By Fr. ROY CIMAGALA, email@example.com
“…Lady Justice also has to learn to remove the blindfold, so
she can see, hear and talk to God and the parties involved.”
I can understand why
Lady Justice is depicted as blindfolded, holding a balance scale and a
sword. The idea is to portray justice as objective and impartial
(blindfold), able to weigh the arguments and pieces of evidence from
both parties (scale), always using reason and sense of justice to
carry out her duty (double-edged sword).
For all those reasons,
I am for Lady Justice blindfolded and all. They all have a place in
the sun. We always have to respect, protect and defend these reasons.
But we also have to
understand that those reasons are in constant need of rectification
and improvement, of refinement and growing conformity to the ultimate
basis of justice who is God. Though embodied in some system, they
cannot be considered as frozen and rigid. They have to be in vital
sync with God’s providence.
The balance scale can
only weigh things mechanically. It can miss many subtle things, let
alone the spiritual requirements of justice and charity. Our reason
and a certain sense of justice are always in need of its ultimate
grounding and orientation. They cannot really take off unless inspired
by God. Without God they will just go in circles and are prone to be
taken advantage of.
Justice cannot be real
justice if it just gets stuck with our own idea alone of what is right
and wrong, good and bad, true and false. No matter how wide a
consensus we may have about what is just and unjust, if our idea and
sense of justice is not vitally linked to God, we would just be making
our own brand of justice, open to all kinds of manipulations and the
subtle workings of self-righteousness.
Apart from God, the
Creator and Author of all reality, we would be at sea as to what is
right and fair. We would put ourselves prone to distortions and abuses
that can come from our passions and many other factors, like some
privileged position we may have over others. Our sense of justice has
to flow with God’s mind, will and ways.
Obviously, we need
structures and systems to carry out justice. But those structures and
systems should be such that they remain open to God’s promptings and
to the flowing developments of the case that can change the picture
drastically. They have to be animated by a proper spirit of truth,
justice and charity, not inert or dead.
This means that those
in charge of dispensing justice should be spiritually alive and
connected with God. Otherwise, they would be unhinged and can become
like a floating mine, dangerous to any passing ship.
It’s for this reason
that Lady Justice also has to learn to remove the blindfold, so she
can see, hear and talk to God and the parties involved. It’s important
that she has a running conversation with the all the parties involved.
She should not get stuck with a fact in the past. She has to flow with
life in its variety of possibilities.
What we have to avoid
is to dispense justice indiscriminately, relying only on a blind
conformity to the letter of the law without discerning its true
spirit. We have to be wary of this tendency because there seems to be
a strong drift toward it, a growing bias for it.
With the eyes of Lady
Justice wide open, those in charge of dispensing justice can serve as
instruments of God’s justice, and not just human justice, that aside
from being imperfect, is vulnerable to be easily manipulated by those
with more power, more money, more talents.
We cannot really
guarantee the objectivity and impartiality of justice by having Lady
Justice blindfolded and using only a balance scale and a double-edge
sword. A lot more are needed.
There is need for Lady
Justice to know how to dispense justice with charity and mercy and
with healing qualities, and to protect justice from becoming merely an
instrument for anger and revenge. Lady Justice has to expand the
understanding of justice by going beyond her distributive,
commutative, legal and social aspects.
Justice has to be the
justice of God, because that in the end is what is proper to us who
are God’s image and likeness, and made children of his. That may not
be easy to achieve, but we can always try. We should use everything we
have to reach it.
We should avoid
confining our understanding of justice to a secularized, positivist
kind, where God is taken out of the picture and only human consensus
Vocation can come in
By Fr. ROY
Making waves now in
Hollywood is a documentary that features a former starlet who paired
before and even kissed Elvis Presley (remember him?) and who is now a
nun. I must say I’m not old enough to know this lady. Dolores Hart is
the name and her before-and-after pictures indeed show similarities
and the welcome differences.
When I mentioned this
to some friends, they kidded me by saying that it would have been more
fantastic if the lady involved was a James Bond girl. To which I
replied, not to discount that possibility, since God can make a saint
in anyone of us no matter how sinful we may be. He can write straight
with crooked lines.
To be sure, everyone
of us has a vocation. God calls all of us to be with him. He invites
us to share his life and his work. We are all co-operators of his
abiding providence. That’s why we are told that we have to “listen to
him.” He always intervenes in our life. We just have to learn how to
hear him and work with him.
This is what vocation
is all about – living and working with God. Everyone’s vocation has
been forged from all eternity, and we too have been wired for that.
That’s why we have been created with intelligence and will. We can and
should enter into a living relation with God.
Thus, it behooves all
of us to develop a sense of vocation in our life. We need to exert the
effort to know God and his will more and more by praying, meditating
on the gospel and his doctrine, now taught by the Church, fulfilling
the usual duties we have which are part of God’s will, etc.
But he can give some
special vocation to some people precisely for some special purpose
that would be good not only for the persons concerned but also and
mainly for the whole Church.
Some are called to be
apostles, teachers, priests, religious persons, or just committed
laymen who seriously look for personal sanctity and work actively in
the apostolate right in the middle of the world. We just have to
accept what is given to us, and start appreciating the eternal and
supernatural significance of the vocation.
God can manifest this
vocation to us in some dramatic way, often involving drastic changes
in the recipients. God can enter into our lives and make his will more
felt by us in some special way. Though we cannot help it, we should
try our best not to be surprised by these possibilities.
Consider St. Paul, St.
Augustine, the apostles themselves, and the patriarchs and prophets
like Abraham, Moses, Jonas, Jeremiah, etc. Consider St. Edith Stein,
and our very own St. Lorenzo Ruiz and the soon-to-be-canonized Blessed
Their stories are full
of drama and suspense.
St. Paul received his vocation while on a mad campaign to arrest the
though gifted intellectually, had a colourful past. The apostles were
mainly simple people, mostly fishermen.
St. Edith was an
intelligent Jewish agnostic before her conversion. And our own
Filipino saints, present and future, were catechists doing some
domestic work for some priests. All had their defects, and sins, and
yet they became and are great saints.
Nothing is impossible
with God, and with our trust and faith in him, we can also do what is
impossible with God.
We have to feel at
home with the idea, nay, the truth that all of us have a vocation.
Let’s not play blind and deaf. God’s call is actually quite loud
enough. And when we are given a special vocation, let’s not be afraid,
but rather go for it at full throttle.
Ok, we may hesitate at
first, we can have doubts, but if we are honest, we will soon see
there’s nothing to be afraid about. God takes care of everything. All
he needs is that we trust him, that we have faith in him, and that we
try our best to cooperate.
Like death, this
special vocation can come like a thief in the night. Whatever may our
past, everything will be put right if there’s something in our past
that is not quite right. The truth also is that even our mistakes and
sins in the past and even in the present and future, if handled well,
can turn out to be good sources and occasions of goodness.
So, there’s really no
big problem. If there’s any, it’s usually just in our mind, when we
don’t trust God enough.
CPP belies peace
agreement with Aquino, Joema arrival
A press statement by
the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) belying reports that its
founding chair Jose Ma. Sison is in the Philippines
Prof. Jose Ma. Sison,
founding chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and
Chief Political Consultant of the National Democratic Front of the
Philippines (NDFP), remains in his residence in
The Netherlands. So-called intelligence reports claiming that he has
slipped into to the Philippines are utterly lacking in intelligence.
It simply took a phone call by DZRH's Joe Taruc yesterday morning to
verify that Joema has not left
Absurd reports of
Joema's return to the
are being circulated by the anti-communist dullard Pastor Alcover and
so-called intelligence personnel of the AFP. Alcover is working with
right-wing zealots such as Norberto Gonzales, Roberto Intengan and
other pro-Arroyo reactionaries to conjure the illusion that Benigno
Aquino III has "sided with the communists." They are also seeking the
attention of their US masters by projecting themselves as the more
The fact, however, is
that there is no peace agreement with the Aquino regime, and the
possibility of forging one remains dim. The Aquino regime has set
itself solidly behind the US imperialists and against the Filipino
people's national and democratic interests.
Aquino is emboldened
by US military support and has chosen to heed American advice to treat
peace negotiations as a simple psywar tool to camouflage the brutality
of its ongoing military campaign of suppression dubbed Oplan Bayanihan.
With US support, the Aquino regime has chosen to keep NDFP peace
consultants in detention in violation of standing agreements and
continue committing gross violations of human rights and international
The CPP and the
NDFP have repeatedly offered to forge an agreement based on the
principles of national sovereignty, democracy and social justice. The
Aquino regime, however, has chosen to disregard such proposals and has
placed itself squarely against the people and their revolutionary
cause of national and social liberation.
A statement to clarify
the public in response to the misconception/mis-information
disseminated by the military throughout Region VIII via print and
broadcast media relative to the nature, character, objectives,
programs and activities of the Tabang - Sinirangan Bisayas
By TABANG - SINIRANGAN BISAYAS
We are compelled to
take responsibility of informing the public as a matter of clarifying
the issue brought into the public by the military, particularly the
19th IB PA through Lt. Col. Alejandro Nacnac, C.O., 19th IB, PA based
in Kananga, Leyte relative to the nature, character, objectives,
programs and/or activities of the TABANG-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS.
three local broadcast media (DYBR, DYVL and DYDW radio stations) in
Tacloban City yesterday, February 20, 2012, Lt. Col. Nacnac made
mention that, “last year they had a plan to conduct a ‘Cluster Medical
Mission’ in cooperation or partnership with the MUFAC (for Municipal
United Farmers Association of Carigara) in Carigara, Leyte but
TABANG-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS prevented them from doing such.”
We would like to
strongly and categorically deny such malicious allegation based on the
fact that since its creation couple of years now, TABANG-SINIRANGAN
BISAYAS has never establish any relationship or communication line
with the officers and men belonging to the 19th IB, PA based in
Kananga, Leyte. Neither did we intend to prevent them in any manner
from establishing relationship with MUFAC.
Also in February 16,
2012 issue of The Freeman newspaper, in its intentional campaign to
implement the “Oplan Bayanihan” of the present Aquino regime, Lt. Col.
Nacnac was quoted, “urging MUFAC not to be deceived and utilized by
With the above
statement, it is our considered suspicion, that the army officer was
implicating TABANG-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS. Because last October 25-26,
2011, in response to the appeal of the MUFAC (whose members have been
experiencing hardship and difficult situation resulting from both
natural and man-made disasters), with the permission of the Local
Government Unit of municipality of Carigara, Leyte, TABANG-SINIRANGAN
BISAYAS conducted its second major project extending Relief and Mercy
Mission in Carigara by distributing relief goods to around nine
hundred (904) households in twenty one (21) barangays and extended
medical services to six hundred fifty (650) individuals including
seventy four (74) dental and forty (40) minor surgical operations like
Once again, we would
like to categorically deny the same malicious implication candidly
clarifying that TABANG-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS is not an NPA-allied
organization. The TABANG-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS exists with Mission
Objectives aiming at: 1) Responding to the urgent appeal for
assistance to the mission areas by delivering relief, medical, dental
and psycho-social services; 2) Witnessing and documenting the poverty
situation in the area and exploring ways to help in the rehabilitation
in terms of livelihood; 3) Further encouraging cooperation among
farmers to enhance livelihood and general well-being, and; 4)
Maximizing the information gathered as lobbying points and guides for
congress and other government agencies in the formulation of laws and
policies that are beneficial to the citizens in Eastern Visayas.
Its mission is
principled-based emulating that of Good Samaritan responding in
compassion prioritizing those people in the far-flung communities
regardless of who they are who lack with the accessibility to basic
social services of the present government.
If it is the
allegation of the men in uniform (military and/or police) that
TABANG-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS mission of “helping the poor, feeding the
hungry, aiming at a true change” as its slogan states, is an NPA-allied
activity, then they are free to judge according to their perspective.
But the moral question
that TABANG-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS stands are as follows: Is helping the
poor, feeding the hungry and healing the sick among others regardless
of their religion and/or ideology an evil act? We do not believe it
is! Is doing such humanitarian act would mean that TABANG-SINIRANGAN
BISAYAS an ally of the NPA? We vehemently and categorically deny that
Such irresponsible and
malicious labelling of the military to TABANG-SB reminds us when
Bishop Dom Helder Camara of Latin America, in his ministry in
solidarity with the struggle for social justice and national
liberation of his poor countrymen once said, “When I give food to the
hungry, they called me a Saint; But when I asked them why they are
poor, they called me a Communist.”
strongly condemn the above-mentioned malicious allegations and
implications or labelling by the military officer, Lt. Col. Alejandro
We call on the public
to be objective in reading and/or listening issues relative to the
life-work of TABANG-SINIRANGAN BISAYAS.
The 7th C challenge
By Fr. ROY
I’m referring to the
7th commandment of the Decalogue and the huge challenge it poses.
In the Catechism, we
are told that this commandment of “You shall not steal,” “requires
respect for the universal destination and distribution of goods and
the private ownership of them, as well as respect for persons, their
property and the integrity of creation.” (Compendium 503)
It also adds: “The
Church also finds in this commandment the basis for her social
doctrine which involves the correct way of acting in economic, social
and political life, the right and the duty of human labor, justice and
solidarity among nations, and love for the poor.”
In whatever way we
read this point, we cannot help but realize that the commandment
covers a large area of our life, nothing less than all the aspects
involved in our relation with the material world in which we live.
Stealing can indeed take many forms and we need to be more familiar
with the more subtle and insidious ones.
We have to work hard
on this commandment. The world’s development is going in an
accelerated pace, population is growing and more and more people need
to be educated and evangelized.
I must say that the
idea of the universal destination and distribution of goods, for
example, is not well known, not to mention the other equally important
parts of the commandment.
Can we honestly say
that we are working toward this universal destination and distribution
of goods? How come there are many people in the brink of such inhuman
poverty and misery, while a few are wallowing in luxury?
Are we aware of the
specific relevant areas in this matter that have to be attended to
with a certain sense of urgency, since the situation literally cries
up to heaven for help?
How do we make this
requirement of universal destination and distribution of goods
compatible with the equally important right to private property? How
do we keep ourselves from the evils of atheistic socialism, on the one
hand, and selfish, individualistic capitalism, on the other?
What laws are we
making in this regard, what social and cultural norms and practices
are we instituting to guarantee this ideal? In the face of this need,
is the ongoing impeachment process in the Senate worth its time and
At the moment, I think
that the trial is way deep into its absurdest stage, with shameless
politicians taking advantage of the people’s resources and patience
just to do their grandstanding and pursue their personal political
goals, instead of facing the real problems of the country.
The 7th commandment
also talks about the social doctrine of the Church and touches on the
burning issues of the day, like what to think and do about global
warming, or is it now climate change?, mining and other environmental
issues, and the many other issues like intellectual property rights,
social justice, etc.
We need to be
pro-active in this regard, and not simply reactive, just waiting for
things to happen or issues or controversies to explode, which
ideologues of various colors and leanings exploit. There has to be
continuing evangelization and formation, done in season and out of
season, as St. Paul said, using now all the modern means we have at
The social doctrine of
the Church, while it has its stable core and spirit, is actually a
dynamic doctrine, always open and sensitive to new developments and
insights that we can gather along the way. It blends the old and the
new, the traditional and the modern.
In this regard, I just
hope that our Church leaders are agile and flexible enough to flow
with the times without compromising the essence of humanity and
Christianity. I believe there had been instances where some
pronouncements of some of them worried me a bit because of what I
thought were rigid, narrow-minded statements. Anyway, sometimes
mistakes have to happen before the truth comes out.
Churchmen should be
most careful when making public interventions regarding temporal
issues and affairs. This caution should not hinder them in making
those interventions which nowadays are becoming more and more
important. But they have to make sure that all sides are heard and
The affirmations of
our faith should always be respectful of the legitimate inputs coming
from the sciences and the opinions of people, whoever they may be.
Thus, Church leaders should always keep their ears on the ground even
if they keep their heart up in heaven.
Let’s tackle this 7th
Human Rights Council, Nineteenth Session, Agenda Item 3, Interactive
Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders
Action required to address ongoing
abuses of the legal system used to target human rights defenders
A written statement
submitted by the Asian Legal Resource Centre (ALRC), a non-governmental organisation with general
February 17, 2012
The Asian Legal
Resource Centre (ALRC) submitted a written statement to the tenth
session of the Human Rights Council in March 2009 concerning a growing
pattern of the abusive use of prosecutorial powers and the country’s
judicial process in order to detain human rights and political
activists, and prevent their work in favour of the rights of the
disenfranchised. The Philippines' government and military have been
repeatedly condemned for the widespread extra-judicial killings that
had targeted such actors over the previous decade, leading to hundreds
of deaths. As such pressure led to a reduction in these killings,
abusive use of the legal system has grown to continue this repression.
Despite some welcome
approaches and actions taken by the current government to bolster
human rights in the country, these have remained superficial and do
not address the fundamental flaws in the systemic and institutional
rule of law mechanisms that are needed in order to put an end to the
deeply insecure climate for human rights defenders and victims of
human rights violations in the country, or to tackle the entrenched
systems of impunity that prevail in relation to these abuses. The ALRC
therefore wishes to again highlight this ongoing problem, providing
key examples to illustrate how it operates, and calls on the Special
Rapporteur on human rights defenders and Human Rights Council members
and observer States to intervene with the government of the
Philippines to ensure the necessary reforms required to ensure an end
to abusive prosecutions of human rights defenders.
The ALRC previously
highlighted the case of labour lawyer Remigio Saladero Jr. and 20
other activists, who had been arbitrarily charged with multiple murder
and multiple frustrated murder in Calapan City, with six of them
(including Remigio Saladero Jr.) having been arrested and the others
having been forced into hiding as a result. While a Calapan City
Regional Trial Court ruled to release those detained and drop the
charges against them on February 5, 2009, a few days later, on
February 11, 2009, Remigio and his fellow respondents, were once again
informed of another murder charge arbitrarily being laid against them.
This concerned the killing of Ricky Garmino, 37, a member of a
government paramilitary group, the Civilian Auxiliary Forces
Geographical Unit (CAFGU), on July 29, 2008. Witness accounts however
point to the Narciso Antazo Aramil Command of the Communist Party of
the Philippines-New People Army (CPP-NPA) operating in Rizal province
as the perpetrators of this killing.
It is worth noting
that attorney Remigio Saladero Jr. was working to defend the rights of
19 workers and members of the local chapter of the Congress Labor
Organization (CLO), who have faced prolonged arbitrary detention and
false charges in relation to a strike that they held on May 2, 2007,
concerning a pay dispute and to protest against the illegal dismissal
of fellow workers.
In its previous
statement, the ALRC highlighted the role of the country’s Inter-Agency
Legal Assistance Group (IALAG) in distorting the criminal justice
system and enabling the arbitrary prosecution of activists, as seen in
the case above. In April 2008, Philip Alston, the Special Rapporteur
on extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, had recommended
the abolition of the IALAG. In a welcome move, the government has
since abolished the IALAG in
May 15, 2009, however, as will be seen below, such abusive prosecutions
continue to take place, pointing to a need for further action by the
government to address more deep-seated systemic failings.
prosecution of human rights defender Temogen "Cocoy" Tulawie and four
co-accused on charges of multiple frustrated murder and multiple
attempted murder for allegedly 'masterminding' and 'plotting' to
assassinate Abdusakur Tan, the present governor of Sulu, in a bomb
attack on May 13, 2009, in Patikul, Sulu, is particularly illustrative
of the ongoing problem of abusive legal targeting of activists. The
evidence against them in this case is based on forced confessions by
two of the accused, which they have since recanted. Tulawie was forced
into hiding out of concern that he would not receive a fair trial in
Sulu, but was arrested on January 13, 2012 in Davao City.
On May 26, 2009, the
police in Patikul, Sulu, arrested two persons – Sulayman Muhammad Muin
and Juhan Alihuddin – who were allegedly involved in the bomb attack.
Under interrogation, Muin implicated Tulawie as the "mastermind and
who provided the single motorcycle planted with (an) Improvised
Explosive Device (IED) used in their plan to assassinate the
governor". Muin also implicated three others, Alihuddin, Muammar
Askali and a certain Abs, supposedly as his accomplices. Alihuddin was
also forced to implicate Tulawie, Muammar and Sulayman. However, they
both later recanted these confessions and claimed they had been forced
to make "extrajudicial statements." Three witnesses have confirmed
Tulawie's alibi, and four others have confirmed the alibi of
Prosecutor Cabaron arbitrarily decided on July 22, 2009, that there
was probable cause in filing murder charges in court against the five
accused and that the recanted statements obtained under duress were
credible and admissible as evidence.
Prior to his arrest,
on June 13, 2011, the Supreme Court (SC) had granted Tulawie's
petition to transfer the trial of his case from Jolo, Sulu to Davao
City, due to concerns about the prospect for a fair trial in Sulu. The
SC acknowledged the severity of insecurity and threats in Sulu,
stating that: "…there is an indication of actual and imminent threat
to the life of the petitioner and his family, as well as his
witnesses, as found by the Court of Appeals..." For seven months, the
Clerk of Court (CoC) of the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3, Jolo,
Sulu, ignored the SC's order, while the court’s Judge Betlee-Ian
Barraquias has taken action, in defiance of the SC’s order, to have
Tulawie transferred to his jurisdiction and threatened administrative
action for obstruction of justice and contempt of court against those
refusing to do so.
This case is an
evident situation of baseless and flawed legal reprisals against a
human rights defender by the authorities and the
ALRC therefore calls for the Department of Justice (DoJ) to
withdraw without delay the murder charges against Tulawie and his
co-accused. Beyond this, the case sheds light on the lack of
accountability of local prosecutors and courts with regard to the
Supreme Court and points to deep flaws within the institutions of the
rule of law.
The ALRC has
documented a number of other cases showing the arbitrary and abusive
use of prosecutions that speak to a pattern of repression against
human rights defenders and activists. This is enabled by systemic
flaws and a lack of effective accountability systems within the
Philippines’ State machinery.
include the case of eleven activists who were arbitrarily charged in
relation to an attack on the military. On August 16, 2010, Mr.
Esperidion R. Solano, assistant provincial prosecutor in Camarines Sur
province, sent subpoenas to eleven activists and several others to
respond to a murder complaint by the military concerning their alleged
involvement in an attack by the New People's Army (NPA) rebel group on
the 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army’s Camp Elias Angeles,
Caboclodan, San Jose, Pili.
The complaint, which
comprised two counts of murder, four counts of frustrated murder,
three counts of 'carnapping' (stealing a vehicle) and a special case
of malicious mischief, relied heavily on the testimony of one witness,
Edwin Nazarionda, who claimed that the eleven activists took part in
the executive meeting of political party Bayan Muna on April 28, 2006,
during which the attack was allegedly planned. Two former members of
the NPA also provided sworn statements claiming the involvement of the
There are major doubts
as to the credibility of the witnesses, on whose statements alone the
case is based, and the ALRC believes that they are in fact false
witnesses being used by the military to concoct these charges against
the activists in question. Attempting to charge persons involved in
the defence of human rights or political activism that runs contrary
to the interests of those in power, by implicating them in acts of
violence or terrorism by armed groups, has been a typical tactic used
by the authorities, including in order to justify the many
extra-judicial killings that have taken place over the last decade. In
this case, serious flaws in their sworn testimonies that led to the
persons being charged include the fact that none of these witnesses
identified all the respondents as being involved and physically
present during the attack.
alibis have been discounted in the process, all of which point to an
effort to arbitrarily persecute these activists. For example, one of
the human rights defenders in question, Mr. Leo Caballero, a
correspondent for the Center for Trade Union and Human Rights in Bicol
region and head of the Human Rights Department of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)-Bicol,
was not present during the meeting that Nazarionda cites in his
testimony. He was participating in a regional fact-finding mission
investigating a case of extrajudicial killing and was performing
documented radio and other media interviews. Furthermore, when the
attack took place he was at the regional council meeting of NGO
KARAPATAN in Legazpi City, Albay from May 25 to 27, 2006.
Given all of the
above, the ALRC calls on the government of the Philippines to take all
steps necessary to ensure effective oversight of the prosecutorial
services, notably by ensuring that the Department of Justice launches
an effective inquiry into the problem of false prosecutions, in order
to establish systemic lacuna as well as individual responsibility
concerning such cases, and recommend and implement measures to address
these. This is required in order to deter and punish arbitrary and
legally flawed actions being taken by officials with impunity, and
ensure a halt to the pattern of abusive prosecutions and the use of
false charges against human rights defenders and activists in
particular. Similarly, the Supreme Court of the Philippines is urged
to launch an inquiry into the role of the judiciary in allowing false
and arbitrary prosecutions to proceed, in order to halt this practice
and punish all those who participate in these travesties of justice.
The ALRC also calls
upon the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders to intervene
with the government of the Philippines in order to express concern at
the use of such arbitrary prosecutions and other forms of repression
against human rights defenders through abusive use of the legal
system, and to request a visit to the country in order to monitor this
situation and assist the government in halting such practices.
Furthermore, the ALRC
calls on the members of the Human Rights Council to intervene with the
government of the Philippines to ensure that it takes all steps
necessary to halt the phenomenon of arbitrary legal attacks against
human rights defenders, as this is creating a climate of fear and
repression that is seriously undermining efforts to uphold and protect
human rights across the country.
Finally, the ALRC
calls on all members of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group to
recommend that the government of the Philippines take all the
necessary steps cited above to ensure effective oversight of the
prosecution services, to deter further false prosecutions of activists
and to punish those involved in such acts of injustice with
appropriate sanctions that reflect the gravity of their actions.