered her some food. When Mykie eventually arrived back home, Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) was very angry that she hadn’t returned at once. We heard Mykie cry. At 3 O’clock in the afternoon, she screamed: “Father, help me!” Also Felicidad, Dennis’ (Eustaquio Gonzales) mother, heard the cry since she was standing outside just like us. She asked her son. What are you doing with the child again?

That day, it wasn’t only us who heard Mykie scream ” Father, help me!”. Also Felicidad’s visitors who were staying at her house heard Mykie crying; a couple, Mr. Democrito and Mrs. Ruby Barrentos, from Poblation Malay, Aklan. About 20 minutes had passed, when Dennis (Gonzales) stepped out of the door. He was holding Mykie, his face and t-shirt covered with blood.

Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) threw Mykie in front of the door on a place covered with stones. Then he and his mother rolled her on the rocky road. Thus, the murder is covered up and it looks like an accident. Afterward Dennis (Eustaquio Gonzales) used the water of our faucet outside of our house to wash his face. We were threatened that if we told anybody what really happened, he will be back and kill us too.

We were afraid. Maybe he really meant to kill us in case we told somebody since the mayor is a good friend of theirs. We were in panic. Our neighbors carried Mykie on a wooden board used for sifting rice to the hospital. Felicidad sent her son to hide in the mountains right away.

When Mykie arrived at the hospital, she was already dead. She had lost too much blood because of the stabbings in her body. Not only had she been stabbed but raped as well. The people asked for the knife and the addict son. Both knife and son had disappeared……..(to be continued). Full text at http://www.preda.org

Even to ignore or cover up such a crime is to our great shame, many children like Mykie Prado, a 7 year-old gets no justice. Yet a courageous and brave woman speaks out for a little girl. Thousands more are victimized. In India, Hindus and Muslims are outraged at the rape and murder of children there. They hold aggressive protest demonstrations on the streets. In the Philippines, there is silence by Church, government and the public at large. So what’s the point of being Catholic? shaycullen@preda.org; http://www.preda.org; http://www.predafairtrade.net

(Fr. Shay’s columns are published in the Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line)

Need Help? Contact: predainfo@preda.org

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[Media Advisory] Multi-Stakeholders Forum-Workshop on the “Effective Implementation of Republic Act No. 10353: A Collective Endeavor”

MEDIA ADVISORY

Multi-Stakeholders Forum-Workshop on the “Effective Implementation of Republic Act No. 10353: A Collective Endeavor”

Forum Workshop Tarp

Dear Friends from the Media:

The Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND), the International Coalitions Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) and the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) in cooperation with the Embassy of Canada and the University of the Philippines (UP) Asian Center are organizing a forum on “Effective Implementation of Republic Act No. 10353: A Collective Endeavor” on March 6, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the UP Asian Center.

The forum is part of our continuing efforts to disseminate to various stakeholders and to general public the issue of enforced disappearance and the available legal remedies that can address it.

Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, the principal author of the law will speak on the objectives, the underlying principle and the salient provisions of the law. Sec. Leila De Lima of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will share with us their respective institutional roles and responsibilities in the effective implementation of the law. USec. Parisya Taradji will also be there to represent the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD).

WE SHALL TRULY APPRECIATE IF YOU CAN TAKE PART IN THIS AFOREMENTIONED EVENT. THANK YOU.

For inquiry, please
contact : Mr. Darwin Mendiola Mobile No. 0915.4689306 Office Phone No. 490.7862
Email address: afad@surfshop.net.ph

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[Event] Forum on Effective Implementation of Republic Act No. 10353: A Collective Endeavor -AFAD, FIND

Forum on Effective Implementation of Republic Act No. 10353: A Collective Endeavor

Dear firends,

Warmest greetings!

FIND AFADAfter 16 long years of a hard-fought struggle to criminalize enforced disappearance in the country, we finally have the first national legislation against Enforced Disappearance in the Asian region with the passage of Republic Act No. 10353, otherwise known as the “Anti-Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance Act of 2012”. Moreover, its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) have been recently crafted.

In order to make this special penal law an effective tool to combat impunity, the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (FIND) and the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) in partnership with the Embassy of Canada and the UP Asian Center, are organizing a forum on “Effective Implementation of Republic Act No. 10353: A Collective Endeavor” on March 6, 2013 from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the GT Toyota UP Asian Center Auditorium. This is part of our continuing efforts to disseminate to various stakeholders and to the general public the issue of enforced disappearance and the value of this new law to address it.

Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay, the principal author of the law will speak on the objectives, the underlying principle and the salient provisions of the law. Sec. Leila De Lima of the Department of Justice (DoJ) and the Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will share with us their respective institutional roles and responsibilities in the effective implementation of the law. We also invited Sec. Corazon “Dinky” Soliman of the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD).

Our partners, the Embassy of Canada and the UP Asian Center, will also be speaking in support to our advocacy. Dr. Carol I. Sobritchea, Dean of the UP Asian Center in particular will address the gender perspective of this human rights issue.

In line with this, we would like to invite you and /or your representative to take part in this worthwhile activity. We will be sending out the final program of the said forum as soon as we received the confirmation of our invited resource speakers. For your confirmation or inquiries, please contact Mr. Darwin Mendiola at phone number 490.7862 or at mobile number 0915.4689306 or email us at afad@surfshop.net.ph.

We believe that we share the common purpose of making human rights a reality to all.

Thank you very much.

Very truly yours,

MARY AILEEN D. BACALSO                                                                     NILDA L. SEVILLA
Secretary General, AFAD                                                                             Co-Chairperson, FIND

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[From the web] DOJ Secretary Leila M. de Lima’s Speech On the Occasion of the Ceremonial Signing of MOA Between the DOJ, PNP and MAG -www.magph.com

DOJ Secretary Leila M. de Lima‘s Speech
On the Occasion of the Ceremonial Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement Between
the Department of Justice, Philippine National Police and the Medical Action Group

November 15, 2012
Department of Justice
Padre Faura, Manila

English: Cropped from this original upload.

English: Cropped from this original upload. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Your Excellency, Stephen Lillie, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Philippines; Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales of the Commission on Human Rights; Police Superintendent Nicanor A. Bartolome of the Philippine National Police; Dr. Petronilo Lenin M. Pascual, Chairperson of the Medical Action Group, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

Legal scholars steep in the study of egregious human rights violations contend that there are four essential tasks of post-authoritarian governments concerned in the healing and reconciliation

of a nation. These are truth, justice, reparation and the exercise of memory!. For the partners in today’s important event, we are assiduously focused on contributing to the establishment of truth and, most importantly, the attainment of justice for the victims of torture and their families.

In the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement, the three (3) collaborating institutions of the Department of Justice, Medical Action Group and the Philippine National Police and its partner agencies will galvanize present efforts to address the unbearable crimes of torture that tragically remains to be present, albeit in diminished scale, in our society.

In the establishment of truth, the MOA will help capacitate our investigators and prosecutors in how to assess, collate, preserve and process physical and medical evidence that should be able to

withstand judicial scrutiny in any jurisdiction. Equipped with the necessary framework, skills, discipline and valuable network of like-minded individuals and institutions, our field officers will be able to package an airtight case that will ensure the dispensation of justice for the victims.

For the prosecutors of the Department of Justice, I give you the directive to actively participate in the creation of a composite, specialized and professionalized team of investigators and prosecutors dealing with all cases of reported torture. Quiet efficiency, integrity and honesty will

be your guideposts in the use of tools and skills that will emanate from the implementation of this Agreement which hopefully will ensure a perfect conviction rate for Complaints and Information filed involving torture. The same aspiration applies to our partner law enforcement agents from the PNP and the NBI. In the area of training and capacity-building, we cannot hope for better trainers than the expert doctors and health professionals of the Medical Action Group (MAG).

We credit MAG for this partnership thank them for their initiative.

I cannot over-emphasize enough our appreciation for the support of the British Embassy and the United Kingdom which has been a veritable light for the civilized world that seems to percolate between rallying indignation and tepid, non-committal response despite the glaring evidence that torturous acts continue to shred every bit of humanity not just of the tortured, but of the torturer. Indeed, the United Kingdom’s anti-torture law has been described “as providing the most comprehensive treatments of the crime of torture.

The Philippine Government is steadily rising to the demand and challenge of its people with a sure-footedness and determination that underscore the present administration’s sincere and honest commitment to promote and fulfill human rights. In fact, the Department is confident that the President will soon sign the proposed Administrative Order creating a high-level, inter-agency committee that will converge strategic partners to oversee and monitor the proper investigation and prosecution of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture and other grave human rights violations.

Through this A.O., stakeholders, some of whom are with us today, will be further convinced, if they are not already, that the campaign against grave human rights violations has the personal and direct imprimatur of the President.

The MOA, however important it may be, will not dissipate the great challenges that lie before us. Ultimately, to sustain the fight against torture, we must all have the strength of character to see this through the long haul. In plodding along this difficult and arduous road, I leave you with a quote from one of my most favorite, irrepressible figure of history.

Winston Churchill once said: Success is not final, failure the courage to continue that counts.

Ladies and gentlemen, maraming salamat, pagpala-in tayo ng Panginoon.

Source: http://magph.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=120:doj-secretary-leila-m-de-lima-speech&catid=1:news&Itemid=6

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[Press Release] Legal critique of Abadilla Five and Vizconde cases released -AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

PHILIPPINES: Legal critique of Abadilla Five and Vizconde cases released

(Hong Kong, December 20, 2012) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is publishing today a 24-page legal critique of two controversial decisions issued by the Supreme Court (SC), the People v. Lumanog and the Lejano v. People, in comparison to judicial decisions in common law countries.

The case People v. Lumanog is about the SC’s decision affirming the conviction and sentence to life imprisonment of five torture victims: Lenido Lumanog, Augusto Santos, Cesar Fortuna, Joel and Rameses de Jesus, in September 2010. They were convicted for the murder of Rolando Abadilla, a police colonel during the Marcos regime, on June 13, 1996.

The case Lejano v. People concerns the acquittal of Freddie Webb, son of a former Philippine Senator, and six others from wealthy family background in the widely publicized Vizconde massacre case. The case is about the gang-rape and murder of a woman, her 19 and 7-year-old daughters on June 30, 1991.

The release of this paper is timely given the announcement by Leila De Lima, secretary of the Department of Justice (DoJ), of her recommendation to President Benigno Aquino III to release the “Abadilla Five” on ‘conditional pardon’. In her statement, De Lima has said ‘conditional pardon’ for them was fitting as “…to me there’s a moral certainty about the lack of reasonable doubt.”

This paper thoroughly examines the People v. Lumanog case on how arbitrarily the arrests were conducted, the illegality in collecting material and confessional evidence, particularly by way of torture; how protracted and long overdue the conclusion of this trial was, and events that preceded the SC’s decision to convict the victims.

The acquittal of the accused in Lejano v. People has already given rise to questions of legal certainty and consistency of judicial decisions of the SC. This question remains unresolved. However, what is clear in Lumanog and Lejano cases is that the former the accused were poor people with no influence in the latter they were wealthy and influential.

These two decisions gives rise to questions on enforcing the fundamental rights to due process and fair trial of any accused, rich or poor, in Philippine courts. These cases demonstrate inequality before the law and the denial of protection of poor people whom the State ought to protect.

This paper is written by Danilo Andres-Reyes, a staff member of the AHRC, who is also responsible for the organisation’s work on the Philippines. He hopes the paper can contribute to cultivating a more substantive analysis as to how fundamental rights are denied systematically by the judicial system expected to safeguard them.

Mr. Reyes would like to thank Professor Simon Young, Associate Professor & Director of the Centre for Comparative and Public Law (CCPL) at the Faculty of Law, University of Hong Kong, for his permission and encouragement to publish this paper, and his kind remark that: “It is a very good paper on a timely topic”.

# # #

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.

Visit our new website with more features at http://www.humanrights.asia.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS RELEASE
AHRC-PRL-054-2012

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[Press Release] Rights groups commemorate Political Prisoners’ Day -TFDP

Rights groups commemorate Political Prisoners’ Day 
Call on Government to stand by its commitment to look into the plight of Political Prisoners in the country

pps day poster8 copy

On the occasion of human rights week, rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) commemorated the annual Political Prisoners’ Day last December 7, 2012 at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. Together with other human rights groups and 58 victims of political incarceration in NBP, they reiterated their call for President Benigno Aquino III to release all political prisoners.

According to Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP, the Aquino government has yet to prove its sincerity fifteen months after last year’s dialogue in response to the hunger strike undertaken by political prisoners.

“More than one year after the hunger strike for freedom and human rights, brought about by the death of Tatay Umbrero, the political prisoner who suffered and died in lung cancer, the government has not fulfilled any of its commitment,” Amistad lamented.

The political prisoners’ hunger strike that took place during President Aquino’s 2011 State of the Nation Address was lifted after almost two months when the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) went into a dialogue with human rights groups.

DOJ committed to reactivate the Presidential Committee on Bail Recognizance and Parole (PCBREP), an interagency created during the former President Fidel V. Ramos term tasked to evaluate releases for alleged political offenders.

Former President Joseph Estrada continued its existence and it was again reactivated under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that eventually released eight political prisoners in her last term of office.

Secretary Leila De Lima assigned Usec. Francisco Baraan to lead PCBREP.
“We were informed that last October PCBREP recommended five political prisoners for release. Until now their papers are pending and we fear that it will be on hold especially with government’s attitude towards the issue. We are referring to Presidential Spokesperson Lacierda’s statement that there are no political prisoners in the country,” said Amistad.

“TFDP has documented more than 300 political prisoners and detainees languishing in jails nationwide. We challenge PNoy and Secretary De Lima to stand by their commitment. Release all victims of political incarceration,” Amistad concluded.

TFDP is a national human rights organization founded in 1974 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).

PRESS RELEASE
December 7, 2012

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[Petition] No to cremation of medico-legal cases

No to cremation of medico-legal cases

Screenshot of the petition in change.org

Screenshot of the petition in change.org

Dear everyone,

I’ve started the petition “Hon. Leila de LIma: Create a Policy: NO to cremation of remains of Medico-Legal Cases ” and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link:
http://www.change.org/petitions/hon-leila-de-lima-create-a-policy-no-to-cremation-of-remains-of-medico-legal-cases

Here’s why it’s important:

(1) Bones Never Lie, but forensic experts/investigators do.
In a country like the Philippines where forensic findings and interpretations are negotiated, families of victims who do not have the power to negotiate, will be always in the losing end. Justice is an elusive dream to them. Preserving the skeletal remains and making it available for analysis by other experts will give them a better chance to achieve justice.

(2) Forensic Science evolves.
The findings today may not be the findings tomorrow, thus it is very important that forensic evidence, especially skeletal remains should be preserved.

Take note of the Ninoy Aquino Case. Our forensic review showed that the trajectory was rightward, upward and forward. The bullet is a hollow point that FRAGMENTED IN THREE MAJOR PARTS when it hit the left mastoid process (back of left ear) of Ninoy.

One of the major fragments hit the petrous bone, the hardest bone of the skull, deflected forward and downward and lodged in the chin. The forensic expert who testified MISREPRESENTED the petrous bone. He told the court that the petrous bone is akin to a cartilage, not hard enough to deflect a projectile. This suited the theory (with no forensic evidence to support it) that Ninoy was shot by one of the military escorts while descending the stairs.

Since Ninoy was NOT cremated, we could get back to his skull and settle the trajectory issue. Other cases with questionable findings whose remains were cremated, the forensic questions and TRUTH about the cause of their deaths, trajectory and other evidence were cremated with their remains.

Thus, the need for a law or a policy that will not allow cremation of forensic cases. I need your signature to realize this. Your signature will certainly help attain justice for victims human rights violations and victims of crimes, may help you to get justice for yourself and for your relatives.

You can sign my petition by clicking here.

Thanks!

Dr. Ben Molino

Iboto ang iyong #HRPinduterosChoice para sa HR CAMPAIGN.

Ang botohan ay magsisimula ngayon hanggang sa 11:59 ng Nov 15, 2013.

Ikaw para kanino ka pipindot? Simple lang bumoto:
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Choice na kikilalanin sa 2013 HR week celebration.

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pinduteros-choice-awards/

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[Advisory/Event] British Embassy Manila, Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP) and MAG will ink agreement

British Embassy Manila, Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP) and MAG will ink agreement
by Medical Action Group (MAG)

ADVISORY

British Embassy Manila, Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP) and Medical Action Group (MAG) ink agreement for training of investigators and prosecutors to strengthen investigation and prosecution of torture cases

November 15, 2012 (Thursday), 10:30 to 11:30 AM
Department of Justice (DOJ), Executive Lounge
Padre Faura St., Manila

Non-government organization, the Medical Action Group (MAG), with support from the British Embassy Manila, will sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the DOJ and the PNP that will provide capacity development and training among investigators and prosecutors for a more effective and efficient investigation and prosecution of torture cases in the country. The training aims to enhance the capacity of the investigators in gathering and handling of evidences and to provide necessary knowledge and skills for the prosecutors on how physical and medical evidences is evaluated in court proceedings on alleged torture cases according to the Anti-Torture Law (Republic Act No. 9745) and international standards contained in the UN Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (“the Istanbul Protocol”) . This is in view of the lack of documentation standards for torture cases has often resulted in the rejection of physical and medical evidences by the courts. This training will have a direct impact on the ability to investigate and secure prosecution by improving the quality of evidences in torture cases. The training will be undertaken with funding from the British Embassy’s Human Rights and Democracy Programme.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) will witness the signing of MOA.

Guests:

Secretary Leila M. de Lima, DOJ
Mr. Steph Lysaght, Head, Political Section, British Embassy Manila
Representative from the Office of the PNP Director General Nicanor A. Bartolome
Atty. Milabel Cristobal, Office of the CHR Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales
Erlinda Senturias, M.D., Member, MAG Board of Trustees

For Media Friends
Guests are available for interview.

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[In the news] Cyber law talks set next week -PhilStar.com

Cyber law talks set next week
By Aurea Calica, The Philippine Star
October 05, 2012

MANILA, PhilippinesMalacañang has set a dialogue with stakeholders on the controversial Cybercrime Law even as more groups stepped up calls to repeal the law on fears that it would be used to suppress online freedoms.

A dialogue was scheduled on Oct. 9 to allow all stakeholders to air their concerns about Republic Act 10175, presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.

The place and venue will be announced later, he said.

At the same time, Lacierda said he was not aware if the executive branch could still suspend the implementation of RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act since it was “called to implement it.”

“We are the executive branch, we execute. What the legislative branch can do, I understand, and I have seen from some tweets that are going around, is that they can issue a joint resolution. But I don’t know if they intend to do that,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said he could ask Justice Secretary Leila de Lima if a suspension of the law’s implementation was possible at this time.

Lacierda said so far no case had been filed for online libel or any of the contentious provisions and there were portions that would have to be enforced immediately.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) joined the growing clamor to repeal RA 10175.

Read full article @ www.philstar.com

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[In the news] Government taking steps to stop rights violations, says Justice Secretary Leila de Lima | Sun.Star

Government taking steps to stop rights violations, says Justice Secretary Leila de Lima | Sun.Star.

September 26, 2012

MANILA — Justice Secretary Leila de Lima told a group of human rights watchdogs that had been instrumental in cutting United States military aid to the Philippines that the Aquino administration has taken steps to reduce cases of extrajudicial killings and related violations.

In a meeting on Tuesday at the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C., De Lima said the government has not used violence, intimidation or threats to curtail rights of individuals.

Militants have since accused the government’s counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan of killing members of leftist organizations but the military claimed otherwise, saying the program is centered on resolving conflicts through peace process and community work.

“This Aquino administration can honestly and sincerely say this because we absolutely have nothing to hide,” said de Lima, former chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).

Read full article @ www.sunstar.com.ph

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[Press Release] TFDP: Human Rights not a priority of PNoy

TFDP: Human Rights not a priority of PNoy

Today Task Force Detainees of the Philippines declared that human rights are not a priority of PNoy.

“It seems that PNoy is a hopeless case. One year after the 2011 hunger strike for Freedom and Human Rights of political prisoners, his government has not released a single political detainee. In fact, this administration is deaf and blind to the reality of political prisoners,” said Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP.

During President Aquino’s 2011 SONA, political prisoners nationwide declared a hunger strike to demand for their release and a human rights agenda of the government. This was triggered by the late issuance by PNoy of his supposed first executive clemency to a political prisoner suffering cancer in the National Bilibid Prison.

TFDP and other human rights groups had a dialogue with the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) in Malacanang and the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the issue. The government headed by Secretary Leila De Lima promised to reactivate the Presidential Committee on Bail Recognizance and Pardon (PCBREP) according to the group.

TFDP joined with the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) in a SONA protest action in Commonwealth to express their demands.

“The human rights community has been calling for PNoy’s National Human Rights Action Plan since his first SONA in 2010 and he’s not been listening. NHRAP has been a long overdue obligation of the Philippine Government even during PGMA’s term. Even the U.N. Human Rights Council has recommended its issuance to once and for all give a roadmap for Philippine Government’s obligation to respect, protect and fulfill the human rights of the Filipino people.” Amistad added.

“No human rights agenda, not a single perpetrator in jail, no justice for human rights victims, continued killings of human rights defenders, this is the track record of PNoy. His actions has always favored big business and not the plight of the poor. Ang matuwid na daan ni PNoy ay para lamang sa iilan. Ang kaunlaran na pinagmamalaki ng pamahalaan ay para lamang sa iilan hindi para sa taumbayan, ” TFDP lamented.

The group also reminded President Aquino to fulfill his only promise for human rights in his last SONA 2011, “Pass the Compensation Act for all victims of Martial Law. Justice for all victims of human rights violations! End impunity! It’s your obligation to protect and fulfill the Filipino peoples’ human rights!” TFDP concluded.

###
For more details pls contact:
Egay Cabalitan, TFDP-NCR Staff
4378054; 09219645017; egay.advocacytfdp@gmail.com

Press Release
July 23, 2012

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[Urgent Appeal] Court fails to conclude an activists’ appeal to dismiss false charges -AHRC

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-025-2012
6 July 2012

[RE: AHRC-UAU-002-2012: PHILIPPINES: False murder charges on activist must be dropped]
———————————————————————
PHILIPPINES: Court fails to conclude an activists’ appeal to dismiss false charges on him made three years on
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest and detention; fabrication of charges; human rights defenders; prosecution system; right to fair trial
———————————————————————

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed that nearly six months after the arrest and detention of Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie, a human rights activist laid with fabricated murder charges, the court has not commence the trial. The court suspended the proceedings due to its own failure to conclude the victim’s petition to dismiss the charges filed nearly three years ago.

UPDATED INFORMATION: (Based on the information received from the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC))
On January 26, 2012, after Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie’s was arrested and detained, we issued an appeal (AHRC-UAU-002-2012) and have written to government authorities, notably Leila De Lima, secretary of the Department of Justice (DoJ), asking her to “consider reviewing the evidence and merits of the case” as the basis of concluding that there was a probable cause by the prosecutors.

In our letter, we argued that the DoJ should consider dismissing the charges on Tulawie considering that the evidence on him “is based on the forced confession that were obtained from the two accused themselves,” implicating Tulawie’s supposed role as “mastermind” of the May 13, 2009 bomb attack, which they already recanted. The AHRC, however, has not received any response from De Lima’s office on this.

For detailed discussion, read our statement: AHRC-STM-011-2012.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court (SC), Third Division, issued a Resolution dated June 13, 2011 to transfer the trial of Tulawie’s case from the Regional Trial Court (RTC), in Jolo, Sulu “to any Court may deemed convenient, and considering that there is an indication of actual imminent threat to the life of the petitioner (Tulawie) and his family.”

In fact, on December 14, 2011, the SC again issued its subsequent Resolution that upholds this order, in which Governor Abdusakur Tan, the complainant of the murder charges, questioned. In this order, the SC resolved that: “considering that no substantial matter has been raised therein to warrant a modification of this Court’s resolution, the Court resolves to DENY reconsideration with FINALITY.”

However, despite the SC’s order and the case folder of the documents having been transferred to Davao City, notably the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 11, under the jurisdiction of Virginia Holifena-Europa, the trial of the case could not proceed. In her order dated May 4, 2012, she argued that:

“Pending resolution is a Motion to Quash filed by the accused…for the record, Prosecutor Marte Melchor S. Velasco who is assigned to prosecute cases in Branch 11 of the RTC, Davao City had previously manifested that he has not yet been duly authorized by the Department of Justice to appear and handle this case. That being the case, he cannot file any comment and/or opposition to the pending Motion to Quash even with the appearance of private prosecutors.”
Judge Europa further argued that:

“…..this Court received a copy of a petition filed before the Honorable Supreme court by one of the private complainants asking for the transfer of venue of this case to Manila.” For this, the court ordered:”In view of the foregoing, further proceedings in this case are hereby suspended in deference to the Honorable Supreme Court.”

In the court’s hearing on this case on May 25, 2012, the court itself agreed that since the jurisdiction of the case has been transferred to its branch; thus, it is automatic that the prosecutors assigned in that branch have the authority to handle the case. This corrects the prosecutor’s earlier claims that he could not comment on the Motion to Quash as “he has not yet been duly authorized by the Department of Justice”.

However, although the obstacles regarding the lack of authority of the prosecutor, which have already been revealed as misconceived–and have already been addressed; and those orders of the SC have affirmed the court’s authority to try the case, Judge Europa has been unable to commence the trial of Tulawie’s case.

It is obvious that the failure to commence the trial of the case since Tulawie’s arrest in January 13, 2012 have been due to the courts’ failure to resolve the Motion to Resolve the Motion to Quash that the counsel of the accused has filed. Tulawie first filed his Motion to Quash on July 25, 2009.

The AHRC therefore urges you to write letters to: Judge Virginia Holifena-Europa, presiding judge, Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 11, Davao City, PHILIPPINES, asking her to resolve the accused appeal promptly.

Thank you.
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

AHRC Philippines page: http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/philippines
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[In the news] D.O.H. wins breastmilk Case vs Multinationals -businessmirror.com.ph

EXCLUSIVE: D.O.H. wins breastmilk Case vs Multinationals
by JOEL R. SAN JUAN, businessmirror.com.ph
June 12, 2012

THE Department of Justice has upheld the legality of a government memorandum prohibiting multinational firms that manufacture infant milk and other nutrition products in the country from using registered trademarks that may erode the efforts of the government to promote breast-feeding.

The justice department said the September 5, 2011, memorandum of the Department of Health (DOH) was aimed at “protecting public welfare.”

In a seven-page legal opinion on May 11, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said the health department was the primary government agency given the authority to issue orders and regulations concerning the implementation of the government’s health policies.

De Lima also noted that Section 12 (b) of Executive Order 51, otherwise known as the Milk Code, gave the DOH the power to promulgate rules necessary for the proper implementation of the code.

Read full article @ businessmirror.com.ph

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[In the news] Aussie to face TRAFFICKING charges -Cebu Daily News

AUSSIE TO FACE TRAFFICKING CHARGES.

Cebu Daily News
May 20, 2012

DOJ overturns fiscal on case

He may have been initially cleared of accountability by the Cebu City Prosecutor’s Office.

But the case of the 49-year-old Australian accused of molesting three boys didn’t escape the scrutiny of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who recommended the filing of qualified trafficking and child abuse charges against him.

Six counts of qualified trafficking and child abuse charges were filed last week by the Department of Justice against the Australian before the Regional Trial Court of Cebu. No bail was recommended for the case which may be raffled off this week.

In overturning an earlier decision by Cebu City Prosecutor Nicolas Sellon to drop the charges against the Australian, de Lima said “the accused took advantage of the victim’s vulnerability by dangling money to them for their services.”

Read full article @ cebudailynews.wordpress.com

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[In the news] DOJ, CHR ink pact on human rights violations -www.manilatimes.net

DOJ, CHR ink pact on human rights violations
by Jomar Canlas, www.manilatimes.net
April 17, 2012

THE Department of Justice and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) have signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) to address issues related to human rights, it was learned on Monday.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and CHR Chairman Loretta Rosales signed the pact, which was witnessed by Justice Undersecretaries Francisco Baraan and Leah Armamento; Justice Assistant Secretary Zabedin Azis; Prosecutor General Claro Arellano; CHR Commissioner Norberto dela Cruz; and CHR Director Flora Atilano.

Under the agreement, the two agencies will join forces to fight human rights violations more effectively and punish the perpetrators.

According to the MOA, the Justice department and Human Rights commission will conduct regular meetings every year and, together with the University of the Philippines Law Center, draft a prosecutor’s manual on human rights.

It said that a lawyer handling a human rights case should be an expert in investigating such cases and prosecuting the violators.

Read full article @ www.manilatimes.net

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