Radio reporter stabbed to death

The Committee to Protect Journalists deplores the killing of Philippines radio broadcaster Andres Acosta, which police believe may be linked to his work. He was stabbed to death Wednesday in the town of Batac, 240 miles (390 kilometers) north of Manila. Read more from the Committee to Protect Journalists

Relatives search for missing NDF consultant

esar Batralo, a consultant for the leftist National Democratic Front, did not make it to his family’s Christmas reunion in San Pablo City, just south of Manila. The human rights group Karapatan believe he could be the 94th victim of “forced disappearance” this year and the 207th since 2001.

Doris Cuario, secretary general of Karapatan in the Southern Tagalog area, said Batralo is also the fifth NDF consultant to be reported missing this year, added Cuario. His relatives believe he was illegally taken by military or police forces, if not the latest victim in the spate of political killings in the Philippines. Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Gunmen shoot Moro militant, abduct him while bleeding

A member of the militant Moro group Suara Bangsamoro was shot and abducted by three unidentified gunmen in Tagum City early morning Monday, authorities and militant groups said yesterday. Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

In Brussels: 1,000 Protesters, Parliamentarians Denounce Arroyo Political Killings

On December 11, at the occasion of the International Day of Human Rights, a coalition of 65 unions and social organizations, held a torch vigil in front of the Philippine embassy in Brussels. To vigil was organized to remember all the victims of the political killings during the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, starting in 2001. Read more from

4 workers hurt in ambush in Compostela Valley

Unidentified gunmen wounded a union leader and three others in an ambush in Compostela town in Compostela Valley province early Friday morning, a militant group said.

Karapatan Southern Mindanao said Vicente Barrios, chairman of the United Workers of Suyapa Farm, was on his way to work along with three other people when waylaid by motorcycle-riding gunmen in Crossing Alegria around 5 a.m.

Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Rights lawyer, Bayan Muna member killed

Human rights lawyer Gil Gojol had just attended a court hearing and was inside a van when men on motorcycles gunned him down. Bayan Muna member Cisanto Frivaldo was at home when two men burst in and shot him dead.

The murder of Gojol yesterday and that of Frivaldo on Monday were the latest in a long series of seemingly unstoppable killings of militants since President
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office in 2001, leftwing groups said.

Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Youth leader killed in Cagayan

CAGAYAN has become a valley of death for activists as a 19-year-old youth leader became the third militant in a month to be killed in the province.

Sangguniang Kabataan chair Nelson Asocena, a member of the youth group Anakbayan and the peasant group Kagimungan, was shot dead in an attack allegedly by six men in military uniform on Dec. 13 in Rizal, Cagayan.

Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

47th journalist killed under Arroyo administration in the Philippines

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has slammed the Arroyo administration for their failure to protect journalists, after the 47th journalist was killed under the presidency of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and the 11th just this year, surpassing last year's total.

According to IFJ affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Ponciano Grande, a broadcaster and former columnist from Nueva Ecija, was shot and killed by two assailants on December 7.

Read more from the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.

2 Days of Torture Force Couple to Take Own Lives

For couple Librado and Martina Gallardo of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, the torture and the threats inflicted on them by soldiers of the 48th Infantry Battalion were so brutal they chose to commit suicide. Even the dead couple’s son, Jason, was beaten so bad for failing to produce the money and gun the soldiers insist that the his late parents were hiding that he vomited blood. Read more from

Catholic priest and human rights activist still faces suspected death threats

Father Rolando de Leon is the parish priest of San Andres Apostol Parish in Norzagaray in Bulacan Province and the supervisor of 20 Catholic parishes in the city of San Jose and three towns in the area. [He] began experiencing a series of intimidating events after the Mass he celebrated on Sunday 30 October 2005 in Norzagaray. After the Mass, four envelopes were found in the church offering with the following message: "Warning to you Father Rolando de Leon; you will be the next." Three of the envelopes contained an M-16 bullet. Send a letter of appeal through the Asian Human Rights Commision.

Four farmers wounded in ambush in Negros

Four farmers were wounded after they were reportedly ambushed by armed security guards of an influential landowner in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental at 5:30pm on 17 November 2006. Read more and send an appeal letter.

Another farmer-leader killed

Two weeks after the killing of a leader of a farmers’ group in Cagayan province, another farmer-leader was gunned down in Gonzaga town on Monday. Anthony Licyayo, chair of the Gunglo Dagiti Mannalon iti Cagayan Valley (Kagimungan), was on his way to his farm in Sitio Torkia in Barangay Cabiraoan, Gonzaga, when a lone assailant shot him in the head at about 8:30 a.m., reports from police and local farmers’ groups said. Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Cordillera Peoples Alliance denounces brutal killing of peasant leader Antony Licyayo

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) strongly denounces the brutal killing of peasant leader Antony Licyayo, 38, chairperson of Kaguimungan-Cagayan Valley, who was shot today at 8:30 AM while carrying his one year and a half old son on their way to their field in Sitio Torkia, Brgy. Cabiraoan. An unidentified gunman shot him once at the back of his head. The bullet exited through his mouth. The child was unharmed. It has only been two weeks since Cagayan peasant leader Joey Javier was murdered in Baggao municipality. We strongly condemn and still hold accountable Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime for Licyayo’s assassination.
Over 786 senseless deaths has taken place since Gloria Macapagal Arroyo assumed the presidency. Thousands have been orphaned­families and communities. The political assassination of Licyayo has again proven the impunity and culpability of the GMA regime, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, in its blatant failure to protect the Filipino people and ensure order in Philippine society. In fact, the government of Arroyo and the Armed Forces has proven over and over that it IS the instigator, planner, and executer in this national policy of political killings sweeping the country.
If the government can go on  killing, and elevate the death toll to thousands, then we do not hope for anything from it to heed the clamour of  the local and international community to stop the killings and deliver justice to all victims.
What does the government intend to do with the increasing number of orphaned children and communities? Licyayo has four young children aged 10, 8, 4, and youngest, 1 and a half, who was with him at the time of his death.
The Arroyo government has done nothing since 2001 but bring shame to country for being the grossest, the number one violator of human rights, disregarding at all costs the very essence of the right to life and due process. All these prove that under the Arroyo regime, there is no room for human rights and justice.    
The challenge to all of us is the question of what to do under these very critical times.  More than ever, it is the opportune time to unite and strengthen our ranks to protect ourselves from the cudgels of a State that breeds lawlessness and human rights violations. It is urgent and foremost to close in ranks and work for the ouster of this fascist, dictatorial regime, to ensure that justice will be served to work for a society that respects and human rights, for justice to truly prevail.    
Now, if the government can go on with the killings, taking life in its own hands, who will protect and save the people? If it can still stomach violating the rights of the people, killing them senselessly because of their political beliefs, let it be known that the people have the right to defend themselves, that the people have the right to arm themselves to protect themselves against this fascist, murderous regime.
CPA Secretary General

2 NDF staff, NGO workers missing in General Santos

"Two staff members of the National Democratic Front (NDF) and a non-government organization (NGO)worker disappeared while on a visit to a community [in General Santos] last month, the human rights group Karapatan reported on Friday." Read more from the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Canadian mission to recommend $22 million cut to annual aid

By Candice Y. Cerezo, from

The Canadian human-rights mission will recommend today (Wednesday) to the Canadian ambassador to the Philippines that annual aid to the country be cut by at least $22 million following the alleged harassment by the military to frustrate its probe.

Luningning Alcuitas-Imperial, a Filipino-Canadian lawyer who heads the Philippines-Canada Task Force for Human Rights, said they will present before Ambassador Peter Sutherland the mission's findings on human-rights violations committed in Quezon Province, Abra, Nueva Ecija and Baguio.
She said the mission would also ask the embassy to redirect the multimillion-dollar aid for community programs to grassroots organizations instead.

Alcuitas-Imperial also questioned the openness of the Arroyo administration to international probes, saying that during the mission's visit to San Nicolas in Quezon, the military tried to stop its members from entering the area.

"The military tried to prevent us from speaking to residents of areas where there are reported human-rights violations. They seem to be following orders to bar human-rights observers, which contradicts President Arroyo's supposed openness for international probes," Alcuitas said in a press conference in Quezon City on Tuesday.

"The soldiers and police accosted us as though we were criminals and were very arrogant. They tried to break the team apart and separate us from Filipino human-rights workers and threatened to file a case of obstruction of justice against us," she said.

Alcuitas said the probe was conducted from November 17 to 20 by two teams composed of nine Canadians and Filipino human-rights workers.

She said that on their way back to Manila on November 19, their team spent some 13 hours of travel time because it had to go through several military and police checkpoints from San Nicolas to San Pablo in Quezon.

Army issues shoot-to-kill order on NE peasant leader

The Philippine Army issued on Saturday, November 4, shoot-to-kill order on Maximo Ayunga, village council member in Barangay Culong, Guimba, Nueva Ecija and chairperson of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon-Nueva Ecija chapter (AMGL-NE or Alliance of Peasants in Central Luzon). Read more.

Manila is doing too little to stop the unchecked killings of the country's activists

Ruby Sison is waiting for someone to kill her. I met Sison a few months ago at a cemetery in Kidapawan, a town on the lawless Philippine island of Mindanao. We were paying our respects to the activists and journalists George and Maricel Vigo, who were shot dead in June in broad daylight by motorbike-riding assassins while returning home to their five children. The killers were still at large, and local reporters were braving multiple death threats by keeping the Vigo murders in the news. A friend and left-wing activist, Sison had heard that a hit man had already received a down payment to kill her. "The rest will be paid when I'm dead," she told me. Read more from Time Asia.

Labor groups denounce murder of Alaska union leader

MILITANT labor groups were one in condemning the ambush-slaying on Tuesday of Alaska Corp. union leader Andrew "Bok" Iñoza in San Pedro, Laguna. "A cowardly act by enemies of labor," was how Gerry Rivera, Partido Manggagawa (PM) national vice chair, described the killing. Read more.

Abducted farmer found dead

One of the two farmers earlier reported abducted by armed men at the village of Lungib, Pilar was found dead Sunday afternoon by residents in a coconut plantation at the same village, while relatives of the other missing farmer petitioned the court for the issuance of a writ of habeas corpus. The body of Domingo Marbella, 22, was found at around 1 p.m. with bullet wounds and signs of torture. Read more.

Another Bayan Muna member killed

Another member of the left wing Bayan Muna was shot dead on Thursday as the family of Ricardo “Ding” Uy, Sorsogon’s Bayan Muna chair, who was killed exactly a year ago, reiterated their call for justice. Read more.

In cold blood

LAST April, workers from the Metal Ore Mining Company of Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan were detained by members of the AFP’s 56th Infantry Battalion. According to the International Labor Solidarity mission, the workers were released the next day, after the barangay captain filed a police blotter and negotiated their release. Four workers were missing: manager Bernabe Mendiola, married; couple Virgilio and Teresa Calilap; and security guard Oscar Leuterio. Read more from Patricia Evangelista.

3 Canadian activists say Philippines military harassed them

Three Canadians who traveled to a Philippine province to investigate claims of government abuses against political activists said Sunday that they had been harassed and detained by the military. Read more.


Labor leader slain, 1 hurt in Laguna ambush

Another union leader, who was also the Laguna provincial chair of the Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino- Partido ng Manggagawa (BMP-PM), was slain by four unidentified gunmen in broad daylight in a thickly populated area in Barangay Poblacion here on Tuesday morning. Read more.

Fil-Canadian lawyer returns to help solve political killings

Concerned with incessant reports of human rights violations in the country, a Filipino-Canadian lawyer, whose paternal roots are in Quezon province, arrived here Friday to personally investigate stories on the alleged rights violations. Read more.

Asian body slams ‘concerted attack’ on rights groups

THE ASIAN Human Rights Commission (AHRC) slammed what it called “a concerted attack on the entire human rights movement in the Philippines” by civil, military, and police officials who “have all made scathing statements describing the work of rights groups” in the country as “propaganda.” Read more.

Canadian rights team arrives to probe killings

A TEAM of Canadian activists arrived in the Philippines Thursday to investigate what it said was an "alarming deterioration of human rights" in the country. Read more. 

Canadian rights team arrives to probe killings

A TEAM of Canadian activists arrived in the Philippines Thursday to investigate what it said was an "alarming deterioration of human rights" in the country. Read more. 

2 Filipino journalists get death threats weekly

An average of two journalists, mostly from the province, has been receiving death threats through text messages every week, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). Read more. 

US retail giants urge Arroyo to protect human, labor rights

IN THE latest broadside against the Philippine government’s rights record, seven major American retail outfits that source garments from the Philippines have written President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo calling for more “proactive measures” to protect human and labor rights and right advocates. Read more.

Militant farmer leader shot dead in Cagayan

Motorcycle-riding gunmen shot and killed Joey Javier, 42, a local leader of a farmers’ group, at Barangay Centro in Baggao, Cagayan, at 8:50 a.m. on Saturday, police said.

Javier, a director of the Santo Domingo Farmers’ Cooperative and former chapter leader of the leftist Kilusang Magbubukid sa Pilipinas (KMP), was the 765th victim of extrajudicial execution since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office in 2001, the KMP said. (The [Philippine Daily] Inquirer count is 256.)

Read more.

Foreign businesses to Philippine president: Stop killings

SAYING VIOLENCE has no place in a democracy, foreign chambers of commerce and multinational companies yesterday made an unprecedented call on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s administration to put an end to political killings or risk losing aid and investments.

The statement was issued by the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFC) in the Philippines, comprising business groups from the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Japan and Korea, and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters. Read more.

Human rights leader killed in Eastern Samar

THE HEAD of the militant human rights group Karapatan in Eastern Samar was shot dead yesterday by bonnet-wearing assailants in front of the parish church in General MacArthur town. Read more.

Mourning the loss of 18 environmental activists

ENVIRONMENTALISTS are still mourning the violent deaths of 18 “green” activists in different parts of the country, saying the victims’ collective demand for justice has remained unmet. Seven of the victims, who were killed under the Arroyo administration from January 2001 to September this year, came from Southern Tagalog. Most of the slain environmental workers were farmers, indigenous people, and leaders of local community campaigns against a large dam, commercial logging, and large-scale mining. Read more.

Suspect in murder of union leader roams freely

Relatives of a slain labor leader at the Hacienda Luisita here have assailed the police for failing to arrest an Army soldier despite a warrant issued to him by a regional trial court in June for murder charges.

The accused, Private First Class Roderick de la Cruz, had been seen roaming freely in several villages within the Cojuangco family-owned sugar estate, according to Romeo Ramos, elder brother of Ricardo Ramos, president of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (Catlu).

Read more.

Two peasant leaders and two other men murdered in two days

GUNMEN shot dead two militant peasant leaders and two other men over a 48-hour period in the provinces of Tarlac and Pampanga in what an activist described as a continuing "festival of killings" in the region.

Ricardo Ramos, 47, president of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU), was shot and killed on Tuesday while drinking with friends in his backyard in Barangay Mapalacsiao five hours after the union received at least P8 million from the Hacienda Luisita Inc. as settlement for back wages. The 5,000-hectare hacienda in Tarlac is owned by the family of former President Corazon Aquino.

Read more.

Arroyo indicted at the People's Permanent Tribunal in The Hague

AN INTERNATIONAL “opinion” tribunal will indict on Monday President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on charges of human rights violations filed by Filipino leftist and human rights organizations who have been seeking to bring international pressure to bear on the government’s rights record.
The session of the People’s Permanent Tribunal (PPT), set to open at The Hague, The Netherlands on Monday afternoon Philippine time, is the second on the Philippines following its 1981 indictment of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos for alleged “crimes against humanity.”

Read more.

GMA to be tried before international court

The Permanent People's Tribunal in the Netherlands has agreed to try a case against Filipino president Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo, who has been accused of human rights violations. The case against the leader of the Philippines will begin at the Hague on 7 March 2007. Founded in 1979 in the Italian city of Bologna by the anti-fascist activist, Lelio Basso, the Permanent People's Tribunal (PPT), is an international tribunal, independent of any state and acts to examine and analyse in a public way cases of violations of human rights.

Currently there are 36 judges in the tribunal and, although they do not have any legal power, the tribunal's judgements are often considered by international organisations, including the United Nations. The president of the PPT is the Italian lawyer Salvatore Senese.
The charges against Arroyo were presented by a series of non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The president has been accused of systematic violations of the rights of people and politicians in the Philippines and of having approved the killings and torture of activists. Some NGOs claim that since Arroyo came to power in 2001, there have been as many as 750 political killings.

The accusations were considered to be sufficient by the tribunal to open a case.
With the case against Arroyo, the Philippines gains the unenviable record of being one of only three countries to have a case filed twice at the PPT for human rights violations. The other two countries are Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia.

The first case against the Philippines occured in 1980 in the Belgian city of Antwerp which found former Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos guilty of crime against humanity. The PPT was the first international tribunal to find Marcos guilty of such crimes.

Political Killings Break Hearts of Filipino Expatriates

Although they share the grief of losing relatives and friends in the Philippines, Filipino expatriates in Europe and Canada are undaunted and vow to campaign for justice as alleged Arroyo hit men continue to prey on government's political foes tagged as "enemies of the state". Read more.

Philippine politicians approach European bodies

BAYAN Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño left for Geneva last Friday for a three-country campaign to discuss the issue of the unabated killings of activists under the Arroyo administration.

Their intended "targets" are the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the World Council of Churches, European parliamentarians, Amnesty International and other parties. Read more.

UAA: Another Aglipayan priest slain

Barely a week after the murder of Philippine Independent Church Bishop Alberto Ramento, a priest of the same congregation known as the Aglipayan church was shot and hacked dead as he left his house to perform his usual Sunday service, police said. Read more.


Sample letter and list of people where to send it to is available on the Asian Human Rights Commission Asian Human Rights Commission site.

Oppose the Anti-Terrorism Bill

From the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan:

Last night, the Senate through a majority vote, ended the period of interpellation on the proposed Anti-terrorism Bill, even if there were still senators lined up to ask questions about the bill. The move is an obvious attempt to fast-track the approval of the measure despite strong objections from civil libertarians, human rights advocates, victims of human rights violations, and a broad cross-section of society alarmed over the abuses by a politically repressive government.

With the period of interpellations over, the Senate will now move to the period of amendments then subject the bill to a vote. If the Senate passes the ATB, there will be a bicameral conference to thresh out differences with the version of the House of Representatives. We suspect that the proponents want to pass the measure into law before the December ASEAN Summit in Cebu.

We are alarmed that some senators are rushing the approval of the bill, effectively denying the people the opportunity to scrutinize and oppose the various provisions of the bill.

The only effective way to stop the passage of the bill is through our concerted opposition in various forms and venues. It is important that we register our strong objection to the passage of the bill, and appeal to the members of the Senate to reject the proposal.

Various groups are working together to come up with a statement to be published in a major broadsheet so that we are given a venue to air our principled objection to the ATB. We would like to ask you to be one of the signatories to the statement, knowing of your previous position on issues affecting civil liberties and human rights.

We hope you can join us in this endeavor and in future actions as we continue to oppose the ATB.


Secretary General
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan


We, concerned Filipinos, declare our staunch opposition to the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill (ATB) which has been passed by the House of Representatives and awaits approval by the Senate.

The bill's definition of terrorism is too broad and too sweeping, covering many crimes that are already punishable under existing laws. The proposed law blurs the distinction between real acts of terrorism and ordinary crimes. Worse, it can be interpreted to include all acts in pursuit of legitimate dissent. In a time of intense crisis and undisguised political repression, the ATB can and will be used to illegalize the legitimate activities of critics and opponents of the current administration.

The proposed measure allows warrantless arrests as a rule rather than exception, prolonged detention without charges and violations of one's right to privacy through the unhampered use of electronic surveillance. Worse, it can lead to the banning of legal organizations and the consequent arrest of its leaders and members whose only crime is exercising their fundamental right to assembly, association and freedom of religion.

There is as yet no conclusive proof or credible independent study that an anti-terrorism law can actually deter much less defeat terrorism. Far from this, the vast powers given the executive in the purported anti-terrorism bill, in the hands of the current government, will in fact become another instrument of a far bigger terror and worse form of terror -- that of state terrorism. It is clearly a case of the cure being worse than the disease.

By invoking public fear of so-called "terrorism, we are asked to approve of many provisions that will destroy our way of life, limit our hard won civil rights and political freedoms, violate the very Constitution this government is sworn to uphold and, in the hands of the current paranoid administration, is bound to be another tool for suppression.

With a rubberstamp House of Representatives, one of our remaining hopes lies with conscientious and vigilant senators who will see through the deception and dangers of the ATB and vote it down. We give our strongest support to the senators who actively take an independent stand on this issue and place the interests of the people above the dictates of Malacañang and vested foreign interests by voting NO to the anti-terrorism bill.

To the Senate and the people,


Bayan warns against cover-up in Ramento killing

THE leftwing Bagong Alyansang Makabayan on Wednesday said there should be no “cover-up” in the investigation of the death of Bishop Maximo Alberto Ramento as it condemned the murder as the latest in a string of political killings in the country. Read more.

Asian rights council says Ramento killing political

A HONG KONG-based human rights organization has counted the murder of Philippine Independent Church bishop Alberto Ramento as one of the long string of unsolved political killings that activists say have claimed more than 755 lives since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power in 2001. Read more.

IFI Statement on Killing of Bp. Alberto Ramento

"The people behind his death might think that they have silenced him and maimed the prophetic voice of the church. They are mistaken. His death has become like a candle in a burning incense, sparking more fire, enflaming the hearts of the clergy and faithful of the IFI to remain faithful to her pro-people and pro-labor heritage. Indeed, we grieved over his death, yet we celebrate his life." Read more from The Most Reverend Godofredo J. David.

Bishop stabbed dead in convent

An Aglipayan bishop who spoke against extrajudicial executions under the Arroyo administration and who took the cudgels for striking workers at Hacienda Luisita was stabbed dead inside his convent in Tarlac City on Tuesday morning, police said. Read more.

RP activists raise killings at U.N.

The killings of scores of left wing activists in the Philippines have been brought before the U.N. in a bid to put international pressure on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to do more to stop the attacks, human rights advocates said Monday.

Representatives of five Philippine left-wing groups are attending a conference of the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva to encourage diplomats and foreign rights advocates to condemn the killings, allegedly carried out by government forces, they said.

Read more from The China Post.

PWRDF partner murdered in the Philippines

In spite of ongoing efforts to seek justice another human rights worker has been murdered in the Philippines. Mr. Victor Olayvar, known to his friends as Vicvar, was murdered on 7 September, 2006 at 7:25 in the morning. Vicvar was a member of FARDEC (Farmers Development Centre, Inc.), a PWRDF partner organization in the southern Philippines. Read more.

Conrado de Quiros' remarks at the 4th Global Filipino Networking Convention

"According to the rights group Karapatan, the political killings from January 2001 to Sept. 16, 2006 number 755." Read more of Conrado de Quiros' remarks made at the 4th Global Filipino Networking Convention 7th NaFFAA Empowerment Conference on what the Filipino journalists abroad might do to stop the killings in the Philippines.

Petition for journalists

If you are a journalist or belong to a media organization, please visit and sign this petition to protest the use of the libel law to stop critical reports and commentaries in the Philippines.

Cordillera Peoples Alliance staff continue to be harassed

"At about 7:25 PM on September 19, 2006, Ms. Abigail Bengwayan, the Public Information and Human Rights officer of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), was assaulted by an unidentified man near the hi-way in Betag, La Trinidad, Benguet on her way home." Thus begins the account of the continued harassment of CPA staff.

Death goes on

"We do not rise to stop the killings even now, they will get worse. We do not rage against the dying of the light because it is somebody else's light and not our own, we will wake up one day to hear the snuffers of light loudly knocking at our door." Conrado de Quiros reflects on Pablo Glean's murder.

Marcos and Macapagal-Arroyo compared

Arroyo is another Marcos in many respects. Conrado de Quiros explains why.

Deadly silence

ON the stand, Maj. Gen. Jovtio Palparan complains, “I just feel as if I am being extracted information on matters that are military. I invoke the right to remain silent.” The right to remain silent is a right accorded only to those who are criminally charged, and that’s something any idiot who’s ever sat more than two hours watching an action flick knows. Read more from Patricia Evangelista.

RP rights position 'emboldens' violators, say activists

FILIPINO activists attending the second session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland accused the government of "sweeping under the rug its responsibility in the horrible number of extrajudicial executions" in the country and actually encouraging human rights violators. Read more

Gunmen in bonnets kill another activist

"Gunmen wearing bonnets, black shirts and combat boots struck amid the outcry against extrajudicial executions, killing peasant leader Christopher Lunar, police said.

"The 31-year-old Lunar, local coordinator of the party-list group Anakpawis, became the 251st fatality in attacks on leftwing militants since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo became Chief Executive in 2001, according to an Inquirer count. Leftist groups put the number at 720, the police at over 100." Read more.

Presentation by Miriam Coronel Ferrer

Forum on Violence Against Movements, Movements Against Violence
Organized by the Institute for Popular Democracy and the University of the
Philippines College of Social Sciences Student Council
12 September 2006, 1-5 pm, UP Recto Hall

Presentation by Miriam Coronel Ferrer
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, University of the
Philippines; Co-convener, Sulong CARHRIHL

For centuries, national security options of states straddled between two
approaches: one based on power, the other based on peace. The first
option, power, may be better said as “power over” or the principle of
domination over the groups posing a challenge to the state – its policies,
actions, and more fundamentally, its nature. “Power over,” at the minimum,
aims to neutralize, and at the maximum exterminate, eliminate, subjugate
contending forces in the name of the state and its desired attributes –
sovereignty, stability, survival. At a glance, this approach seems to be
the only logical option for a weak state, whose very weakness forces it to
make a show of being strong.

The second approach is peace – that is, to seek peace, peace as a
precondition to and/or an outcome of security. This approach is founded
on the core values of tolerance, pluralism, and dialogue, the exact
opposite of the values in the first approach: intolerance, inclusivity,
brute force and monologue. It involves state-building through much needed
reforms. Its guiding principle is “do no (more) harm” to the situation as
it is.

Collective impact measures

What we have been witnessing in the last years is an internal security
approach founded on the state’s attempt to dominate and subjugate critical
socio-political forces (first option). Its guiding principle is precisely
to “do harm”.

It incorporates the usual military operations against communist guerillas
operating in the countryside. Such an approach relies heavily on the
Philippine army whose marching orders are to clear, hold and consolidate
(the latter now entailing the participation of state welfare agencies in
what effectively is a lopsided application of a “comprehensive approach”).

Reports of de facto curfews, arbitrary searches, harassment, imposition of
the cedula, mopping up operations, notably in Nueva Ecija, but also
elsewhere reflect that the classic counter-insurgency approach of draining
the fish of its water continues. To suffocate the fish, the water is
contained, drained or rendered unable to resist military pressure.

These methods have been referred to as “collective impact measures.” As we
have seen, this type of measures intends to hurt the populace in order to
render them submissive, not really to finish them off. A local resident
who gets killed in the process is, well, seen as collateral damage to the

Collective impact measures also function as “collective punishment”.
Residents are scolded, chided, threatened for acts deemed sympathetic to
the enemy. Read the accounts of the general assemblies recently held in
Central Luzon by the military under General Jovito Palparan. Residents are
beseeched and courted, entertained with songs and sexy dancers in exchange
for their sympathies. They are urged to speak out despite the asymmetry in
the situation: unarmed, poor farmers facing fully armed lieutenants,
colonels and generals. And when they do speak out, and complain of abuses
of government soldiers, they are reprimanded, accused of already being
“influenced” if not themselves NPAs. They become the brunt of displaced
aggression, the easy target of traumatized soldiers faced with elusive

The unprecedented high number of killings of political activists
associated with national democratic organizations (as well as other
left-wing groups such as the KPD) in compressed time is part of this
“collective punishment” frame. The extrajudicial killings we have seen
share the same features of rural community-based counter-guerilla warfare:
indiscriminate or dismissive of the distinction between combatants and
non-combatants, and clouded by “hate language” and demonization of the
enemy. A slight difference is that the killings are somewhat disguised,
they are not done by men in military uniform, and are individual or tandem
acts, whereas the usual counter-insurgency is marked by troops descending
in communities (although their name plates may be covered, and their truck
plates missing) who seek security and cover in numbers.

The killings’ desired impact is the same: fear, paralysis, scuttling of
the organizational network, albeit not just in the local but the national
sense. The goal is to break the political infrastructure of the movement
whose good showing in the past election (under the party list system) and
corresponding access to pork barrel funds and a public platform, were,
from the point of view of the anti-communist state, alarming. National
politics is after all the bigger pond where the fish swim. But here the
instructions are straight to the point: kill the fish.

In this power-based approach manifested in collective punitive measures,
victory is easy to measure. One is through body count: how many dead and
wounded? Another is through weapons count: how many weapons seized? And
finally, how many communities, organizations, people neutralized? (We can
discuss later how the same tendency is shown by the armed left.)

As we should all know by now, collective impact measures create more
problems due to the social tensions and resentment they generate in the
communities, and the affected public. They erode the fabric of society,
confuse its norms, polarize, and desensitize. They provide fodder to
counter-violence, and diminish faith in the system and peaceful change.
They are sure-fire formulas for greater violence. They are our own
“low-tech” version of weapons of mass destruction which nonetheless leads
to the same MAD-ness, or “mutually assured destruction.” The victory they
lay claim too is short-term, flaky, and one-sided.

Multi-Layered Contexts

Let us not lose sight of the multi-layered contexts of this intensified
state violence against a certain social force, its various apparatuses,
but ultimately, violence or assault on the citizen at large.

One context is the short term: GMA’s political survival. I will not
belabor this point since it is already fairly well-established and
well-reasoned out.

The long and short of this context is the legitimacy question raised
against the GMA administration. Here the national democratic left has
played a major role, whether in the attempts at setting off an impeachment
process (through its party list members in Congress pushing for it, not
once, but twice), or in military coup-cum-street protests that will force
GMA to step down (through its waltzing with the malcontents in the
military, in a queasy utilitarian alliance between the left and the
right). The natdem left has also put blocks (lodging cases in the Supreme
Court, protest rallies) to moves to strengthen emergency powers or
insulate the presidency from the checks powers in the hands of Congress
and the citizens.

It is to the GMA presidency’s interest to weaken the multiple machineries
of the national democratic left through both judicial (arrest warrants,
and actual arrests, e.g., of Crispin Beltran) and extra-judicial means, as
well as of all those lined up against her (why stop at one when you can
cast a wider net?). At the same time, it is to GMA’s interest to feed the
loyalty of key state players crucial to her political survival, notably,
the military (give them their war, medals, promotions, a free hand), the
police (give them their balato), the members of Congress (give them their
pork). It is in her interest to join the “coalition of the willing” and
the US-led global fight against terrorism in order to get the backing and
material support of US President Bush. In this regard, the GMA
administration actively lobbied for the inclusion of the CPP-NPA in the
list of terrorist organizations of the US and European bodies – even
though the CPP-NPA does not as a rule employ terrorist methods like

But beyond the GMA presidency is the state of affairs of the Philippine
state – the more important, larger context. This is a question that will
transcend GMA (even if she stays up to 2010), and is related to but
distorted by the partisan peddling of charter change. I am referring to
the specter of not just a weak state but a disintegrating, failing state,
one where governance (led by whomever) increasingly becomes unstable and
short-sighted, and reforms impossible. The prospects of a failed state
result from the features of the post-Marcos state that we have inherited,
worse off in its fracturedness and the frankensteins that were born out of
the Marcos period, -- and how our political elites have selfishly played
their games in this situation. It is the bigger context where the wanton
use of state violence by both civilian and political leaders, and the
military’s privileged role in national security and national politics have
become even more ominous.

What is a failed state? Rotberg describes it as one marked by enduring
violence, though not necessarily always of high level of intensity. It is
tense, deeply conflicted, dangerous and contested bitterly by warring
factions, with varieties of civil unrest and two or more insurgencies,
different degrees of communal discontent and other forms of dissent
directed against it and at groups within it. Parts of the territory,
notably the peripheral regions, are not under its control. There is high
level of physical insecurity among citizens, thus they are armed or they
join rebel groups. The society endures a high level of criminal violence,
and delivery of socio-economic goods is limited. Its institutions are
flawed; its infrastructure, deteriorating or destroyed.

The more recent line from Palparan, said over one ANC program last week,
is almost a tacit recognition of our situation as a failing state. Because
only in such a state can his explanation for the killings make sense.
According to Palparan, the killings are perpetuated by people taking
vengeance on the NPA for the latter’s abuses. Queried if these people
include soldiers, he replied in the positive, saying such soldiers are
probably taking revenge for the death of other soldiers. If the state
were a viable state, the military with a chain of command, the President
the chief executive and implementer of the laws of the land – can this
kind of anarchy, can this lame excuse be palpable?

Anti-communism and anti-terrorism

The ideological foundation of and justification for the state’s excessive
use of violence remains, oddly anachronistic enough, anti-communism. The
language of anti-terrorism adds a new more contemporary twist, and locates
our domestic wars in the context of the post-9/11 world order.

The language of anti-communism remains effective, given a general
antipathy to communism, and an increasing alienation of the citizenry to
national politics. To those who have fallen for this anti-communist
“rhetorical hysteria” (defined by Wole Soyinka, first African to win the
Nobel prize for literature, as the one-dimensional approach to all faces
of reality, however varied or internally contradictory) , the killings are
not a case of “slaughter of innocents” given that these people are somehow
allied with the CPP-NPA. They don’t think much about the fact that
slaughter remains slaughter; that the basic principle of respect for human
life and human dignity is for everyone, including the enemy number one of
the state, and yes, including terrorists; that there are rules even in war
that must be followed, notably distinction between those who carry arms
and those who do not. Meanwhile, businessmen and professionals may be
morally aghast at the unabated killings of alleged communists, but are not
motivated enough to put pressure to stop it, until somehow, it starts
hurting their economic interests, or their immediate environment. The
middle class will continue to fight for their own means of survival
regardless of the course of Philippine politics.

However, class analysis alone cannot explain part of the lingering potency
of anti-communism. Part of the effectiveness of the language of
anti-communism and resultant alienation is also due to the CPP-NPA-NDF
themselves – their excesses (revolutionary taxation of rich and poor,
infliction of punishments) , own pandering of violence and machismo, their
inclusivity and dogmatic framing of Philippine society and politics, and
their counter-monologue to the state’s anti-communist mantra. The purges,
the CPP-NPA-NDF hopefully recognizes by now, cannot be simply forgotten
without full retribution and honest accounting before former and present
comrades and the greater public. The ghosts of murdered comrades will
haunt the party forever. And though not particularly convincing to explain
away the recent spate of political killings among those who study their
politics, and revolting for the disrespect shown the dead lying in mass
graves, the purges of the 80s and 90s will remain scraps (war material) to
poke around with, in the AFP and police forces’ psywar ops.

In all, taken in the context of an untransformed state and
reform-resistant state elites, the language of anti-communism coupled with
anti-terrorism is actually anti-left (because the communists do not alone
make up the Philippine left), and even more broadly, anti anti-status
quo. Thus while we have our differences with the communist left, and as
human rights advocates, oppose terrorist methods, we cannot tolerate the
rhetorical hysteria of anti-communism/ terrorism. We cannot be unconcerned
with the killings of branded communists/terroris ts, because the label
easily includes all of us unhappy with the status quo, and exercising our
rights to express our beliefs.

Ways Out

I have long been asking myself this rhetorical but really incisive
question: what is the central political question of today? During the
martial law regime and even during EDSA 2, the answer seemed simple
enough: Marcos, in the case of the former, and Erap, in the case of the
latter. Today, fortunately and unfortunately, we have to find the answers
beyond Garci, Gloria and the two Gonzaleses in government.

The political killings is a problem with GMA – her leadership, her policy
preferences, her questionable legitimacy based on her ascent to power
(EDSA 2 and dubious elections) – but is also a problem that transcends
her. Thus, removing GMA can be one short-term solution, but is not enough
for the long haul. And neither is the long-haul solution contingent on
removing her.

We must resolve how to deal with armed challenges faced by the state:
resolution through conquest of power by a dominant force using force, or
through sustainable, inclusive peace through peaceful means. The state has
been pursuing the former, it’s time to put more stake in the latter. But
it will only do this if we achieve critical mass in forcing the state to
take this direction.

We must work for a sustainable change founded on human rights and dignity
– or a peace process alongside pursuit of specific reforms. There are key
critical areas where state reforms are needed and where we should spread
out and simultaneously intervene: reform of our electoral institutions and
processes; reform of the security sector (cleansing and
professionalization of the military and police); enhancing governance
processes (depoliticization and upgrading of the bureaucracy) ,
strengthening of local governments leading to greater autonomy; and
putting more resources in the educational system so that education is
provided for all, and it is the kind of education where the values of
human rights and peace are at the core.

Correspondingly, we cannot accept counter-violence as the better nor best
way to fight state violence.

Our society is festering in a culture of violence -- violence that begets
violence, that dehumanizes the victims and the perpetuators, reduces all
fora to monologues, and elevates killing to the status of a national
sport. We find in our midst self-righteous protagonists out to lay claim
to their rights while blinded by their dogma and politics to the rights of
others. There is much to untangle in the orthodoxy of class antagonism, of
class struggle being necessarily violent, the state being the instrument
of the ruling class, and the primacy of armed struggle in achieving
political change. There is much to question about the soundness of the
Maoist injunction to encircle the cities from the countryside as the route
to revolutionary victory, the national democratic revolution as a stepping
stone to a socialist revolution, etc. Certainly, we should discuss these,
debate and challenge (but not kill) each other.

Let us have a national debate not to divide us further but in order for us
-- state actors, counter-state forces, and ordinary citizens -- to reach
some national consensus on how to best achieve social and political
change. Without a shared norm or ground rules, and a consensual road map
to start as off, we are doomed as a nation.

To conclude, the campaign against political killings of leftwing activists
requires focused, case-specific response directed against the perpetrators
and their chain of command. It also compels us to ask hard questions about
the national security orientation and national security policies of the
state and concerned agencies.

But our advocacy should be extended to become a campaign for a peace
process; a movement against political violence as a whole, promoting human
rights and extracting accountability from all parties (such as what Sulong
CARHRIHL aims to do, using the CARHRIHL as framework); a dialogue for
norms founded on life-affirming means and ends; a national quest for peace
built on respect for human rights.

Human rights, peace, students, development and other groups should come
together to work for new politics, the kind of politics that makes a firm
stand against political violence.

Buzan, Barry. 1983. People States & Fear, The National Security Problem in
International Relations. Hertfordshire: Harvester Wheatsheaf.
Rotberg, Robert . 2004. When States Fail, Causes and Consequence.
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.
Soyinka, Wole. 2004. Climate of Fear. London: Profile Books Ltd.
Stepanova, Ektarina. 2003. Anti-terrorism and Peace-building During and
After Conflict. Stockholm: Stockholm International Peace Research

Death squads in the Philippines

"It seems that the Colombian regime of Alvaro Uribe is not the only client of U.S. imperialism that uses paramilitary death squads against popular leaders, trade unionists and people’s organizations.

"Now the government of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the Philippines, who in 2002 was the first Asian leader to fully-embrace Bush’s so-called War on Terror, has unleashed this scourge on the people of her country, at the same time that she has re-invited U.S. troops onto the islands they were driven from in 1992." Read more from

Palparan can’t make it (AGAIN); hearing reset

"MAJ. Gen. (ret.) Jovito Palparan, blamed by militant groups for the spate of extrajudicial killings, could not make it to yesterday’s public hearing of the Melo Commission, prompting the panel to reset his appearance to next week." Read more from

Protests vs political killings set abroad to mark martial law

FILIPINOS and their allies in the United States will participate Thursday in an internationally coordinated global day of action condemning political killings in the Philippines. Read more from

Arroyo legitimacy sinks in quicksand

GMA has the international community is breathing down her neck. Amando Doronila explains why.

RP activists to hold protests in 10 countries over killings

FILIPINO activists will hold protests in the US and at least nine other countries to call for international condemnation of a wave of killings of left-wing activists in the Philippines, organizers said Tuesday. Read more.

Caravan vs murders, rights abuses launched

A caravan for human rights kicked off from this city’s business district Tuesday on its way to Manila to join a rally marking the day Martial Law was declared 36 years ago. Read more.

Farmers filing human rights cases before UN

ACTIVISTS are stepping up their campaign to bring international pressure to bear on the Arroyo government for the political killings in the country, with an official of a farmers’ organization flying to Geneva, Switzerland Sunday to file complaints before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Read more.

Marcos and Arroyo

"[...] In his long years as a professional politician, Marcos had gained an insight into the general predisposition of Filipinos—that they did not care enough about liberty to risk their lives defending it. For him, civil liberties and political rights had become so meaningless to most Filipinos because of their poverty that they would exchange them anytime for the promise of food and jobs. That many people went underground to fight his regime shows that he was wrong, but the fact that he lasted more than 13 years as a dictator suggests that he wasn’t entirely wrong. Had Marcos succeeded in turning the Philippine economy around and improving the economic situation of the average Filipino, it would have been impossible to overthrow him.

"Though the circumstances are not the same, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo finds herself today in an analogous situation. Because of the legitimacy problem that has hounded her since she assumed the presidency in 2001, she has had to fight every inch of the way just to survive. But every action she takes to protect her position only impels her toward an indefinite extension of her powers." Read more from the PDI's Randy David.

Kin of anti-Left killings form group to get justice

"The spouses of slain Bayan Muna-Kalinga leader Rafael Markus Bangit and activists Albert Terredano, Jose Doton, Jose Manegdeg III and Gloria Casuga joined the launching of Hustisya, ... [a] group to give the relatives of victims of political killings a stronger voice in demanding justice for the attacks on their loved ones." Read more from the PDI.

Hope, fear mix as desaparecidos’ kin wait

"Much like an expectant mother, Elizabeth Calubad has a bag of fresh clothes and personal items ready for when the time comes. But her expectation is tinged with fear: She does not know if the ones she is waiting for—her husband, National Democratic Front consultant Rogelio Calubad, and their son, 29-year-old Gabriel—are alive or dead." Read more from the PDI.

Demonizing the Left

"When a bully loses an argument, he pulls out a gun. The bully is the Arroyo administration. It has long lost the argument by blocking the search for truth in the allegations of massive cheating and vote-buying in the 2004 elections. Now it’s pointing a gun at the head of every critic who dares say her administration is illegitimate.

"That’s the long and short of the current spate of extra-judicial killings."

Read more from

PhIlippine Peasant Support Network condemns "red-baiting"

"Pesante-USA based in Los Angeles, in a statement ... vehemently condemns AFP
Chief General Esperon’s statement against Ocampo and Casino and other leaders of the progressive mass organizations in the Philippines." Read more from Los Angeles Indymedia.

Aeta Leader Abducted

"The reign of terror continues in Central Luzon even with the retirement of Palparan. At about 1:30 this afternoon, Nelson Mallari, secretary general of the CLAA was abducted by the ... Philippine National Police in a checkpoint," reports

Saber Republic

"Military officers apparently view all politicians with contempt. The generals were a no-show in a House inquiry on extrajudicial killings not just once, but twice," writes the PDI. Read more.

"A credibility problem on top of a legitimacy issue"

Elmer Ordonez discusses the Philippine government's image from an international perspective.

Amnesty International meets with president

Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan met with GMA and "presented the President with a memorandum setting out international guidelines on commissions of inquiries." Read more.

Europe takes note

The European Commission expressed concern over a surge in extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during Arroyo's trip to Brussels. Read more.

Good and bad

Conrado de Quiros points out that NPA threats to 'bring down' Palparan would only give GMA her "her own 9/11".

Amnesty International denounces appointment

THE London-based human rights group Amnesty International (AI) yesterday said giving Major Gen. (ret.) Jovito Palparan a position in government will only grant him "another legacy" despite numerous accusations of human rights violations. Read more.

KMU-SMR secretary general gets threat to life

"Kilusang Mayo Uno-Southern Mindanao Region (KMU, May First Movement) secretary general Omar Bantayan received threats to his life as he was about to leave his residence at around 10 a.m. this morning." Read more from the Antonio Zumel Center for Press Freedom.

A Day to Remember What Terrorism Means

from the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA)

"Two events presenting a harsh irony.

"Today is the 40th day since the death of Alyce Omengan-Claver. She is remembered by her family, friends and those who have known that the Clavers were ambushed as part of the implementation of Operation Plan Bantay Laya.

"Today, Major General Jovito Palparan, is celebrating his birthday and is retiring from service from the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He is being rewarded with the assurance that the government will surely take him into service after today whereas he should be punished for his human rights violations. Last week, an announcement was made that he will be appointed as deputy national security adviser for counter-insurgency operations - an appointment that was taken back because of the strong public opinion and international pressure against it. Nevertheless, the government assurance remains

"It should be recalled that the main suspect behind the Claver ambush, former Police Director Pedro Ramos was tagged as the protégé of Palparan. Like Palparan he sowed fear among the people of Kalinga. He labeled Bayan Muna, Cordillera Peoples Alliance and different people’s organizations as “the enemy”, as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. He formed death squads. He directed the assassination of Rafael Markus Bangit and the Claver ambush and the State has not held him accountable for it.

"Forty days after the Claver ambush, justice has not yet been served. Ramos was transferred to Region III and his mentor, Palparan, is being rewarded.

"While we continue to mourn and rage on this day, we should remember clearly what terrorism means. Terrorism means sowing fear into the lives of the people preventing them to live with dignity and with respect to their basic rights. This is what the State, Palparan and Ramos have been doing. This is what we should unwaveringly fight against.





For reference:
Beverly L. Longid
Vice Chairperson, CHRA
Contact nos: +6374 446.6227 or 442.6040

Tribute to the Martyred Heroes of the Cordillera

The Kalayaan Centre in Vancouver, Canada, pays tribute:

"As part of the international "Stop the Killings in the Philippines" Campaign, BIBAK and the British Colunbia Committee for Human Rights in the Phililppines organized a "Tribute to the Martyred Heroes of the Cordillera" Liturgy of Celebration and Renewal of Commitment: In memory of our martyrs in honour of the generation next to come.

"There was good attendance, powerful testimonials fromthe relatives of alyce and markus brought tears to the eyes of many of those present, community singing of "pananagutan" sung in tagalog and then english brought a warm sense of community, and the speakers challenged the community, expressing that this is just the beginning of the work that we need to do to ensure that the principals that markus and alyce fought for continues, as overseas cordillerans and filipinos our existance is always connected to our land and what takes place back home.

"Relatives, friends, and community members danced for justice to be served against those responsible for the deaths of markus, alyce, and all the victims of the political killings in the philippines.

"The tribute ended in high spirits with a feast of delicious foods including fresh wild sockeye salmon donated by local native fisherman of the Cheam First Nation."

For more photos visit:

Dictatorship cloaked in democracy

"Marcos was a dictator, but at least his Proclamation 1081 [the declaration of martial law in 1972] made sure that we understood that he was one," opines Sr. Crescencia Lucero, executive director of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines. Read more.

The face of terror

Patricia Evangelista writes eloquently and damningly about the power of naming and the abuse thereof.

‘One of the worst cases’ submitted to Melo Commission

The Philippine Daily Inquirer describes one particularly brutal case from 2005.

'The butcher' snubs court. Again. For the fourth time.

"For the fourth time, Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. [who is largely associated with the killings in Northern Luzon] was a no-show yesterday at a Court of Appeals hearing on a habeas corpus petition filed by the parents of two missing University of the Philippines students who allegedly were abducted by soldiers in Bulacan." Read more from

Only a tool after all

"There is indeed no sign that the international attention the killings are getting–and the Philippines’ fast developing reputation not only as “the most murderous place in the world for journalists” [...] but also as a country whose government cannot protect its citizens and “whose word is meaningless” [...]–is having any effect at all in stopping or even diminishing their number. Over the last two days there has instead been a palpable increase in abductions, illegal detention and political killings from north to south. It is almost as if someone were eager to meet a deadline or a quota."Read more of Luis Teodoro's commentary.

2 youth organizers nabbed in Nueva Ecija

"Police arrested two organizers of the militant youth group Anakbayan in Cabanatuan City on Monday," reports the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Read more.

Two more activists killed over the weekend

Candelario Ayuda, a member of the Bayan Muna party list, and Jovito Pinakilid, who had been campaigning for the rights of indigenous people in the province, were gunned down Sunday, September 3. Read more.

WCC condemns killings

The World Council of Churches released a statement condemning the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, and called on the "Philippine Government to hold accountable any members of the military found to be involved in extrajudicial killings, instruct the military to cease listing churches and church workers as "enemies of the state", and reverse the national security policy of making no distinction between combatants and non-combatants within the current counter-insurgency campaign."

An insider's perspective conducts an interesting interview with an ex-Philippine Military Army cadet, who now condemns the military "counter-insurgency" actions after his uncle---a leader of several leftist organizations---was killed.

DOJ accused of sitting on human rights cases

Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. yesterday accused the Department of Justice of sitting on the long list of cases of political killings and other rights abuses. Read more.

Another militant killed

"An organizer of the National Federation of Sugarcane Worker was shot dead Friday by two unidentified men in Manapla, Negros Occidental," writes the Malaya.

Proclamation No. 1017: Policy matrix of slaughter

The "crushing" of rebel armies---which has also resulted in the deaths of civilians---is part of President Arroyo's "crash program", intended to turn the Philippine socio-political situation around for the better. Amando Doronila points out what went wrong.

Palparan claims victory...

...over communist rebels in Lupao, Nueva Ecija, which he calls the “center of gravity” of the New People’s Army (NPA). Read more.

Command responsibility

"[President Arroyo] has not told Palparan that in a democracy, people are presumed innocent until proven guilty, she has told Palparan to keep up the good work," writes Conrado de Quiros.

Palparan’s trail: 136 cases in 11 months

Human rights watchdog Karapatan presents this statistic linking Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan to the "71 cases of summary executions, five massacres, 14 frustrated killings and 46 disappearances" in the Central Luzon Region.

2 activists arrested; crackdown feared

"Two activists were arrested without a warrant Friday (August 30) afternoon in Talisay City, stoking fears among militant groups of a fresh crackdown on political dissidents in Cebu," reports the PDI.

IFJ appalled by killings

The International Federation of Journalists slams the Philippines’ government for inaction, after month of murders, attacks and death threats against journalists.

The reign of criminals and outlaws argues that in spite of the number of people that communist insurgent groups have killed, only the government "enjoys a legally sanctioned monopoly over the instruments of violence, can formally be accused of human rights violations."

A softer, kinder butcher

Will Palparan's retirement and subsequent replacement with a "softer" Central Luzon commander bring an end to the killings? Amando Doronila comments.


Critics argue that the Melo commission--set up by the government to investigate the killings--has "no power to rein in the military or to ensure that witnesses are protected".

Another disppearance. Walang tigil talaga

Fisherman and leftist leader Napoleon Bautista was abducted along with his wife, who was later release by the kidnappers but only after she had been severely beat up, reports the PDI.

Probers tag soldiers in Albay pastor’s murder

Members of the Melo fact-finding team uncover evidence pointing to a military chain of command in the murder of Isaias Sta. Rosa.


France calls on the Philippine government to act on political killings. It has also called on the governement to ratify the United Nations draft convention that makes causing a person to “disappear” a criminal act.

CHR says Army blocking probe of Left killings

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, "the Commission on Human Rights has ordered six military commanders in Central Luzon to explain why they should not be cited in indirect contempt for their failure to cooperate and give information or testimony on pressing human rights issues in a public inquiry..."

Rage against the dying of the light

"...[A]n order of battle is an organizational tool used by military intelligence to list and detail enemy military units during war," writes Patricia Evangelista. "In Philippines 2006, an order of battle is an excuse to play God in the witch-hunt to crush the evils of communism. Those on the lists are as good as dead..."

The waiting dark

Patricia Evangelista attends the funeral of a murdered barangay officer and KMP member, and recounts harrowing stories of other recent killings.

A record-breaker not worth celebrating reports that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has surpassed former President and dictator Ferdinand Marcos in the number extra-judicial killings per annum:

Marcos: 120 per year
Arroyo: 145 per year

A Statement of Concern by the University Council of UP Baguio

The University Council of the University of the Philippines Baguio condemns the abductions and killings of activists and journalists nationwide, and demands justice for all the victims of disappearances and summary executions under the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. We deplore the inability of the government to protect its citizens, and we strongly call on the authorities to hasten the investigation and prosecution of those responsible.

Independent bodies monitoring the disappearances and killings of activists and members of media under the Arroyo administration have placed the figures between 271 and 717 with no signs of let-up despite the indignant protest of various organizations and institutions here and abroad.

The University Council expresses outrage over the killings on July 31 of Bayan Muna regional coordinator Alyce Omengan-Claver (who was shot in Kalinga along with husband Dr. Constancio Claver, Bayan Muna chairperson in the area), League of Filipino Students provincial spokesman Rei Mon Guran in Sorsogon, and Tanod tabloid photojournalist Prudencio Melendres, who was gunned down in Malabon, Metro Manila.

We are concerned for the safety of University of the Philippines students Sharelyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno, and their farmer companion, Manuel Merino, who were abducted in Bulacan by unidentified men on June 26. Major General Jovito Palparan, commander of the Army's 7th Infantry Division that operates in the region, was quoted by the media to have said that the three were members of the communist New People's Army and were collecting money from fishpond owners in the area. UP records show however that Karen Empeno is a Sociology major doing research in farming communities in Hagonoy, Bulacan for her undergraduate thesis, while Sharelyn Cadapan, who is pregnant, is a former student council officer at the University who works as a researcher for a farmers' group in Bulacan.

We decry the killing of Rafael Markus Bangit of Kalinga who was shot by unidentified gunmen in Echague, Isabela on 8 June, along with high school principal Gloria Casuga. Rafael Bangit was a staff member of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance working with village elders in Kalinga to resolve conflicts in the area, while Gloria Casuga was caught “in the crossfire.” Previous summary executions have also hurt and killed people who were apparently not in the hit list but were with the intended targets at the time of the attacks.

As an academic institution, we cannot remain silent on these extrajudicial executions. Justice, freedom of speech and the need to be critical on issues about the people and the country are values that we encourage in the University of the Philippines. Just like Karen Empeno and Sharelyn Cadapan, many of our graduates go back to the communities to serve. If we have taught them well, they would cry out against injustice and violations of human rights whenever they see one. We want them to be able to do this without fear and trepidation, and not to become victims of abductions and summary executions. The worst that could happen is that they live in fear, submit themselves to intimidation, and be silent witnesses to injustice and inequity.

The University Council calls for the immediate and unconditional release of Karen Empeno, Sharelyn Cadapan, Manuel Merino, and other victims of abductions. And we call on the UP Baguio community to demand for an immediate end to abductions and summary executions of activists and journalists in the country, to demand justice for all the victims, and to make a strong stand against these violations of human rights.

(24 August 2006)

UN Body Set to Hear Rights Complaints vs Arroyo

"Just as the Macapagal-Arroyo government is hounded by international protests over the spate of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines, victims’ relatives and rights groups are set to file complaints against the Macapagal-Arroyo government with the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) and other world bodies," writes Read more.

Reign of Terror

A PDI editorial comments on the fear instilled by Major General Palparan and the Philippine Army's 7th Infantry Division in Central Luzon.

In contempt

Patricia Evangelista recounts how Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan failed to appear in court... twice, and once it was because he was at a party. Palparan is the "alleged brain of human rights violations in Mindoro, Eastern Visayas and now in Central Luzon {}".

A Public Statement: Isabela Peace Conference on Extra-Judicial Killings

"Pepe Manegdeg III, Fr. William Tadena, Raul Y. Domingo, Abel Ladera, Marcelino Beltran, Ricardo Ramos, Ernesto Ladica, Alberto Gonzales, Mario Florendo, Rei Mon Guran, Elena Mediola, Ricardo Balauag, Madonna Castillo, Prudencio Melendres, Alice Omengan Claver. They are among, as of today, 720 Filipinos, including 115 Bayan Muna members, and five Isabelinos, fallen victims of extrajudicial killings since Mrs. Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001.

"Clergymen, rural missionaries, labor leaders, peasant organizers, student activists, members of Party list groups -- they all were once peace and human rights advocates wont to denounce structural evils in society and open eyes to the feasibility of a social order of justice and peace and prosperity for all.

"These victims had not engaged in illegal activities; they were not members of the New People’s Army. Rather, they were citizens but unprotected by the Arroyo government sworn to protect the people regardless of race, gender, religion and political persuasion Instead they were left as prey to executioners deployed by masterminds vested with big political, economic and military power to exploit and oppress the people. Are there to be no critics of forms of rule in society?

"We share the opinion of the Bishop of the Diocese of Ilagan, the Most Rev. Sergio L. Utleg, that “the killings are the work of a group working together, not done by individuals acting along. The murders are meant to frighten or eliminate ‘leftist activists’. The killers have access to firearms, are mobile and efficient in killing. The killers are never caught, and so they must have connection with people in authority; or are they the people in authority themselves.” (Pastoral Letter, August 6, 2006)

"The killings, not random but of a pattern, have caught international attention of Church and civil society groups. A fact-finding group, the International Peasant Solidarity Mission IPSM) has concluded that “the military, including Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, was involved in most of the political killings”. (Philippine Daily Inquirer, August 9, 2006) The IPSM with 68 delegates from the United States, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Japan and Nepal confirms public suspicion. If this be so, then the prophet Isaiah (59:3-4) addresses the murderers in no uncertain terms: “. . . . your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken lies, and your tongue mutters wicked things.”

"It is right and salvific that today, August 12, 2006, we the delegates to the Isabela Peace Conference on Extra-Judicial Killings, coming from the ecumenical Church and civil society, after prayerful discernment of issues, strongly condemn extra-judicial killings. We denounce the perpetrators even as we pray for their conversion and join forces to bring them to justice. Exodus 23:7 commands all: “Do not slay the innocent and the righteous.” This law “obliges each and all, always and everywhere.”

"Mrs. Arroyo, Security Adviser Norberto Gonzalez, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzales, Maj. Gen. Jovito Palaparan and the rightist-extremist Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP) and their ilk know the victims of Oplan Bantay Laya as mere statistics, destablizers of the regime, collateral damage. But our people know and honor them as martyrs and heroes.

"In their name, and in the name of all of good will, we call on:

  • All the people of Isabela to use all ways and means to end extra-judicial killings;
  • The Government to bring immediately the assassins and masterminds to justice, and indemnify the victims and their families;
  • Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to void the fascist Oplan Bantay Laya, and redirect her one billion peso anti-insurgency fund to economic development and social services;
  • Governor Grace Padaca and the Provincial, Municipal and Barangay offiicials to assert civilian rule over the military;
  • The Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to resume peace talks and resolve the root causes of poverty and social unrest;
  • The ecumenical Church to lead the people in prayer that God’s will be done “that justice roll down like a river and peace like an everlasting stream.” (Amos 5:21).

Issued this day, August 12, 2006
St. Ferdinand Cathedral Conference Hall
Upi, Gamu, Isabela

Another farmer's group leader murdered

Gilbert Jamile became the 139th victim of political killings in Southern Tagalog since 2001, reports the PDI.

Leftist killings a state-sanctioned policy?

The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism reports that fact-finding mission of the 68-member International Peasant Solidarity Mission (IPSM) supports the theory that the killings are part of a national security policy adopted by the Arroyo administration.

Peace-loving Filipino women in Canada honor Alice Omengan Claver: Filipina Martyr

The National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada honours Alice Omengan Claver. 

Mere Anarchy

Philippine Daily Inquirer columnist Patricia Evangelista writes about two missing students from the University of the Philippines.


"There's a farce being played out in the Philippines, and it’s orchestrated by the country’s putative president," writes Luis Teodoro, former dean of the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

‘Make killings an int’l issue,’ says political scientist

By Luige del Puerto
Last updated 03:38am (Mla time) 08/03/2006

Published on page A2 of the August 3, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

A POLITICAL scientist who suggested that the unabated killing of leftist activists might be part of state policy has come up with a four-point response to help check the murders.

The response includes challenging in forums the national security directions being adopted by the government, raising awareness about the assassinations in the international community, holding forums aimed at scrutinizing the national security policy, and seeking dialogues with key officials executing this policy.

“A saturation point where government will see that it will ultimately lose politically on the domestic and international fronts if it continues to follow this security track needs to be reached soon in order to stop this bloodletting,” Prof. Miriam Coronel Ferrer said in an article e-mailed to the Inquirer.

United Nations

On the international front, Ferrer said peace and human rights activists should bring the killings to the attention of the United Nations.

Locally, communities can be asked to issue statements condemning the murders, she said.

“[We should] generate more provincial or localized responses such as the publicized statement, ‘We thirst for peace,’ in Bulacan. Contacts in provinces where most victims came from should be encouraged to draw up similar responses,” she said.

“Meanwhile, other provinces should also be asked to issue ‘preventive’ statements, where they ask that their localities be spared from these violations,” she said.

Balancing act

Ferrer suggested a “balancing of ‘case-specific’ and ‘big picture’ responses.”

She added: “On the former, support groups can be formed for each case or similar set of cases. On the latter, more forums can be held looking at the national security policy of the government.

“These forums can be organized singly or jointly by the academe, NGOs (nongovernment organizations), lawyers groups, and peace and human rights coalitions.

“The government’s national security directions should be seriously challenged.”

Ferrer urged peace advocates to:

Write an open letter to the UN on the fact of the Philippines being elected to the Human Rights Council amid all the killings and call on the government to make good its pledges to this body.

Request meetings or dialogues with foreign embassies, the Executive Secretary, the military and police, the defense department, and the National Security Council on this concern.

Ferrer teaches the politics and history of Southeast Asia at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.

She was earlier sought by the Inquirer to comment on how the Philippines’ neighbors had dealt with and crushed communist insurgencies in their respective territories.

Sample letter

This is a sample letter that you may want to use when contacting the organizations, political figures, the media, or anyone else for that matter.


Dear _______________,

I am writing you in regard to the ongoing and unabated killings and abductions of journalists and political activists in the Philippines. According to Karapatan, a Philippine-based human rights group, since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo assumed the presidency of the country in 2001, 740 Filipinos have been murdered in extra-judicial killings. Pres. Gloria M. Arroyo’s program of wiping out opposition in two years’ time has brought about this orgy of killings. The victims of these brazen acts of violence were all unarmed citizens: lawyers, judges, journalists, medical practitioners, members of cause-oriented groups, priests, church-workers, human rights advocates, laborers and farmers. According to the New York- based Committee to Protect Journalists, the Philippines is fast becoming “the most murderous place in the world for journalists”. It is widely believed – and the country's own Human Rights Commission's findings support this belief – that state security forces are complicit in these crimes. The political killings will further be bolstered with the recent allocation of P1 billion to the military budget for counter-insurgency. Gen. Jovito “the butcher” Palparan, Jr., who is implicated in the recent abduction and disappearance of two female university students, and for most of the more than 700 killings as commander of the 7th Infantry Division, has just been appointed to the country’s National Security Council by Pres. Arroyo.

No amount of condemnation from the Philippine media, the Catholic Church and the general public is making the Arroyo rethink its all-out war policy and stop the slaughter of unarmed civilians.

The Arroyo government has abolished the death penalty. Bishop Emeritus Julio Xavier Labayen of the Roman Catholic however had this to say,” The all-out war declared by Pres. Arroyo is a contradiction of her own actions. She has abolished the death penalty but the all-out war promotes death.”

This is therefore an appeal to your organization, to look into the present human rights situation in the Philippines.

If you require more information, you may want to visit the following site:

I also invite you to go to the Asian Human Rights Commission's petition to stop extra-judicial killings in the Philippines:

Sincerely yours,

Amnesty International Philippine Reports
United Methodist bishops urge Bush to press Philippines to curb violence
United Church of Canada calls for Canada and the United Nations to take action
Arroyo hitmen Make Farce of Melo Commission - opinion piece by Amando Doronila
Our Very Own Dirty War - opinion piece by Walden Bello
Human and Right - opinion piece by Conrad de Quiros
Rage against the Dying of the Light - opinion piece by Patricia Evangelista
Left-Wing activist shot in the Philippines
Church groups worldwide air concern on killings in RP


The University of the Philippines demands the release of two abducted students.

Church-Worker Murders in the Philippines A Declaration of Solidarity and Protest from World Church Leaders

We church leaders, gathered here in Manila, July 12-16, 2006, represent churches throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Europe, and North America. We have been gathered here in prayer and for critical reflection on the way military, economic and cultural forces of US imperial power bring death and destruction to so many peoples and nations of the world.

We are shocked and dismayed by the news that at least 690 people have died as a result of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines - men and women, diverse activists, journalists and organizers throughout Filipino communities.

Of particular concern are our sister and brother church workers who have been slain by death squads that seem connected to powerful economic, military and political interests in the country. Eighteen church people have been murdered in the last two years, 15 of whom were working for the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP).

All of these were innocent, guilty of nothing save their resolve to be faithful in securing justice and fullness of life for the disenfranchised and repressed communities of their nation.

We give thanks for these activists' lives, for our church workers' prophetic witness in the name of justice, love and life - for the gospel. May their deaths not be in vain, bearing fruit for the ongoing restoration of all Filipinos seeking justice and freedom from poverty, discrimination and exclusion.

We pray for this violence to cease. May the families of the slain be comforted. May Filipino churches, media and society remember them by name, and begin the truth-telling that identifies their killers, so as to bring healing for all who love them and value their work.

We are strengthened in our resolve to resist the global empire's brutal political economy of poverty, repression, torture and assassination suffered by activists for justice and peace. We remain inspired today by the struggle waged and the sacrifice made by these faithful church workers.


Rev. Park Seong-Won, Young Nam Theological Seminary, World Alliance of
Reformed Churches, South Korea
Dr. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, United Theological College (Bangalore), India
Rev. Dr. Karen Bloomquist, The Lutheran World Federation, USA/Switzerland
Ms. Omega Bula, The United Church of Canada, Canada
Rev. Jameson Buys, Uniting Reformed Church in South Africa, South Africa
Bp. Erme Camba, Silliman University, Philippines
Rev. Cheryl Dibeela, United Congregational Church of Southern Africa,
South Africa
Prof. Dr. Ulrich Duchrow, Kairos Europa, Germany
Dr. Chris Ferguson, World Council of Churches/Jerusalem, Canada
Mr. Muto Ichiyo, Asian Peace Alliance, Japan
Ms. Carmencita Karagdag, Peace for Life, Philippines
Rev. Dr. Keum Jooseop, Council for World Mission, South Korea/Great Britain
Prof. Dr. Kim Yong Bock, Advanced Institute for Integral Study of
Life, South Korea
Sr. Mary John Mananzan, OSB, St. Scholastica's College, Philippines
Prof. Ninan Koshy, Political Commentator and Author, India
Ms. Rev. Patricia Sheerattan-Bisnauth, World Alliance of Reformed
Churches, Guyana/Switzerland
Rev. Dr. Mark Lewis Taylor, Princeton Theological Seminary, USA

CONTAK Philippines
(Church Office for International Network in the Philippines)
2/F UCCP National Offices
877 EDSA, West Triangle