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The Daily Tribune

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Impunity in the City of Gentle People

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Impunity in the City of Gentle People

“Here we have a political climate blanketed by fear and submission, and a system that promotes such.” Karapatan
DUMAGUETE CITY — Around 4 o’clock in the afternoon of June 10, 2009, three gunshots echoed in a quiet street of Dumaguete City, a place reputed as the City of Gentle People.

In an instant, Fermin Lorico, 52, a farmer activist, was killed. He was on his way to a meeting after attending an otherwise successful anti-charter change rally in the city.

Lorico’s murder is just one of the many human rights cases in Negros Oriental that remains unsolved.
In 2009 alone, Karapatan recorded 95 cases of abuse, including five extrajudicial killings, four cases of torture, and 22 cases of various forms of harassment, among others. This does not include cases from previous years, which, up until today remains unsolved.

Karapatan is an independent human rights watchdog critical of government abuses, especially those committed by military personnel against the disadvantaged sectors of society like farmers and the urban poor.

The most recent case of abuse recorded by Karapatan against farmers in Negros Oriental was the burning of two houses in Sitio Avocado, Barangay Talalac, Sta. Catalina last June 2011. The people who responded to the incident were slapped with criminal charges that could land them in jail for six months and fined with up to 5,000 pesos ($ 115.45).

Task Force Lorico

The gruesome murder of Lorico in the heart of the city prompted then City Mayor Agustin Ramon M. Perdices to direct the city police into forming a task force. Two years after, Lorico’s family has yet to find justice.

Task Force Lorico boasted of an elite group of individuals coming from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the Scene of the Crime Operatives, and investigation and intelligence personnel from the city and provincial headquarters of the Philippine National Police. But these were empty boasts as no arrests were made albeit leads that would point to any suspect to the killing.

P/Insp Philippedes Sillero, investigation officer of the Dumaguete City Police Office, confirmed this.
“I thought that case was already closed,” Sillero said when asked by Bulatlat.com for an update. He admitted that since he returned to the post last September he is no longer up to date on the case.
Sillero headed the investigation of the case in 2009 until late last year, when he was assigned to another post for promotion.

Juliet Ragay, a colleague of Lorico in the local farmers group Kaugmaon, questioned the sincerity of the Dumaguete police in solving the case.

Ragay currently chairs a local peasant women’s group called Babayeng Negrense Isulong ang Kalingkawasan (Banika-Amihan) and replaced Lorico as member of the board of trustees of the Central Visayas Farmers Development Center..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/11/23/impunity-in-the-city-of-gentle-people/

Occupy Wall Street's first fatality (VIDEO)

Occupy Wall Street's first fatality (VIDEO)

 A protester in Seattle, Washington aligned with Occupy Wall Street says that an assault from a cop last week has caused a miscarriage, which if true marks the first loss of life from police brutality since the demonstrations began two months ago.

Photographers were on hand November 15 to document 19-year-old Jennifer Fox being pepper-sprayed by police in Seattle while participating in an Occupy protest on the West Coast. Along with an assault on an 84-year-old activist, the incident involving Fox, then pregnant, was arguably not only the most disturbing scene out of the Occupy Seattle movement but out of the international demonstrations altogether. Less than a week later now, Fox says that she has suffered a miscarriage and according to her, doctors say that an attack from police is to blame.

"Everything was going okay until yesterday, when I started getting sick, cramps started, and I felt like I was going to pass out," Fox tells The Stranger out of Seattle..... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/usa/news/occupy-miscarriage-fox-seattle-959/

Storm Watch: Arab Spring

 Storm Watch: Arab Spring
“Arab Springs” are not as spontaneous as the Western mainstream media would have us believe. Their behind-the-scenes instigators always get “a little help from their Global Power Elite mega-planning friends...”
­Isn’t it rather odd that after long decades of slumber, starting in early 2011 millions upon millions of Arabs throughout North Africa and the Middle East suddenly woke up, took to the streets, violently clashed with police and security forces, overthrew their governments and in one instance – Libya – managed to deliver their country to a perverse alliance of foreign terrorists, local thugs, CIA operatives and NATO bombers, eventually murdering their own exceptional leader, Muammar Gaddafi, live on global TV?

Question: just how spontaneous are these major social convulsions that lead to revolution, chaos, battles on streets and squares, thousands dead and injured, and the violent overthrow of entire governments?  To a certain degree they are, no doubt, spontaneous: people are growing weary of their national governments’ growing inability to resolve vital collective problems.  .... MORE


URL: http://rt.com/news/arab-spring-western-help-025/

(s/ Video) Cluster bombs dropped on Libya funded by Spanish banks

Several major Spanish banks are reported to have been financing controversial arms-producing companies which have supplied cluster bombs to Libya.

­Annie Yumi Joh, an anti-war campaigner, told RT a Human Rights Watch report suggests the Instalaza SA Company supplied bombs used by the Libyan leader forces against his own people.

“Instalaza SA produced cluster bombs to be sold to Gaddafi in 2007. We had to figure out who exactly had granted loans to this company and we were surprised to find a number of Spanish banks, even small saving banks, that had provided loans to this company, which undoubtedly had been used to finance the production of cluster arms,” she explained..... MORE

URL: http://rt.com/news/libya-spain-gaddafi-cluster-bomb/

Group formed to ensure Arroyo brought to court

Group formed to ensure Arroyo brought to court

“The Arroyos will not run out of cards to play as long as they have the numbers in the Supreme Court. So what really matters now, apart from sound legal tactics, is the political decisiveness of the Aquino administration.”

MANILA — In anticipation of maneuvers by the Arroyo’s counsels to ensure that their client escapes accountability,various groups and personalities formed the Gloria Panagutin Movement (Hold Gloria Accountable Movement).

Sr. Mary John Mananzan, Pagbabago! co-chairperson and co-chair of the Association of Major Religious Superiors, veteran actress and writer Bibeth Orteza, whistleblower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, Edre Olalia of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), Bayan chairwoman Dr. Carol P. Araullo, Mrs. Edith Burgos and Pagbabago! convenor Fr. Joe Dizon came together and resolved to act to thwart the Arroyo camp’s maneuvers and to push the Aquino administration to file more cases against the former president.
The group called on the public to be vigilant on the Arroyo camp’s various maneuvers to escape accountability. The group joined a protest at the Supreme Court during Tuesday’s en banc session.

Benedictine sister Mananzan said the Supreme Court should not allow Arroyo to leave the country. “If she goes out of the country, it is certain she would not come back. She must be held accountable for her sins,” Mananzan said in her speech during a rally in front of the Supreme Court, Nov. 22.

“The Arroyo camp still has a hefty war chest and a reliable ally in the Supreme Court. We take vigilance as majority of the Supreme Court justices may still act according to political patronage. The Supreme Court could still give Arroyo a ticket out of jail and even out of the country,” said Dizon, Pagbabago! spokesman.
NUPL’s Olalia said while the Aquino administration has legal options in prosecuting the Arroyos, the latter could always go to the Supreme Court where they have the numbers.

“The Arroyos will not run out of cards to play as long as they have the numbers in the Supreme Court. So what really matters now, apart from sound legal tactics, is the political decisiveness of the Aquino administration,” he said.

Despite the downpour, activists hold a picket rally in front of the Supreme Court, Nov. 22, demanding the prosecution of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo(Photo by Ronalyn V. Olea / bulatlat.com)
“What we are facing now is a Supreme Court that boasts of upholding the rule of law. Is the right of an ordinary citizen to travel abroad the issue here? Can Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and husband Mike Arroyo be considered as ordinary citizens? If they are ordinary citizens, do you think the Supreme Court would prioritize the petitions they filed?” Carol Araullo, Bayan chairwoman, said.

Araullo pointed out that the watch list order was initiated by Arroyo’s Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez. “They did not question it. They did not consider reviewing it. At that time, they never thought they were violating the right of ordinary citizens to travel. But now that they are at the receiving end of what might be a questionable watch list order, they were too quick to file a petition for TRO (temporary restraining order).”

“Did you not notice how fast Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo got the TRO? Did you not notice that instead of waiting for the DOJ to receive the TRO order, the Supreme court spokesperson made the announcement over the radio and television very early in the morning? The repeatedly announced that the TRO was final and executory and that Arroyo can travel. Is this not enough proof of collusion? Even the conditions they gave, that Arroyo must deposit two million pesos. Two million? That’s only for her snack, right?”.... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/11/23/group-formed-to-ensure-arroyo-brought-to-court/

In Photos: 2nd anniversary of Ampatuan massacre marked with protests

 In Photos: 2nd anniversary of Ampatuan massacre marked with protests

MANILA – On the eve of the second anniversary of the Ampatuan massacre, members of the campus press and human rights groups called for an end to impunity.

The Ampatuan massacre on November 23, 2009 claimed the lives of 58 individuals, of whom 32 are journalists. One victim, Reynaldo Momay, photographer of Midland Review remains missing. Suspects are members of the Ampatuan clan, an influential political family inMaguindanao province.

At around 10 a.m., members of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) tied black ribbons along España avenue in Manila as a sign of mourning and injustice for the victims of the massacre.

“It has been two years since the Maguindanao massacre happened but still no justice,” said Antonio Perdigon, CEGP-National Capital Region chairman.

Photo by Bulatlat.com

Later in the afternoon, church people and members of cause-oriented groups gathered at the Boy Scout Circle in Quezon City and lit candles and lanterns bearing words “End Impunity”

“Seven hundred and thirty days have passed since the Maguindanao massacre, President Aquino is in power for more than 500 days, still the case is not yet resolved,” Nardy Sabino, secretary general of Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR), said.

“The killings continue under the new administration and one is the killing of Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio who was shot ten times just to make sure that he is dead. The killings will continue if the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan will not be scrapped by the President,” Sabino added..... MORE


URL: http://bulatlat.com/main/2011/11/23/back-story-a-look-back-at-arroyo%E2%80%99s-many-sins-and-why-she-should-pay/

GMA hit with massacre lawsuit 11/23/2011

GMA hit with massacre lawsuit

Relatives of 57 people killed in the Philippines’ worst political massacre plan to sue then President Arroyo for arming and supporting the alleged murderers, their lawyer said yesterday.

The civil suit seeking P15 million ($345,000) in damages will force Arroyo to fight another tough legal battle, after police charged her last week with conspiring to rig the 2007 senatorial elections.

The lawyer for the victims’ relatives, Harry Roque, said the lawsuit would be filed at a Manila court on Tuesday afternoon, deliberately timed just ahead of Wednesday’s two-year anniversary of the massacre..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111123hed4.html

Failed House support on Noy’s moves vs GMA, LP waters down resolution By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 11/23/2011

Failed House support on Noy’s moves vs GMA, LP waters down resolution

By Gerry Baldo and Charlie V. Manalo 11/23/2011

Former president, Rep. Gloria Arroyo, remains a force to reckon with under the Aquino administration as shown by a watered-down Resolution 1918 which expressed support for Pre-sident Aquino’s efforts to weed out corruption in government.

The earlier LP resolution was directly supporting the moves of Justice chief’s ban on Arroyo and lauding Aquino for his decision to place her under arrest, giving him a title of the only president who fights corruption.

According to House majority leader Neptali Gonzales II, the resolution was watered down to accommodate more members of Congress, including other political parties who may not want to sign an earlier resolution that expressed its support for what Justice Secretary Leila de Lima did in stopping Mrs. Arroyo.... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/headlines/20111123hed2.html

AFP accepts CPP challenge to probe 80 NPA surrenderers By Mario J. Mallari 11/23/2011

AFP accepts CPP challenge to probe 80 NPA surrenderers

By Mario J. Mallari 11/23/2011

Bring it on!
This was the reaction of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the challenge posed by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) for the conduct of investigation regarding the recent surrender of 80 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels, 19 of them minors, to the military in Bukidnon.

AFP-Civil Relations Service (CRS) chief Maj. Gen. Eduardo del Rosario said indeed that government, non-government agencies and even international human rights groups and other concerned agencies should investigate the surrender of 80 NPA fighters to the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (ID) Monday last week.

“This mass surrender by the NPA Lumads must be investigated by the government, non-government organizations and even international human rights groups because of the involvement of 19 child combatants. (Its) a severe case of human rights violation grossly committed by the NPA in the province of Bukidnon,” Del Rosario said..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111123nat3.html

GMA’s mugshots published in newspaper violation of her privacy — lawmaker By Angie M. Rosales and Gina Peralta-Elorde 11/23/2011

GMA’s mugshots published in newspaper violation of her privacy — lawmaker

By Angie M. Rosales and Gina Peralta-Elorde 11/23/2011

Publication by a broadsheet paper of Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo’s mug shot taken by the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) criminal investigation and detection group (CIDG), could be a violation of her personal “right to privacy,” warned Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago yesterday.

Although Santiago, a noted constitutionalist admitted that there is no constitutional right to privacy per se, jurisprudence by the the United States’ Supreme Court (SC), which often used as a basis by the country’s legal systems showed that such is among an individual’s basic rights.

“A mugshot is necessary to protect the public because it is necessary for the police or the military to put it on file just in case there is a need for identification by the investigators. It is another question whether a newspaper or a Web site can publish a mugshot,” she said in an interview with reporters..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/nation/20111123nat1.html

‘Bistek,’ other officials lead call for return of QC as country’s capital By Arlie O. Calalo 11/23/2011

‘Bistek,’ other officials lead call for return of QC as country’s capital

By Arlie O. Calalo 11/23/2011

No less than Quezon City Mayor Herbert “Bistek” Bautista is leading local officials in urging Congress to study and pass a law that will call for the return of the city as the country’s capital.

Separate interviews with local officials showed their unequivocal position on the proposal for members of the House of Representatives to re-study the move and eventually name the city anew as the country’s capital instead of Manila.

“Being the most populous and richest city in the country and having the largest land area in Metro Manila, our city must deserve to be the nation’s capital,” Bautista told members of the Quezon City Press Club.

Bautista’s campaign got the support from the members of the Sangguniang Panlunsod led by Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte as Councilor Francisco Calalay of District 1 filed a resolution aimed at convincing the lawmakers to study and pass a law for the purpose..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111123met5.html

‘JV’ urges gov’t: Charge Mike, Mikey Arroyo, too By Gerry Baldo 11/23/2011

‘JV’ urges gov’t: Charge Mike, Mikey Arroyo, too

By Gerry Baldo 11/23/2011

The Aquino government should also file charges against Ang Galing Pinoy party-list Rep. Mikey Arroyo and his father, former First Gentleman Jose Mike Arroyo, for their alleged part in graft, plunder and human rights violations during the Arroyo regime.

According to San Juan Rep. Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, the Filipino people are still waiting for the government to file charges against the Arroyos.

“I hope the electoral sabotage will not be the last case filed against GMA. The people are still waiting for all the other charges to be filed in court against her,” Ejercito said yesterday..... MORE

SourceThe Daily Tribune

URL: http://www.tribuneonline.org/metro/20111123met1.html

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