[News] Philippines - extra-judicial killings

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Aug 24 14:18:50 EDT 2006


CALL FOR GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION
AGAINST EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS IN THE PHILIPPINES
ON 21 SEPTEMBER 2006

By Professor JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
August 22, 2006

On September 21, 2006, the Filipino people will remember the imposition
of martial law and a fascist dictatorship on them by Marcos upon the
instigation of the US in 1972. They will commemorate their suffering and
sacrifices and honor the revolutionary martyrs and heroes. They will
celebrate the victory ultimately won in the struggle against the
US-directed fascist regime.

At the same time, they will renew their resolve to continue the struggle
for national liberation and democracy against the persistent and
worsened dominance of foreign monopoly capitalism, domestic feudalism
and bureaucrat capitalism. These evil forces have once more given rise
to a new repressive regime, that of Gloria M. Arroyo, since 2001. State
terrorism in the Philippines is today the bitter fruit of such US
imperialist policies as the "neoliberal globalization" and "global war
on terror".

The Filipino people are confronting and resisting the Arroyo regime, and
its violent instruments, such as the Armed Forces of the Philippines,
the Philippine National Police and their death squads - the perpetrators
of massacres, assassinations and other grave violations of the human
rights of the people in both the urban and rural communities. Under the
US-instigated Oplan Bantay Laya, patterned after Phoenix Program in the
Vietnam in the 1960s, not only the forces of the armed revolutionary
movement are being attacked in a barbaric manner but also the unarmed
leaders and activists of progressive legal forces.

The Arroyo terrorist regime has already murdered 730 and abducted more
than 180 legal activists, including party list local leaders, workers,
peasants, women, youth, students, teachers, lawyers, church people,
human rights workers and media people. The murders and abductions have
been perpetrated with impunity at an accelerating rate since 2001. The
annual rate at which these crimes have been committed during the 5-year
rule of Arroyo has surpassed that in the 14-year fascist dictatorship of
Marcos.

Amnesty International, Asian Human Rights Watch and other international
human rights organizations, religious institutions and organizations,
trade unions, political parties, lawyers groups, media organizations and
many people abroad have condemned the rampant human rights violations in
the Philippines and have manifested solidarity and support for the
Filipino people in the struggle for justice against the Arroyo regime
and its instruments of repression and state terrorism.

The victims, their families, friends and colleagues and the broad masses
of the Filipino people are crying out for justice and retribution. The
Arroyo regime, the military, police and death squads must be made to
stand trial for their crimes against the Filipino people, and against
humanity. Otherwise, these vicious violations of the democratic and
human rights of the people will continue.

We are calling on all justice-loving people and forces of the world to
join the international mobilization against the Arroyo regime and its US
imperialist master. We demand an immediate stop to the extrajudicial
killings and open the way to all possible measures for the attainment of
justice. With the solidarity and support of the people of the world, the
Filipino people can bring closer the day of reckoning for the entire
Arroyo regime.

Join us in declaring September 21 as the global day of action against
the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Let us hold indignation
rallies and protest actions in front of the embassies and consulates of
the Philippines in your country. Let us light a candle for the more than
730 martyrs killed by the Arroyo regime. Let us call on our host
governments to end their support of the Arroyo regime and hold it
responsible for its crimes against humanity. ###

NEVER AGAIN TO FASCIST DICTATORSHIP!
STOP THE TERRORIST KILLINGS BY THE ARROYO REGIME!
FIGHT STATE REPRESSION AND STATE TERRORISM!
JUSTICE TO THE VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!
UPHOLD DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE PHILIPPINES!



From: <mailto:karapatan.pid at gmail.com>KARAPATAN Public Information


http://www.iht.com//articles/2006/08/22/news/filip.php


Extrajudicial killings on the rise
By Seth Mydans and Carlos H. Conde International Herald Tribune

Published: August 22, 2006


LUPAO, Philippines The two heavyset men with pistols said they had
come to buy goats, but it was Beatriz Perido they were after. When her
father, a farmer and clergyman, turned them away, they told him: "You
will receive the news that she has been killed."

Perido is the local leader of a human rights group and, like many
other community organizers and activists around the country, she has
gone into hiding to avoid what they say is a military-backed campaign
of assassinations of leftists.

"I am on their order of battle," said Perido, 34, referring to lists
of names the military lets slip from time to time. "They can kill me
at any time."

Her organization, Karapatan, says more than 700 civilians, including
more than 300 left-wing activists, have been killed around the country
by "suspected security forces" in the past five years. Some were local
government officials who represent a leftist political party, Bayan
Muna, that the military calls a communist front organization.

In a report released Aug. 15, Amnesty International said "a
politically motivated pattern of killings" of members of legal leftist
groups was spreading in the Philippines, with 51 victims in the first
six months of this year, compared to 66 in the whole of 2005.

"The question is whether the state of human rights in the Philippines
is sliding back to a time when political killings were a norm," said
Curt Goering, the senior deputy executive director of Amnesty
International U.S.A.

The government denies it is involved and President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo recently said she was creating a commission to investigate the
violence.

"The president has condemned these killings in the strongest terms and
is determined to take all the necessary measures to protect human
rights and uphold the rule of law," said her spokesman, Ignacio Bunye.

Amnesty's conclusion that the government is implicated is based in
part on the similarity of the killings, often involving surveillance
and death threats like those that have driven Perido into hiding.

The fact that few arrests have been made also suggests government
involvement or complicity, it said.

This sense of fear has succeeded in choking off much of the work,
particularly in rural areas like this one, of human rights advocates,
farmers groups, labor organizers, church workers, activist lawyers and
leftist local officials.

"Before, we could mobilize more than 50 people to conduct fact
finding," Perido said, describing her work in investigating and
reporting on killings and other abuses. "Now in this area there are
only four leaders available to do it."

On one recent mission here, 150 kilometers, or 94 miles, north of
Manila, she was accompanied by two men who said they had also come out
of hiding to visit the sites of recently reported abuses.

"It is difficult now because even if we are only asking for better
prices for rice, we are accused of being communists," said one of
them, Boy Facunla, 49, who heads a leftist farmers group.

"For 20 months I have not been home. There is a rumor that there is a
standing order for me to be shot."

Modesto Reyes, 47, who was with him, said that he had once been an
armed fighter in the communist New People's Army but that for years
now he had worked above ground, particularly in organizing protest
rallies.

"They are two methods of struggling for the same goal," he said. "We
are different from them; we are legal organizers."

But in the eyes of the military, he said, "We are all connected. If
you are a supporter of one group, now the impact on yourself is that
you are a supporter of the armed group."

One hamlet they visited, Namulandayan, was the scene of a massacre in
1987 in which the military, frustrated in its pursuit of a unit of
communist guerrillas, rounded up and killed 17 villagers, including
six children. Many others were wounded.

That massacre helped wreck a cease- fire with the communist insurgency
that had been declared the previous year when Corazon Aquino was swept
into the presidency on a wave of hope and national reconciliation.

Many in the military had opposed the cease-fire then, just as they
have opposed efforts at reconciliation initiated by Arroyo when she
took office in 2001.

She invited the leftists to form political parties and to bring their
contest above ground into a legal arena. But it is these legal groups
that now appear to be the targets of the killings.

Like Aquino, Arroyo has found herself trapped by a debt to the
military, which helped bring her to office and has supported her in
the face of coup threats and coup attempts.

In June she declared an "all-out war" on the insurgency and has
praised military officers associated with the killings, who she said
had "come to grips with the enemy."

There are still clashes with armed communist guerrillas here at the
foot of the Cordillera Mountains. But what the villagers say they fear
are the killings and kidnappings that surround them.

The site of the massacre is abandoned and overgrown with weeds and
bushes, but some of the survivors still walk past to work in the rich
green rice fields that surround it.

After sundown, the little houses nearby are dark and silent.

"The people say, 'We are afraid,'" said the Reverend Arleen Tagasa,
the parish priest of Lupao. "'We try to listen to the sounds because
maybe the military will come and abduct us."

If people witness abuses, he said, they know better than to tell him.
"They answer, 'I do not know. I did not see. They ordered us to lie
down.'"

Not long ago, a tricycle taxi driver who lived in Namulandayan,
Elpidio Gante, 56, was shot dead by unknown men for unknown reasons.

He had not been publicly involved in leftist activities and his widow,
Nievres Gante, said he had not received threats or warnings. One night
he went out to work; in the morning she was told to collect his body.

Just across a hedge lives his cousin, Jovita Lacasandile, 44, who was
wounded in the massacre in 1987. Her husband and parents were killed.
One younger sister lost a hand.

She still weeps when she is reminded of that day. But now it is the
killings by stealth that trouble her sleep.

"We don't know who did it," she said of her cousin's death. "Just like
that, he is dead. We are all afraid here nowadays because we never
know when we will hear that somebody else has been killed."

Farmers demand inquiry

A left-wing farmers' group on Tuesday demanded an independent
investigation into extrajudicial killings after one of its members
became the latest victim of a series of politically-linked murders,
The Associated Press reported from Manila.

An unidentified gunman fatally shot Hermelino Marqueza, a leader of a
provincial chapter of the Peasant Movement of the Philippines, late
Sunday in his house in Surigao del Sur Province, the police said.

LUPAO, Philippines The two heavyset men with pistols said they had
come to buy goats, but it was Beatriz Perido they were after. When her
father, a farmer and clergyman, turned them away, they told him: "You
will receive the news that she has been killed."

Perido is the local leader of a human rights group and, like many
other community organizers and activists around the country, she has
gone into hiding to avoid what they say is a military-backed campaign
of assassinations of leftists.

"I am on their order of battle," said Perido, 34, referring to lists
of names the military lets slip from time to time. "They can kill me
at any time."

Her organization, Karapatan, says more than 700 civilians, including
more than 300 left-wing activists, have been killed around the country
by "suspected security forces" in the past five years. Some were local
government officials who represent a leftist political party, Bayan
Muna, that the military calls a communist front organization.

In a report released Aug. 15, Amnesty International said "a
politically motivated pattern of killings" of members of legal leftist
groups was spreading in the Philippines, with 51 victims in the first
six months of this year, compared to 66 in the whole of 2005.

"The question is whether the state of human rights in the Philippines
is sliding back to a time when political killings were a norm," said
Curt Goering, the senior deputy executive director of Amnesty
International U.S.A.

The government denies it is involved and President Gloria Macapagal
Arroyo recently said she was creating a commission to investigate the
violence.

"The president has condemned these killings in the strongest terms and
is determined to take all the necessary measures to protect human
rights and uphold the rule of law," said her spokesman, Ignacio Bunye.

Amnesty's conclusion that the government is implicated is based in
part on the similarity of the killings, often involving surveillance
and death threats like those that have driven Perido into hiding.

The fact that few arrests have been made also suggests government
involvement or complicity, it said.

This sense of fear has succeeded in choking off much of the work,
particularly in rural areas like this one, of human rights advocates,
farmers groups, labor organizers, church workers, activist lawyers and
leftist local officials.

"Before, we could mobilize more than 50 people to conduct fact
finding," Perido said, describing her work in investigating and
reporting on killings and other abuses. "Now in this area there are
only four leaders available to do it."

On one recent mission here, 150 kilometers, or 94 miles, north of
Manila, she was accompanied by two men who said they had also come out
of hiding to visit the sites of recently reported abuses.

"It is difficult now because even if we are only asking for better
prices for rice, we are accused of being communists," said one of
them, Boy Facunla, 49, who heads a leftist farmers group.

"For 20 months I have not been home. There is a rumor that there is a
standing order for me to be shot."

Modesto Reyes, 47, who was with him, said that he had once been an
armed fighter in the communist New People's Army but that for years
now he had worked above ground, particularly in organizing protest
rallies.

"They are two methods of struggling for the same goal," he said. "We
are different from them; we are legal organizers."

But in the eyes of the military, he said, "We are all connected. If
you are a supporter of one group, now the impact on yourself is that
you are a supporter of the armed group."

One hamlet they visited, Namulandayan, was the scene of a massacre in
1987 in which the military, frustrated in its pursuit of a unit of
communist guerrillas, rounded up and killed 17 villagers, including
six children. Many others were wounded.

That massacre helped wreck a cease- fire with the communist insurgency
that had been declared the previous year when Corazon Aquino was swept
into the presidency on a wave of hope and national reconciliation.

Many in the military had opposed the cease-fire then, just as they
have opposed efforts at reconciliation initiated by Arroyo when she
took office in 2001.

She invited the leftists to form political parties and to bring their
contest above ground into a legal arena. But it is these legal groups
that now appear to be the targets of the killings.

Like Aquino, Arroyo has found herself trapped by a debt to the
military, which helped bring her to office and has supported her in
the face of coup threats and coup attempts.

In June she declared an "all-out war" on the insurgency and has
praised military officers associated with the killings, who she said
had "come to grips with the enemy."

There are still clashes with armed communist guerrillas here at the
foot of the Cordillera Mountains. But what the villagers say they fear
are the killings and kidnappings that surround them.

The site of the massacre is abandoned and overgrown with weeds and
bushes, but some of the survivors still walk past to work in the rich
green rice fields that surround it.

After sundown, the little houses nearby are dark and silent.

"The people say, 'We are afraid,'" said the Reverend Arleen Tagasa,
the parish priest of Lupao. "'We try to listen to the sounds because
maybe the military will come and abduct us."

If people witness abuses, he said, they know better than to tell him.
"They answer, 'I do not know. I did not see. They ordered us to lie
down.'"

Not long ago, a tricycle taxi driver who lived in Namulandayan,
Elpidio Gante, 56, was shot dead by unknown men for unknown reasons.

He had not been publicly involved in leftist activities and his widow,
Nievres Gante, said he had not received threats or warnings. One night
he went out to work; in the morning she was told to collect his body.

Just across a hedge lives his cousin, Jovita Lacasandile, 44, who was
wounded in the massacre in 1987. Her husband and parents were killed.
One younger sister lost a hand.

She still weeps when she is reminded of that day. But now it is the
killings by stealth that trouble her sleep.

"We don't know who did it," she said of her cousin's death. "Just like
that, he is dead. We are all afraid here nowadays because we never
know when we will hear that somebody else has been killed."

Farmers demand inquiry

A left-wing farmers' group on Tuesday demanded an independent
investigation into extrajudicial killings after one of its members
became the latest victim of a series of politically-linked murders,
The Associated Press reported from Manila.

An unidentified gunman fatally shot Hermelino Marqueza, a leader of a
provincial chapter of the Peasant Movement of the Philippines, late
Sunday in his house in Surigao del Sur Province, the police said


--
STOP THE KILLINGS IN THE PHILIPPINES
2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Barangay Central,
Quezon City 1101 Philippines
63 (2) 4342837



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