Tag Archives: Philippine Army

[From the web] ALRC, KARAPATAN to UNHRC: Spate of killings in PH remains

ALRC, KARAPATAN to UNHRC: Spate of killings in PH remains

On the eve of the submission of the joint statement of the Asian Legal Resource Center (ALRC) and Karapatan to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the spate of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, the Calago couple was killed and burned by elements of the 11th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.

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“…Despite the Government’s assurances that it would take ‘firm measures to address the problem of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances,’ extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, and targeted attacks against human rights and political activists have continued without relent under the administration of President Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III,” said ALRC and Karapatan in the joint statement , which was submitted to the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council and was circulated in full by the Secretary-General to the UN member nations on May 25, in accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1996/31.

On May 24, 2015, at around 10 p.m., a loud sound of budyong (a sea shell used to signal for help) awakened Marcela Madronero. She immediately rose and saw the roof of her brother Endric Calago’s house in flames. Then she heard Rosalie, her brother’s wife, who shouted, “Help us, the Army is here!” Then Madronero heard a burst of continuous gunshots. Afraid that they too might be shot, Madronero and cousin Dante Flores did not go to the Calago house until 5 a.m., when Madronero heard the wailing of Erly Calago, daughter of Endric and Rosalie. When Madronero and Flores rushed to the couple’s house, they saw the house razed to the ground, including the bodies of the couple. Endric’s body was found near the balcony with several gunshot wounds. Rosalie’s body was just outside the kitchen door, totally burned.

Read full article @www.karapatan.org

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[Press Release] The US Congress continues to be concerned about human rights violations by the Philippine Army”. -EANP

The US Congress continues to be concerned about human rights violations by the Philippine Army”.

In an appropriations bill signed by president Obama on December 15, the US Congress expressed serious concern about the lack of progress on human rights by the Philippine Army. The bill appropriates $50 million in credits for the Armed Forces of the Philppines to buy arms from the US, but bill contains provisions that prevent funding of the Army unless the US Secretary of State certifies the Army meets three human rights restrictions.

Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines

In order for the Philippine Army to be given access to the funding the Government of the Philippines must be:
1) investigating and prosecuting army personnel who are credibly alleged to have committed, or aided or abetted, extra-judicial executions, forced disappearances, and other gross violations of human rights, and strengthening government institutions working to eliminate such crimes;
2) implementing a policy of promoting army personnel who demonstrate professionalism and respect for human rights; and
3) taking steps to ensure that the Philippine army and paramilitary groups under its control are not engaging in acts of intimidation or violence against journalists or human rights defenders.

The Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines (EANP), a US based human rights group that has advocated for the human rights restrictions since its founding in 2007, recently sent a letter to the US Congress and the State Department documenting the lack of progress on human rights. EANP stated that the Army has a very poor record of prosecuting human rights violators. Since President Benigno Aquino was inaugurated, 152 political and environmental activists have been killed and 18 disappeared. There have been very few arrests, and only a handful of convictions and not one mastermind has been convicted. The Army continues to promote human rights violators. In 2013 the Army promoted Brigadier General Eduardo Año, Brigadier General Aurelio Baladad, Lieutenant General Jorge Segovia, and Brigadier General Ricardo Visaya, all Army officers with credible accusations of involvement in human rights violations. Killings and abductions continue. Human rights groups in the Philippines have documented over 40 killings so far in 2014, a very significant increase compared to the previous year. In addition to the killings, detentions, torture, disappearances, enforced dislocations of indigenous people, harassment and intimidation of human rights advocates, and suppression of labor rights are on the rise.

Since 2008 the AFP has lost over $13M in funding because the US Secretary State concluded that the AFP has not sufficiently improved its human rights record.

Press Release

Ecumenical Advocacy Network on the Philippines, Durham, North Carolina (P.O. Box 51844, Durham, NC 27717,
email: eanp2007@email.com,
http://www.eanp.org,
phone number +1-651-646-1985

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[Statement] Human Rights Watch on the $40 million military aid

“The $40 million military aid that US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged to the Philippines is restricted to maritime security assistance and counter-terrorism training for the police in Mindanao. We note that none of it will go to the Philippine Army, a traditional recipient of US foreign military financing – and there’s a reason for that. The US Congress, the Pentagon, and the State Department each agree that the Philippines Army is implicated in abuses, past and even present, and continues to enjoy impunity since the government has not established any significant record of prosecuting human rights violations. This new military aid package reflects that consensus.”

“The Obama administration agrees that the Philippine Army should not get any major assistance. There’s a pending draft legislation in the US Congress that would restrict all major assistance to the army. Aside from that, there’s an existing hold on $3 million of annual financial military assistance to the Philippines as a result of the government’s failure to address these abuses.”

John Sifton
Asia Advocacy Director
Human Rights Watch

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[Urgent Appeal] Another activist faces threats in Davao del Sur -AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-129-2013

8 October 2013
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PHILIPPINES: Another activist faces threats in Davao del Sur
ISSUES: Threats and intimidation; human rights defenders
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Asian Human Rights Commission

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you that an activist in Davao del Sur is facing threats. Military elements and the village council want to control and limit the activities of the victim’s organization. The victim and his family have had to leave their home due to fear of the soldiers.

CASE DETAILS: [Based on the documentation by Citizens Alliance Unified for Sectoral Empowerment – Davao del Sur (CAUSE)]

On 1 September 2013, at 5pm, Rodel Bonghanoy, a volunteer of the United Farmers of Davao del Sur (Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Davao del Sur ) was in his residence when two armed men arrived and introduced themselves as soldiers. The two men were in civilian clothes, riding a XRM-Honda, red motorcycle with no plate number. Rodel noticed that the driver appeared to be inebriated. The two men were later identified as Cpl. Najar and Cpl. Saggaan, elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army.

The soldier saw a motorcycle in front of Rodel’s residence and asked for the identity of its owner and driver. Rodel replied that the motorcycle was owned by the United Sugarcane Planters of Davao Cooperative (USPD) and that he was the driver. The soldier then told Rodel to log in his name at the village hall as he was visiting. He was accompanied by the soldier to the house of the village chief where he was told that they should coordinate their activities.

The soldier continued asking Rodel about his organization, members and even his personal information, all of which Rodel provided. However, the soldier became angry because he believed that Rodel was being arrogant.

Village chief Rodeto P. Muda asked Rodel why his group entered the village without his permission to organize. Rodel explained that one of their members is a barangay militia so it is not possible that their presence in the village is not coordinated. He also said that organizing is their right according to the Constitution so they don’t have to seek anyone’s permission.
According to Rodel the soldier became even angrier because he asked them to confirm that if the village chief refused to allow them permission, they would not be allowed to work. The soldiers told him that they would take him to his house in a patrol car. At that time Rodel’s wife arrived and she begged and pleaded with the soldier not to take her husband. The soldier told her that Rodel had been arrogant in answering their questions.

To this, Rodel answered: “I am not arrogant. I answer what is being asked, the village chief does not like our organization”. Gurabel, a village militia who was there, asked Rodel “why you did not ask permission while I was in the house during your meeting? I know Unified farmers and it is not good.”

Another soldier placed his hand on Rodel’s left shoulder and said: “From now on you should be cautious, God will be watchful”. Rodel was afraid because it sounded like a blatant threat. Agents of Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) and Civilian Security Unit (CSU) accompanied them going home. Rodel’s wife was suspicious that her husband would not be brought to his house.
Rodel was interrogated for almost three hours. At 9 pm another group of soldiers from the 39th Infantry Battalion arrived in an army truck nearby and asked their neighbor for their house. Rodel Bonghanoy and his family were forced to leave the house due to fear of the soldiers.
According to some witness an unknown person took pictures of the Bonghanoy’s house.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights Defenders.

To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Another activist faces threats in Davao del Sur

Name of the victim threatened: Rodel Bonghanoy, 34 years old. He is a volunteer of United Farmers of Davao del Sur (Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Davao del Sur ).
Name of Alleged Perpetrators: 7 unknown elements of 39th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army led by Cpl. Najar, Cpl. Saggaan and Pfc. Allan Mondejar.
Name of village officials involved: Village chief Rodeto P. Muda and a certain Gurabel
Date of incident: 1 September, 2013 at 5pm
Place of incident: Kiblawan, Davao del Sur

I am writing to raise my grave concern about the case of Rodel Bonghanoy, a volunteer of United Farmers of Davao del Sur (Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Davao del Sur (NAMADDS)). On 1st September 2013, at 5pm, he was in his residence when two armed men arrived and introduced themselves as soldiers. The two men were in civilian clothes, riding a XRM-Honda, red motorcycle with no plate number. Rodel noticed that the driver appeared to be drunk. The two men were later identified as Cpl. Najar and Cpl. Saggaan, elements of the 39th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army.

The soldier saw a motorcycle in front of Rodel’ s residence and asked for the identity of its owner and driver. Rodel replied that the motorcycle was owned by the United Sugarcane Planters of Davao Cooperative (USPD) and that he was the driver. The soldier then told Rodel to log in his name at the village hall as he was visiting. He was accompanied by the soldier to the house of the village chief where he was told that they should coordinate their activities.

The soldier continued asking Rodel about his organization, members and even his personal information, all of which Rodel provided. However, the soldier became angry because he believed that Rodel was being arrogant.

Village chief Rodeto P. Muda asked Rodel why his group entered the village without his permission to organize. Rodel explained that one of their members is a barangay militia so it is not possible that their presence in the village is not coordinated. He also said that organizing is their right according to the Constitution so they don’t have to seek anyone’s permission.

I have learned that according to Rodel, the soldier became even angrier because he asked them to confirm that if the village chief refused to allow them permission, they would not be allowed to work. The soldiers told him that they would take him to his house in a patrol car. At that time Rodel’s wife arrived and she begged and pleaded with the soldier not to take her husband. The soldier told her that Rodel had been arrogant in answering their questions.

To this, Rodel answered: “I am not arrogant. I answer what are being asked, the village chief does not like our organization”. Gurabel, a village militia who was there: asked Rodel “why you did not ask permission while I was in the house during your meeting? I know Unified farmers and it is not good.”

Another soldier placed his hand on Rodel’s left shoulder and said: “From now on you should be cautious, God will be watchful”. Rodel was afraid because it sounded like a blatant threat. Agents of Civilian Volunteer Organization (CVO) and Civilian Security Unit (CSU) accompanied them going home. Rodel’s wife was suspicious that her husband would not be brought to his house but instead might be killed by the soldiers.

Rodel was interrogated for almost three hours. At 9 pm another group of soldiers from the 39th Infantry Battalion arrived in an army truck nearby and asked their neighbor for their house. Rodel Bonghanoy and his family were forced to leave the house due to fear of the soldiers.
According to some witness an unknown person took pictures of the Bonghanoy’s house.
I urge you to ensure the safety of the victim and his family; they must be afforded with adequate security and protection promptly.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

——————————
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
E-mail: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

3. Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
Secretary
Department of National Defense
DND Bldg, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
Quezon City
Fax:+63(2) 982-5600
Email: osnd@philonline.com, dnd.opla@gmail.com

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

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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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[Statement] 30 pieces of silver for SMI’s security -Tampakan Forum

30 pieces of silver for SMI’s security

Statement of Tampakan Forum on SMI’s funding of KITACO and CAFGUs
25 February 2013

Tampakan ForumIt is deplorable. Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante disclosed during the Congressional hearing of the National Cultural Communities of the House of Representatives last 21 February 2013 that Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) is actually providing funds for the allowance and operations of the military and paramilitary groups within the towns of Kiblawan, Tampacan, Columbio, all covered by the SMI mining permit.

Speaking in a matter-of-factly manner, Diamante in her testimony before the members of the Committee, explained that a memorandum of agreement was signed in July 2006 by the local governments of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Colombio with SMI. This MOA was the basis of the deployment of 120 Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) men in the areas, and the creation of the military led Task Force KITACO. Task Force KITACO has been implicated in killings of B’laan leaders and anti-mining activists in the provinces.

The mayor’s report corroborated the testimony of the Col. Norman Marcos Flores, new commander of the 1002nd Brigade, who confirmed that the Philippine Army is providing security to the KITACO growth area and to implement SMI’s community-based security plan in Tampakan and Kiblawan.

Mayor Diamante last October 2012 even posted a reward of Php300-thousand for the capture of Daguil Capion immediately after the killing of Capion’s wife Juvy and two children. To her this was a gallant move though she claimed it was not her own brainchild but due to the prompting of her colleagues who rationalized that the B’laan’s will not cooperate with them if the bounty is too small. This is callous and deeply insulting to the honor and integrity of the B’laans.

This deadly deal between the Local government units (LGUs) of KITAKO and SMI defies the latter’s claim to the legitimacy of its claim to bring development in Tampakan. It negates its corporate policy and commitment to respect the human rights of the communities where it operates .

Supporting the CAFGUs and the military can never be justified by SMI. It has only fanned the divide between those who are for and against the Tampakan Mining Project. And it is a conflict created by SMI’s undue persistence to pursue the mining project despite the legal impediment imposed by the provincial ordinance banning open-pit mining in South Cotabato.

Unfortunately, the Mining Act of 1995 and despite Executive Order (EO) 79, is focused on mineral extraction and administrative procedure on how mining and its various phases should be done. We know that conflict is always central to extractive activities like mining given its socially invasive and environmentally destructive nature and processes. Yet the conflict resolution mechanism provided by RA 7942 is not even sufficient and are not appropriate not to mention the capacity and political will of the regulatory agency such as the MGB to handle and address such conflicts. It also lacks among others, provision on access to justice in cases of corporate abuses.

Under the UN “Respect, Protect and Remedy” Framework on Business and Human Rights to which our country is one of the signatories, its foundational principles provide that the state has State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business enterprises, through appropriate policies, regulation, and adjudication; business enterprise has the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means that business enterprises should act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address adverse impacts with which they are involved; and the state should provide greater access to victims HR violations to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial means.

Betrayal is what the Congressional Investigation has uncovered from the testimonies of Mayor Diamante, the military and police officers. A betrayal by the government who sworn to protect the human rights of the people and by SMI which has callously and persistently dangled the billions of pesos of expected mining investment unheard of in Southeast Asia. A betrayal with irreparable consequence of digging a big huge and deep hole big enough to sink Marbel right in the heart of the mountains and forest in Bongmal where the majority of the B’laan communities have lived since time immemorial.

Mayor Diamante’s claim to peace and security along with the police and military seemed like a hallowed pact to secure the interest of SMI and the PNoy government’s fetish for investment to sustain the economic growth that it has been bragging about. Yet, the human rights of our B’laan sisters and brothers seemed just a bargain in exchange of the proverbial 30 pieces of silver for which Judas betrayed Jesus that led to His Passion and Death.

Today’s 27th year celebration of EDSA People Power Revolution seemed empty and hallow as we are hounded by the spectre of the Tampakan Mining Project and the conflict it has created among the B’laan communities.

STOP SMI’S DEADLY DEAL WITH TASK FORCE KITACO. DISMANTLE TASK FORCE KITACO. CANCEL THE FTAA OF SMI.

UPHOLD THE RIGHTS OF THE B’LAAN IP COMMUNITIES

Tampakan Forum is is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue.

Contact persons:
Atty. Mario E. Maderazo, PMP-AMC Advocacy and Legal Officer, pmpsecretariat@yahoo.com, 0922-8501873
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602?
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

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[Press Release] Kiblawan mayor confirms Sagittarius Mines link to escalating militarization in Tampakan -ATM

Kiblawan mayor confirms Sagittarius Mines link to escalating militarization in Tampakan
Says military receives subsidy for allowance and operations

atm-logoKoronadal City – Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante disclosed that Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) is actually providing funds for the allowance and operations of the military and paramilitary groups within the towns of Kiblawan, Tampacan, Columbio, all covered by the SMI mining permit.

Diamante, in her testimony to the recently-held congressional hearing of the National Cultural Communities Committee, explained that a memorandum of agreement was signed in July 2006 by the local governments of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Colombio with SMI. This MOA was the basis of the deployment of 120 Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) men in the areas, and the creation of the military led Task Force KITACO. Task Force KITACO has been implicated in killings of B’laan leaders and anti-mining activists in the provinces.

The congressional hearing held in the provincial gym of Koronadal City was initiated by the Committee Chair Congressman Teddy Baguilat, Jr, to look into the intensifying militarization in the provinces and the series of killings of indigenous peoples within mining areas, with particular focus on the massacre of Juvy Capion and her two children in October 2012. The family of Capion is known to be leading the struggle for the B’laans ancestral domain, and against SMI.

SMI community-based security plan

The mayor’s report corroborated the testimony of the Col. Norman Marcos Flores, new commander of the 1002nd Brigade, who confirmed that the Philippine Army is providing security to the KITACO growth area and to implement SMI’s community-based security plan in Tampakan and Kiblawan.

The Philippine Army identified 128 incidents of security threat against SMI from 2007-2012, and they find this as a valid reason for their presence in the area to offer protection for the mining company. In exchange for this, SMI provides monthly allocation for the operations, for gasoline, and allowance for CAFGUs directly deployed in Kitaco areas. SMI has doubled the monthly allowance of each CAFGU from the government budget of Php2,700/month to Php5,400.

Government-SMI collaboration against mining-affected communities, indigenous peoples

Rene Pamplona, of Social Action Center (SAC-Marbel) said, “Instead of the military defending the people—it defends and protects foreign investments and kills community members The government is killing its own people because of this mining problem. Depite the killings, and the violence in SMI mining areas, the government still issued the environmental compliance certificate (ECC). ”

SAC-Marbel is helping indigenous peoples in dealing with the killings and other human rights violations due to the militarization of their ancestral lands.

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) sites of struggle officer Daniel Arias said: “SMI can no longer deny that these killings are rooted in the presence of its mining project and this was confirmed by the testimony of Mayor Diamante and the military. Truly, the blood of Juvy, and her children, Kitari, and all others who were killed are in their hands!”

“The situation painted by the testimonies of the military, the police, Mayor Diamante and the B’laans is very clear – the military is paid by SMI to protect its investment at all cost, even at the cost of the lives of the B’laans who are fighting for their land. And the Aquino government? It just issued the ECC to SMI. So the bias is clear. And it’s tragic,” Judy A. Pasimio of LILAK (Purple Action for Indigenous Women’s Rights) added.

Philippine Miserior Parnerships Inc Anti Mining Campaign Advocacy Officer Atty. Macki Maderazon who was also present during the said hearing further said: “This deadly deal between the LGUs of Kiblawan, Tampakan, Columbio and SMI puts the human rights of the mining-affected communities especially those who oppose it at greater risk of being violated further.

“This is not in accord with the duty of the government to protect the human rights of the people against corporate abuses and with the responsibility of corporations to respect human rights under the UN Framework and Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights to which our government is one of the signatories. Policy on greater accountability of mining corporations and affording remedies to victims of corporate abuses should now be considered in Congress. The current mining law and even the new E.O. 79 failed to consider this.”

Meanwhile Rep. Baguilat in his closing message said that it is wrong to identify indigenous peoples who are opposing mining as bandits. He added, as an indigenous person himself that for them land is life and it is their right to defend their ancestral lands.

Baguilat concluded: “Kung anu ang desisyon ng pamayanang katutubo, yun ang dapat sundin at i-respeto.”

Mayor Diamante last year posted a reward of Php300-thousand for the capture of Daguil Capion immediately after the killing of Capion’s wife Juvy and two children. (Read: http://www.sunstar.com.ph/superbalita-davao/balita/2012/10/21/p300000-ganti-sa-makatudlo-sa-gitagoan-ni-daguil-capion-249099) She added in her testimony that she did this so that community members will be motivated to point out where Capion can be found, as he is considered a bandit.

During the public hearing, a survivor (minor, not to be named) and witnesses to the Capion massacre last October 19 were interviewed by Congs. Nancy Catamco, Neri Colmenares, Luz Ilagan, and Manny Pacquiao. Thereafter, the representatives found serious flaws in the way the case was handled by the military and the police.

Sagittarius Mines Inc (SMI) is the local partner of Swiss Xstrata and Indophil for the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project. It has been awarded a mining permit over ancestral domains of the B’laans.

Tampakan Forum is a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue.

For more information:
Atty. Macki Maderazo, PMP-AMC Advocacy Coordinator, pmpsecretariat@yahoo.com, 0922-8501873
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

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] Green groups ask new AFP chief to pull our military in controversial mining project -ATM

Green groups ask new AFP chief to pull our military in controversial mining project

atm-logoAlyansa Tigil Mina wrote the new Armed Forces chief of staff Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Bautista calling for an investigation on the increased presence of military in the communities surrounding the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project and total pullout of the said military detachments.

Jaybee Garganera, ATM national coordinator said: “We believe that the presence of military detachments in Tampakan and nearby villages will heighten the tension in the area and further escalate the threat of human rights violations against anti-mining communities, especially indigenous peoples.”

In January 16, MindaNews, a local newspaper in Mindanao reported that additional military were deployed in Sitio Lafla, Datal Alyong, and Datal Biao in the Municipality of Bong Mal, in Kiblawan Davao del Sur.

A recent and controversial case is the massacre of the Capion Family in Bong Mal in October 18 last year, which was immediately admitted to by the 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army led by Lt. Col. Dante Jimenez. At that time, the Philippine Army was under the command of Bautista.

Garganera added: “We are gravely dismayed that the Court Martial has not been convened, when reports show that the military failed to follow rules of engagement.”

Jimenez and his team were only suspended after the said incident.

In the letter received by the AFP chief yesterday, ATM cited Bautista’s acceptance speech:

“calling for an end to armed violence and in advocating for peace, to allow us to focus on the important task of securing the sovereignty of our state and the integrity of our national territory and protecting our people from the adverse effect of climate change and environmental degradation.” (PDI, 18 January 2013)

“In this case, if Lt. Gen. Bautista is sincere when he said in hi speech that–we felt it is only right for him to command the military to pull out from sites where there are no intelligence or basis of counterinsurgency or reason for the military to roam around,” Garganera concluded.

Earlier reports identified Lt. Gen. Bautista as the brains of Oplan Bayanihan, a counterinsurgency program of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

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

For more information:

Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 09277617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

Visit our website: http://www.alyansatigilmina.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alyansa-Tigil-Mina/141872819244724?ref=ts&fref=ts
Twitter: atm_philippines

Press Release
January 23, 2013

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[Statement] More than action, we need political will -CLRD

More than action, we need political will

CLRDThe Children’s Legal Rights and Development Center, Inc. (CLRD) condemns in strongest term the massacre of members of the B’laan tribe on 18 October 2012 in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur. The killing was beyond inhumane, a violation not only of the human rights of the victims but is also perceived as an attack to the B’laan tribe.

Uphold Ancestral Property Rights

The massacre, based on different probes, independent or official investigation by the government, was a consequence of the dispute between the B’laan tribe and Sagitarrius Mines, Inc. (SMI)-Xstrata over the ancestral properties of the B’laan tribe in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, one of the areas to be explored by the latter in its proposed Tampakan Project. The Tampakan Project sprang from the Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) between SMI and the Philippine Government for the mining and exploration of copper-gold deposits covering an area of approximately 10,000 hectares and is located between the towns of Tampakan, South Cotabato and Kiblawan, Davao del Sur in southern Mindanao.

DaguilCapion, the fulong (tribal leader) of the B’laan tribe along with the rest of his clan openly opposed such intrusion to their property by SMI which eventually led to the declaration of panggyaw or traditional tribal war against the latter in 2010. Meanwhile, JuvyCapion, one of the victims and wife of Daguil, joined Kasasatu Di AktamangIdadLabiManue Di GtagakAkanaAktaga De Di’dadMl’wein (Kalgad) or the Unity for the Defense of Indigenous Peoples and Ancestral Domain Against Mining, a people’s organization opposing SMI-Xstrata.

If and when the massacre is actually connected to aforesaid dispute, the Government shall stand firm and uphold the ancestral property rights of the B’lann tribe, a homogenous group protected under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA). The IPRA Law grants certain preferential rights to these Indigenous Peoples or IPs their ancestral domains and all resources found therein, hence, no mineral agreement shall be approved unless there is a prior certification from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) that the area does not overlap any ancestral domain or that the prior free and informed written consent has been obtained from the IPs concerned. And in case of conflict, Section 65 of the same law mandates thatwhen disputes involveIPs, customary laws and practices shall be used to resolve the dispute thereby affirming the B’laan council’s declaration of panggyaw.

Corporate Manipulation

The lack of consent of the B’laan prevented SMI to proceed with its project hence, it allegedly resorted to the dirty tactics of corporate manipulation such as the tracing of the whereabouts of Daguil and commissioning the military, particularly 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, to strike out against Daguil and his family. SMI which was allegedly to be in cahoots with the military earlier have Daguil declared a bandit, a member of the belligerent New Peoples Army (NPA) by several local officials namely Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante and Davao del Sur Governor Douglas Cagas, both of whom offered a bounty for the capture of Daguil which was taken as a shoot to kill order.

Assuming that Daguil is indeed a bandit or a belligerent, there are still processes to be followed for his arrest or captivity. The members of the military, among others, should be the first to know that a shoot to kill order had long been declared unconstitutional since it violates one’s right to due process of law.

Killing the Innocent

Lt. Col. Alexis Bravo, 27th IB commander, claimed that the victims of the massacre were killed and was a mere collateral damage in an encounter between the military and alleged NPA rebels led by Daguil. Contrary to the forgoing statement, witnesses proved that there was no such encounter as there were no exchanges of gunfire heard by the residents in the area where the massacre was committed. It was also confirmed that Daguil was never close in the area during the killings. The testimonies of the witnesses, including the two children survivors, and pieces of evidence gathered by the police proved that the victims were unarmed, helpless and were even sleeping during the firing.

Even if assuming that Daguil was there, the military should have observed due diligence not to harm any innocent person, not to mention, there were children, and a pregnant woman who were incapable of defending themselves against armed military men.

Military Abuse and Circumvention

Among the justifications given by the 27th IBPA is that they were there to serve the warrant of arrest of Daguil. This alone is no justification because members of the military have no authority to serve any warrant of arrest. Even if said act is valid or legal why do they have to clean up the scene of the crime before the police investigators arrived, allegedly tampered the evidence, and took custody of the remains of the victims as if they were held hostage in exchange of the surrender of Daguil. These acts were clear indications of patent violations of our laws and the Constitution as well as blatant human rights violations.

Political Will

Various independent investigation of the said brutal massacre yielded the findings that the crime was actually premeditated which are very alarming. These reports should have prompted the government to come up with an official fact finding investigation in order to hold the perpetrators accountable if probable cause is found to believe that there was really a crime committed. Although the military officers involved in the operation were already recalled and relieved and are now facing court martial, the government must take a credible step to assure not only the families of the victims but as well as the civil society and the whole citizenry as a whole that they will conduct an impartial investigation on the matter and avoid any doubt for a possible whitewash or cover up.

We are a society bound by law, international and municipal and adherence to these warrant that it should be all-encompassing followed by everyone and implemented over everybody including the military. The military may place as a defense or alibi that the act done is in the fulfilment of a duty or in the lawful exercise of an office or in obedience to an order issued by a superior for some lawful purpose but in no means can it be considered as such if it was actually done to please a high and able-paying corporation working with the government.

As human rights defenders and children’s rights advocates, we are urging the government, from His Excellency Benigno Aquino 111, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces of the Philippines, the Department of Justice, the Congress of the Philippines, the Commission on Human Rights and other Civil Society groups to take an active participation in the independent, impartial and credible investigation of said the incident, and that the rule of law be upheld.

Apart from the investigation, the Government should recall the military troops deployed in the area to avoid further possible abuses or violations and to appease the tribal groups residing thereat. A review of the corporate social responsibility of SMI is also highly recommended.

Specifically, we call on the Commission on Human Rights to ensure the compensation and/or financial assistance to the families of the victims and that the necessary rehabilitation for the survivors is made available to them.

To our fellow HR defenders, we should keep our guards on and remain on the qui vive to ensure that human rights prevail and justice serve.

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[Statement] Urgently Adopt all Necessary Measures to Guarantee Life, Integrity, and Safety of HRDs -HRD Pilipinas

Urgently Adopt all Necessary Measures to Guarantee Life, Integrity, and Safety of HRDs

HRD Logo sample colored5On the occasion of the International Human Rights day on December 10, 2012, the Human Rights DefendersPilipinas (HRDP) salutes all working women and men in reclaiming the dignity of persons and those who continuously strive towards the achievement of all human rights for all.

Sadly, sixty-four years after the states adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), cases of human rights violations especially against human rights defenders are of an alarming number and must be urgently addressed.

Reports of extra-judicial killings of political activists, predominately those associated with grass-root organizations fighting for land distribution and against mining, have now caused increasing concern. Most of the killings are carried out by unidentified men believed to be hired goons, or associated with private armies and paramilitary groups. But most appallingly gross violations perpetrated by soldiers acting on behalf of private corporations and/or mere suspicions.

Take the case of a family who were killed in Sitio Fayahlob, Barangay Datal Aliong, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Mindanao. Juvy Capion and her two sons Jordan and John died due to fatal gunshot wounds found on various parts of their bodies. According to witnesses, members of the Philippine Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion led by 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, trooped towards the scene and strafed the house of the victims using their automatic rifles. Victims were killed instantly. Juvy Capion is from the B’laan tribe who strongly opposes mining operations conducted by SMI/Xtrata within their ancestral land.

Another human rights defender Venecia “Inday” Natingga, 49, was murdered along the highway of Kapatagan, Lanao del Norte around five (5) in the afternoon on June 19, 2012. She was going home riding a motorcycle from the town center when she was killed. She sustained seven (7) gunshot wounds. The most fatal hit her head causing her sudden death. Her family and colleagues believed the killing had something to do with Natingga’s active involvement in helping farmers acquire a small portion of land through agrarian reform. They claimed that previous owners of the Segovia Estate dreadfully contested the Natingga’s efforts.

The same fate befell Datu Jimmy Liguyon, an indigenous chieftain and Dao village captain who was shot dead allegedly by Aldy Salusad, a member of the New Indigenous Peoples’ Army (NIPAR). Liguyon was killed on March 5, 2012 inside his own house in San Fernando, Bukidnon. Before the killing, Jimmy led his community to protest against ongoing militarization of their community. He was also a staunch critic of mining activities in the area.

Repeatedly, HRDP calls on the Aquino government to proactively investigate these cases and punish those responsible. We urge the Philippine government to immediately and urgently adopt all necessary measures to guarantee the right to life, integrity, and safety of human rights defenders in the country and those who work for the welfare of the marginalized.

The acts of violence and other attacks perpetrated against human rights defenders not only affect the guarantees that belong to every human being, but undermine the fundamental role human rights defenders play in society. Violations against HRDs leave all those whom they fight for defenseless.

Our leaders should keep in mind that the work of human rights defenders is essential to the formation of a solid and lasting free society. They must realize that human rights defenders play an important role in the process of pursuing the full attainment of the rule of law and the strengthening of democracy.

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[Appeal] Letter of concern regarding the investigations and processes undertaken by PNP and PA in the Capion killings -PAHRA

GEN. NESTOR FAJURA
Chief, Human Rights Affairs Office
Philippine National Police
COL. ERICK PARAYNO
Chief, Human Rights Office,
Philippine Army

November 5, 2012

Sir,

Warm greetings.

With due respect to the Kiblawan Philippine National Police (PNP) Progress Spot Reports and the Press Release of the 10th Infantry Division (ID) of the Philippine Army (PA), the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) would like to express its concern regarding the investigations and processes undertaken by both institutions.

PAHRA fears a possible suppression of data and glossing over of possible human rights violations and criminal liabilities by the 10th ID, PA and the Kiblawan PNP on what actually transpired in the Kiblawan Massacre last October 18, 2012 due to either lack of due diligence, thoroughness or transparency in their investigations and institutional procedures.

Comparing the results from the Fact-Finding Mission conducted by civil society and human rights defenders led by the Diocese of Marbel Social Action Center, the Kiblawan PNP Spot Reports and the 10th ID, PA Press Release, PAHRA’s analysis, among others, showed major discrepancies which could be vital to verifying what really happened in that bloody fateful day that killed Jordan and John Mark Capion y Malid and their mother, Juvy Capion y Malid, who was 2-3 months pregnant. These discrepancies were neither addressed in the PNP Progress Spot Reports nor in the Press Release.

A Philippine Army unit led by 1Lt. Dante Jimenez from the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, unaccompanied by any police, was supposed to serve a warrant of arrest against Daquil Capion. Closing in on the Capion family farm hut, which was located in the midst of an open field, four dispatched soldiers were “fired upon by shooters from the direction of the house prompting them to also return fire.”1 According to the Press Release, presumably based on the 6-page report and/or transcript of the PA Board of Inquiry, “there were 43 bullet entry holes on the hut alone but, based on the spot report, only 19 bullets were expended by the troops. However, the result of the investigation did not determine as to whose bullets killed the victims.”2

The above statement on ammunition expended by the troops insinuates that the difference of 23 bullet entry holes are coming from unknown sources firing at the Capion hut. There is no mention, much less an explanation, of these entry holes which exceeded the expended bullets in the Press Release. Were there other armed elements with the unit of 1Lt. Jimenez who fired at the Capion hut but whose weapons have not be accounted for? Why is he and his men not forthcoming about this fact? Is this a preparation of the public mind that, though fire-testing would still be conducted, the bullets that killed Juvy Capion and her two children did not come from his unit’s weapons and thus mitigate, if not absolve, 1Lt. Jimenez and his men?

When the police finally arrived at the scene of the tragedy, there was nothing in the progress spot report released3 by Arnold Bacaling Absin, Kiblawan Chief of Police, about the number of entry holes nor of any collection of 19 empty bullet casings supposedly expended by the army unit within the perimeter covered by the soldiers during the alleged exchange of fire.

In both the PA Press Release and the PNP Progress Spot Reports, there is obviously a lack of extraordinary due diligence and thoroughness in the investigation especially to do justice for the Capion deaths. Nowhere are the positions and movements of the contesting armed parties and that of the unarmed wife and children during the supposedly exchange of fire. There is just an over-all statement that the soldiers were “fired upon by shooters from the direction of the house prompting them to also return fire.

Was there any reason that justified the soldiers for firing into the part of the house or area that killed Juvy and her children? No bullet casings were found in that part of the hut to prove that gunfire was emanating from there to provoke retaliatory fire. Perhaps there were none in the first place. One sure thing was clear when relatives of the Capion family and the police arrived at the hut.

The place where the Capion’s bodies laid was already cleaned by the soldiers. Why?
Is this to pre-empt any possible damaging testimony that a survivor witness child4 could give regarding the supposed firefight?

It is strange that an Army Officer who has taken on himself the police power, perhaps wrongly, to serve a warrant of arrest had not obligated himself in implementing Command Responsibility both as Military and Police in preserving evidence. Rather, evidence, not without an order from and/or acquiescence by 1Lt. Jimenez, was tainted and destroyed by his men. This was not a “lapse of judgment” but a deliberately willed violation of the rule of law.

Instead of enhancing Command Responsibility, what seems to have happened is a Command Conspiracy between 1Lt. Jimenez and his men against the human and legal rights of the Capion family.

Has the Board of Inquiry (BOI) taken these facts into serious consideration in concluding that it was just a “tactical lapse” or “a lapse of judgment” on the part of 1Lt. Jimenez when evidences that could prove contrary to his action have been destroyed? If the latter action was disclosed to the BOI, did 1Lt. Jimenez include the detail that a relative witnessed the soldiers starting to remove the slain bodies and put them on the ground. And that they were strongly advised by the same relative: “ayaw lang ninyo ipababa, kay pamilya lang niya ang maghipos” (don’t put the bodies to the ground just let the families do it). Is this a failed case of internalization of a people-centered orientation of the AFP?

Furthermore, the dead body of Jordan was seen by the same witness lying face down on the ground a few meters away from the house where his mother and younger brother were slain. Details of the scene showed that Jordan was already taking his coffee when he was shot. Was Jordan not seen by the soldiers in their approach to the hut? Did the command and the soldiers care at all even if Jordan was seen at all before the former opened fire at the direction of the hut?

Why have the police not mentioned the foregoing facts in any of their Progress Spot Reports5 and followed up such evidences and diligently obtained the testimonies of witnesses?
Are the omissions deliberately paving the way to a cover-up as to whether there really has been an “encounter” or truth in the statement that soldiers were “fired upon by shooters from the direction of the house prompting them to also return fire.”6?

There is now an opportunity to move forward the paradigm shift of our security forces, particularly the 10th ID, PA, and the Kiblawan Police towards the primacy of human rights.
The Human Rights Officers of the concerned level of PA and PNP command should evaluate and report on the incidence from a human rights perspective. Such action would help in the internalization of human rights and international humanitarian law, and ultimately, the Rules of Engagement. If none of the HR Officers had been present in the sessions of the BOI, they should be invited to the General Court Marshall.

For the sake of transparency and justice, both for the Capion family, and for 1Lt. Dante Jimenez and his men, the Philippine Army should make available to the public the transcript and the 6-page report of the PA Board of Inquiry.

PAHRA suggests that in the coming conduct of a General Court Marshall, the Philippine Army should invite, in this case, the surviving witness and his guardian, counselor and legal counsel, as well as witnesses and their counsels in a converging effort to break impunity.

Thank you very much for your kind and objective consideration of this letter of concern. In no way may this note be construed other than ensuring the convergence of our efforts to realize what the 10th ID has in its website banner: “Sa Sundalo [at sa Pulis] Katungod Protektado?.

Justice and dignity for us all,

Max M. de Mesa
Chairperson, PAHRA

CC:
PSupt. Arnold Bacaling Absin
Chief PNP, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur

BGen Yerson E. Depayso
Human Rights Officer, 10th ID

Col. Manuel Felino Ramos
Human Rights Officer, 10th ID, 2 BDE

Maj. Gerald Monfort
Human Rights Officer, 27th IB

Gen. Domingo Tutaan, Jr.
Head, AFP Human Rights Office

Hon. Manuel Roxas, Jr.
Secretary, Department of Interior and Local Government

Hon. Loreta Ann P. Rosales
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights

Hon. Manuel Mamauag
CHRP Focal Commissioner for Mindanao

Atty. Jacquelyn Mejia
Executive Secretary, Commission on Human Rights

Atty. Christina Haw-Tay Jovero
Director, CHR Region 12

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[Press Release] Groups blame Xstrata-SMI: “Their blood are in your hands!” -ATM

Groups blame Xstrata-SMI: “Their blood are in your hands!”
Mining is root cause of killing of indigenous peoples, envi advocates

Manila—Anti-mining and human rights group led an indignation rally at the Sagittarius Mines Inc.-Xstrata (SMI-Xstrata) Head Office in Makati, Camp Aguinaldo and Camp Crame early today condemning the massacre of Capion Family in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur last October 18.

Tampakan Forum, a technical working group on the Tampakan mining issue, blames the massacre to the U$5.2-billion gold-copper mining project—one of the largest mining investments in South-East Asia by SMI-Xstrata.

Facts of the Case

October 18, early morning. The 27th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army under the command of Lt. Dante Jimenez, raided the Capion farmhouse and strafed their nipa hut killing Juvy, 27 mother of four and wife of Daguil Capion, Jordan, 13, and John, 8. John was shot close-range.

Two other children, Ressa Piang and Becky Capion, were targeted when Aileen Capion, a relative of the family, called on the military men to stop shooting.

Aileen Capion recalled calling on the military: “Ayaw ninyo unsaa and mga bata, akoa na ang mga bata (Do nor harm the children. I will take custody of them).” A plea to which the military replied, “Mas maayo nga tiwason ang mga bata para wala’y witness (Better to finish off the children so that there will be no witnesses.)”

The military then claimed that there was an encounter between their group and the New Peoples’ Army, which Daguil Capion is a member. However, witnesses and initial investigations say otherwise.

Emmanuel Amistad, executive director of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines, said: “It was not an encounter. The Philippine Army massacred unarmed, innocent civilians. They should not only be relieved; they should be dishonorably dismissed from service and criminal charges filed against them.

“The Capion famly were like meek lambs led to slaughter. They are not collateral damage, they are victims of human rights violations and for this, the military should be held responsible”Amistad concluded.

Atty. Mario E. Maderazo of PMPI said: “President Aquino should order the immediate pull-out of the 27th Infantry Battallion in Tampakan to ensure a thorough and impartial investigation by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR).”

He added that his tragic incident and the past unsolved killings and human rights violations are enough reasons not to allow the Tampakan Mining project to proceed.

Mayor of Kiblawan, Davao del Sur calls for the capture of Daguil Capion ‘dead or alive’

Meanwhile, after the incident, Mayor Marivic Diamante of Kiblawan, announced a reward of Php 300, 000 for the captivity of Daguil Capion, dead or alive. She said it is to avoid a pangayaw (tribal instigated war) where the B’laan community might take revenge. (Reported by Inquirer Mindanao, 20 October 2012). ATM denounced this call by Mayor Diamante, accusing her of sowing more fear and tension in the area, instead of calling for sobriety and peaceful resolution of the case.

Reports last October 23 also said that the two children who survived were riding a habal-habal (motorcycle) on the way to Bishop Dinaulaldo Gutierrez house to seek refuge when a certain Josephine Malid, staff of SMI-Xstrata-supported foundation hailed them and asked them to ride a white truck, owned by the mining firm.

It was reported that Mayor Diamante wanted to take the two children to Davao, despite the fact that they were already with their relatives from the area. Atty. Cristina Hawtay of Commission on Human Rights Region XII pacified the tug-of-war between Diamante’s group and Daguil Capion’s mother. The children are now with the Social Action Center of Marbel.

Jaybee Garganera, Alyansa Tigil Mina national coordinator said: “It is very clear that there is connivance by the mining company, the military and the local government units, even. It is very ironic that the mayor of Kiblawan is on the side of the military asking for the head of Capion, when she should lead seeking justice for the killing of the Capion family.

“Contrary to the claim of SMI-Xstrata that they will help the development of communities—THEY CAUSED THE KILLING ANTI-MINING ADVOCATES, AND EVEN CIVILIANS, AND THAT’S BLOOD IN THEIR HANDS. Capion and other tribal leaders are tasked to protect their ancestral domains, and it is for this reason that they have a strong stand against mining that will literally take away their land, but this is not respected by the mining companies—they resort to harassment, militarization, different forms of human rights violations to silence the opposition.”

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.

# # #

For more information:
Emmanuel Amistad, TFDP Executive Director, tfdp@tfdp.org
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

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[Press Release] Church, solon outraged by ambush of tribal leader and his family -ATM

Church, solon outraged by ambush of tribal leader and his family
Gov’t talks on peace, while indigenous peoples are killed

Church leaders and a solon joined human rights and environmental groups calling on the government for immediate action on the murder of three innocent civilians in an ambush raid at the farm house of B’laan tribe leader Daguil Capion yesterday morning.

The diocese of Marbel through the Social Action Center condemned the brutal killing of the innocent and call for an immediate investigation to the concerned agencies of the government.

Several anti-mining advocates in Mindanao have been killed in the past decade since the South Cotabato gold-copper reserve entered the area with its exploration activities. .

The CBCP Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP) demanded justice for the family of Capion. Mr. Tony Abuso, from the National Secretariat of ECIP stated that “We want the perpetrators investigated and justice be given to Daguil and all lumads of Mindanao who now fear for their lives—because of the position they take against mining.”

Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat also aired his serious concern about this killing. “I am saddened and outraged with this killings. I call on the national government to use all its resources and exhaust all possible means to bring justice to my B’laan indigenous brothers and sisters.“

Baguilat, an Ifugao is the Chairperon of the House Committee on National Cultural Communities (IPs). He also lamented that he expected more immediate action from agencies such as the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). “I also expect the AFP to be defenders of the oppressed, especially the IPs, and not protect the interests of a mining company.”

Baguilat also called on the DoJ and the PNP to immediately conclude its investigations and arrest and prosecute and bring justice to the victims. He also appealed to President Aquino to give special instructions to government agencies to prioritize this incident in particular, and the plight of IPs, in general.

The IP Representative also promised to conduct Congressional hearings and investigations on the state of indigenous peoples and the recent series of violence in ancestral domains. He added that he will now explore seeking support and assistance from international bodies such as the United Nations to send special rapporteurs to take a deeper look in the situations of indigneous peoples in the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the growing number of killings under the Aquino administration alarms Fr. Edu Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA executive secretary. He said: “This is very alarming and disturbing that while the national government signs a framework agreement on peace with the Bangsamoros of Mindanao, people on the other side of the south are killed by government arms themselves.”

Reports yesterday said that 27th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army admitted, to attack Daguil who was at the vicinity preparing for corn and potato planting, who since 2010 has been suspect of killing soldiers in an encounter.

Similarly, AlyansaTigil Mina and human rights groups here are awaiting the official statement of the Philippine Army and the Commission on Human Rights on the crime against indigenous communities.

“We urge the Commission on Human Rights to immediately act on this—the issue of militarization and human rights violations has been raised to the office here and at the local but we still await their investigation” ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera said.

He added: “We were unofficially informed that the CHR intends to conduct an investigation, but without a definite schedule yet. What we know is that the ambush-raid was admitted to by a Philippine Army Infantry Battalion chief, instantly killing a family.”

ATM also rejected the claim of Col. Bravo from the 27th Infantry Battalion, that this incident was an encounter with armed NPA rebels. “Assuming that there was an exchange of fire, there must have been a failure of intelligence, as women and children were killed unexplainably,” Garganera concluded.

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


For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 0927-7617602
Tony Abuso, CBCP-ECIP Coordinator, +632 5274062; 5274155
Fr Edu Gariguez, CBCP-NASSA Executive Secretary, 0922-8348248
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

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[Press Release] B’laan family in Tampakan massacred allegedly by 27th Infantry Battalion -ATM

B’laan family in Tampakan massacred allegedly by 27th Infantry Battalion
Anti-mining groups condemn growing number of killings

Quezon city—Groups condemn the murder of the family of an anti-mining B’laan tribal leader early this morning in Bong Mal, South Cotabato.

Alyansa Tigil Mina received reports that between 6:00-6:30 in the morning soldiers under the command of Col. Alexis Bravo of the 27th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army raided the house of Daguil Capion. Minutes later, it was learned that Juvy Capion, 27, Pop Capion, 13, John, 8 were killed during the raid. Daguil is now in critical condition.

“We strongly condemn this barbaric and treacherous act of the military, against Daguil and his family. It was well known that he is not a rebel, not a member or supporter of either the communist insurgents or the Muslim rebel groups. He is a B’laan warrior tasked by his clan to protect the ancestral domains. In this case, the most obvious threat against their domain right now is the Tampakan Mining Project of SMI,” said ATM national coordinator Jaybee Garganera.

Daguil is accused in the 2010 ambush of three construction workers of Sagittarius Mines Inc. (SMI).

Reports also revealed that Col. Alexis Noel Bravo of the 27th Infantry Battalion admitted they raided the house of Capion.

“We denounce this gross violation of human rights and unnecessary loss of lives and call on the government and the Commission on Human Rights to immediately investigate these killings and bring the perpetrators to justice. We call on the P’noy administration to also pull-out the military not only in Tampakan but in all mining-affected communities,” said Max de Mesa, chairperson of the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates.

The Bong Mal community is known to oppose the proposed Tampakan Copper-Gold Project and series of human rights violations were documented before this incident happened.

Yesterday, groups commemorated the anniversary of the killing of Fr. Pops Tentorio, an IP advocate in Mindanao. A few weeks back, Jordan Manda, 11 year-old Subanen, was also a victim of extra-judicial killings. Jordan was with his father, Timuay (chieftain) Lucenio Manda, when unidentified men shot at them—killing Jordan on the spot. Both Fr. Pops and Manda are known advocates of IP rights and the defense of ancestral domains.

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

For more information:
Jaybee Garganera, ATM National Coordinator, nc@alyansatigilmina.net, 09277617602
Farah Sevilla, Policy Research and Advocacy Officer, policy@alyansatigilmina.net, 0915-3313361

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[Urgent Appeal] Indigenous leader opposing mining murdered -AHRC

Asian Human Rights Commission

3 May 2012
——————————————————
PHILIPPINES: Indigenous leader opposing mining murdered
ISSUES: Extrajudicial killing; human rights defenders
——————————————————

Dear Friends,

Asian Human Rights CommissionThe Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is deeply concerned about the killing of an indigenous leader inside his domicile in Bukidnon province. Since 2011, the victim has been receiving threats to his life from members of a paramilitary group due to his anti-mining advocacy in their village. His murder was aggravated by lack of protection, despite him having drawn attention to the threats.
CASE DETAILS: (Based on the documentation by the Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples Rights (KARAPATAN-Northern Mindanao Region)

On 5 March 2012 at 6:30pm, Jimmy Liguyon, who was also the barangay (village) chair of Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon, was shot dead inside his residence by a paramilitary man Alde Salusad a.k.a. Butsoy, using an Armalite rifle. Salusad is a member of the paramilitary group Tribal Reform Indigenous Organising in Mindanao (TRIOM) Force reportedly created by Vice Mayor Levy Edma and backed by Lt. Fallar of the 8th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army based at Halapitan, San Fernando Bukidnon.

Emelio and Arser Liguyon, brothers of the victim, narrated that at 5:30 pm, they went to Jimmy’s house to borrow money and rice for family consumption as well as for supplies for their livelihood.
Emelio and Aser recounted that they were talking with Jimmy at the terrace of his house when Salusad arrived accompanied by 15 armed men in military uniform. Salusad walked in without permission and when Salusad was about one meter away from Jimmy, he asked the victim about the presence of the military in the area. Jimmy replied that he did not notice soldiers roving the area.

Salusad then ordered Jimmy to transfer to the opposite bench. Jimmy obeyed and stood up. Salusad pretended to offer his hand to shake Jimmy’s, then, without a word, shot him with his mini Armalite rifle, hitting the latter in the chest and killing him instantly.

Shocked by the shooting of their brother, Emelio and Aser ran in separate directions.

Salusad was heard to have said: “Akong gipatay si kapitan tungod kay wala kini mipirma sa the San Fernando Tribal Datus Association or (SANMATRIDA) o wala mohatag og certification sa SANMATRIDA” (I killed the captain village chief) because he would not sign the SANMATRIDA and refused to give certification to SANMATRIDA).” Salusad also warned the people that whoever complains and fights back, especially the Liguyon siblings, will also be killed.

The San Fernando Tribal Datus Association or SANMATRIDA, is a group of Lumad that acquired from the government a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over 52,000 hectares of land in several villages in San Fernando, Bukidnon, including Dao. The SANMATRIDA Multi-purpose Cooperative, chaired by retired military official Herman Cris P. Estrella, has been enticing mining investors into their domain. The tribal datu of Barangay Dao under the SANMATRIDA is Alde’s uncle, Datu ‘Manayab’ Carillo Salusad.

Jimmy strongly resisted the entry of large scale mining companies in his village, where the main source of income is small-scale mining. His stand against the entry of mining companies in his village made him a target of SANMATRIDA and its armed force led by Ben Salusad a.k.a Nonong, who is also Alde’s father.
In October 2011, Jimmy reported a series of harassment and attempts on his life, particularly by Ben a.k.a Nonong Salusad, who is associated with the Philippine Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, and from the paramilitary group TRIOM Force.

On 13 October 2011, Ben Salusad called Jimmy, and threatened that should he go back to Dao or they would kill him. On 16 October, Angge Dal-anay, another leader of TRIOM Force, went with his group to Jimmy’s house, but the Liguyon family moved out of Dao after Salusad’s threats.

On 28 October 2011, Jimmy and his wife were coming home from a human rights day rally in Cagayan de Oro City, when they were stopped by armed men led by Dal-anay who marched them to a vacant house. Dal-anay told Jimmy to stop joining rallies, and that he should allow mining in Dao village Jimmy was steadfast in his anti-mining position, arguing that the people in Dao village did not want it and he, and neither did he, as village chief.

Jimmy also reported that SANMATRIDA convinced him and everyone else to join their organization. He also reported receiving information that Barangay Kagawad (village council members) Merlyn Isidro, Medy Mancilla and Fausto Bacliran were allegedly planning to kill him through the armed men of Nonong Salusad.

It was learned that the three village council members were the local buyers of gold in the area through their financier from Davao City and Valencia City. It was observed that the three were encouraging large scale mining companies to operate in their locality.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case.
The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
To support this appeal, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:
Dear __________,
PHILIPPINES: Indigenous leader opposing mining murdered
Name of the victim: Jimmy Liguyon, 37 years old, married with 5 children,Vice chair of the indigenous peoples’ group KASILO Lumad, belonging to the Matigsalog tribe, Barangay (village) chair of Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon

Alleged Perpetrators:
1.Alde Salusad a.k.a. Butsoy, Member of Tribal Reform Indigenous Organising in Mindanao (TRIOM) Force together with 15 armed men suspected to be members of the TRIOM Force,
2. Ben Salusad a.k.a Nonong, father of Alde Salusad, and a rebel returnee who is associated with the 8th IB under the command of Lt. Fallar.

Names of village officials alleged to have involved in conspiracies with alleged perpetrators:
Medy Mancilla
Merlyn Isidro
Fausto Bacliran

Date of and place of incident: 5 March 2012 at 6:30pm in Purok 2, Dao, San Fernando, province of Bukidnon

I am writing to draw your attention to the case of Jimmy M. Liguyon, a leader of indigenous people in Bukidnon who was known in his advocacy on anti-mining activities in their village. On 5 March 2012 at 6:30 pm, Jimmy Liguyon, who was also the barangay (village) chair of Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon, he was shot dead inside his residence by paramilitary man Alde Salusad a.k.a. Butsoy, using an Armalite rifle. Salusad is a member of the paramilitary group Tribal Reform Indigenous Organising in Mindanao (TRIOM) Force reportedly created by Vice Mayor Levy Edma and backed by Lt. Fallar of 8th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army based at Halapitan, San Fernando Bukidnon.

Emelio and Arser Liguyon, brothers of the victim, narrated that at 5:30pm, they went to Jimmy’s house to borrow money and rice for family consumption as well as for supplies for their livelihood.

I am deeply concerned about the killing of Jimmy Liguyon which was witness by his brothers’ Emelio and Aser. They recounted that they were talking with Jimmy at the terrace of his house when Salusad arrived accompanied by 15 armed men in military uniform. Salusad walked in without permission.

When Salusad was about one meter away from Jimmy, he asked the victim about the presence of the military in the area. Jimmy replied that he did not notice soldiers roving the area. Salusad then ordered Jimmy to transfer to the opposite bench. Jimmy obeyed and stood up. Salusad pretended to offer his hand to shake Jimmy’s, then, without a word, shot him with his mini-armalite rifle, hitting the latter in the chest and killing him instantly.

Terrified by the incident, Emelio and Aser ran in separate directions.

Salusad was heard saying: “Akong gipatay si kapitan tungod kay wala kini mipirma sa SANMATRIDA or (the San Fernando Tribal Datus Association) o wala mohatag og certification sa SANMATRIDA” (I killed the captain village chief) because he wouldn’t sign the SANMATRIDA and refused to give certification to SANMATRIDA).” Salusad also warned the people that whoever complains and fights back, especially the Liguyon siblings, will also be killed.

The San Fernando Tribal Datus Association or SANMATRIDA, is a group of Lumad that acquired from the government a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) over 52,000 hectares of land in several villages in San Fernando, Bukidnon, including Dao. The SANMATRIDA Multi-purpose Cooperative, chaired by retired military official Herman Cris P. Estrella, has been enticing mining investors into their domain. The tribal datu of Barangay Dao under the SANMATRIDA is Alde’s uncle, Datu ‘Manayab’ Carillo Salusad.

Jimmy strongly resisted the entry of large scale mining companies in his village, where the main source of income is small-scale mining. His stand against the entry of mining companies in his village made him a target of SANMATRIDA and its armed force led by Ben Salusad aka Nonong, who is also Alde’s father.

In October 2011, Jimmy reported a series of harassment and attempts on his life, particularly by Nonong Salusad, who is associated with the Phil. Army’s 8th Infantry Battalion, and from the paramilitary group TRIOM Force.
On 13 October 2011, Ben a.k.a Salusad called Jimmy, and threatened that should he go back to Dao, they would kill him. On 16 October, Angge Dal-anay, another leader of TRIOM Force, went with his group to Jimmy’s house, but the Liguyon family moved out of Dao after Salusad’s threats.

On 28 October 2011, Jimmy and his wife were coming home from a human rights’ day rally in Cagayan de Oro City, when they were stopped by armed men led by Dal-anay who marched them to a vacant house. Dal-anay told Jimmy to stop joining rallies, and that he should allow mining in Dao village Jimmy was steadfast in his anti-mining position, arguing that the people in Dao village did not want it and he, and neither did he, as village chief.

Jimmy also reported that SANMATRIDA convinced him and everyone else to join their organization. He also reported receiving information that Barangay Kagawad (village council members) Merlyn Isidro, Medy Mancilla and Fausto Bacliran were allegedly planning to kill him through the armed men of Nonong Salusad.

It was learned that the three village council members were the local buyers of gold in the area through their financier from Davao City and Valencia City. It was observed that the three were encouraging large scale mining companies to operate in their locality.

I trust that you take immediate action in this case.

Yours sincerely,
——————————
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
E-mail: chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com

3. Director General Nicanor Bartolome
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2724 8763
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
E-mail: ruth_cossid@yahoo.com

4. Ms. Leila de Lima
Secretary
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 521 1614
E-mail: soj@doj.gov.ph

5. Mr. Emilio Gonzalez
Deputy Ombudsman
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military
and Other Law Enforcement Offices
3rd Floor, Ombudsman Bldg., Agham Road, Diliman
1104 Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 926 8747
Tel: +63 2 926 9032

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

AHRC Philippines page: http://www.humanrights.asia/countries/philippines
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[From the web] NAME GAME – Continuing crackdown against the progressive organizations in Southern Tagalog

April 28, 2012

NAME GAME – Continuing crackdown against the progressive organizations in Southern Tagalog

Source: Kasama Tk FB

April 28, 2012 marks the 6th year of the abduction of KASAMA TK’s Secretary General Axel Pinpin and four others in Tagaytay City by unknown armed men who will be later identified as elements of the Naval Intelligence Security Force and the Police Regional Office-CALABARZON.

They were held incommunicado, were interrogated and tortured for 3 nights and 2 days before they were finally presented to the public. They were accused of conniving with then Magdalo leader Senator Antonio Trillanes in plotting to bomb the International Labor Day protests in Mendiola.

The “Tagaytay 5” was brought before the court and was charged with Rebellion on May 5, a week after their abduction.

After languishing in jail for 28 months, the court ordered the release of Axel Pinpin and his companions because the government failed to substantiate its allegations against the Tagaytay 5.

Alex Arias, Chairperson of PUMALAG (KASAMA-TK’s provincial chapter in Laguna) was illegally arrested by elements of the 1st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army last April 7. He is being implicated along with 42 other names with the kidnapping and murder of PFC Eriberto Eclavea of the Philippine Army and a certain Ka troy on May 27, 2007.

The case was filed in Mauban, Quezon through Asst. Provincial Prosecutor Joel Angelo Putong and is now under Judge Rodolfo D. Obnamia Jr. of RTC Branch No. 64.

This was following the illegal arrest of Reynante Gamara, an NDF consultant, by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Unit (CIDU-PNP) on April 3. The arrest was conducted serving the same warrant used against Alex Arias.

Witness Erwin Rosales who claims to be a rebel returnee also incriminated Rosemarie Domanais, Tirso Alcantara, Dionisio Almonte, Romel Riza, Raul Razo and Andrea Rosal, and 36 other aliases.
The name Ka Axel was also mentioned in the Warrant of Arrest and on the witness’ testimony.

The court readily accepted it.

More than being plainly ridiculous, this is the height of ignorance and sheer stupidity happening in the Philippine judicial process.

This is short of saying that the government can arrest and can just point its fingers to anyone and say that that person is using a certain alias. It will be more unfortunate if the alias indicated in a warrant happens to be a person’s real name.

Therefore anyone can be charged with Kidnapping with murder.

Following their ludicrous sense it also means that the court can safely “assume” that Axel Pinpin is the same person as “Ka Axel” in the said warrant.

Whether it was a typographical error or most probably, purposely done with malice—KASAMA-TK strongly condemns this filing of fabricated charges which indiscriminately targets leaders of progressive people’s organizations in Southern Tagalog Region and the whole country.

If the court will allow this evil scheme of PNP and AFP, it will make a spectacular carnival of fascist clowns and comic judges out of itself.

The case filed against Alex Arias and others is not much different with the evil design of filing trumped- up charges against ST-72, all of which were also dismissed last month. And so is the wholesale case against 27 individuals in the province of Batangas in 2008 and 62 individuals in the province of Rizal in 2009. All the said cases were also dismissed.

These were all concocted in the government’s futile and desperate attempt to clamp down on militant people’s organizations.

The RTC Branch No. 64 in the province of Quezon should therefore immediately dismiss the case to prevent more illegal arrests and detention of innocent civilians. The people on the other hand should be more vigilant against the dirty scheme of the government conveniently covering itself under the guise of Oplan Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Free Ka Alex Arias and Nante Gamara! Free all political prisoners in the country!

Condemn the continuing crackdown against the progressive organizations in Southern Tagalog!#

Source: www.facebook.com/notes/kasama-tk/name-game-continuing-crackdown-against-the-progressive-organizations-in-southern/401696043185990

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[In the news] Why would the Army abduct Jonas Burgos? -RAPPLER.com

Why would the Army abduct Jonas Burgos?.

BY GLENDA M. GLORIA, RAPPLER.com
April 28, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Sometime in 2006, an Army battalion in the northern province of Bulacan was alerted about communist infiltration in its ranks. A young lieutenant was supposedly feeding guerrillas sensitive intelligence data from the military.

The Army then plotted to spy on its own. After a few meetings in Fort Bonifacio, headquarters of the Philippine Army, and with the help of the secretive Intelligence Service Group (ISG), key field and intelligence officers ordered a tight surveillance on 2nd Lt Dick Abletes, a fresh recruit from Leyte who was then 28 years old.

Abletes’s commander at that time, Col Melquiades Feliciano, led the quiet probe on the young lieutenant.

At one point, Feliciano said, Abletes was “seen face to face talking to unidentified members, suspected members of the CPP/NPA (Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army), and he was actually overheard saying things against the organization [military] and in fact giving classified documents.”

Army agents caught Abletes “transmitting information, vital information to the CPP/NPA.” His back and forth with the NPA dragged for months.

On March 23, 2007, ISG agents were able to monitor Abletes’s meeting with NPA rebels and a “Melissa Concepcion Reyes” in Bulacan.

In that meeting, Abletes was supposed to have supplied them the military’s “top secret” Working Order of Battle, a list of guerrillas that intelligence and operational units are tasked to “neutralize.”

That was it for the Army. Three days later, agents went for the kill and arrested Abletes.

During a military pretrial probe on Abletes, the Army presented as proof of his ties with the NPA a video recording of that March 23 meeting.

Abletes apparently continued his contacts with the NPA while he was held in the ISG jail, as part of the Army’s strategy to lay out a trap for his underground contacts. In text messages, Abletes would tell his guerrilla-friends that he had been sent on schooling thus his absence.

Read full article @ www.rappler.com

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[In the news] Opol mayor lauds raid vs illegal miners -MindaNews

MindaNews » Opol mayor lauds raid vs illegal miners.

By Erwin Mascariñas
March 1, 2012

OPOL, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews/29 February) – Mayor Dexter B. Yasay lauded the raid against illegal miners operating along the Iponan River of this town last Tuesday, saying the drive will be even more fruitful now that his undermanned police force has been backed by soldiers.

He said that Tuesday’s raid, which resulted in the confiscation of 15 diesel-powered hydraulic pumps, put out of commission more illegal mining operations than the raids in the two previous years combined.

Yasay said 9 of the 15 confiscated hydraulic pumps came from Sitio Inapasan, while the remaining 6 were from Sitio Araw-araw, both part of Barangay Bagokbok of this municipality.

The mayor said he was glad that the campaign against illegal miners, which came over two months after Typhoon Sendong claimed over a thousand lives in the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, has now caught the attention of the Provincial Peace and Order Council headed Vice Gov. Norris Babiera, the Mines and Geosciences Bureau, the regional and provincial police force and the Philippine Army.

Aside from the heavy rainfall, environmentalists have blamed the killer flashfloods on December 16 and 17 to mining and logging operations in the hinterlands of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan and neighboring areas.

Read full article @ www.mindanews.com

[Press Release] PHILIPPINES: Human Rights Council must act on widespread arbitrary dismissals of torture complaints and resultant impunity -AHRC

PHILIPPINES: Human Rights Council must act on widespread arbitrary dismissals of torture complaints and resultant impunity

The Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC) wishes to inform and seek the intervention of the Human Rights Council and the Special Rapporteur on torture concerning the frequent dismissals of complaints of torture, which speak to a system of legal and procedural obstacles and systemic institutional failings that are ensuring that perpetrators of torture typically enjoy impunity in the Philippines.

Torture remains widespread in the Philippines, not only concerning counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations, but also by the police concerning a large number of petty criminal cases. Despite having acceded to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in June 1986, over 25 years later, the practice remains endemic and victims have no truly effective avenues to seek redress, while the perpetrators go free. This climate of impunity only engenders the further use of torture.

As the members of the Human Rights Council negotiate a resolution on torture during the body’s upcoming 19th session, it is imperative that such obstacles and the resultant impunity they confer on perpetrators of torture be included as an area of focus, in order to enable the more effective application of the Convention at the national level around the world. While this statement concentrates on the situation in the Philippines, similar obstacles and systems enabling deeply-entrenched impunity for torture are witnessed across Asia. The international system has thus far proven ineffective at addressing situations comprising endemic and widespread torture as a component of regular police investigations.

The ALRC documents numerous case of torture in the Philippines each year, and is gravely concerned by the range of systemic failings and actions by prosecutors, the police and the country’s courts, that are leading to dismissals of cases in which victims of torture are seeking justice and reparation. Several key case examples are presented below, in order to illustrate various facets of the phenomenon of case dismissals.

Complaint dismissals often result from the failure to adequately record medical evidence concerning the use of torture, despite provisions in the 2009 Anti-torture Act and the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Anti-torture Act, which contain specific instructions concerning the right to physical, medical and psychological examinations prior to and following interrogation, and the specific information that must be recorded by doctors conducting such examinations. The rejection of torture complaints that were lodged by detained Muslim victims Jedil Esmael Mestiri and Rahman Totoh, who were allegedly respectively tortured by the 32nd Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PA) on June 26, 2011, and the Basilan Police’s Special Action Force (SAF) on July 28, 2011, speak to this problem.

In Mestiri’s case, the military took him to the Isabela City General hospital, but the doctor who examined him ignored his chest pains and injuries. In Rahman’s case, although the Basilan General Hospital doctor who examined him did record his injuries, he failed to give adequate medical explanations, as required by Anti-torture Act, to explain the cause of the injuries. In a letter dated January 6, 2012, Police Director Nicanor Bartolome, rejected both Mestiri and Rahman’s allegations of torture against the perpetrators, citing a lack of medical evidence. Placing the burden of proof upon victims is unacceptable, and the doctors’ failures in conducting forensic examinations are violations in their own right and must be independently investigated and dealt with as such, but the authorities typically fail to take such action.

In another case, State prosecutors dismissed a torture complaint against the police on July 21, 2011, on the basis that the victim, who was blindfolded during torture, could not positively identify those responsible. On August 3, 2010, Lenin Salas and three others were arrested the San Fernando City Police and the Provincial Public Safety Office under Superintendent Madzgani Mukaram in relation to their alleged involvement with the Marxist Leninist Party of the Philippines (MLPP-RHB), an illegal armed group. During arrest, Lenin Salas was reportedly assaulted and beaten with a stick. Inside the police headquarters he was blindfolded and beaten with a gun, burnt on the body and neck with lit cigarettes, suffocated with cellophane, kicked in the genitals, and subjected to mock execution. The other three men were also reportedly tortured. This treatment lasted until they were taken to the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office (PPO) in San Fernando, Pampanga Province, where they were charged with Illegal Possession of Firearms, Ammunitions and Explosives.

The case of Misuari Kamid, who was arbitrarily arrested on April 30, 2010, and tortured in order to force him to confess to selling illegal drugs, also shows the unwillingness of the authorities to prosecute state officials for torture. Following his being severely beaten, Misuari was framed by the police, with two plastic sachets containing illegal drugs and a 500 peso bill being placed on the ground and his being forced through beatings to kneel beside them in order for photos to be taken. He was paraded before the media on May 1 along with the planted evidence. The injuries that he suffered were confirmed in a medical certificate issued on May 18, 2010. Misuari remains detained in the General Santos City Reformatory Center. According to information received recently, the prosecutor has downgraded the case from one concerning torture to physical injury. It is thought that this is a compromise position to allow the case to go forwards rather than dropping it altogether, due to pressure from civil society groups. However, this remains indicative of the in-built resistance by the authorities to ever proceed with cases specifically relating to torture.

Further inconsistencies in the way torture complaints are dealt with by the authorities are illustrated by the case of Darius Evangelista, who was allegedly tortured on March 5, 2010, in Tondo by policemen attached to Police Stations 2 & 11 of the Manila Police District, having been arrested on allegations of robbery. Three detainees witnessed him being taken upstairs to a room inside Police Station 11 where he was interrogated and tortured. The torture resulted in him being badly injured, with visible blunt trauma to his face and swollen eyes, according to one of the witnesses. The police denied having Darius in detention to his family members. He was seen being taken away from the police station on March 6 by one of the detainees and has not been seen alive since. His family reported his disappearance to the police, who filed a “Missing Person Alarm Report” that omitted any reference to his having been detained. Subsequently, in late March, a severed human head thought to be Darius’ was found by scavengers, although forensic identification has still not been completed. His father and three witnesses signed sworn statements regarding Darius’ arrest, torture and disappearance which have been provided to the Commission on Human Rights, which has failed to conclude an investigation as mandated under the 2009 the Anti-Torture Act.

However, on August 17, video footage of Darius’ torture at the hands of the police surfaced, and was broadcast by national television station ABS-CBN. In the video, the victim is seen having his penis pulled by a string tied around it as he is lying on the floor naked. He is beaten every time he folds his body as he tries to reach his genitals in pain. Several policemen from the police station are visible in the video footage. The policeman shown torturing the victim is the chief of the police station, SI Joselito Binayug. After the video was aired, the police were under pressure to create a team to investigate the case, which they called Task Force Asuncion. They again interviewed the three witnesses. On August 23, 2010, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group filed charges for violation of the Anti-Torture Act with the Department of Justice (DoJ) against the accused policemen. Section 9(a) of the Act requires the DoJ to resolve whether the policemen have a case to answer within 60 days; and if there is an appeal, it must still be “within the same time period prescribed”. However, it was only one year later, on August 22, 2011, that DoJ prosecutors recommended the filing of charges for Torture Resulting in the Death of any Person, under the 2009 Anti-torture Act.

While the ALRC welcomes this landmark prosecution, which it believes is the first known case in which members of the security forces will be tried for violations of the 2009 Anti-Torture Act, the delays witnessed in this process, despite overwhelming evidence, remain a serious concern. The ALRC recalls that in cases of torture, the Anti-Torture Act provides for victims’ right to prompt and impartial investigations, however, the absence of a mechanism to deal with prosecutors and investigators who fail to comply with the law has resulted in cases remaining pending for years. In less high-profile cases, such delays often result in victims abandoning complaints, in particular due to the threats and lack of protection that they face during these extended periods. The ALRC therefore urges the government of the Philippines, in particular the Department of Justice, as well as the Commission on Human Rights, which are the two agencies that have the primary obligation to implement the Anti-Torture Act, to ensure the prompt establishment an effective mechanism to prevent needless delays in investigating and prosecuting torture cases.

Despite documenting and following numerous cases of torture in the Philippines, the ALRC is unaware of any related torture complaints that have resulted in the successful prosecution of those alleged to have committed these acts. The ALRC calls on the government to provide detailed information to the Human Rights Council, the Special Rapporteur on torture and in particular in its upcoming reporting to the Universal Periodic Review, concerning the number of successful prosecutions of persons accused of perpetrating torture it has recorded to date, the punishments they received, and statistical and analytical data concerning successful and dismissed torture complaints, including the reasons for dismissals. This data should include sufficient information to enable case by case verification of the claims made.

Additionally, the ALRC recalls that as part of the Philippines initial UPR process, a number of states and observers made recommendations concerning the need for the government to address the issue of torture, which the government accepted. The Holy See called for the complete elimination of torture and extra-judicial killings. Mexico, the Netherlands, Slovenia (as EU President) and the United Kingdom called for the government to sign and ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture (OPCAT). The government has failed to take the required action concerning these accepted recommendations. In a related matter that is relevant here, Switzerland called on the government to “Intensify its efforts to carry out investigations and prosecutions on extrajudicial killings and punish those responsible.” The problem of a lack of effective investigations and prosecutions concerning extra-judicial killings mirrors that found concerning torture, and the ALRC therefore urges the afore-mentioned states and other members of the UPR Working Group to make further recommendations concerning the issue of torture, including the need to eliminate its use, to sign the OPCAT, but also to ensure the prompt investigation and prosecution of complaints of torture through the systematic recording of medical evidence, the elimination of delays and obstacles to prosecutions, the effective protection to victims and witnesses, and the effective punishment of perpetrators of torture, in line with the 2009 Anti-torture Act. Furthermore, the government must be urged to establish legal provisions and an effective oversight mechanism to ensure the punishment of all officials who participate in the obstruction of justice concerning the prosecution of torture complaints.

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About the ALRC: The Asian Legal Resource Centre is an independent regional non-governmental organisation holding general consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. It is the sister organisation of the Asian Human Rights Commission. The Hong Kong-based group seeks to strengthen and encourage positive action on legal and human rights issues at the local and national levels throughout Asia.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2012

HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL
Nineteenth session, Agenda Item 3, Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on torture
A written statement submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organisation with general consultative status

[In the news] 2 Palparan co-accused transferred to military detention- InterAksyon.com

2 Palparan co-accused transferred to military detention
by Abigail Kwok and Lira Dalangin-Fernandez, InterAksyon.com

  MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE, 12:10 p.m.) The two soldiers co-accused with retired Major General Jovito Palparan in the 2006 kidnapping of two students from the University of the Philippines were transferred to a military detention facility last week, the Philippine Army confirmed Wednesday.

Acting Army spokesman Maj. Harold Cabunoc said Lt. Col. Felipe Anotado and Staff Sergeant Edgardo Osorio were transferred to the Philippine Army headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City last Friday, December 23.

This was after the Malolos court granted the soldiers’ petition to be detained in the Army headquarters for security reasons.

Read full article @ interaksyon.com

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