Tag Archives: TFDP

[From the web] Rights groups call on public to resist brewing dictatorship -TFDP

Wednesday, few days before the 47th anniversary of Martial Law, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) https://tfdp.net/ presents its mid-term human rights situation report of Duterte’s administration in a press conference held in Quezon City.

“We are living in dangerous times again and many seem not to bother nor care that the whimsical and capricious display of vindictiveness of Duterte is eating the nation’s soul and trampling on people’s rights,” said Fr. Christian Buenafe, O.Carm, chairperson of TFDP.

According to TFDP’s midterm human rights assessment of the Duterte administration, “[Based on the data presented,] the Philippines is failing to strengthen its democratic traditions. It is regressing in the promotion, protection, and fulfillment of human rights. Its elected leaders are shamelessly transgressing the rule of law, and tilting the balance of power to favor the executive branch. Democratic institutions are under attack and those who try to protect and strengthen them are targeted, vilified, and demonized. Evidently, an atmosphere of suppression of human rights exists.”

TFDP together with members of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) and In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) are part of the Philippine CSOs delegation in the ongoing 42nd session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Undersecretary Severo Catura of the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat referred to these human rights defenders as pathological liars and purveyors of fake information on alleged human rights violations in the country during these UNHRC sessions.

According to an article posted dated 14 September 2019 on the Philippine News Agency (PNA) website https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1080461Usec Catura was quoted as saying, “Sadly they are Filipinos who represent a minuscule group of oppositionists back home, but unfortunately the loudest, whose main objective has always been to humiliate and embarrass our country before the world.”

In reaction, Nilda Lagman-Sevilla, Chairperson of Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) said, “Usec Catura’s statement was unfounded. He is the agent of fake information himself and not us, the NGOs. If we were to go by Mr. Catura’s assertion then the UN Human Rights Council has been deceived when it voted to conduct an investigation into allegations of human rights violations in the Philippines. Is Mr. Catura prepared to accuse these member states of being gullible as to believe so-called “pathological liars”?”

“TFDP will remain steadfast in our statements and assertion about the worsening human rights situation in the country caused by Duterte’s whimsical and capricious display of vindictiveness. Our assertion is supported with evidence, documentation, and facts as stated in our mid-term assessment report. Human rights defenders organizations like TFDP have its established record and unblemished reputation when it comes to documentation of cases human rights violations since the late dictator Marcos’ martial law period up to the present,” Fr. Buenafe stressed.

The Philippine government cannot deny the fact that Church people, journalists, lawyers, and human rights defenders are randomly attacked. Their institutions and organizations are threatened. Issuances of unverified information fabricating “truths” and releasing trolls for propaganda could lead to the filing of trumped-up charges and allegations against them individually or as a group. Labeling their works as “destabilization” moves and part of “oust Duterte” plot is defamation in its highest form.

Read full article @tfdp.net

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[Tula] Sr. Cresencia Lardizabal Lucero : “ halimbawa ng pananampalataya’t, pakikibaka -ni Vic Obina

May 20, 2019

Sr. Cresencia Lardizabal Lucero :
“ halimbawa ng pananampalataya’t, pakikibaka”
sa mga panahong ika’y naging kapatid sa lahat,
sa mga panahong kaibigan kang naging matapat,
sa mga araw na wala kang sinipat-sipat,
ang araw ay hindi lilipas, hindi hihinto..na walang pag-alay
ng panalangin, gabay sa mga gagawin, malasakit ilalaan..
sa kapwa at sa bayan..

sis. cres …
hindi mo kami niyakap ng paulit-paulit,
upang sa pagkalas ng braso mo’y isipin naming iniwan mo kami..
hindi tayo nagpalitan ng mga kwento upang sa pinakahuling tuldok ng pangungusap mo ay..tapos na…
maraming mga bungkos ng aral ang aming nalambat..
na sa simula’t sapul pa lamang, ikaw na ang sumisid at buong sikap mong isinalin, na ngayo’y aming dadalhin at iisipin..
hanggang buhay man diý nami’y magwakas..

sis. cres…
hindi man tayo nagsabay ng panahon..
hindi man tayo sabay na nalungkot at tumawa, at tumawa pa ng mas malakas..
upang sa paghupa ng halakhak ay may butil ng luha sa aming mga mata..
iyong tandaan..
aming kaibigan, kapatid, at kasama..
na ang pakikibaka mo at tagumpay..ay amin rin..
hindi kami masasabik sa iyo, sapagkat alam ng lahat,..ika’y mananatili sa amin..
hindi ka namin nakasalubong upang sa dulo ng kalsada..
kami’y liliko sa kanan at ikaw sa kaliwa..
sapagkat saanman kami dalhin ng aming mga paa..
ang pawis at hakbang mo sa kalsada..
ang aming gabay, patungo sa ating adhika..
hindi mo man hawak ang bukas ng paglaya, sis. cres..
nais naming ibaon mo ang aming pangako..
na ilang ulit naming pipiliting mabuhay at pumanaw
na sa pagdating mo doo’y iyong matanaw..
na kami’y patuloy na makikibaka at lalaban..
para sa bayan..
hindi kami lumuluha..
dahil wala ka..
hindi kami nagsama-sama
dahil nangungulila…
narito kami..
upang salubungin ka..
pasalamatan ka!
ipagbunyi ka!!
sapagkat ang huli’y..hindi isang paalam..
kundi isang simula..


Tula ni Vic Obina, TFDP HRE Staff, binasa sa luksang parangal ng mga tagapagtanggol ng karapatang pantao para kay Sr. Crescencia Lucero, sfic. May 20, 2019, St. Joseph College Quezon City.

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[Statement] Women Human Rights Defenders suffer the brunt of the attacks of Duterte -TFDP

Women Human Rights Defenders suffer the brunt of the attacks of Duterte

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), a human rights organization and mission partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), commemorates the International Women’s Day by extending our solidarity with the women’s movement and condemn the attacks they suffer from the Duterte Administration from misogyny up to detention and killings.

Women activists suffer the same fate as other HRDs, harassed and threatened online and offline, subjected to misogynistic comments and abuses, tagged as enemies of the State, detained, and worse, killed because of their work as human rights workers and activists.

Just like in the case of Sister Susan Octavio Bolanio, 66 years old, Oblates of Notre Dame congregation, who has been receiving series of messages, red-tagging and associating her with the New People’s Army (NPA). This is because of Sr. Bolanio’s alleged involvement in cases filed by victims and in fact-finding missions conducted by human rights groups regarding the TAMASCO massacre in Sitio Tulali, Brgy. Santo Nino, Bagumbayan Sultan Kudarat, and Sitio Datal Bonglangon, Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato.

Sr. Susan Bolanio has been a nun since 1971. She is currently working with OND-HESED Foundation, which is serving 67 communities in South Cotabato and Sarangani Province. OND-HESED has been working with TAMASCO for 20 years now.

Another case is that of Myra Opada, who together with Lucille Gesta, and Aurelia Parangan, officers and members of the Philippine Light Leather Employees Union (PLLEU) and former employees of the Mactan Export Processing Zone (MEPZ) in Barangay Pusok, Lapulapu City, Cebu, was harassed and tagged as wanted persons by MEPZ HR Personnel.

These are just a few of the documented cases of TFDP on violations committed against women human rights defenders by the government and private corporations. The harassments of MEPZ against Opada and her co-union members can be rooted from the struggles that these women have been leading in defense of their rights as workers.

Red tagging or linking human rights defenders to rebel groups has been the way of government to discredit and silence human rights defenders like Sr. Susan Bolanio. This will also lead to trumped-up charges and arbitrary arrests and detention to cripple or cause a chilling effect to communities and groups that are actively pursuing issues concerning rights of the marginalized like that of the members of T’boli Manobo S’daf Claimants Organization or TAMASCO.

President Duterte has been throwing invectives against women and even encourages that women whom they allege as amazonas or women members of NPAs be shot in their vaginas.

Let us remind the President that his way of expressing his disgusts for human rights defenders especially women during his public appearances abets violence against HRDs. It puts HRDs in danger and their lives at risk.

The active campaign of the government against the communists and other rebel groups in the guise of anti-terror campaign leads to attacks and vilification of human rights defenders. It poses more harm especially with his open declaration of war against all who oppose him.

As the head of state, and because the Philippines is signatory to major international human rights conventions, President Duterte must abide by its commitments to each of the U.N. Conventions and treaties.

These conventions and treaties may not be enough to stop his violations, but we always have the Philippine women’s movement that is getting stronger and broader to rely on in exacting justice and holding him accountable to all violations.

Padayon kababaihan, ipaglaban ang karapatan ng lahat!

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[Statement] It is time again to raise our voices against the rising tide of tyranny -TFDP

Remembering people power still matters. In February 1986, the Filipino people rose as one and loudly declared: Tama Na! Sobra Na! Palitan Na! whose spirit we need badly to rekindle today.

At EDSA we declared our abomination for all the human rights violations, the lies, the thievery of a dictatorship. 33 years after, It is time again to raise our voices against the rising tide of tyranny.

During the Marcos dictatorship he was aided by traditional politicians, benefiting from political patronage in enforcing human rights violations and attack to democracy like undermining democratic institutions, attack to Free Press, Red Tagging of Peoples Organization and human rights defenders, suspected fake scenario building of rampant criminality, violence and terror, misinformation and manipulation of public perception.

Presently these are all happening again, as in history is repeating itself. The future of this country is at stake in the events unfolding before us today. And we cannot afford to be mere spectators in it. We can do something about it. Even more important than “People Power”, is people power to challenge the traditional patronage politics.

TASK FORCE DETAINEES OF THE PHILIPPINES 
February 23, 2019

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[Statement] Maria Ressa’s arrest, Duterte’s way to sweep truth defenders out of his way -TFDP

Maria Ressa’s arrest, Duterte’s way to sweep truth defenders out of his way

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) calls the arrest of Maria Ressa by the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) an outright government persecution and harassment of human rights defenders. It is part of a grand design to resurrect a dictatorship by silencing critics and suppressing truth.

Amid the proliferation of fake information and distortion of human rights, independent media will always be a thorn in the side of a President whose plan is to sweep truth defenders out of his way.

It was a clear harassment because Maria Ressa was charged with cyber libel under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 or Republic Act No. 10175 because of an alleged libelous Rappler article which was published several months before the said law was enacted on September 12, 2012.

Maria Ressa, Rappler and all those defending truth and human rights among the media, opposition and human rights defenders have earned the ire of Duterte because they expose TRUTH, and it is the main obstacle against his brand of leadership that relies mostly on lies and deception.

We strongly believe and assert that a free press is vital for a strong democracy. A determined and independent media will always be critical to sustaining the rule of law in the country. A free press is important for people to be informed and to participate in a democracy.

Historically, media and journalists were among the institutions and individuals victimized by dictators like the late Ferdinand Marcos when he declared martial law in 1972. Maria Ressa’s arrest is a reminder for us to reflect on one of the reasons why we commemorate the February 25 people power. In 1986, the Filipino people rose as one and loudly declared: Tama Na! Sobra Na! Palitan Na!

At EDSA we declared our abomination for all the violations, the lies, the thievery of a dictatorship.

It is time again to raise our voices against the rising tide of tyranny: Tama Na! Sobra Na! Lumaban na!

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[Statement] Legal recognition and protection of human rights defenders in the Philippines -TFDP

Legal recognition and protection of human rights defenders in the Philippines

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), a mission partner of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), respectfully submit this position paper to the House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights to support the enactment of a comprehensive and effective law for recognition and protection of human rights defenders in the Philippines.

There is a significant implementation gap between the UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, (Declaration on Human Rights Defenders), on the one hand, and national laws and policies to support and protect human rights defenders. There is also a proliferation of national laws which restrict and criminalize human rights defenders’ work.

The legal recognition and protection of human rights defenders is crucial to ensuring they can work in a safe, supportive environment free from attacks and unreasonable restrictions. The situation underscores the need for a strong policy to provide safe and enabling environment for human rights defenders by implementing measures of legal recognition and protection under national laws and international mechanisms.

Following the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Philippines in May 2017, majority of the recommendations made by various States called for an end to violence against human rights defenders. Nineteen (19) States mentioned protection of human rights defenders in their recommendations. It is worth noting that the entire reporting period prior to the UPR was significantly marked by a general recognition of human rights defenders and the importance of their work. However, the prevailing environment for human rights defenders in the Philippines is dangerous as elaborated in various reports made by regional and international human rights organizations such as Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM ASIA), Global Witness, International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), Organisation Mondiale Contre la Torture (OMCT) or World Organisation Against Torture, International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and Front Line Defenders.

Many international reports offer various recommendations aimed at eliciting greater recognition of the role of human rights defenders, affording them better protection and empowering them to continue their legitimate human rights activities.

In the 2017 annual reports of the Global Witness and Front Line Defenders and HRDs Memorial Network which tagged the Philippines as one of the most dangerous countries for human rights defenders with Colombia, Mexico and Brazil in the list.

Based on documentation, the TFDP documented twenty (26) cases from January to June 2018 alone. These include the killing of Datu Victor Danyan, chair of T’boli Manobo S’daf Claimants Organization (TAMASCO) in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato and continuing harassment of TAMASCO indigenous rights defenders and vilification of many human rights defenders such as Bernardino “Toto” Patuigas, former Secretary-General of the Northern Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (NAHRA) and Sister Susan Bolanio, executive director of the Oblate of Notre Dame, HESED Foundation, Inc.

Various evidences and documentation show daunting challenges remain across the country in terms of ensuring that human rights defenders can carry out their peaceful and legitimate activities in a safe and enabling environment without fear of being subjected to acts of intimidation or violence of any sort. The situation underscores failure of the authorities to conduct prompt and impartial investigations into alleged violations, prosecution of the perpetrators, provision of redress and enforcement of court decisions lead to further attacks and human rights violations against human rights defenders.

Twenty years after the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders adoption, many governments like the Philippines continue to fail to implement and respect the Declaration, particularly the duty to protect defenders from violence and attack as a consequence of their legitimate human rights work.

TFDP supports the introduction of legislative measures for legal recognition and protection of human rights defenders in the Philippines such as Senate Bill No. 1699, “Human Rights Defenders Act of 2018” filed by Sen. Leila de Lima and House Bill No. 1617, “Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2016” filed by Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate et al and House Bill No. 8128, “Human Rights Defenders Protection Act of 2018” by Rep. Edcel C. Lagman, one of the leaders of Mambabatas Para sa Karapatang Pantao (MAKATAO).

TFDP notes that House Bill No. 8128 reflects the majority of the elements of the Model Law https://www.ishr.ch/news/model-law and in accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, and as such we consider would be comprehensive in the recognition and protection of human rights defenders in the Philippines.

From TFDP’s experience and series of consultations with civil society organizations, key elements are essential to enactment of Human Rights Defenders Protection Law in particular the law should be inclusive (or without selectivity) and comprehensively enshrines the definition of human rights defenders set out in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and other relevant international human rights instruments. The creation of “The Human Rights Defenders Protection Committee”, Chapter IV of House Bill No. 8128, should ensure the representation of vulnerable groups such as women, indigenous peoples, rural poor, workers etc.

TFDP upholds the principle of universality of human rights and that any national law for the recognition and protection of human rights defenders must be in line with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and allow for the creation of a legal environment that is supportive of the work of human rights defenders rather than restrictive.

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[Statement] Sister Pat can only be ‘undesirable’ to the eye of a human rights violator-TFDP

Sister Pat can only be ‘undesirable’ to the eye of a human rights violator-TFDP

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) calls the decision of the Philippine Bureau of Immigration (BI) to forfeit Sr. Pat Fox missionary visa as an obvious political persecution of a human rights defender, an attack on freedom of political beliefs and free speech, using immigration laws against ‘undesirable aliens’ as an excuse. Sister Pat can only be undesirable to the eye of a tyrant guilty of human rights violations.

This reveals even more that President Rodrigo Duterte will always be very harsh and aggressive against women, religious and human rights defenders and the poor who criticize his policies while obviously being passive and submissive to invasive China and the interests of the elites.

Duterte’s hostility against Sr. Pat manifests that he cannot tolerate criticisms specially coming from a woman, a religious and at the same time a human rights defender but can be meek and passive to China’s occupation of our islands.

President Duterte has admitted that it was him who ordered the investigation and arrest of Sr. Pat Fox. His subalterns can do nothing but follow their king.

We are concerned that the escalating attacks on human rights defenders and critics of government will lead to a situation where impunity reigns supreme and the voice of an aspiring tyrant will be law.

We call on President Duterte to stop persecuting Sr. Pat Fox. Stop harassment of women, religious and advocates of the rights of the poor.

Website: tfdp.net
Facebook: @TaskForceDetainees
Twitter: @TFDPupdates

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[Right-up] When “Demons” Meet at Lent -by Norman Novio

When “Demons” Meet at Lent

When the president joked (?), “shot her in the vagina,” did you know that the genitals of women victims of Maguindanao Massacre were shot and slashed? This is what I’ve learned from Commissioner Karen Dumpit of Commission of Human Rights (CHR) speaking before the delegates of the 18th National Convention of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) at Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center in BF Homes, Quezon City last February 22-24, 2018.

Being a former worker of TFDP in Southern Tagalog way back in the early 90’s as its human rights education regional program coordinator, I was chosen as one of the delegates to said convention. So, I took leave of absence from work going to the big city. Ms. Dumpit, by the way, is the same lady commissioner who once said in an interview that there is no need to “get into the quagmire of ridiculing other people just to make a point.”

As I have posted in my Facebook account, we gathered in this turbulent time when humane treatment to the poor and the drug addicts are considered treachery to the republic. The present government and the fanatics of the sitting president treated the human rights advocates in the same footing with the drug addicts, the terrorists and the criminals. They are considered as obstacles to whatever the former Davao City mayor wants to come about.

Long before he joked (?) to, “shoot her in the vagina,” he first encouraged the police to attack human rights groups and advocates like those gathered at Arnold Janssen Spirituality Center that day, by saying, “If they are obstructing justice, you shoot them.” Indeed, there is also a war waged against the human rights defenders. His fanatics, his blood-thirsty on-line warriors or trolls, believe that both the drug dependents and the human rights (HR) defenders are worthy of brutal eradication. To them, we are not just “destabilizers” but “demons” coddling the drug addicts and criminals. Sadly, HR concepts and HR defenders are demonized today more than ever.

“Duterte is just a continuum of Marcos,” says Ellecer Carlos of In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND). Duterte effectively “demonized” human rights but under the present regime, change solely rested on violent peace and order framework while the president’s economic program is only continued from his predecessors. It is more accentuated on the market growth than human needs. The choking-choking TRAIN is just an example!

As emphasized by Ms. Bembet Madrid, Program Coordinator of Fastenopfer/Swiss Catholic Lenten Fund, TFDP is an activists’ organization already embedded in the Philippine social system. Established in 1974 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philipines or AMRSP, it joined hands with victims of human rights violations and their relatives, workers, students, and other church-people, peasants and other democratic forces in the country in the struggles for human rights and democracy during the dark years of Marcos’ Martial Law and onwards. TFDP existed past over 7 Philippine presidents already, from Marcos the idol, to his avid fan Duterte. TFDP, according to Ms. Madrid, continue to remain relevant by being firmly rooted to the signs of times and grounded on social realities.

Read full article @nanovio.blogspot.com

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[Video] #AyawNaminSaKarahasan #KarapatanHindiKahirapan -TFDP

Hindi lahat ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao ay palaging madugo… Ang kahirapan ay karahasan din ng pamahalaang dapat nag-lilingkod sa mamamayan. #AyawNaminSaKarahasan #KarapatanHindiKahirapan

http://bit.ly/2o5AJau

Website: tfdp.net
Facebook: @TaskForceDetainees
Twitter: @TFDPupdates

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[Statement] SEC’s revocation of Rappler’s license to operate, a move to silence critical voices, reminiscent of Martial Law -TFDP

SEC’s revocation of Rappler’s license to operate, a move to silence critical voices, reminiscent of Martial Law

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) condemns the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) decision to revoke Rappler’s license to operate. It is an obvious and blatant move to silence those perceived to be critical of the government. It is an attack on freedom of the press and a gross violation of the right to free expression.

It is so obvious that Rappler was targeted because it has earned the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte and his rabid supporters like Mocha Uson due to its continuous publication of articles critical of Duterte’s programs such as the violent ‘war on drugs’, extra judicial killings and many more.

It is reminiscent of martial law, when even without its formal declaration by President Rodrigo Duterte, he is using and abusing laws to assault independent journalism, staunch critics and members of the opposition as well as undermine democratic institutions.

It is reminiscent of martial law, when those who expose truth and express disagreement with the dictator and his cohorts will suffer the consequences of being violated, persecuted and tagged as enemies of the state.

It is reminiscent of martial law, when the government uses different forms of violence to silence critical voices like censorship, shutting down of media offices and even killings and enforced disappearance. It uses fake news and alternative facts to distort the truth and deodorize its anti-human rights and anti-democratic policies.

Freedom of the press, speech and expressions are enshrined in the Bill of Rights of the Philippine Constitution and in international human rights law so that it will be protected against interference of abusive governments.

Once again we are called to defend our cherished fundamental freedoms and God-given rights. No single entity can hold the line. We, individuals, groups, organizations and institutions, must join the frontlines. Defend human rights we must. Resist repression and tyranny we will!

MR. EMMANUEL AMISTAD
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
TASK FORCE DETAINEES OF THE PHILIPPINES
16 January 2018

For more information pls contact:
Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director: Mobile: 09985481925; tfdp.1974@gmail.com
Egay Cabalitan, Advocacy Staff: Mobile: 09164554321; egay.advocacytfdp2@gmail.com
TFDP:9950246;

Website: tfdp.net
Facebook: @TaskForceDetainees
Twitter: @TFDPupdates

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[Urgent Appeal] Enforced Disappearance of Phillip Bacudo, 19 years old in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines. -TFDP

URGENT APPEAL
December 11, 2017

(PHILIPPINES) Enforced Disappearance of Phillip Bacudo, 19 years old in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines.
__________

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the enforced disappearance of Phillip Espiritu Bacudo, 19 years old, in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP, kindly send email to tfdp.1974@gmail.com or call +632 4378054.
__________

Title: Bacudo DIS
Case: Enforced Disappearance
Victim: Phillip Espiritu Bacudo, 19 years old
Date of Incident: November 10, 2017; 2:00 A.M.
Place of Incident: Near Velox Energy Gasoline Station, Mabuhay Road, Barangay City Heights, General Santos City
Alleged Perpetrators: Unknown masked man in motorcycle and members of the Philippine National Police of Police Station 4, General Santos City  Motive: suspected petty criminal
Rights Violated: Freedom of movement; Right to safety and security of person; Right not to be disappeared; Right to life
_____________________________________________________________________________
Account of the incident:

On November 10, 2017 around 2:00 a.m., Phillip Espiritu Bacudo, 19 years old was forcibly arrested by an unknown motorcycle-riding masked man and members of the Philippine National Police (PNP).

According to Ian Jay Donayre, 17 years old, on November 9, around 10:00 p.m., he and his companions Phillip Imperial, 17, and Jhun Kenneth Lorenzo, together with Bacudo, decided to go for a drink at Fastlane Bar located near Bulaong Terminal, Barangay North. At about 1:00 a.m., they decided to go home in a blue tricycle that Lorenzo drove. When they reached the national highway near Jollibee, they encountered a motorcycle-riding man who hissed and pointed his finger at them. Donayre and his friends were alarmed when the man made a U-turn and chased them. The man pulled out a gun from his side and fired a warning shot. Because of fright, Donayre and his friends dropped from their seats. Lorenzo revved up the motorcycle. Imperial looked back and saw the motorcycle-riding man followed by a police patrol car with blinking colored lights. The motorcycle and the patrol car chased after them.

Lorenzo decided to turn to Mabuhay road and saw a dark alley near Velox Energy Gasoline Station. The tricycle rammed the rope of the gasoline station and went straight to the dark alley. Donayre decided to jump out of the motorcycle and landed on a grassy area. He hid and saw the motorcycle and the patrol car follow the tricycle to the interior of the dark alley. Donayre decided to leave after the two vehicles passed by. He went home aboard a hired motorcycle. Imperial, who also jumped off the motorcycle ran towards a place where there were houses. He then went home leaving his pair of slippers behind.

Dominador Parayag Pulido, Jr., 29 years old, a security guard of Velox Energy Gasoline Station, was on duty when he noticed a blue tricycle in full speed pass by the gasoline station. He saw the tricycle ram the rope of the cordoned gasoline station then proceeded to the interior road leading to the back portion of the gasoline station. The tricycle was chased by a black XRM motorcycle driven by a person wearing a bonnet, bull cap and jacket. A police patrol car also followed the two vehicles. Minutes after, Pulido bumped into Donayre who was running from the interior road. After a while, Pulido saw the police patrol car pulling the blue tricycle with a rope. The tricycle was driven by a policeman in blue uniform. The man aboard the XRM motorcycle also came out from the interior road and parked his motorcycle beside the gasoline station. The rider alighted from his motorcycle and went to the back portion of the gasoline station. Later, he emerged holding a crying young man. The man approached Pulido and told him to hold the young man while he gets his motorcycle. Pulido agreed and the man left. Pulido asked the young man where he was from. The young man replied that he is a resident of Barangay Calumpang, General Santos City.

The rider then returned with his motorcycle. He tied the hands of the young man with a belt. The young man was made to sit in front of the motorcycle while the rider maneuvered it and followed the police patrol car which was pulling the blue motorcycle.

Bernard Capote Bacudo and Susana Espiritu Bacudo noticed that their son, Phillip was not able to come home in the evening of November 9. They thought that their son slept at his work place since he was just hired as a welder at the GPH Company.

At the early morning of November 11, Bernard decided to look for his son. He went to the house of Lorenzo and was able to talk with his mother. She told him that they have a big problem since the motorcycle of Lorenzo’s brother-in-law is in the custody of the police. Bernard did not pay much attention to her story since he was more focused on finding his son.

Lorenzo later faced Bernard and told him what happened at the dawn of November 10. After learning what happened, Bernard returned home and told his wife about it. The Bacudo couple went to the houses of Donayre and Imperial. The two confirmed Lorenzo’s story. They said that they did not know that Phillip was not able to go home.

The Bacudo couple, together with Lorenzo and his mother, Donayre, and Imperial went to place where the incident happened. Bernard was able to talk to one of the residents in the area. The man told him that he saw the police chasing the tricycle and there was one man who was arrested. They then concluded that it was Phillip. Lorenzo told them that the tricycle that he was driving during the incident is at the police compound of police station 4. The group decided to go to the police station.

When they arrived at the police station, they saw the tricycle parked in the compound. Bernard talked to the Assistant Station Commander of Police Station 4, Police Senior Inspector (PSI) Lemuel Enrijo. Bernard asked the police where his son was. Enrijo replied that he did know Phillip’s whereabouts. Enrijo turned to Donayre, Imperial and Lorenzo and told them to answer Bernard’s question as they were with him that day. He even added that Phillip and his friends might have had plans to steal that time because the plate number of the tricycle they used was covered with mud and there was a bamboo stick inside the tricycle that may be used as a ladder. Enrijo also said that the tricycle was abandoned when they recovered it and they just brought it to the police station compound for custody. Bernard was told to blotter the disappearance of his son at Police Station 5 for they are residents of Barangay Calumpang. He was also instructed to name Donayre, Imperial, and Lorenzo as the persons responsible for the disappearance of Phillip for they were his companions when the incident happened.

One of the police at Police Station 4 forced Donayre to admit his crime of stealing. He was accused of being the leader of the group notorious in the city for stealing. Donayre denied the allegation. The police told him not to answer back or else, he will be knocked on the head.

According to Donayre, the reason why the plate number was covered with mud was because the tricycle went out of balance and fell to the muddy area. He further explained that the bamboo inside the tricycle came from a side street near plaza heneral. He pulled it to be used to defend themselves from unidentified men who were throwing stones at them. They were able to escape before the unidentified men reached them.

Bernard went to Police Station 5 to report his son’s disappearance. He said he did not implicate Donayre, Imperial, and Lorenzo, but only mentioned that they were the companions of his son before he disappeared.

The group then went back to Velox Energy Gasoline Station to inquire further about the incident. Bernard learned from the gasoline pump girl that the security guard on duty that time was Jack Jack and he witnessed the incident. The group waited for him until 6:00 p.m. Dominador Parayag Pulido, Jr., a.k.a. Jack Jack, recounted to them the incident. He also told them that he was sure that the incident was recorded in the gasoline station’s CCTV camera for he saw it blinking during the time of the incident.

Bernard convinced Pulido to come with him to the media and tell the story of his son’s disappearance. After they talked, Bernard and his companions went to Brigada TV, to a radio station, and ABS-CBN to ask for help, but they were not entertained for they were already closed and the media men already went home. Bernard went back to Velox Energy Gasoline Station and urged Pulido to help him find his son.

At around 8:00 p.m., someone called Bernard on his phone and told him to go and look for his son at Compact Police Station. The police station was located at Mabuhay Diversion Road. When the group went there, they were not able to find Phillip. The Bacudo couple then decided to go to Camp Fermin Lira, the General Santos City Police Office, to look for their son, but they did not find him.

While at Camp Fermin Lira, the policemen advised the couple to go to Police Station 4 to get the names of the desk officer and the police officers who were on patrol duty during the time that their son disappeared.

The couple then went to Police Station 4 and were able to get the names of the officers on duty. They were identified as PO2 Tribunalo and PO2 Alpad.

The following day, Bernard went to Bombo Radyo to ask for help. He was told that they do not have a lawyer who can help him. Instead, he was advised to go to the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO).

Bernard also went to the ABS-CBN TV station. He was instructed to get the extract blotter of the incident so that his case will be entertained by the news reporter. Bernard went to Police Station 4, but the investigator was not around at that time. He decided to go to Police Station 5 to get the extract of the blotter.

Upon arrival, the investigator told him to bring Donayre, Imperial and Lorenzo for investigation. Bernard went to the houses of the three, but they were not around. He went back to the police station and told the investigator to interview Pulido who witnessed what happened to Phillip.

The police investigator, together with three other police officers and Bernard went to Pulido’s house at Saeg, Barangay Calumpang. Pulido narrated to them what he saw.

The police investigator of Police Station 5 who interviewed Pulido went to Police Station 4 for the blotter. Bernard said that they later found out that there was a different narrative of the story in the police blotter than what actually happened.

On Monday, November 13, Bernard brought to the ABS-CBN station the extract blotter that he got from Police Station 5. He met one of the news reporters and he was advised to meet with Ben Sumog-oy of iDefend General Santos.

Bernard, together with Sumog-oy and the ABS-CBN news crew went to Police Station 4. They were met by PSI Enrijo. He blocked the camera man and told the news crew that they were not allowed to take any footage. Sumog-oy asked Enrijo about the whereabouts of Phillip and how the investigation of his case was being conducted. Enrijo replied that he did not know about Phillip, and if they want, they can file a complaint against them.

Bernard said that he also received information that the CCTV camera records of Velox Energy Gasoline Station was retrieved by the police in the early morning of November 10.

He also recalled that on the night of November 10, there was a black van parked outside the internet shop where Phillip and his friends were regular customers. When the van arrived, there were men who alighted and opened wide the van’s door. The back door was also opened. Bernard believed that his son was inside the vehicle and may have been asked if Donayre, Imperial and Lorenzo were at the internet shop. The three were not around that time.

Bernard further said that after the incident, he noticed that there were two motorcycles with unidentified riders who kept on roving around their place. Donayre and Imperial also noticed this and felt scared.

Through the help of Sumog-oy and iDefend Gensan, Bernard and his family were able to file a petition for Writ of Amparo with Interim Relief of Temporary Protection which was filed by Atty. Mary Ann Arnado last November 20. On November 21, the Writ of Amparo was approved by Judge Lorna Santiago-Avila of RTC Branch 36 in General Santos City.

To date, Bernard and his family have been provided with four policemen to guard them. Bernard said that he also wanted the court to grant protection order for the witnesses of his son’s case. He said that as of this time, Donayre and Imperial are in his custody for their safety. Both parents of the young men support them in seeking justice for Phillip. Lorenzo, on the other hand, refused to cooperate. Pulido has stopped working at the gasoline station. Bernard currently supports him and his family in their daily needs.

Phillip remains missing.

REQUESTED ACTION:

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO IMMEDIATELY SURFACE PHILLIP ESPIRITU BACUDO AND BRING TO JUSTICE THE PERPETRATORS OF HIS ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCE, AND ENSURE AND GUARANTEE THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF HIS FAMILY AND THE WITNESSES TO THE INCIDENT.

Thank you.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear _________________,

Greetings.

This is to express my grave concern regarding the enforced disappearance of Phillip Espiritu Bacudo, 19 years old in General Santos City, Mindanao, Philippines
On November 10, 2017, around 2:00 a.m., Bacudo was riding in a blue tricycle with three companions along the national highway. They were on their way home from a drinking session at one of the bars near Bulaong terminal.
I have learned that while they were traversing the national highway near Jollibee, they encountered a rider who was pointing his finger and hissing at them. The said rider then made a U-turn and chased them. He also pulled out a gun and fired a warning shot at the group in the tricycle.
The victim and his companions were chased by the unidentified motorcycle rider, who was being followed by a police patrol car until they reached a dark alley beside Velox Energy Gasoline Station at Mabuhay Road.
While the victim’s companions were able to escape, Bacudo was accosted by the motorcycle rider who was wearing a face mask, bull cap, and jacket. Bacudo’s hands were tied and was made to ride the motorcycle with the unidentified man. The motorcycle was followed by the police patrol car, who in turn, was pulling the tricycle where Bacudo’s group rode in.
I express grave concern that after the incident, Bacudo has not been found. His family and companions looked for him in police stations, including the police compound in Camp Fermin Lira, and detention cells, but they were not able to locate him.

Therefore I recommend:

1. That the police immediately surface Phillip Espiritu Bacudo and release him from detention;
2. That government agencies, particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), conduct an impartial investigation on the case of Bacudo;
3. That the perpetrators of Bacudo’s disappearance be held accountable;
4. That the safety and security of Bacudo’s family, friends, and witnesses to the incident are ensured and guaranteed.

Thank you.

Respectfully yours,
_______________________

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:

1.His Excellency Rodrigo Roa Duterte
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel,
Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 736 8645, +63 2 736 8603, +63 2 736 8606, +63 2 736 8629
Fax: +63 2 736 8621
Email: pace_op@malacanang.gov.ph

2.Gen. Ronald M. Dela Rosa
Police Director General
National Headquarters, Camp Crame,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel/Fax: +63 2 726 4361; +63 2 899 7504
Website: http://www.pnp.gov.ph/gallery

3.Hon. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Email Address: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com

4.Sec. Vitaliano N. Aguirre II
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita,
Manila, Philippines
Tel: +63 2 521 1908, +63 2 526 5462
Fax: +63 2 523 9548
Email Address: vnaguirre@doj.gov.ph

 

Website: tfdp.net
Facebook: @TaskForceDetainees
Twitter: @TFDPupdates

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[From the web] Families of Desaparecidos and EJK Victims light thousand candles on All Souls’ Day to call for end to state violence

Families of Desaparecidos and EJK Victims light thousand candles on All Souls’ Day to call for end to state violence -www.tfdp.net

Photo by Anni Mustonen

On November 2, 2017, All Souls’ Day, about 50 families of victims of involuntary disappearance and extrajudicial killings lead a gathering of more than a hundred religious, human rights advocates, and activists in lighting thousands of candles and offering prayers for victims of state violence.

While most Filipinos remember their dearly departed on All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, families of desaparecidos have no closure as to the fate of their loved ones and no graves to visit. Members of the Families of Victims of Involuntary Disappearance (FIND) traditionally gather to remember their loved ones. This year, they spend All Souls’ Day with the families of victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs) under the government’s war on drugs at the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Memorial Center in Quezon City.

“The families of victims of enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings are one in holding the State accountable for these heinous and violent transgressions of human rights,” Nilda Sevilla, FIND Co-chairperson said. “Together, they must break their silence – demand truth, justice, reparation, and guarantees of non-repetition – in order to break impunity,” she added.

According to the group, the event dubbed as “Libong Kandila at Panalangin para sa Libu-libong Biktima ng Karahasan” aims to remember victims, assert the truth about the human rights situation in the country, and urge the Duterte administration to stop perpetrating violence against the people.

“The government in the past few weeks denies that there are EJKs committed under the war on drugs.  We light thousands of candles to symbolize our assertion of the truth. Thousands were killed. Many innocent lives were wasted. Many of our fellow Filipinos witnessed rampant violations of due process under the bloody war on drugs.  Ano ang tawag mo sa patayan at karahasan ng pamahalaan? Paglabag ‘yan sa karapatang pantao,” pointed out Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

During the mass at the said gathering, Fr. Flaviano ‘Flavie’ Villanueva, SVD, Mission and JPIC Coordinator of SVD Central underscored the sanctity of life. “Ang bawat buhay ng tao ay nagmula sa Diyos. Dahil nagmula sa Kaniya, ang buhay ay sagrado. Ito’y dapat kalingain at pagyamanin. Ngunit kung ating babastusin, binabastos din natin ang Diyos.”

He added, “Marami na ang buhay na nawasak at naulila. Ipagdasal natin sa araw ng mga kaluluwa ang kaluluwa ng mga taong sumisigaw ng katarungan at naghahangad ng kapayapaan. Stop the killings! Start the healing!”

“As religious and consecrated persons, we believe that the wheels of justice should take their course following the proper procedure and operate within the bounds of the law. We demand that the concerned government agencies continue apprehending those involved in drug trafficking but not through extrajudicial killings,” said Sr. Regina Kuizon, RGS, Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) Co-Chairperson.

One of the relatives of the EJK victims under the war on drugs lamented, “Marami na pong buhay ang nasayang, marami po ang mga inosenteng nadamay. Kung ang otoridad ang lumalabag ng karapatan natin, kanino pa tayo aasa?”

“The Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) strongly condemns the rampant cases of extrajudicial killings and State-sponsored violence,” Aileen Bacalso, AFAD Secretary-General said. “Likewise, we also urge the administration to fully implement the Republic Act 10353 to put an end to cases of enforced disappearance in the country. The inaction of the current administration signifies a travesty of justice and a manifestation of the longstanding culture of impunity in our society,” she added.

The activity is also part of the group’s series of events leading to the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2017, even as they pledge to mobilize thousands of people to protest against State-sponsored violence.

The group concluded their event with a candle procession.

[Statement] Rights group to Davao CSSDO: Hypocrite! -iDEFEND Davao

Press Statement
iDefend-Davao
September 22, 2017

Hypocrite

We deplore the highhanded questioning of the CSSDO on the young participants of yesterday’s picket-rally on the commemoration of imposition of martial law 45 years ago.

We do not doubt the mandate of the office to provide services especially to the children and the youth. Mrs. Maria Luisa T. Bermudo said her only concern was about the teens getting wet in the rain. But her insistence to take them and their guardians to her office for some lecturing in a time of a protest against martial law is sheer arrogance. One cannot be soaked wet in a light drizzle.

The demonstration calls on thwarting the imposition of martial law on the whole nation as well as the ending of extrajudicial killings. The declaration of martial law on 1972 left tens of thousands of victims of illegal arrest, torture, disappearances and summary execution by the military.

The recent enforcement of martial law in Mindanao resulted in a Marawi virtually a no man’s land and close to a half million bakwits. The hundreds of million pesos spent on the shelling of Marawi should have been used up in poverty alleviation.

If the culture of impunity continues and spread to the entire Philippines as in the killing of Kian Loyd de los Santos and Carl Angelo Arnaiz, then the country will soon be sopping in bloodshed. This is more than having our children drenched in rainwater.
If Bermudo is really concerned about the well-being of the children and youth, why didn’t her office raised a howl on the numerous unsolved extrajudicial killings of youngsters? There are many children and young ones roaming in the city begging for alms or asking for food, why not feed them or give free education and offer employment to them so they can become productive citizens?

Our members are responsible enough to educate their children on the issues in any activity they wish to bring them in. These children are not forced to attend demonstrations. The singling out of the youth participants in the rally is ill-advised.

[Campaign] Mamamayan Ayaw sa Karahasan (MASK Campaign) -TFDP

MAMAMAYAN AYAW SA KARAHASAN (MASK CAMPAIGN)

Lumalaganap ang KULTURA NG KARAHASAN pinangungunahan ng pamahalaan pa mismo sa bansa. Sumasalanta ito sa marami sa kasalukuyan at mamanahin ng mga susunod na henerasyon ang malalim na epekto nito sa mamamayan. Bukod sa ito ay tahasang paglabag sa karapatang pantao, nag-iiwan ito ng malalim na takot sa mamamayang ang nais ay mabuhay sa isang lipunang payapa at maunlad.

Ang mga KARAHASAN sa mamamayan ay maraming mukha. Mula sa lumalalang patayan sa ilalim ng polisiyang KILL KILL KILL hanggang sa karahasan sa pangkabuhayan ng mamamayan. Mararahas na polisiyang pagpatay din ang tanging solusyon, mga mungkahing batas na sa halip na magmalasakit ay nais pang magparusa sa ating mga menor de edad. Mga hakbang na dumadahas sa kalikasan, kasaysayan at batayang pangangailangan ng marami. Maging ang pagkahumaling sa batas militar na sisikil sa mamamayan.

Ang mga may mabubuting hangarin at tutol sa lumalalang karahasan sa lipunan ang pinasasama pa ang imahe ng organisadong makinaryang ang hangarin ay bumuo ng KULTURA NG TAKOT at PANANAHIMIK. Kung ayaw mo sa karahasan at may malasakit ka pa sa kalalagayan ng bansa – susuportahan mo ang kampanya laban dito. Dahil dalawa lang ang pagpipilian, sa KARAHASAN ka ba o HINDI.

Ang MAMAMAYAN AYAW SA KARAHASAN (MASK CAMPAIGN) ay isang kampaniya ng Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) laban sa mga MARAHAS NA POLISIYA ng Gobyerno. Hihikayatin ang mabubuting mamamayan na itakwil ang kasamaan ng namumuong KULTURA ng KARAHASAN na sumasalanta sa marami at salungat sa isang lipunang may takot sa diyos, mapayapa, maunlad at makatao.

LAYUNIN

Nais ng kampaniya na mabasag o maudlot ang tangkang pagpapatahimik sa mas malawak na bilang na mamamayang tutol sa KARAHASANG nangyayari ngayon sa bansa. Sa pamamagitan ng pagtatangkang abutin ang mga ordinaryong mamamayan na ayaw sa anumang karahasan sa lipunan at magbuklod upang sama-samang masalag at mapatigil ang KARAHASAN.

Nais din natin na magtulungan na maipaalam sa marami ang alternatibang pamamahala nakabatay sa karapatang pantao at “Restorative Justice”.

Nais nating ang MASK ay makaambag sa iba pang mga inisyatiba at pagkukusa at makadagdag sa tinig ng mamamayan laban sa anumang KARAHASAN.

ANG ATING PANAWAGAN SA MAMAMAYANG PILIPINO

Mabuting mamamayan at may pagmamalasakit sa kapwa, MAGKAISA. Ayawan ang anumang KARAHASAN nang sama-sama.

ANG ATING SIMBOLO

Ang maskarang puti na may luhang dugo ay nagpapakita na tayo ay ordinaryong tao na lumuluha dahil sa nangyayaring karahasan sa lipunan.

Maskara na nangangahulugan din ng kawalang pagkakilalan upang maging mukha ninuman at madaling makiisa ang sinumang may nais. Habang magbibigay din ito ng pagkakataon para sa mga nais magprotesta ngunit nangangamba, magsisilbing proteksiyon mula sa pangdadahas ng mga hindi sang-ayon sa atin, lalo na mula sa mararahas na tagapagtanggol ng KARAHASAN.

Ang MASKARA ay maaari ring mag-iba ng kulay bilang simbolo ng sektor o isyung apektado ng KARAHASAN. Halimbawa ay Berde para sa protesta laban sa KARAHASAN SA KALIKASAN at sa mga TAGAPAGTANGGOL. Lilak para sa protesta laban sa KARAHASAN SA KABABAIHAN. O kaya ay RAINBOW para sa protesta laban sa KARAHASAN SA LGBT.

SINU-SINO ANG MAARING MAGING MASK?

Lahat ng may mabuting puso at malasakit sa kapwa tao at sa bansa at handang makiisa sa ating kampaniya ay maaring maging MAMAMAYAN AYAW SA KARAHASAN.

Basta tutol ka sa KARAHASAN at nais umambag sa anumang abot ng makakaya sa kampaniya.

ANO ANG GAGAWIN NG NAIS MAKIISA

Tumulong sa pag-abot sa ating mga kakilala, kaibigan at kamag-anak na AYAW din sa KARAHASAN. Ipaliwanag sa kanila ang ating hangarin.

Makiisa at lumahok sa mga panawagan at aktibidad ng MASK sa online o kaya sa offline.

I-like at ishare ang mga posts ng TFDP sa facebook @TaskForceDetainees, i-follow sa twitter @TFDPupdates

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[Statement] No to militarist approaches to solve the nation’s problems! -TFDP

No to militarist approaches to solve the nation’s problems!

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is deeply concerned with the Mindanao-wide declaration of martial law and its effects on human rights.

To begin with, Proclamation No. 55 declaring a state of national emergency on account of lawless violence is still in place.

Is the Duterte administration admitting that it is powerless to curtail and contain lawless elements without special powers such as martial law? Is not the response too heavy-handed to handle the Maute group?

TFDP believes that the declaration of martial law in Mindanao is a slippery slope and will be at the expense of human rights, justice and peace. Innocent civilians will become the victims. We might end up creating a bigger monster – a dictator – rather than solving the age-old problems of injustice, discrimination and maldevelopment in Mindanao and the entire country.

History has proven that martial law under the Marcos regime did not solve the nation’s problems. It only created longer-lasting problems which we still grapple with to this very day – poverty, inequality, maldevelopment, injustice, exclusion.

History has also proven that a hardline, militarist approach to resolve issues underlying the secessionist and even the religious fundamentalism now spreading will not result to a climate of peace and justice. It will only fan the flames of protest and rebellion.

Criminal elements in Mindanao and elsewhere are a police matter. Let excellent police work anchored on human rights and solid investigation efforts be allowed to proceed.

Revoke the martial law declaration!

No to militarist approaches to solve the nation’s problems!

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[Statement] We hold the Duterte administration responsible for this latest insult to the victims of martial law -TFDP

TFDP logo smallTask Force Detainees of the Philippines is outraged by this sneaky burial of a plunderer, dictator and human rights violator.

We hold the Duterte administration responsible for this latest insult to the victims of martial law and to the valiant struggle of our people to bring down the conjugal dictatorship.

The Marcoses and their ilk want to revise history in their bid to regain Malacanang. Their plundered wealth is being used to coopt or buy out those who will stand in their way.

In life Ferdinand Marcos was a thief. Even in death he remained a thief – robbing our people of all decency, defying our courts and the rule of law.

To those who conspired and continue to connive to erase the memory of those dark times we say: Guard it well. There will be no rest. There will be no closure. There will be no moving on until justice is done.

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[Statement] Our Hope Lies With Our People: Truth Will Prevail! Justice Will Flow! -TFDP

Our Hope Lies With Our People: Truth Will Prevail! Justice Will Flow!

TFDP logo smallJustice was bludgeoned today. Nine magistrates of the Supreme Court chose to take a myopic and narrow view of justice and allowed the burial of the late dictator at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNMB). The tyrant and despot rejoices in his glass enclosed tomb. His family and minions are ecstatic with the “magnanimity of the rule of law”.

But sometimes, the law does not equate with justice. To recall, the law was used to enslave a nation and its people for 14 long years. The law was used to plunder the coffers of our nation. The law was used to justify the gross human rights violations committed against our people. More than 100,000 direct victims have been scarred by martial law.

But even then, Ka Pepe Diokno, Ka Tani Tañada, Jovito Salonga, Rene Saguisag, and many others saw the majesty and grandeur of law, as well as its pitfalls and limitations. They went within, around, and beyond the law to advocate for justice. It is time to do so once more.

Truth was mangled today. The truth that Marcos was a human rights violator. The truth that Marcos was a plunderer. The truth that Marcos is no hero. The truth that darkness fell when martial law was declared, and for 14 years, our people were violated, its resources pillaged by a few, and impunity was at its peak. The truth that democracy was dead from 1972 to 1986 and a fascist dictatorship held reign.

The Supreme Court chose to wash its hands of the raging controversy. It simply said there are no legal impediments to burying Marcos at the LNMB just as its predecessors did in declaring martial law legal.

Indeed, the decision ultimately now rests with the butcher now sitting in power. With him, there is no hope.

Our redemption, our hope lies with the people. It is their hearts and minds that we must win over. Our collective memory of those harrowing times must not be lost. It must be shared, again and again and again. Memory shall be our sword and our shield against the revision of history and the return of tyranny.

Upon the graves of our martyrs and heroes, by the sacrifices of those who were killed, tortured, and disappeared, we swear again – Truth will prevail. Justice will flow.

November 8, 2016

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[Statement] Defend our Life, Protect our Dignity! Stop the Killings! -TFDP

Defend our Life, Protect our Dignity! Stop the Killings!

TFDP logo small“Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the poor of justice, robbing the weakest of my people of their rights.” (Isaiah 10:1)

Inspired by the teachings of the Catholic Church pastoral exhortation to build a society more human, more worthy of the human person, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) is disturbed by and condemn the spate of killings amid President Rody Duterte’s intensified crackdown on illegal drugs and criminality.

The surge in the killings of suspected criminals since June 30, 2016 is alarming. Most of those killed were identified by the police as suspected drug dealers or pushers (“tulak”). As of August 8, 2016, based on the report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the list of victims are 564 dead. Government statistics also support assertions of an alarming increase in police killings of drug-related criminal suspects. Philippine National Police (PNP) data according to news report indicate that police killed at least 239 drug suspects were killed in the three weeks after Duterte’s inauguration.

The government’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality has social and political implications, and its moral dimension must be based on the framework of upholding human dignity and protecting human rights.

We believe that it is indeed part of government’s obligations to protect its citizens against criminality that could endanger life and human security. However we are alarmed that the killings of suspected drug dealers violate constitutionally guaranteed rights as stipulated in Article 3, Bill of Rights, Section 1 of the Constitution that “(n)o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

We are deeply troubled that this campaign against drugs and criminality violates the right to due process of suspects. And we fear the crackdown has promoted vigilantism and encouraged summary executions.

We feel that instead of building community and strengthening the principle of solidarity the government’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality anchored on the culture of death will only exacerbate the already deteriorating state of human rights in the country, feed the continued existence of a coercive environment and growing culture of impunity.

We urge the government to promote and implement effective criminal justice responses to drug-related crimes, as reiterated by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) in its statement that drug-related killings are unacceptable drug control measures. We urge the government to bring perpetrators to justice that ensure legal guarantees and due process safeguards pertaining to criminal justice proceedings, and to eliminate impunity, in accordance with the Constitution and applicable international laws, and taking into account the United Nations standards such as Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on the inherent right to life which prohibits an arbitrary taking of life.

As religious and as members of the lay faithful we must work for the common good by participating directly in social, economic, and political affairs so as to transform society into one wherein the dignity of the human person is respected, protected, and fulfilled. And as such it is our moral obligation to take a firm but enlightened stand against the blatant disrespect for the sanctity of human life and the rule of law that these killings represent.

In the words of our Church leaders “when human authority goes beyond the limits willed by God, it makes itself a deity and demands absolute submission; it becomes the Beast of the Apocalypse, an image of the power of the imperial persecutor.” We must never allow this to happen. Peace and justice must prevail.

We ask that an independent fact-finding body be formed to investigate these killings and bring the perpetrators to justice.

We embrace the cry and call of the vulnerable by asserting that the killings will worsen a culture of death and human rights violations. It is from their side, it is from their bosom that we cry out to the heavens and say:

Denounce the culture of death!
Ensure justice for all victims of summary executions and human rights violations!
Defend our life! Protect our dignity!

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
Board of Trustees 2015-2017

Chairperson: Sr. Crescencia L. Lucero, SFIC
Treasurer: Sr. Ma. Luz F. Mijares, OSA
Secretary: Mr. Jerbert M. Briola, Luzon Island Representative
Members-at-large
Fr. Christian B. Buenafe, O’Carm (also serve as AMRSP Liaison- Men)
Engr. Bibiano C. Rivera, Jr.
Atty. Ricardo A. Sunga III
Prof. Thomas Lyndon Blanco, Visayas Island Representative
Sr. Cecilia Bayona, AMP, AMRSP Liaison – Women

August 13, 2016

[Press Release] TFDP to President Duterte: Marcos’ hero’s burial an insult to Fr. Rudy Romano, enforced disappearance victim during Martial Law

TFDP to President Duterte: Marcos’ hero’s burial an insult to Fr. Rudy Romano, enforced disappearance victim during Martial Law  

Photo by Richie Supan, TFDP

Photo by Richie Supan, TFDP

TFDP logo smallOne of the thousand reasons why Ferdinand Marcos should not be given a hero’s burial is the disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano thirty-one years ago, according to the human rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP).

TFDP together with other human rights and church groups commemorate the 31st Anniversary of the disappearance of Fr. Rudy Romano in a gathering of human rights defenders, student leaders, teachers, youth and religious leaders on July 9, 2016, at the University of San Jose Recoletos (USJ-R) Auditorium, Magallanes Street, Cebu City and on July 11 at the Museum of Courage and Resistance in Quezon City.

“The enemies of freedom and democracy silenced the voice of a prophet of his time. He dared to stand against tyranny and dictatorship,” Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP said in a statement read during the opening of the said event.

“His voice gave words to the anguish of a people longing for liberation from modern-day slavery and corruption”, he added.

Fr. Rudy Romano of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer was involuntarily disappeared on July 11, 1985 by suspected military men. He has not been seen ever since.

TFDP and other groups take the opportunity of the commemoration of Fr. Rudy’s disappearance not only to remember and honor his martyrdom and heroism, but also as incontrovertible proof of the Marcoses’ atrocities committed against the people.

According to TFDP, Fr. Rudy Romano’s disappearance was an example of how vicious the late dictator was especially in treating critics and human rights defenders, “His (Romano) eyes saw the plunder of the nation’s wealth, the gross human rights violations and the capacity for terror of a regime reeling from the incessant assaults of the people’s resistance,” Amistad said. “Marcos was no hero! A hero’s treatment will be an insult not only to Fr. Romano but also to all those who suffered Marcos’ brutality,” he lamented.

TFDP, Martial Law victims and other human rights groups are protesting against the intention of President Rodrigo Duterte to allow the late Dictator Ferdinand Marcos burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

“Fr. Rudy Romano’s arms sought the arms of the oppressed and linked with them in an act of solidarity. In the struggle to be free, priest and people became one. Truly, the man of God became a man for, and of the people,” Amistad said. “As we remember Fr. Rudy Romano, a martyr and honor him as a hero of the people’s struggle, we call on President Duterte to heed the voice of all victims of the injustice perpetrated by the Marcoses,” he concluded.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) was established in 1974 by the Association of Major religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).

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[Statement] Free ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups -TFDP

Free ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups

LONG HELD PPS websiteTask Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) welcomes the resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF). Since 1986, we have keenly watched the perilous journey towards peace between the two parties.

TFDP, like all other Filipinos, desires peace – a peace firmly anchored on the bedrock of justice. For too long so many of our kababayans have wallowed in abject poverty and exclusion. Thirty years of elite democracy has proven it cannot alleviate the problems of hunger, landlessness, joblessness, exclusion and discrimination.

The time to change was years ago. Now, we are given the opportunity once more to tread the path of change.

TFDP welcomes the release of political prisoners through amnesty. We welcome the immediate release of those who are sickly and those who are covered by the JASIG.

In the spirit of compassion and mercy and as an act of statesmanship, we request the two parties to consider these proposals.

We ask the two parties to consider the release of ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups as a major step towards peace and reconciliation. We are fully aware that a great number of the political prisoners come from the NDF bloc but we are aware too that a significant number come from our Moro brothers and sisters. There are also long-held political prisoners like Juanito Itaas, Gerry Butial,  and Basilides Badion who have languished in jail since the time of Cory Aquino and Fidel Ramos. There are also those coming from other rebel groups such as the RPM-RPA-ABB, the RHB, the MLPP-ABB, etc.
All of them deserve freedom. All of them long to embrace their loved ones.

Any meaningful amnesty proclamation must cover ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups. Any release of political prisoners should not discriminate against their political affiliation and must not exclude any by virtue of a limited period of coverage.
We must free ALL political prisoners recognized as such coming from ALL rebel groups regardless of when and where they committed their alleged offenses.

The amnesty proclamation should cover Juanito “Nitoy” Itaas, the longest held political prisoner to date (based on our records). He has already applied for amnesty under the administration of Fidel V. Ramos but was denied release due to outside pressure.

We reiterate our call: Free ALL political prisoners coming from ALL rebel groups!
Pursue peace based on justice!

EMMANUEL AMISTAD
Executive Director
ecamistad@yahoo.com

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