Protestant clergyman tortured by police

Rev Berlin Guerrero, who was reported to have been abucted by the military on Sunday, was found yesterday, apparently tortured after police arrested him. Guerrero’s Church has condemned the abduction saying that it is probably part of a wider police crackdown against those who are fighting for the rights of workers and the poor. Read more from Asia News.

According to Death by Democracy sources, "he has a large contusion on his face and abrasions on his arms. [The interrogators] put a plastic bag over his head and used suffocation tactics."

Military behind killing of 16- and 20-year old Pollwatchers in Bicol – Kabataan Party-list

Witnesses and evidences gathered by human rights and people’sorganizations point to the military as the perpetrators in theabduction and killing of two Kabataan (Youth) Party-list poll watcherslast May 15. Read more from

Activist pastor abducted in front of Laguna church after Sunday service

Suspected soldiers abducted an activist pastor just outside a local United Church of Christ of the Philippines chapel in Binan, Laguna where he participated in a Sunday worship service.

UCCP Pastor Berlin Guerrero, who is based at the Union Theological Seminary in Cavite and is active in the ecumenical movement, has yet to be surfaced by his abductors as of press time.

Read more from Bayan Muna.

Two leftist poll watchers found dead in Philippines

Two members of a leftist political party in the Philippines were found dead after they were abducted while monitoring the counting of votes in mid-term elections in an eastern province, police and colleagues said Friday.

The deaths brought to 142 the number of election-related killings in the country since January.



At around 9:30 PM, April 12, 2007, Ma. Luisa Posa-Dominado of SELDA-Panay, Jose Ely “Liboy” Garachico of KARAPATAN, and Nilo Arado of BAYAN- Panay and ANAKPAWIS were on their way to Iloilo City from Antique when they were ambushed at Brgy. Cabanbanan, Oton, Iloilo, Philippines. Their vehicle, a Mitsubishi L200 pick-up, was overtaken by two vans. Two armed men got off from one of the vans, shot the driver, Liboy Garachico, who was then grabbed and thrown to the street. Read more from Arkibong Bayan.

Sign the petition to save Luisa and Nilo!

Statement of the Ecumenical Bishops Forum: Vestiges of Martial Law

The Ecumenical Bishops Forum (EBF), the fellowship of bishops from the United Church of Christ (UCCP), United Methodist (UMC), Episcopal Church in the Philippines (ECP), Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) and the Roman Catholic Churches in the Philippines lament the deployment of elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines in urban areas in the country. It is another nail hammered on the flailing limbs of freedom in this country.

There is no justification for their presence in these areas at this time. The AFP is called to defend this country from aggression and armed rebellion. The police force should suffice for preserving the peace in our communities. No country claiming to be democratic alows its soldiers to roam around communities in full battle gear. No country claiming to be free allows its soldiers to engage in partisan politics. Even civic functions which military officials claim soldiers perform in these communities are best left in the hands of other government agencies and other non-government organizations.

There is reason to believe that the deployment of troops in urban areas is directed at suppressing the support of the communities to principled and progressive party list groups. and this is being carried out through intimidation and harassment. This is the antithesis of the principle of inviting all to be involved in the political process rather than open rebellion. It smacks of covetousness where those who wield power are evidently after their own political survival and thus twist the definition of democracy to suit their ends. It further shows that under the current state of affairs, the military despite its denial continue to hold its sway over civilian rule. These are vestiges of martial law, a state President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo wanted to impose were it not for the vigilance of the citizenry.

The diversity of political opinions and political leanings and the respect thereto is the essence of a matured political system. A matured political system ensures the enjoyment of political rights. This is part of human dignity which the state is bound to nurture.

The EBF thus calls on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to order the immediate withdrawal of the soldiers from these urban areas. At the same time, we urge the people to remain focused in the preservation of whatever freedom we have gained - to live neither in fear nor under the barrel of the gun. Let us not be deceived into thinking that peace comes through the exercise of military might. Peace in our country comes when the roots of poverty and all those that breed unrest are addressed properly. Let us not lose sight of the hope that God has given us through the resurrection of our Lord - that the lowly shall achieve full liberation one day, both as a result of the burning desire to be free from all that bind them in misery and God's loving and abiding evidence.



Press Release by Ilocos Human Rights Advocates on the Arrest of Pastor Jun Bunoan

From the
Ilocos Human Rights Advocates (IHRA-KARAPATAN)

#16 Gomez St. Brgy. 4, Vigan City, Ilocos Sur 2700

Vigan City – The Ilocos Human Rights Advocates (IHRA-KARAPATAN) vehemently condemns the fascist Arroyo regime for persecuting political dissenters and peace advocates as manifested in the false charges against United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Pastor Jun Bunoan who was arrested and detained last April 21, 2007 in Baguio City.

IHRA believes these moves of GMA aim to dispel peace advocates from exposing her fascist character.

LastApril 21, at around 5:30 pm, UCCP Pastor Francisco "Jun" Bunoan, 45years old, and a resident of Aringay, La Union, was arrested byOperatives of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Intelligence Group-Cordillera while waiting for a ride together with his brother.Supt. James Bucayo and his team apprehended after confirming his identity and immediately brought him to Camp Dangwa where he stayeduntil April 22.

The arrest was made under the virtue of a Warrant of Arrest issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Abra fortheir alleged involvement in murder of Fr. Conrado Balweg in December31, 1999. On April 23, Pastor Jun was brought to the Abra Provincial Jail, and his arraignment is scheduled sometime in May.

Pastor Jun Bunoan was one of the 14 names that were accused of killing Fr. Balweg on December 31, 1999 despite the admission of the Agustin Begnalen Command (ABC) of the New People's Army (NPA) of the killing.

Others include the late Romy Sanchez ofBAYAN-Ilocos, Rev. Noel and Emelyn Dacuycuy of Ilocos Human Rights Advocates (IHRA), Avelino Dacanay and Nomer Kuan of Solidarity ofPeasants Against Exploitation (STOP Exploitation-KMP) and Lorna Rivera-Baba of Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) who suffered from severe torture from the military in 2000. However, their cases were dismissed after proving their innocence.

As a faithful servant of God and as a peace advocate, Pastor Jun Bunoan served as achurch worker of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)in the Ilocos Region. In line with his continuous service to the people, he is previously working at the North Luzon Jurisdiction (NLJ)under Bishop Mario Inong as a Researcher for Ilocos, Baguio, Tarlac andManila.

IHRA believes that Pastor Jun's arrest and detention is part of the OPLANBANTAY LAYA 2, the continuation of the futile OPLAN BANTAY LAYA 1. Said National Policy is aimed at annihilating the revolutionary movement by targetting the "legal fronts" of the Communist Party of the Philippines(CPP) for "neutralization" either by persecuting political dissentersor through spate of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance.

PastorJun is the third victim of criminalization of political offenses this year. Earlier two (2) peasants were falsely charged with Homicide and Murder respectively.

Amidst worsening human rights violations, the government of the republic of the Philippines (GRP) should be pressured to respect, defend and protect human rights at all cost.

Send your petitions and communications to call for the immediate release of PASTOR JUN BUNOAN and to scrap the case filed against him [to the following authorities].

Hon. Anita Chauhan
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights Region I
Pagdalagan, San Fernando City, La Union
Tel. No. (072)-700-3607

H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President of the Republic
Malacanang Palace,
JP Laurel St. , San Miguel
Manila Philippines
Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
Cell#: (+ 63) 919 898 4622 / (+63) 917 839 8462
E-mail: /

Office of the Peace Process
7th Floor Agustin Building I
Emerald Avenue
Pasig City 1605
Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
Mobile :
Fax:+63 (2) 635 9579

The Secretary for National Defense
Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
E. de los Santos Avenue
Quezon City
Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
Fax:+63(2) 911 6213

Hon. Purificacion Valera Quisumbing
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: (+632) 929 0102

Where’s the son of Joe Burgos?

Believing that her son may have been abducted, the wife of the late press freedom icon Joe Burgos Monday appealed for the release of 36-year-old Jonas Joseph Burgos.

Jonas has been missing with two companions since Saturday, according to Edith Burgos.

“We are asking anybody who may have seen him, or could be holding him, to please set him free,” Edith said in a press conference in Quezon City.

Edith declined to say who might be behind the possible abduction of her son, who has been actively involved in agri-technology training of peasant organizations.

But the Families of Desaparecidos for Justice issued a statement raising the possibility that the military was involved.

“This is a brazen act which only state security forces will have the motive and gall to carry out,” said Desaparecidos spokesperson Ghay Portajada.

Read more from the Inquirer.