Video-interview of Quezon activist points to military as his abductors

June 12, 2012 | Press release from Karapatan Southern Tagalog Facebook.

Watch the video here.

 

Rights group KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog released today a video interview of Franklin Barrera Jr., youth activist from Quezon province who was recently reported to have been abducted and tortured by military elements. Barrera categorically stated in the video interview that he believes his abductors were members of the 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army stationed in Lopez, Quezon.

Last July 7, 2012, Barrera was reported (http://businessmirror.com.ph/home/nation/28439-military-hit-over-kidnap-torture-of-anti-mining-activist-in-quezon) to have been abducted by unidentified armed men in Lopez town. According to a  statement he made to KARAPATAN, he was tortured and interrogated but managed to escape the same day. At about 1:00 AM the next day, members of KARAPATAN-Quezon fetched Barrera in a hospital in Atimonan town and took him to the KABATAAN-Partylist office in Lucena City.

On June 10, Barrera left the office without notice and was later reported to be in the hands of the military again. The video interview was shot last June 8, two days before he left the KABATAAN-Partylist office.

KARAPATAN-ST secretary general Glendhyl Malabanan said the video clearly refutes AFP’s statement yesterday accusing their group of propagating a “tall tale” to “demonize the military.”

Yesterday, Colonel Eduardo Año, commander of the Army’s 201st Brigade operating in Quezon, issued a statement (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/210369/quezon-activist-escapes-points-to-npa-as-abductors-–-army-exec) claiming that members of the New People’s Army (NPA), not the military, were behind the abduction. He said Barrera feared for his life and sought help from the military. He also claimed that Barrera himself is a member of the NPA.

“We stand by our earlier statements that Barrera is an activist and not a member of the NPA. Just like what Barrera said in his interview, we believe that the military are the only ones who have a clear motive in perpetuating such an atrocity. As an activist and a critique of government and military  policies, Barrera is a prime target for human rights abuse,” Malabanan said.

In the video, Barrera said he is the current coordinator of KABATAAN-Partylist in the fourth district of Quezon. He said he has stopped from schooling in order to “serve society.”

Malabanan stated though that should Barrera stick with the Col. Año’s story, they only see this as a possible result of the military’s coercion and intimidation tactics. She said the military uses such dirty psy-op tactics like they did in the case of the Morong 43.

“We can also see in the video how calm and composed Barrera is, which we can look at as a sign that he does not feel any fear for his life during that time, and is most likely telling the truth. Meanwhile, Col. Año on the other hand has no credibility when it comes to human rights issues. He is a suspect in the abduction of activist Jonas Burgos in 2007. He has no moral authority to lay claims that the military has no hand in Barrera’s abduction,” Malabanan added.


STOP MILITARIZATION, SAVE THE PEOPLE OF QUEZON!—Karapatan Southern Tagalog press statement

14 May 2012


The human rights group KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog, along with the victims’ families and other sectoral organizations in the region, condemn in the strongest possible terms the unprecedented deployment of military in the province of Quezon, which has resulted to escalating human rights violations in the area. To date, at least 8 battalions of the Philippine Army have been operating in the Southern part of Quezon alone.

Units deployed in the area include Philippine Army’s 85th, 76th, 74th, 59th Infantry Battalions, 1st Special Forces of the Philippine Army, 201st Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, CAFGU and 416th Provincial Police Mobile Group. While past administrations have also employed militarization in their counterinsurgency programs, the recent deployment in South Quezon is but alarming considering the concentrated number of military relative to the area it operates.

Quezon, specifically South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula, can be considered as center of agricultural production where products such as coconut, corn, and grains abound. Minerals such as gold and petroleum also flourish in these areas. Development programs of both the government and private companies which include Bio-diesel in Gumaca, Mirant Powerplant Extension in Atimonan, and dam construction in Macalelon are also concentrated in South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula. Touted as ‘Hacienda belt’, Bondoc Peninsula, meanwhile, has thousands of farm lands owned by the families Murray, Soleta, Estrada-Quizon, Tan, Reyes and Matias.

With these potential coupled with the agricultural blissfulness of the province, and the growing resistance of the locals particularly of the farmers, it is no wonder why the government has deployed that much number of military and police to South Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula.

A case of abduction in Macalelon town in March 27, 2011 was already reported to Karapatan. Unidentified armed men allegedly took farmer Felix Balaston to the 85th Infantry Battalion’s camp. He remains missing to date.

Just recently, last March 22, 2012, some drunk members of the 74th Infantry Battalion were reported to have manhandled some youth in San Andres town namely Rey Rodrigo (16 y/o), Reynaldo Delos Santos(18y/o) and Elmer Desuyo(21 y/o).

Other cases of threat, harassment, intimidation, illegal arrest and detention perpetrated against local farmers are also being verified by KARAPATAN-ST.

Army forces are currently stationed in houses and barangay (village) centers. Detachments are mounted in about 50 barangays in the rural areas of South Quezon. Several local farmers’ groups in South Quezon consistent in their struggle for genuine land reform against big landlords and businesses are now targeted by the military in their operations.

We call on the Aquino administration to immediately pull out the military and police troops deployed in South Quezon. While the government proudly banners its counter insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan in the name of ‘peace and development’ and continues to echo its mantra for the ‘respect for human rights’, farmers, workers, and other members of the basic sectors fighting for their democratic rights experience the most inhumane treatment from state forces.

We decry the brutality and manhandling of the military and police forces to the people of Quezon. It is unacceptable how those who have sworn to protect the interests of and defend the people are now the ones causing terror and sowing fear to them. The militarization in Quezon is not an isolated case. Elsewhere in the country, suppression of democratic and civil rights is blatant and prevalent. During the time of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, there were about 180 reported cases of extra judicial killings (EJKs), 32 enforced disappearances, and other atrocities in the Southern Tagalog region alone. The human rights situation has even exacerbated when President Aquino assumed position, with 16 cases of EJKs and 3 disappeared in the region. Not to mention the continuing crackdown and filing of trumped up charges against political activists.

If President Aquino is serious in bringing justice and long-lasting peace in the country, then we challenge him to investigate the human rights cases and put an end to these human rights abuses by denouncing its Oplan Bayanihan. He can never silence the growing unrest of the people. As his regime continuously deny the people of their basic rights and liberty, the oppressed people are left with no other choice but to stand up and fight.

We rally all peace loving citizens to unite in condemning this injustice and abuse done to our fellow men. We also call on everyone to support the anti-militarization and anti-fascist campaign in the region.

This is just the start. We vow to continue the struggle until all forms of human rights violations is stopped and justice is served to all victims.

 

EXPOSE AND OPPOSE OPLAN BAYANIHAN!

JUSTICE TO ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS!

MILITARY TROOPS IN THE COUNTRYSIDE, OUT NOW!


AFP, Stop Spreading Your Lies

15 May 2012


The Armed Forces of the Philippines Human Rights Office (AFPHRO), in a news article on the Philippine Daily Inquirer that came out last May 14, is boasting that the AFP has a clean human rights slate from January to April this year and all other human rights violations cases filed at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) from July 2010 are mere accusations.

The AFP should stop spreading its lies.

An estimated eight battalions of the Army, police and CAFGU are currently stationed in 22 towns in the southern part of Quezon. Such a concentration of forces in rural communities translates to an escalation of human rights violations.

In a press conference we have organized last Monday, farmers from Quezon shared stories of military abuse.

Among them was Christopher Prieto, a farmer from Mulanay, Quezon. Last May 9, at around 1:00 A.M., several armed men in combat boots came to his house accusing him of hiding a gun. When his wife asked the unwanted visitors who they were, they only answered “Why do you need to know who we are?”

Prieto said some of his neighbors were brought to a military camp last January, interrogated and accused of being New People’s Army (NPA) rebels. One was even beaten up.

In Catanuan, Quezon, military men disrupted 17-year-old Manilyn Caribot’s funeral, who died in a crossfire between the 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) and the NPA last April 29.

Her aunt, Genelyn Dichoso, was offered Php 150,000 by two army men (one introduced himself as a lieutenant from the 76th IBPA) for her to refrain from filing a case against the military. She declined.

On Caribot’s funeral last May 5, two 6×6 army trucks filled with soldiers in full battle gear stood waiting at the cemetery entrance.  The soldiers surrounded the grave where Manilyn was set to be buried. While all this was happening, soldiers reportedly ransacked Dichoso’s house, as well as five others,.and allegedly pointed their guns at children who were left at home.

Felix Balaston, a farmer from Macalelon, Quezon, was seen by witnesses being brought to the 85th IBPA camp on March 27, 2011. His wife, Mirasol, is still searching for him up to now.

Many other cases of threat, intimidation, harassment, manhandling have also been reported to Karapatan by local farmers.

Certainly, the AFP will dismiss these cases again as mere accusations.

Let us not forget that during the Arroyo administration, more than a thousand fell victim to extrajudicial killings and hundreds to enforced disappearance, yet no one was ever convicted. That does not mean that the victims were simply spreading accusations.

Human rights violations continue under the current Aquino administration’s Internal Peace and Security Plan “Bayanihan” or “Oplan Bayanihan.” Like its predecessor Oplan Bantay Laya, Oplan Bayanihan is a counterinsurgency program devised to quell any form of dissent, armed or unarmed, by any means necessary. It blurs the distinction between what is legal and illegal. Ultimately, innocent civilians become prime victims.

There is a great need to defend human rights, especially when the violators will do anything in their power to mislead the public. There is a great need for all who know in their hearts the importance of human rights to unite and take a stand against injustice.

Stop human rights violations now.

Glendhyl Malabanan

Secretary General

Karapatan-Southern Tagalog

karapatan.st@gmail.com


Kundenahin ang panibagong crackdown sa mga progresibong samahan sa Southern Tagalog! –KASAMA-TK

PANIBAGONG CRACKDOWN SA MGA PROGRESIBONG SAMAHAN SA SOUTHERN TAGALOG

Axel Pinpin, a peasant leader and a nationalist poet.

Sa Abril 28 ay ika-6 na taon ng pagdukot sa pangkalahatang kalihim ng Kasama-TK na si Axel Pinpin at apat (4) pa niyang kasamahan sa Tagaytay City ng mga di-kilala at armadong kalalakihan na kalaunan ay makikilalang mga elemento ng Naval Intelligence Security Force at Police Regional Office-CALABARZON.

Tatlong (3) gabi at dalawang (2) araw silang itinago, tinortyur at ininteroga bago iniharap sa media bilang mga top ranking officials ng New People’s Army na diumano’y nakikipagsabwatan noon sa mga rebeldeng sundalo ng grupong Magdalo, na pinamunuan ng ngayo’y Senador na si Antonio Trillanes, para pasabugin daw ang magaganap na rali sa Mendiola sa Pandaigdigang Araw ng mga Manggagawa.

Mayo 5 na nang dalhin sa korte sina Axel Pinpin at sinampahan ng kasong Rebelyon.

Pagkalipas ng 28-buwan, na-dismiss ang kaso at pinalaya sila dahil ayon sa Regional Trial Court Branch No 18 sa Tagaytay City ay hindi sapat ang ebidensya para patunayan ang ipinaparatang ng estado kina Axel Pinpin at mga kasamahan niya.

Alex Arias, chairperson of Pagkakaisa't Ugnayan ng mga Magsasaka sa Laguna.

Abril 7, ilegal na inaresto si Alex Arias, tagapangulo ng PUMALAG (provincial chapter ng Kasama-TK sa Laguna) ng elemento ng 1st Infantry Batallion ng Philippine Army. Isinasangkot siya at ang apatnapu’t dalawa (42) pang pangalan sa kasong Kidnapping with Murder kay PFC Eriberto Eclaveao ng Philippine Army at isa pang alias Ka Troy na diumano ay naganap noong Mayo 27, 2007.

Ang kaso ay isinampa sa Mauban, Quezon at tinanggap ng Asst Provincial Prosecutor na si Joel Angelo Putong. Nasa RTC Branch No 64 ngayon ang kaso sa ilalim ni Judge Rodolfo D. Obnamia, Jr.

Bago ito, noong Abril 3, ilegal ring inaresto ng Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG-PNP) si Reynante Gamara. Ang warrant of arrest niya ay kaparehong mandamyento de aresto na ginamit kay Alex Arias.

Sa testimonya ng witness na si Erwin Rosales, diumano’y rebel returnee, isinasangkot niya ang mga pangalang: Rosemarie Domanais, Tirso Alcantara, Dionisio Almonte, Romel Riza, Alex Arias, Raul Razo at Andrea Rosal, at tatlumpu’t anim (36) pang pawang mga alyas.

Kabilang sa Warrant of Arrest at bahagi ng testimonya ng testigo ang pagbanggit sa pangalang “Ka Axel”.

Bukod sa katawa-tawa, higit na nakakapangamba ang ganitong kabobohan ng umiiral na judicial process sa bansa dahil sa ginawang pagtanggap ng korte sa mga pangalang pawang alyas bilang mga akusado sa isang krimen.

Lumalabas ngayon na sinumang magustuhan ng estado na arestuhin dahil pinaghihinalaan siyang gumagamit ng ganitong alyas o nagkataong ito ang tunay nyang pangalan — ay hindi na ligtas sa nabanggit na kasong Kidnapping with Murder.

Typographical error man o malisyosong sinadya ang paggamit sa pangalang “Ka Axel” — mariing kinukondena ng KASAMA-TK ang panibagong gawa-gawang kasong ito na sa katutohanan ay tumatarget sa mga progresibong samahan at lider sa rehiyon ng Southern Tagalog at buong bansa.

Kung pahihintulutan ng Korte ang ganitong buktot na pakana ng PNP at AFP, tiyak na magmumukang karnabal ng mga pasistang payaso at komikerong hukom ang mga korte sa bansa. Halimbawa, kung isasangkot si Axel Pinpin dahil kikilalanin ng korte na siya rin ang “Ka Axel” sa kasong nabanggit, kasalukuyan siyang nakakulong sa Camp Vicente Lim noong mangyari ang sinasabing pangingidnap at pamamaslang.

Ganitung-ganito rin ang maitim na disenyo ng pagsasampa sa gawa-gawang kaso laban sa ST-72 na na-dismiss na rin noong nakaraang buwan.

Kailangang alalahanin din ang ginawang pakyawang pag-aakusa sa 27-indibidwal sa probinsya ng Batangas noong 2008 at ang 62-indibidwal sa lalawigan ng Rizal noong 2009. Pawang na-dismiss ang mga nabanggit na kaso.

Kung gayon, kailangang kagyat na ibasura ng RTC Branch No 64 sa lalawigan ng Quezon ang gawa-gawang kasong ito upang matigil ang mga ilegal na pag-aresto at pagbibilanggo sa mga inosenteng sibilyan. Kailangang higit na maging mapagbantay ang mamamayan sa maruming pakana ng pasismo ng gobyerno na nakakubli sa ilalim ng Oplan Bayanihan ng Armed Forces of the Philippines.

PALAYAIN SI KA ALEX ARIAS AT REYNANTE GAMARA! PALAYAIN ANG LAHAT NG BILANGGONG POLITIKAL!

KUNDENAHIN ANG PANIBAGONG CRACKDOWN SA MGA PROGRESIBONG SAMAHAN SA SOUTHERN TAGALOG!

KARAPATAN NG MAMAMAYAN, IPAGLABAN!

__________

Dagdag na Tala:

Mga alyas na nasa Warrant of Arrest:

Kuba, Ces, Alex, Louie, Fay, Nick, Buth, Boyong, Mike, Gerald, Jing, Bibet, Nomer, Sergio, Mark, AJ, Ramon, Benhur, Anton, Jerry, Bitoy, Rico, Memong, Philip, Sandra, Jomel, Olive, Boy, Seven, Iloy, Bing, Ronron, Regie, Sarim, Axel, Arly


Aquino reviving ‘dirty war’ versus youth critics of government


by ANAKBAYAN on April 14, 2012 10:30 am. Click here to go to original post.

The recent spate of human rights violations against youth and student activists has alarmed a national youth group, saying that the violations are part of the Aquino administration’s drive to clamp down on the intensifying criticism and disillusionment against it.

According to the youth group Anakbayan, 22 youths and students have fallen victim to various human rights violations at the hands of military personnel in the first 14 weeks of the year. The most recent three are all members of the said organization: Christian Tuayon, chairperson of Anakbayan’s chapter in Negros, was arrested last April 3 after trumped-up charges of robbery were filed against him by the military.

Cleve Arguelles and Nikki Gamara, both students of the University of the Philippines Manila, were subjected to surveillance and harassment by suspected military agents on April 2 and 3. Gamara is the daughter of Reynante Gamara, a Bayan Muna campaigner and urban poor-workers’ organizer, who was arrested on the same day as Tuayon.

“The military cannot deny its hand behind these attacks and harassments. As I learnt from my personal experience, the AFP has a ‘With Us or Against Us’ mindset. Anyone critical of the government and the status quo are immediately viewed as ‘subversives’ or ‘enemies of the state’” said Anton Dulce, national vice chairperson of Anakbayan, himself a victim of military abuse.

The youth leader is a member of the ‘Porac 3’: three students of the University of the Philippines Diliman who were verbally and physically abused by the military while the former were conducting their course’s practicum at an Aeta community in Porac, Pampanga.

“But more importantly, even the government’s courts have linked the military with human rights violations, as in the case of retired general Jovito Palparan” he said.

The Army officer was charged last December by the Court of Appeals with the abduction and enforced disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan last June 2006 in Hagonoy, Bulacan. He has also been accused with hundreds of other cases of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances in Mindoro, Samar, and the entire Central Luzon region.

“The attacks are all part of the Aquino administration’s plan to halt the rising tide of disgust of the Filipino people against it. The military is hoping that it can silence one of the more critical, vocal, and active sectors of our society” said Dulce.

Youth and student groups such as Anakbayan have been at the forefront of protests against various programs and policies of the Aquino administration. They led the ‘student strikes’ against budget cuts to education and other social services in 2010 and 2011, the first-ever large-scale protests under the reign of President Benigno Simeon ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III. Recently, members of Anakbayan invented ‘Noynoying’, a form of protest which depicted Aquino’s inaction on important national concerns, and one which quickly became popular worldwide.

Kaugnay na artikulo:

Two UP students harassed during Holy Week


Surface Ka Alex Arias, P-Noy, AFP told

The militant peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) and the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) today condemned the abduction of its provincial chairperson and demanded the Aquino government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to immediately surface Alex Arias, chairperson of the Pagkakaisa’t Ugnayan ng mga Magsasaka sa Laguna (PUMALAG – KMP), who was abducted by suspected state security forces last April 7.

Reports reaching the KMP national office state that Arias, 56, was driving a motorcycle on his way home to Liliw, Laguna last Saturday when blocked by armed men in Barangay (village) Bubukal in Sta. Cruz town. The armed men, believed to be elements of the 1st Infantry Battalion – Philippine Army were riding a van also escorted by a number of motorcycles.

“We vehemently condemn this latest attack by the Aquino government and state security forces against peasant leaders. We demand Aquino and the AFP to immediately surface Ka Alex,” says KMP deputy secretary general Randall Echanis.

Echanis said “the enforced disappearance of Ka Alex clearly demonstrates the Aquino government’s continuing attacks against farmers demanding their rights to the lands.”

Local residents in Barangay Tuy Baanan in Liliw, Laguna where Arias is residing testified that the military have been looking for him since the Philippine Army put up a detachment in the village last month.

“Ka Alex is an active peasant leader in the region. Being the chairperson of PUMALAG, he is also a member of the regional council of Kasama-TK and the national council of KMP,” according to Axel Pinpin, secretary general of Kasama-TK.

Pinpin, a political detainee during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, stressed that illegal arrest and detention is still continuing in the country under the Oplan Bayanihan of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“There is no reason for us to doubt that the state elements are involved in the illegal arrest and disappearance of Ka Alex. We will not be surprised if later on they will be presenting Ka Alex to the media as another top-ranking official of the New People’s Army carrying guns and explosives,” Pinpin added. #

For more news updates, see Pinoy Weekly Article here.