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A sad testament

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THE National Union of Journalists of the Philippines is sorely disappointed at the Court of Appeals’ affirmation of the bail granted to Sajid Ampatuan, one of the principal suspects in the Nov. 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre.

While conceding that the appellate court’s ruling may be legally sound, we continue to find it incredulous that the prosecution had miserably failed to prove the involvement of a key member of the clan proven to be present at the meetings during which the massacre was planned, thus the Quezon City Regional Trial Court 221’s grant of bail.

As we said on learning of the granting of bail in early 2015: “These meetings were basically clan councils in which, as is common in Filipino culture, silence means consent. And it is stretching credulity to think that Sajid Islam, who was then acting Maguindanao governor, had absolutely no participation in the planning and execution of what was obviously a major operation in his domain, involving a veritable army of retainers and police personnel.”

We can only hope our fears about the possible adverse effects this development my have on the cause of justice for the 58 victims of the massacre, among them 32 colleagues, is unfounded.

It is a sad testament to the importance given to justice in the country that, as we near the eighth anniversary of the massacre, those responsible for the outrage are no closer to getting their just deserts than when they concoted and carried out the monstrous deed. – Atty. Jocelyn Martinez-Clemente, acting chair, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

 

Taking Cue from Marcos

KADAMAY along with artist groups Respond and Break the Silence against the Killings, Molotov Pilipinas and social media advocacy collective, the Temperamental Brats staged a mock party marking 100 years since Ferdinand Marcos’ birth. The event underscored the continuing dictatorship and parallels between Marcos’ Martial Law and the Duterte presidency.

Duterte not only defends Marcos’ memory, he copies it. Kadamay says that Duterte’s recent apologetic words are empty as he is the primary culprit in endorsing the unabated series of killings since the start of his term.

We note how the administration policies and moves have also deprived many of access to basic social services like housing, health, sustainable employment and livable wages.

Furthermore it has opted to reward the current industry of murder’ involved in Oplan Tokhang and even the Martial Law in Mindanao.

Under Duterte, the PNP has received the highest bonuses in history for the implementation of the drug war in particular. Additionally, both the PNP and AFP are set to gain gigantic upgrades in their budgetary allotment for 2018.

Concretely, the PNP is set to receive a whopping P900 million for Oplan Tokhang alone. Imagine how many more deaths this will result in. Duterte says he does not condone the killing of children yet his drug war makes everybody, especially the poor a target; just like Marcos. The commendation received by the PNP in Caloocan despite the recent gruesome murders of Kian Delos Santos, Carl Arnaiz and Reynaldo de Guzman a.k.a. Kulot speaks of how the regime persists in applauding the killings.

Martial Law may be legally confined to Mindanao at the moment but in Metro Manila, Filipinos and mostly poor communities, have already felt the brunt of Martial Law.

We can already see the claws of Martial Law in Metro Manila. The removal of progressives like Judy Taguiwalo and Paeng Mariano, an all-powerful PNP, a surge in demolitions, militarists taking over government and the unending attacks on the people is exactly what Martial Law and fascism implies. -Gloria Arellano. chairperson, Kadamay

 

Killing the Youth

DUE process is a mere abstract concept in the Philippines, grandstanded by crying cops, fabricated police reports and blatant lies. The human rights situation in the country has been on the decline, with the inception of the drug war campaign and the continuation of Duterte’s counterinsurgency program. This rotting, brutish and fascist leadership is taking a toll on the Filipino youth as they, both in urban and rural areas, are being murdered by State instruments.

Karapatan joined Lakbayan delegates from all over the country to protest the continuing attacks in indigenous communities, the prevailing situation in Marawi and the continuing implementation of fascist policies that perpetuate attacks against the people.

We call for widespread indignation against the killing of a 19-year-old Lumad student from Salugpongan Community Center. Obillo Bay-ao, a Grade 6 student, was with his father and brother on the morning of Sept. 5, 2017. The group was on its way to harvest corn in the boundary of Sitio Barrobo and Sitio Dulyan. At around 2pm, they were on their way home when two armed members of the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit fired twice at Bay-ao. The latter was hit at the back but continued running. The Cafgu elements attempted to pursue him, but stopped when people were starting to gather. Bay-ao was brought to the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City but was declared dead at around 9:15 in the evening.

What could have justified the killing of a 19-year old boy who was just harvesting corn? What could have prompted two armed government forces to mindlessly target a student with no provocation? In identifying the Lumad as “enemies of the State,” their lives of the and their communities are seriously put under threat. This is the framework that Oplan Kapayapaan and other counterinsurgency measures instills on State forces — that they have the license to kill.

We reiterate the demand for the immediate prosecution of the two Cafgu members, identified as Joven and Ben Salangani. We remind Duterte that his job as President is not to kill Filipinos, not to defend his police and military force, not to surrender our patrimony and resources to foreign interests.

We have Kian delos Santos and Carlo Arnaiz, and now another Lumad student killed. What remains clear is that the State security forces remain as the country’s top mercenaries and human rights violators. We will count the injustices and we will bring these murderers to justice. –Jigs Clamor, deputy secretary general, Karapatan

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