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Cops caught campaigning against Makabayan groups on election day

Police officers continued red-tagging progressive parties and candidates while elections are already ongoing.

Uniformed Manila Police District officers distributed copies of Pulis Serbis Balita, the official newsletter of the Philippine National Police (PNP), on election day inside PN Geronimo Elementary School, Sampaloc, Manila, poll watch dog Kontra Daya reported.

The newsletter’s banner story, “Kabataan, nanguna sa pagkondena sa legal fronts at political parties na sumusuporta sa CPP/NPA” tagged Bayan Muna, Kabataan, Gabriela Women’s Party, Anakpawis and ACT Teachers parties as communist fronts.

Kontra Daya said the police officers violated civil service laws and rules against partisanship during elections.

“Targeting progressive parties and candidates is a blatant disregard of the non partisan role of state forces during elections,” Kontra Daya convenor Giovanni Tapang said.

“Any office or employee in the civil service, except those holding political offices; any officer, employee, or member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or any police force, special forces, home defense forces, barangay self-defense units and all other para-military units  that now exist or which may hereafter be organized who, directly or indirectly, intervenes in any election campaign or engages in any partisan political activity, except to vote or to preserve public order, if one is a peace officer, shall be guilty of an election offense,” Section 261 (i) of the Omnibus Election Code (Intervention of Public Officers and Employees) orders.

The Civil Service Commission also reminded government personnel last January 24 from participating in partisan political activities.

No officer or employee in the civil service, as well as any member of the military, shall engage, directly or indirectly, in any electioneering or partisan political activity, except to vote,” the CSC said.  

Kontra Daya volunteer Katrina Yamson uploaded videos of volunteers confronting Manila Police District officers distributing copies of the newsletter. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Technical glitches mar elections

Kontra Daya has called for the suspension of pilot testing of the Voter’s Registration Verification Machine (VRVM), saying it has caused delays in the voting.

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Anti-fraud watchdog Kontra Daya has called on the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to suspend the pilot testing of the Voter’s Registration Verification Machine (VRVM), saying it has caused delays in the voting.

The Comelec identified 10 vote-rich areas for the use of 25,000 VCRMs. These include Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Caloocan City, Quezon City, Manila City, Cavite, Cebu, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Davao del Sur and the new Bangsamoro Region.

Kontra Daya reported the following:

  •  4 VRVMs not functioning in Roxas High School in Quezon City. BEI said machines did not recognize log-in details of BEI Chair.
  • VRCM not functioning in T. Paez Integrated School in Manila. Comelec Technical Team cannot troubleshoot the problem.
  • 4 VRVMs in Judge Juan Luna High School in QC are not working properly. Electoral board switch to manual verification of voters’ in the EDCVL.
  • VRVM in precint cluster 326 in Dasmariñas East Integrated National High school, Cavite not working
  • All VRVMs in Mabolo Elementary School, Cebu City are not working. Teachers resorted to manual finding of voters’ names in the list.
  • VRVMs in 3 precincts in East Bagong Barrio Elementary School, Caloocan City not working. Teachers resort to manual search on EDCVL
  • VRVMs in Silangan Elementary School, Caloocan City
  • VRVMs in Cielito ES Caloocan City

Danny Arao, Kontra Daya spokesperson, said the VRVM must be suspended as it causes unnecessary delays in the voting process. “We can afford to have it suspended because it is just pilot testing phase,” he said.

Kontra Daya also monitored malfunctioning of vote counting machines in the following:

  • Precinct 1332 Ismael Mathay Senior HS
  • Precinct 001A Sto Nino Elementary School, Lumban, Laguna.
  • Precinct No. 1289A , Cielito High School, Caloocan City
  • Precinct No. 451B, Tondo High School, Manila
  • Precinct 3A-3B, 4A, 4B San Manuel, Tarlac
  • Precinct No. 25, Ruperto Zubia Elementary School, Baler, Aurora
  • Precinct No. 43B Brgy. Bagong Buhay, San Jose del Monte, Bulacan
  • Jose Fabella Memorial School in Mandaluyong City
  • Maypajo ES, Maypajo HS, Silangan ES, Caloocan City

Pens were also found defective in Bagumbayan Elementary School in Laguna, Pasong Tamo Elementary School

Kontra Daya said the malfunctioning of machines resulted in long queues, with some voters opting not to vote. #

Kodao website under DDoS attack in the midst of election coverage

Kodao’s website Kodao.org is currently suffering from distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in the midst of its 2019 mid-term elections coverage.

DDoS monitoring website DDoSMon reported that Kodao experienced 11 attacks since 10:58 Sunday night.

The other attacks happened at 11.23 and 11:56 Sunday evening, and 12:49, 7:40, 7:56, 9:07, 9:24, 9:47, and 10:52 Monday morning.

The latest attack was registered at  11 am.

Five of the attacks happened after Kodao uploaded a news report on false claims by the Philippine National Police and Army reservists that Makabayan parties have been disqualified by the Commission on Elections.

The attacks briefly prevented administrators from accessing Kodao’s website.

Visitors also reported difficulties in accessing Kodao.org.

Website administrators have requested digital rights groups to identify the source of the current attacks.

Kodao is among four alternative news sites that filed complaints against information technology companies IP Converge and Suniway that Sweden-based digital rights group Quirium identified as sources of DDoS attacks it suffered since December. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Police and Army reservists lie about Makabayan’s disqualification, fact check group reports

Police and Philippine Army reservists did not let up on its campaign against progressive parties seeking re-election in today’s polls.

The Facebook page of the Iloilo City Police Office and multiple Facebook accounts of Army reservists in Mindanao shared May 12 a post that falsely reported that the Commission on Elections has disqualified six partylist groups under the Makabayan bloc— Bayan Muna, Anakbayan, Anakpawis, ACT-Teachers, Gabriela and Anakbayan, poll fact checker Tsek.ph reported early Monday morning.

Tsek.ph said the post, published by the Facebook page Diego Pagbabago at 2 p.m. that day, appeared about four hours later on the Iloilo City police’s Pulis Icpo Serbisyo Publiko page.

The group said social media monitoring tool Crowdtangle identified six other Facebook accounts that posted the false claim as the 8th Infantry “Dependable” Battalion, Philippine Army; Ask Jay Lee; Joint Reserve Task Force “Metro Davao”; CMO 11rcdg; 1st Metro Davao Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion Philippine Army; and 1105th Ready Reserve Infantry Battalion Peace Keepers.

“Diego Pagbabago’s status states that six partylist groups were disqualified but its headline reads, ‘Comelec disqualifies five partylist, days before election,’” it added.

The full text of the post:

Disqualified. Yan ang hatol ng Comelec sa Partylist na tatakbo sana ngayong halalan 2019. Ang kadahilanan ng Comelec sa pagsuspendi sa limang Partylist ay dahil sa aktibo nitong pakikilahok upang pabagsakin ang gobyerno. Ang pagdisqualify ay ugat sa isang petisyon na inihain ni Angel Aguilar sa Comelec upang kanselahin ang rehistro ng anim na Partylist Bayan Muna, Anak Bayan, Anakpawis, Act-Teachers, Gabriela and Anakbayan Partylist (Disqualified. That is the decision of Comelec on Partylist running in the 2019 election. The reason Comelec suspended the five Partylist is they are involved in overthrowing the government. The disqualification stems from a petition by Angel Aguilar before the Comelec to cancel the registration of the six Partylist Bayan Muna, Anak Bayan, Anak Pawis, Act-Teachers, Gabriela and Anakbayan Partylist).

The Comelec has not decided the petition filed against the six groups on April 26 by one Angela O. Aguilar, Tsek.ph said.

Siegfred Deduro, vice chairman of Makabayan in the Visayas, said in a statement to the Iloilo media that the disqualification claim is not true.

“Our partylist groups remain (to be) legitimate candidates under the partylist elections and (they) maintain their high honor and prestige as gamechangers in the House of Representatives,” Deduro, former Bayan Muna Representative, told Tsek.ph.

Bayan Muna is among the top partylist groups in Pulse Asia’s latest pre-election survey.

The post is no longer accessible at Diego Pagbabago and the other accounts.

Tsek.ph is fact-checking project for the Philippines’ 2019 elections that counts the University of the Philippines, Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University as its academic partners as well as media outfits. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

NUJP: Malacañang’s ‘new’ matrix ‘a badly-concocted fiction’

The new “matrix” presented by presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo linking the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) as among those involved in the “deliberate attempt to discredit” the Rodrigo Duterte administration is nothing but “a piece of unadulterated crap,” the media group said.

Dismissing Malacañang Palace’s new latest accusation, the NUJP said the new diagram is another badly-concocted fiction meant to scare the administration’s perceived enemies, including independent journalists.

In his briefing Wednesday, Panelo presented diagrams showing the NUJP as involved in an alleged destabilization and link with political groups such as the Liberal Party and the rightist Magdalo Party.

Screengrab of RTVM’s video of presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo’s briefing Wednesday morning.

“The Office of the President, the President himself, has received intelligence information that has been validated and appears to show that there is deliberate attempt to discredit this administration as well as to boost the candidacies of the opposition—senatorial candidates. And it appears that there are certain groups who are working together to achieve this goal,” Panelo said.

“This group appeas to be the Liberal Party, some personalities identified as advocates who are very active on social media dishing out anti-Duterte statements and sentiments, and validated to be allied with the Liberal Party. Also, working together with groups in the matrix presented to you the other week,” Panelo said.

The NUJP said that Panelo’s statement linking the group to Rodel Jayme, arrested last week for uploading videos accusing members of the first family as well as senatorial candidate Christopher “Bong” Go, as having links with the illegal drug trade is criminal endangerment of people “without an iota of evidence.”

“But we say let them try their worst. They cannot scare the community of independent Filipino journalists into silence,” the NUJP said. (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Rights, religious, women’s groups seek protection vs govt red tagging

By Visayas Today

The human rights group Karapatan, the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines, and women’s organization Gabriela have filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to issue writs of amparo and habeas data against their continued vilification by President Rodrigo Duterte and officials of the government and security forces.

The petition, filed Monday, May 6, with the help fo the National Union of People’s Lawyers, “is a response to the worsening attacks, terrorist-tagging by the Philippine military and the ongoing smear campaign against human rights defenders,” Karapatan chair Elisa Tita Lubi said in a statement.

It names Duterte, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, General Benjamin Madrigal Jr., Brigadier General Fernando Trinidad, Major General Erwin Bernard Neri, Lieutenant General Macairog Alberto, Major General Antonio Parlade Jr., Alex Paul Monteagudo, Vicente Agdamag, Senior Superintendent Omega Jireh Fidel, and Undersecretaries Joel Sy Egco, Severo Catura and Lorraine Marie Badoy.

The petition sought the high court’s protection for the petitioners “who are constantly threatened and harassed, red-tagged and maliciously terrorist-labeled only because of their advocacies in various fields of human rights work” and to order the respondents to “produce and, if necessary, to update and rectify, or to suppress and destroy, data, information, and files in their possession, under their control, or contained in their data base that relate to or which concern (the) petitioners.”

It cited six speeches in which Duterte himself accused Karapatan of being a “communist front.”

Karapatan pointed out that, from 2001 to 2019, 48 of its human rights workers have been killed. These include three under the Duterte administration.

The three are Elisa Badayos, Karapatan Negros Oriental coordinator, who was killed on November 28, 2017 by motorcycle-riding gunmen along with peasant leader Eleuterio Moises while they were with a fact-finding mission; Mariam Uy Acob, a paralegal of Karapatan member-organization Kawagib Moro Human Rights Alliance, who was shot dead by two gunmen while riding a motorcycle home on September 23, 2018; and Bernardino Patigas, councilor of Escalante City, Negros Occidental and a founder and former officer of the North Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, who was murdered on April 22 this year.

“Human rights advocacy is not a crime, yet human rights workers are being killed, threatened, harassed, and jailed on trumped up charges,” Lubi stressed, noting that Duterte and his officials’ “dangerous rhetoric,” accusing Karapatan of being a rebel “front,” has led to murder and other abuses against human rights workers.

“Most, if not all, of our human rights workers, even our former colleagues, are subjected to threats, surveillance, harassment, red-tagging, and judicial harassment,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

“These attacks can only come from those who see our work and advocacy for people’s rights, our monitoring and documentation of human rights violations, our direct assistance to victims and kin, and our provision of platforms for human rights education as threats to the current status quo. Human rights defense and activism is not a crime; it is a right protected by international covenants and agreements as well as the Philippine Constitution,” she added.

The petition said the Duterte and his officials have persisted with their vilification of activist groups despite concerns raised by United Nations special rapporteurs, particularly “over the impression that such alleged statements, which distort the public narrative on human rights defenders and conflate their work with threats to national security, may have on the public and civil society, especially when delivered by the Head of State.”

In fact, the government went so far as to send a delegation to Europe where they accused several activist organizations, including schools for indigenous people in Mindanao, of being communist fronts.

Reacting to these, a number of Belgian NGOs spoke up in defense of their vilified partner-organizations. #

CEGP honors NUJP’s Espina with MH del Pilar Award

The College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) awarded National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) national chairperson Jose Jaime “Nonoy” Espina its highest honor to its alumni at the start of the World Press Freedom concert in Quezon City last Friday, May 3.

In a special ceremony, the CEGP finally handed the award to Espina who was supposed to receive it during the Guild’s 77th National Students Press Convention at the University of the Philippines—Visayas (UPV) in Cebu City last March 9.

The awardee failed to attend the convention due to a family emergency.

The award, named after the journalist, patriot and hero Del Pilar, was given to Espina for being “a pillar of press freedom.”

“On top of his distinguished journalism career, the awardee is, without doubt, a leading force in the defense of press freedom and freedom of expression in the country today,” the CEGP’s citation, read by its secretary general Paula Sabrine Janer, said.

“As a multi-term NUJP director and now its national chairperson, the awardee steadfastly stands for these rights and leads his organization to their defense. Whatever prestige that the NUJP enjoys as a media organization here and abroad, it is owed in great part to our awardee’s leadership,” the Guild’s citation added.

Espina was a high school campus journalist in his hometome Bacolod City before becoming the editor of Pagbutlak, UPV’s college student publication in Iloilo City.

He was a member of the community media group Correspondents, Broadcasters and Reporters Association—Action News Service or COBRA-ANS of Negros Occidental that was part of the “Mosquito Press” that fought the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship. He also became a reporter and editor of various local and national media outifts.

“[I]n honoring our awardee’s progressive, patriotic and disinguished career in journalism and for his principled and brave defense of press freedom and human rights in the Philippines, the CEGP awards this year’s Gawad Marcelo H. Del Pilar Award to a journalist worth emulating by student journalists everywhere,” the CEGP added.

NUJP national chairperson Nonoy Espina with his Marcelo H. Del Pilar Award trophy and certificate from the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. (Photo by Lito Ocampo)

In his acceptance speech, Espina said he is just a journalist who stands by his profession.

“I realized the importance of our profession in democracy, in society. I came to love this profession when I saw for myself the real situation of the people, especially the marginalized,” Espina said.

He added that he does not see journalism as the people’s voice but a platform so their stories are told.

“I have come to love journalism because, in my three decades of being a journalist, people sometimes come up to me to thank me for writing about their struggles,” Espina said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

8 Aetas killed during quake, IP group reports

Eight Aetas died in the 6.1 magnitude earthquake that shook parts of Luzon last April 22 but have not been included in the government list of casualties, an indigenous people’s group said.

The Central Luzon Aeta Association (CLAA) said at least eight Aetas, including minors, died in landslides in Porac and Floridablanca towns in Pampanga province due to the earthquake.

The group did not name the reported victims.

An April 26 report by CNN Philippines, however, said one child was killed in Barangay Nabuclod in Floridablanca town while three others (8-year old Landok Serrano, his father Berto Serrano and grandfather Bidong Laya) went missing during the quake.

In a press conference in Angeles City this morning, the CLAA complained that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council did not look into the plight of the Aetas—the indigenous peoples group in Central Luzon.

“[T]he NDRRMC just recorded a total of 18 deaths. Of the reported 18 deaths, five missing person cases, 243 wounded, from the 3,632 affected families or about 7,410 individuals…few or even none of it includes the indigenous people and their communities,” the CLAA in its press statement said.

The CLAA added that the Aetas are the most vulnerable sector in the region and the last to recover from disasters.

The group also bewailed that the Aetas have limited access to state resources, such as quick response and rescue teams when disasters strike.

‘Apathetic president’

In the press conference held at the Angeles City Youth Center, the CLAA expressed fears that more deaths may have occurred but remain unreported, especially in farflung indigenous communities.

The group also blamed president Rodrigo Duterte government for his apparent apathy for dismissing the number of deaths as “the barest minimum.”

“I’m not trying to belittle the problem. To me, it’s just maybe a few towns hard hit. Thank God that we have the barest minimum of deaths,” the President said at a situation briefing in San Fernando City, Pampanga two days after the quake.

CLAA chairperson Sonny Serrano said that the severity of the disaster effect of the earthquake may be linked directly to anti-environment projects “along every inch of the entire length of the Zambales mountain range.”

“In the uplands of Floridablanca for example, exploration and earthmoving activities along the ridges of Mount Cuadrado may have caused the weakened soil of the residents of Brgy. Nabuclod and other hard hit barangays of Floridablanca,” Serrano said.

In Porac, the introduction of alien tree species by the government’s National Greening Program and the existence of many quarry operations as well land conversion to roads and subdivision may have worsened the effects of the Earthquake, he added.

The CLAA also denounced Duterte’s “criminal negligence” in perpetuating more intensive environmental plunder of the entire Zambales mountain range under his government’s Build Build Build program, that may have worsened the effects of the earthquake. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Anakpawis member shot dead in Sorsogon; 2 others injured

BULUSAN, Sorsogon – Anakpawis member Dennis Españo of Barangay Tinampo, Bulusan, was shot dead by four gunmen on board two motorcycles.

The victim was driving his tricycle when attacked, Monday, April 29 at 2 pm.

Also injured in the shooting incident were the victim’s passengers Lilia Monteo and Zoren Furio, both residents of Barangay San Bernardo.

The gunmen drew abreast the victim and shot him, also hitting his passengers.

The victims were reportedly on their way to the funeral of Furio’s grandmother. (BicolToday.com)

‘Shooting of female guerrilla fighter in vagina proves Duterte’s anti-women remarks not joke, sarcasm’

“The military proves that Duterte’s ‘shoot the vagina’ remark is a brutal war policy.”

By JANESS ANN J. ELLAO
Bulatlat.com

MANILA — Not too long ago, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the shooting of female armed guerrilla fighters in their vaginas to render them “useless.” He later defended his remark – one of the many he issued against women – as mere sarcasm.

Not anymore.

Last week, Gabriela Women’s Party deplored the desecration of the remains of an alleged New People’s Army female fighter Cindy Tirado, whose remains were found to be desecrated as her genitals appeared to be shattered by a bullet.

Tirado was among those killed in an alleged military operation led by the 71st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army on April 15 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Apart from her genitals being shot, the women’s group also noted that her arms were fractured, indicating possible torture.

Tirado’s grieving mother Emma, in an interview with a national daily, noted that her daughter was most probably captured alive and tortured before she was killed.

Rape incidents on the rise

Apart from the “shoot in the vagina” remark, Duterte has not been sitting well among many women’s group due to what they said are anti-women pronouncements.

He has repeatedly “joked” at the expense of women or on the issue of rape.

Such pronouncements, critics said, contribute to the poor regards for women and their rights in the country.

In a report earlier this year, the Center for Women’s Resources said there were 2,962 cases of rape or about 20 incidents per day from January to May 2018 alone.

Among the cities with the highest number of rape incidents in 2018 were Quezon City, Manila, and Davao.

There are also 59 cops implicated in the cases of violence against women from July 2016 to December 2018, the CWR report added.

Independent probe sought

Meanwhile, Gabriela Women’s Party called for an independent probe, saying that this constitutes a war crime and violation of international humanitarian law, adding that those involved must be probed over its apparent excessive use of force and possible sexual violence.

The military, the group added, “proves that Duterte’s ‘shoot the vagina’ remark is a brutal war policy.” #