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

Bulatlat.com 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 Bulatlat.com. 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: http://deathbydemocracy.blogspot.com

I also invite you to go to the Asian Human Rights Commission's petition to stop extra-judicial killings in the Philippines: http://www.pinoyhr.net

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