Tag Archives: Karapatan

Int’l lawyers urged Aquino to prosecute Arroyo

By Gerry Albert Corpuz

MANILA, Philippines- The Netherlands based human rights group International Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) asked leading presidential candidate Sen. Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to immediately prepare the grand prosecution of outgoing Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on charges of grave human rights violations which the group said was tantamount to crimes against humanity.

In a press statement sent to this author, the IAPL-a worldwide association of public interest and human rights lawyers, asserted the incoming Philippine administration should “immediately and vigorously pursue” all legal moves to make Mrs. Arroyo and her allies accountable for the crimes of plunder, human rights violations like killings, disappearances, torture, other crimes against humanity and other high offenses against the Filipino people.

Manila based human rights lawyer Atty. Edre Olalia who was in Utrecht, the Netherlands for the two-day IAPL 4th Congress revealed that the lawyers group also passed a resolution calling for the immediate and unconditional release of 43 health workers arrested by members of the Arroyo controlled military sometime early February this year.

Olalia who was re-elected as president of IAPL also told http://www.allvoices.com that another resolution was passed calling for the immediate prosecution of the Ampatuans and the Arroyo government for their active roles in the massacre of 57 people, mostly journalists in Maguindanao last year.

The IAPL congress was attended by some 35 lawyers, judges, paralegals and law students from Afghanistan, Brazil, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, the Philippines, and Turkey.

“As an organization of people’s lawyers, we will make it certain that the outgoing Arroyo government will not escape prosecutions and being accountable for crimes committed against the people,” said Atty. Olalia.

“This is also a litmus test for Noynoy Aquino. His attitude and policy towards human rights will be judged at the first instance on how he will pursue the prosecution and conviction of Mrs. Arroyo, her family members and allies who committed crimes against the people,” Olalia, who is also acting Secretary General of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), added.

Previously, the IAPL has already denounced the Arroyo government over its human rights record that is marred by the killings of activists, lawyers, judges and journalists.

Carlos Zarate, vice president for Mindanao of the NUPL, said the “culture of impunity” being promoted by the Arroyo government is the culprit behind the Ampatuan massacre that brutally claimed the lives of 57 civilians, including two lady members of the NUPL.

“The prosecution for such monstrous act should not be limited only to the members of the Ampatuan clan and their private army… it should also include police and military officials and other civilian authorities who are equally liable.”

Prior to the IAPL assembly, human rights activists belonging to Karapatan attended the 14th session of the United Nations human rights council in Geneva, Switzerland. The Filipino contingent led by veteran Martial law activist and human rights defender Marie Hilao-Enriquez issued another statement informing the human rights community in Manila that the case of 43 health workers arrested in Morong last February was already brought up to the UN commission on human rights.

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Fisherfolk clients of 43 arrested health workers to mount 5-vehicle caravan in Rizal to press release

By Gerry Albert Corpuz, Rey Manangan and Billy Javier Reyes

Manila, Philippines-Regular fisherfolk clients of 43 doctors and health workers arrested by state security forces on Saturday in a resort in Morong, Rizal will stage a five-vehicle caravan to press for the immediate and unconditional release of whom they called “the people’s doctors and medical personnel”.

In a press statement, fisherfolk activists belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) will be joined by progressive party list group Anakpawis and Save Laguna Lake Movement (SLMM) in a 5 jeep caravan along the lake towns of Morong, Teresa, Baras, Cardona, Binangonan, Angono and Taytay all in Rizal province.

“We are their regular clients who are not charge of any single cent since time immemorial. These are doctors and health workers who take care of people’s health and they are not terrorists or bomb makers as maliciously and categorically tagged by the terrorist people in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their criminal masters- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Defense Secretary Norberto Gonzalez,” said Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap in a press statement.

The five-vehicle caravan will start in Binangonan and will proceed to Morong, Barras, Teresa, Cardona, Angono and Taytay towns in Rizal. Aside from demanding the release of 43 medical personnel, Pamalakaya’s caravan will also highlight the demand of the lake people to stop all anti-fisherfolk and anti-environment projects across Laguna Lake, including the halt on demolition activities and the pullout of military troops in different areas of the lake.

The caravan will also campaign for Anakpawis party list and the senatorial bids of Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo and Gabriela Party list Rep. Liza Maza.

Pamalakaya’s Hicap asserted the arrest of 43 doctors and community based health workers is line with the legal offensive ordered by defense secretary and security adviser Gonzalez issued last week to commence the final staging of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya 2.

“The the arrest of 43 medical volunteers was presided by Gonzalez’s order last week for all government units to heighten its legal offensive against members of militant groups as Oplan Bantay Laya 2 ends with the term of President Macapagal-Arroyo in June 30, 2010.

Hicap said Secretary Gonzalez and the national security gang in Malacanang had agreed to pursue and intensify the fabrication of trump up charges against leaders and members of militant organizations which the military branded as front organizations of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing the New People’s Army.

“What happen in Morong, Rizal was a wholesale political abduction, political kidnapping, gross disrespect of people’s constitutional and basic human rights and all-out political persecution done in the name of a brutal, corrupt and evil regime of Mrs. Arroyo and her extrajudicial killing republic,” the Pamalakaya leader said.#

Health workers provide free medical services and medicines to the people. They are not terrorists as what the AFP want them to appear with the public

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