2 Samar solons urge
Ombudsman for speedy resolution on plunder against Gov. Tan
Below is a joint letter
addressed to the new Ombudsman Hon. Ma. Merceditas N. Gutierrez by House
Representatives Reynaldo S. Uy (1st district of Samar) and
Catalino V. Figueroa (2nd district of Samar) dated December 5,
2005 and received by the Office of the Ombudsman December 8, 2005.
Republic of the Philippines
Quezon City, Metro Manila
December 5, 2005
HONORABLE MA. MERCEDITAS N. GUTIERREZ
of the Ombudsman
We, REYNALDO S. UY, M.D. and CATALINO V. FIGUEROA,
Representatives of the First and Second District of the
Province of Western Samar
respectively, would like to express our sincerest congratulations for your
appointment as the new Ombudsman.
We feel that Her Excellency has made the right choice in your
person to be the prime graftbuster of our country.
Moreover, we would like to bring to your attention that our
constituents in Samar are
anxiously waiting the result of the preliminary investigation being
performed by the Office of the Ombudsman against Governor Milagrosa T. Tan
(C-A-05-0051-B and C-C-05-0049-B).
The case against Governor Tan was anchored on the adverse
findings of the special Audit/Investigation conducted by the Commission on
Audit. And it was filed by a church based organization called ISOG Han
Hoping for the Office of Ombudsman to immediately resolve the
preliminary investigation for plunder against Governor Milagrosa T. Tan.
Again, congratulations and God Bless!
(Sgd.) REP. REYNALDO S.
(Sgd.) REP. CATALINO V. FIGUEROA
Buananons condemn NPA ambush of military medics
The following is copy of the
resolution passed by the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jose de Buan condemning
the ambush perpetrated by the NPA to the 8th Infantry Division
medical mission team.
Republic of the Philippines
of Western Samar
Municipality of San Jose de
OFFICE OF THE SANGGUNIANG
EXCERPTS FROM THE MINUTES OF THE REGULAR SESSION OF THE
SANGGUNIANG BAYAN OF SAN JOSE DE BUAN, SAMAR HELD ON 18th DAY OF JANUARY
2006 AT THE MUNICIPAL SESION HALL.
Hon. Bertino M. Orale
- Municipal Vice Mayor / President Officer
Hon. Edgardo Tiopes, Sr.
- S.B. Member
Hon. Noli S. Rebato
- S.B. Member
Hon. Dominic P. Dapapac
- S.B. Member
Hon. Alicia L. Rebato
- S.B. Member
Hon. Salvador M. Lazarra
- S.B. Member
Hon. Alejandro M. Edusma
- S.B. Member
Hon. Vivencio L. Ellantos
- S.B. Member
Hon. Danilo M. Rebato
- S.B. Member
Hon. Julito R. Plana
- ABC President
Hon. Maryjean T. Edusma
- SK Federation President
Resolution No. 3
Series of 2006
RESOLUTION TO CONDEMN THE
NEW PEOPLE’S ARMY (NPA) IN THE AMBUSH OF THE MILITARY TEAM IN BRGY CARANAS,
Sangguniang Bayan Members during their Regular Session this 18th day of
January 2006, approved and agreed to make this resolution condemning the New
People’s Army (NPA) in the ambush of the 8ID Medical Team along their way
home from San Jose de Buan, Samar to Catbalogan, Samar.
Buananon’s and the Municipal Official of San Jose de Buan, Samar wanted to
live peacefully, hence very grateful when the “Peace and Development Forum”
was conducted by the military in the Municipality of San Jose de Buan.
Buananon’s actually are very supportive of the different programs and
projects being implemented by the Military on the municipality.
is a very good and harmonious relationship between the Civilian and the
Military on the said municipality and this can be manifested through the
different programs and activities undertaken by both parties.
on the motion made by Hon. Vivencio L. Ellantos Committee Chairman on Peace
and Order and duly seconded by the majority be it
it is hereby resolved to Condemn the New People;s Army (NPA) regarding the
ambushed of the Military in the area of San Jose de Buan, Samar.
Resolved Finally: that copies of the resolution be forwarded to the 8ID Philippine Army
Camp Lukban Maulong Catbalogan,
Samar, 34th IB Erenas San Jorge,
Samar, 34th IB Alpha Company
San Jose de Buan Samar and file.
JANUARY 18, 2006
WE HERBY CERTIFY TO THE CORRECTNESS of the forgoing
resolution which was duly approved by the Sangguniang Bayan Members during
its Regular Session on the 18th day of January 2006.
(Sgd.) HON. EDGARDO TIOPES, SR.
(Sgd.) HON. NOLI S. REBATO
(Sgd.) HON. DOMINIC P. DAPAPAC
(Sgd.) HON. ALICIA L. REBATO
(Sgd.) HON. SALVADOR M. LAZARRA
(Sgd.) HON. ALEJANDRO M. EDUSMA
(Sgd.) HON. VIVENCIO L. ELLANTOS
(Sgd.) HON. DANILO M. REBATO
(Sgd.) HON. JULITO R. PLANA
(Sgd.) HON. MARYJEAN T. EDUSMA
(Sgd.) HON. BERTINO M. ORALE
Vice Mayor / President Officer
(Sgd.) NENITA L. BATOCAEL
(Sgd.) HON. ANNANIAS S. REBATO
A Pastoral Letter condemning
killings and opting for peace and development
Letter No. 1, Series of 2006)
Rev. JOSE S. PALMA, DD
Bishop of Calbayog
"...the military went to San Jose the Buan to conduct a Forum for Peace and
Development and culminated the event with a medical mission, and then to be
reciprocated with bullets speak of malice beyond description."
Our human life is so
precious a gift we can never thank the Giver enough. In wonder the Psalmist
can only exclaim: “What is man that you should spare a thought for him;
mortal man that you should care for him” (Ps 8:3). When we reflect even
further, we realize that as Christians ours is not just human life but one
which has been raised to the lofty dignity of the divine; we are sons and
daughters of God!
Such is the reason why we
glorify God for every gift of human life. And such is the reason why we
congratulate couples who are generous instruments of new life. It is also
for this reason that to uphold the dignity and sacredness of life, we
condemn actions that destroy life in whatever stage, from its conception to
natural death. When we think in particular of abortions, we unequivocally
condemn such abominable crime.
It is with the same disgust
that we condemn the dastardly ambushes last January 15 and 24 inflicted
against our military men and women. The circumstances particularly of the
Jan. 15 ambush that killed 4 soldiers of the 8ID make us believe that the
perpetrators of the crime, alleged to be the NPAs, were certainly not
pro-life nor pro-people. Considering that the military went to San Jose the
Buan to conduct a Forum for Peace and Development and culminated the event
with a medical mission, and then to be reciprocated with bullets speak of
malice beyond description. This Pastoral Letter is the Calbayog Clergy’s
unanimous voice denouncing the aggression and spiteful disdain of goodwill
and humanitarian act.
But with our voices of
denunciation come also our pleas for a change of mind and heart. We
experience that deep down in our heart of hearts is a common desire for
peace, development and a happy life. Deep in us we agree with Isaiah when he
prays that people “shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears
into pruning hooks” (Is 2:4). We long for peace which is not the result of
vanquishing the enemy but of each one realizing the senselessness of
violence. That indeed violence breeds violence - and more blood spilled and
more tears shed.
Our voices are finally
exhortations to all men and women of goodwill to dream that someday Samar
may become a zone of peace and development. Since we know that peace is both
a gift and a task, as we try to build peace in our hearts, in our homes and
small communities, let us draw close to the Prince of Peace and beg for such
KAMURAYAW only He can give.
PHILIPPINES: Claim of
Philippine government to improved law enforcement far from reality
A Statement by the Asian
Human Rights Commission
January 18, 2006
"...more and more Filipinos are taking the law into their own hands."
In its 2005 Accomplishment
Report released on its official website, the government of the Philippines
claims to have worked "to improve the operational effectiveness of law
enforcement agencies". Exactly what this means remains unclear, as the
government backs its remarks only with a handful of vague statistics that
say nothing of reality and the challenges the country faces in addressing
the very deep institutional problems associated with building the rule of
The Asian Human Rights
Commission (AHRC) is aware that most serious criminal cases in the
Philippines are inadequately investigated. In most cases perpetrators are
not identified, usually due to the absence of witnesses and the lack of
forensic and scientific investigation techniques. Despite the Act for
Witness Protection, Security and Benefit (Republic Act 6981), witnesses to
acts of murder and other grave crimes in the Philippines know full well that
they risk the same fate if they dare to come forward with information. While
this is especially the case in the unabated killings of human rights
defenders and social activists, flagrant targeted killings of ordinary
criminal suspects--such as petty criminals in Davao and Cebu--are also on
the rise, sometimes with the public endorsement of local officials.
Letters to the AHRC
repeatedly speak to the failure of police to obtain witnesses even in crimes
where the victims are killed in busy marketplaces or houses occupied by the
families of victims, and to the fact that this problem is recognized but not
addressed by the authorities. For instance, in one letter from 2005 Marcelo
Ele Jr., Police Director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Directorate
for Investigation and Detective Management, said that no witnesses had come
forward in the killings of Ernesto Bang and Joel Reyes for fear of reprisal.
This is despite the fact that Bang was shot at the front door to his house
with his family inside, and Reyes was shot dead in a public a market. After
Dario Oresca, a witness to the murder of Reyes was found, he too was killed.
He had received no protection.
Even where a case is filed
in court, prolonged delays cause greater and greater risks both to the
witnesses and the case itself, an issue strongly adverted to in the chapter
on the Philippines in the AHRC's recently-released State of
Human Rights in Ten Asian Nations--2005 report. There is little
evidence that the Action Program for Judicial Reform (APJR) adopted by the
Supreme Court in December 2000, which includes in its mandate the speedy
processing of cases, is making much headway, and it continues to lack
adequate funding from the government.
As a consequence, more and
more Filipinos are taking the law into their own hands. The loss of trust
and confidence in the police and judiciary among victims seeking justice,
and implied approval of murders by government officials demonstrate the
country's deteriorating law and order and give little cause for surprise
when people go outside the law to resolve disputes and seek vengeance.
All of this indicates the
extent to which the government of the Philippines has disregarded its
international obligations. In its concluding observations on the state's
compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of
December 1, 2003, the U.N. Human Rights Committee urged that, "The State
party should ensure that all allegations of torture are effectively and
promptly investigated by an independent authority, that those found
responsible are prosecuted." It further said that, "The State party should
ensure that its legislation gives full effect to the rights recognized in
the Covenant and that domestic law is harmonized".
Despite these clear
recommendations, torture is not yet a crime in the Philippines, and there
has been little effort to enact an enabling law that would make it so.
Similarly, the various monitoring committees and quasi-judicial bodies
established ostensibly to investigate human rights violations have few
powers and are generally ineffective. As a result, the recognition given to
international human rights standards in Article III of the 1987 Philippine
Constitution has little significance. Although an integral part of the
constitutional basis of the country, in the absence of measures for
implementation it has been trivialized.
In January 2005 Executive
Order 404 established a Monitoring Committee on Human Rights and
International Humanitarian Law. Section 2 stipulates that the Committee will
work closely with the national Commission on Human Rights to investigate and
monitor human rights violations in compliance with international treaty
obligations. While apparently a step towards human rights protection, there
is little evidence of work by the committee so far. The general public of
the Philippines remains in the dark about what the committee has done,
despite it being required to "provide regular updates to concerned units and
agencies of the Government, as well as civil society groups and other
The making of grand claims
about the improved effectiveness of law enforcement agencies will not
impress anyone familiar with the real situation in the Philippines. In fact,
the effect will only be to raise more doubts among the victims of crime and
rights violations about the sincerity of the authorities in tackling the
deep flaws in the country's policing and judicial system. Instead of
pretending that things are getting better, the government of the
would obtain far greater credibility by recognizing the gravity of this
situation and taking determined steps to end the impunity that murderers and
other serious criminals, particularly those in the police and other security
forces, continue to enjoy.
HONG KONG SAR: Legitimate
protests against threatened livelihoods and police responsibility to remain
within legal parameters
A Statement by the Asian
Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
December 22, 2005
The past two weeks saw Hong
Kong become a theatre in which the conflict between free trade and human
rights played out very visibly, with broadcast and other media conveying the
interventions of all those involved in this conflict: namely, those inside
the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference, and those outside
on the streets.
The WTO ministerial
conference itself reflected the conflict. The thorniest issue amongst the
delegates was when the agricultural subsidies in the world's richest
countries would end so that the world's poorest countries may have access to
more affluent markets. While there is an overwhelming conclusion that the
issue of poverty in developing countries--where the majority of the world's
population lives—cannot be resolved without addressing this problem, the
date for such a decision was postponed to 2013. As far as the WTO is
concerned, the debate on human rights and free trade is therefore suspended
until that time.
For those debaters who were
on the streets, the WTO had little legitimacy to debate issues affecting
their lives. These debaters comprised protesters from Hong Kong as well as
many other countries, particularly neighboring Asian countries. Though small
in number, those who gathered on the streets were determined to voice their
arguments loudly and be noticed. The protesters included men and women,
young and old, all of whom spent long hours braving the cold.
The sympathy of the Hong
Kong people was clearly with those on the streets. Not only were there no
complaints of the city being unduly disturbed by protesters, but the Hong
Kong community took sympathetic note of the arguments made by the protesters
against those conducting their discourse in comfort. This in itself
indicates the legitimacy of the cause fought in the streets. It also
indicates that the
Hong Kong population has an interest in the issues raised; the
concerns of ordinary people in this relatively affluent Asian city are
perhaps not so different from those in other places. The tolerance
demonstrated by the
Hong Kong people showed a politically mature population, who are well
informed and aware of the key debates taking place in the global community.
At times when great social
debates are fought fiercely, the work of law enforcement agencies is made
more difficult. The management of a law abiding citizenry in normal times
may be much easier. The task faced by the
Hong Kong police was therefore not an enviable one. It is at such
times however, that law enforcement agencies are tested.
In the absence of a willing
dialogue between WTO delegates and members of social movements, the
protesters were merely expressing their right to speak and be heard by those
making decisions affecting their lives. Under these circumstances, the
police's job to maintain law and order is not easy and limited measures
taken to control the situation and to ensure the protection of others, such
as those participating in the WTO ministerial conference are understandable.
All measures however, must be taken in accordance with the law. In
particular, the use of force must be a proportionate response to the
situation. The behavior of the Hong Kong police--particularly from the
evening of December 17 to the morning of December 18--has raised many
questions regarding principles of law enforcement. Was it legitimate to
arrest over 900 persons when even according to police reports, only about 14
are considered to have violated Hong Kong law? Why were these persons kept
in detention for such a lengthy period of time? It is the duty of the police
to release persons in the shortest possible time after arrest. Concerns have
been raised that the protesters--who had not violated any laws--were kept in
detention to prevent them from participating in protests on the final day of
the WTO meeting. This must be looked into by the authorities, as it
constitutes a serious violation of the protesters' fundamental rights to
assembly and expression. While all violence on the part of any of the
demonstrators must be condemned, it must be stressed that even in responding
to such violence, the police are under obligation to act within the law.
Other concerns raised by the
protesters regarding police behavior--through the lodging of complaints--are
The police did not inform
protesters the reason for their arrest or their rights as persons under
arrest. After their arrest, persons were kept on the streets for several
hours. During this time they had no one to make complaints to or to seek
permission to attend to any personal matter, including going to the toilet.
The weather during this time was cold and they were not given any blankets.
Even after being taken to various police stations they were not clearly
instructed about their situation and there was no facility for making
complaints. The absence of interpreters made the situation much worse. For
detainees of foreign nationalities, there was no notification that they had
the right to contact their respective consulates. There were also no
provisions for detainees to contact lawyers. While in some police stations
there were displayed notices that persons are allowed to make telephone
calls and even write emails, these facilities were never provided. Only two
persons out of about 600 detainees questioned by some civil groups were
allowed to call or email their families. Nor was there any attempt by the
police to inform their families of their arrest. Even requests for drinking
water and medical facilities were not heeded. Female detainees were body
searched in the presence of male detainees. One female arrestee complained
of being slapped when she resisted being handcuffed without being given any
reason of arrest. Others complained that the contents of their bags were
removed with force and intimidation. Several women also complained of having
their hands tied when they used the toilets. In many places the cells were
overcrowded, resulting in further problems relating to toilets, drinking
water and other basic facilities. More complaints will likely come to the
fore as the released protesters document their experiences. The stories
being shared raise many fundamental questions regarding the legitimate
behavior of law enforcement officers. There can be no excuse or
justification for such behavior.
The Asian Human Rights
Commission joins other organizations in calling for a thorough and
independent inquiry by the Hong Kong SAR government and Legislative Council
into the police actions against the WTO protesters on December 17-18. The
authorities must take the large number of complaints into serious
consideration and explain to the public their position on these complaints.
The Hong Kong people must also urge for inquiries to take place.