Recently in Philippines Category

Phl - Mothers of Missing Struggle On


With the state unable or unwilling to help, mothers of the disappeared left to seek justice themselves.

By Amita O Legaspi (PHR No. 3, 5-Aug-08)

Erlinda Cadapan, 59, has lost count of the number of times she has traveled to Manila to give interviews, attend forums and speak at meetings. Often she arrives home late at night only to receive a text asking her to return to the capital the following day for another event.

The incessant traveling and the associated costs are taking their toll, but she welcomes each and every invitation to speak. "I have to do this as mothers who give up never find their children," she said.

08/02/2008 | 06:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The Court of Appeals' dismissal of amparo petitions would encourage extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, a lawyers' group said over the weekend.

According to the National Union for People's Lawyers (NUPL), the CA's decisions show a failure to comprehend the intent and nature of the new judicial remedy for victims and kin.

The mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos on Thursday asked the Supreme Court to overturn a Court of Appeals (CA) decision on his son’s case.

Edita Burgos filed a petition for review before the high court following the CA’s decision to junk the habeas corpus petition her family filed last year.

Phl - Marches vs killings, abductions continue


By Jerome Aning
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:07:00 04/20/2008

MANILA, Philippines—Victims of human rights violations under the Arroyo administration gathered in Quezon City yesterday to protest the alleged lies by the Philippine delegation to the review of the country’s human rights situation at the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland, last week.

‘Token moves’ of gov’t part of ‘cover-up’-- Burgos
By Maila Ager
First Posted 17:53:00 04/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- Acknowledging that the chances of recovering their missing kin are getting “slimmer and slimmer,” the families of victims of enforced disappearances have pinned their hopes for justice on the United Nations (UN).

MANILA, Philippines -- As the search for missing activist Jonas Burgos goes on its first year, Senate President Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Ejercito Estrada joins his family and the families of other desaparecidos or the “involuntary disappeared” in their continuing quest for their loved ones.

La organización humanitaria Human Rights Watch (HRW) instó hoy al Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la ONU a que durante su próxima revisión periódica sobre la situación en Filipinas, que se celebrará el 11 de abril en Ginebra, analice 'cuidadosamente' la incapacidad del Gobierno de Manila para juzgar a los responsables de homicidios y desapariciones.

Phl - SC ruling on Neri alarms human rights lawyers


MANILA, Philippines - Human rights advocates on Thursday expressed concern over the ruling of the Supreme Court on the invocation of executive privilege of former socio-economic planning secretary Romulo Neri.

Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno said the administration might use the same tack when confronted with the matter of extrajudicial killings and disappearances involving the military.

Government Under Review at UN Human Rights Council

(Manila, March 27, 2008) - The United Nations should carefully review the Philippine government’s failure to hold accountable those responsible for killings and “disappearances,” Human Rights Watch said today. The first-ever Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines at the UN Human Rights Council takes place in Geneva on April 11, 2008.

Killings and enforced disappearances  
Since 2001, hundreds of members of left-wing political parties, activists, journalists, and outspoken clergy have been killed or “disappeared.” The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, Philippine human rights groups, and Human Rights Watch all found strong evidence of military involvement in many of these cases.  

Phl - Couple Is Latest Victim of Enforced Disappearance


Published on March 27, 2008 at 7:22 am

As the nation paused to commemorate and reflect on the Passion of Christ this Lenten season, three people were forcibly taken by unidentified men in Bacoor, Cavite on March 20, 2008, Maundy Thursday.

The victims were Jimmy Soleded, Clarita Luego-Soledad and Vilma Madrazo, Clarita’s cousin. Madrazo was released by their captors. It has been four days since the incident and there is still no word on the whereabouts of the couple.

By Nestor P. Burgos Jr.
Visayas Bureau
First Posted 17:58:00 02/19/2008

ILOILO CITY -- A Regional Trial Court judge here ordered government lawyers to find a ranking intelligence officer named as one of the respondents in the petition for a writ of amparo in the abduction of two activists in Iloilo.

Judge Narciso Aguilar, presiding judge of the Iloilo Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 33, on Monday directed lawyers from the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) to look for Colonel Mariano Perez, one of the respondents in the amparo petition filed by the families of activists Ma. Luisa Posa-Dominado and Nilo Arado.
By Tonette Orejas
Central Luzon Desk
First Posted 16:04:00 02/11/2008

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Philippines -- Leaders of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (Peasant Movement of the Philippines) on Monday raised the alarm over what they said was a resumption of abductions of leaders of farmers' groups in Central Luzon.

The latest victim was Nardo Serrano, a leader of the Central Luzon Aeta Association (CLAA) in Floridablanca, Pampanga, according to KMP chairman Rafael Mariano and Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (Alliance of Farmers in Central Luzon) chairman Joseph Canlas in a joint statement.

Deadly inequality in the Philippines

Column: Rights and Wrongs
Published: February 06, 2008

HONG KONG, China,  As one takes stock of human rights conditions in the Philippines in the past year, there are some welcome developments: The number of extrajudicial killings and disappearances in 2007 dramatically dropped. The Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights, or KARAPATAN, a human rights group in the Philippines, reported 209 extrajudicial killings in 2006 and 68 in 2007.

Similarly, disappearances fell from 78 in 2006 to 26 in 2007, according to the group. While the reduction in these serious human rights violations is, indeed, good news, a question naturally arises: Why? There are no concrete explanations but merely some suppositions.

Phl - Fear of forced disappearance of Eliseo Berot


Case PHL 050208

Fear of forced disappearance/ Fear for safety


The International Secretariat of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in the Philippines.


Brief description of the situation


The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), a member of OMCT SOS-Torture network, about the possible disappearance of Mr. Eliseo Berot, 20-years-old resident of Barangay Dungu-an, Danao City, whose whereabouts are unclear.

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 06:30:00 02/05/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- An army lieutenant the family of missing activist Jonas Burgos has linked to his disappearance is undergoing a military trial on charges of passing information to communist rebels, a ranking officer testified Monday.

But Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, commanding officer of the 71st Infantry Battalion, denied knowledge of any link between the decision of the Army to arrest 2nd Lt. Dick Abletes and the disappearance of Jonas.

Phl - How habeas data complements writ of amparo

By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 00:34:00 02/03/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- The writ of habeas data can be used to help resolve cases of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

The rules state that in extrajudicial killings and disappearances, the victim’s immediate family or relatives up to the fourth degree can file a habeas data petition.
By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:16:00 01/24/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- With her mother in jail and her father missing for nearly a year now, Lorena Santos has taken up the legal battle to free them and protect their rights.

Santos, 25, Wednesday filed before the Court of Appeals a petition for the writs of habeas corpus and amparo on behalf of her parents, Elizabeth Principe and Leo Velasco, who, she said, were abducted and detained by police and military officials last year.
By Leila Salaverria
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:25:00 01/22/2008

MANILA, Philippines -- The mother of missing activist Jonas Burgos told the Court of Appeals Monday that evidence pointed to the military as the kidnappers of her son and pleaded that if he had been murdered it should at least help find his body.

Appearing for the first time at a hearing on her plea for the issuance of a writ of amparo, Edita Burgos, 64, said that the license plates used by her son’s kidnappers were taken from a vehicle in the army’s custody.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday approved during an en banc session the draft rules on the implementation of the writ of habeas data, which the high court said would uphold the public’s “right to truth."

Lawyer Jose Midas Marquez, spokesman of the Supreme Court, said minor provisions in the Rules were still being fine-tuned by the justices. He said the Rules would take effect on February 2.

Phl - Show my father, captured rebel’s kin ask Isafp


Relatives of arrested suspected communist rebel Iglecerio “Ka Choy" Pernia appealed to the Armed Forces of the Philippines to surface him and respect his right to due process.

In a statement on the Kilusan Web site relatives of Pernia refused to believe the AFP’s denial of having Pernia in its custody at Camp Aguinaldo.

“Why are they hiding Papa from us?" said a frustrated Roberto, son of Pernia who failed to see his father as officials of the Intelligence Service Group of the AFP (Isafp) refused to confirm where the suspected communist rebel was being detained.

The United States is pressing Sri Lanka to improve its human rights record by prosecuting more rights abusers and stopping disappearances in rebel-held areas.

Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns told Sri Lanka's visiting Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama that the U.S. government also was unhappy over "ongoing threats to freedom of the press" in Sri Lanka, the State Department said

The Sri Lankan government controls the northern Jaffna peninsula, and most of the so-called disappearances occur in the southern area, where Tamil rebels are active.


Phl - US rights group finds not one case solved


MANILA, Philippines -- A year after starting an inquiry into extrajudicial killings and disappearances in the Philippines, the US-based group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has returned to find that not one of the cases it investigated had been resolved.

“The problem is, of all the cases we investigated when we were here [in September] last year --17 extrajudicial killings and two disappearances -- there has not been a single conviction,” HRW member Bede Sheppard told Philippine Daily Inquirer editors Thursday.

BESIDES the Jonas Joseph Burgos case, the Philippine judiciary will have another test case for the invocation of the writ of amparo, whose guidelines were drafted by the Supreme Court just days ago and are expected to be approved by October 24.

The Court of Appeals on Friday ordered retired general Jovito Palparan of the Philippine Army to explain why new evidence should not be presented against him in relation to charges that he was involved in the disappearance of three persons, including two students of the University of the Philippines (UP).


Phl - SC approves use of writ of amparo

MANILA, Philippines -- The Supreme Court has approved the use of the writ of amparo as another means to bring an end to extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the country.

In its regular en banc session Tuesday, the high court affirmed the draft rule on the new writ, which may be invoked by any person whose right to life, liberty and security is threatened.


Phl - Groups ask UNHRC to act on political killings in RP


Human rights advocates has asked the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to compel the government to sincerely respect human rights and act on continuing cases of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, human rights group Karapatan secretary-general, made the call as she reported to the UNHRC in Geneva on Monday that political killings and enforced disappearances remains unabated in the Philippines.

Phl - Tribunal readies approval of human rights remedy

AS PART of its campaign to stop the summary killing of political activists and journalists, the Supreme Court will approve tomorrow the draft rules governing the issuance of the so-called writ of amparo, a new, tougher legal remedy that will be made available to people whose rights to life, liberty and security are being threatened.

Chief Justice Reynato Puno said that the tribunal’s Committee on the Revision of the Rules of Court had already finished drafting the implementing rules to govern the issuance of the writ of amparo. The draft rules will be submitted to the full court during its regular session tomorrow.


MANILA, Philippines -- The Court of Appeals did not allow an official a human rights group to testify on the disappearance of activist-farmer Jonas Burgos.

At the start of Thursday’s hearing on a habeas corpus petition filed by the Burgos family with the appeals court’s 8th division, Assistant Solicitor General Amparo Tang filed a manifestation to stop Cecil Ruiz, secretary general of Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) from giving her testimony.

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Phl - Escudero seeks creation of body on missing persons

Senator Francis Escudero on Saturday filed a bill seeking the creation of a commission on missing persons to address involuntary disappearances of activists and suspected enemies of the state.

Escudero said the escalating number of missing persons recorded by non-government organizations prompted him to file Senate Bill No. 429.

More Information
 By TJ Burgonio
Last updated 08:47pm (Mla time) 09/18/2007

MANILA, Philippines -- The human rights situation in the country is worse now than during martial law because even children are not spared from extrajudicial killings, a women's party-list group and a children's advocacy group have claimed.

According to the Salinlahi Alliance for Children's Concerns, 60 or seven percent of the 888 victims of extrajudicial killings recorded by the human rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) from 2001 to 2007 were children.

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