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Martial law victims want Imelda behind bars

Martial law victims and activists held a picket protest outside Sandiganbayan office in Quezon City to demand for the arrest warrant for Imelda Marcos following its guilty verdict against the former First Lady.

Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) welcomed the conviction and asked the court to immediately put Marcos behind bars.

The group also reacted to the statement of PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde that Imelda might not be arrested because of her age and health conditions.

Albayalde’s statement did not surprise the martial law human rights victims since the Rodrigo Duterte government has been giving the Marcos family special treatment, SELDA said.

SELDA added that Sandiganbayan’s guilty verdict is a landmark decision that should be upheld.

SELDA called on the Sandiganbayan to stand by tits decision and not be cowed by the Marcoses’ alliance with Duterte. # (Report by Joseph Cuevas / Video by Carlo Francisco / Featured Image by Jinky Mendoza-Aguilar)

Panayam kay Dan Balusio ng BAYAN Bikol sa ika 46th na Komemorasyon ng Martial Law

Setyembre 21, 2018 – Panoorin ang panayam kay Dan Balusio, Secretary-General ng BAYAN Bikol hinggil sa kalagayan at panawagan ng mamamayan ng rehiyong Bikol tungkol sa Martial Law mula noon hanggang ngayon.

Para sa kabataan, ang pumikit ay kasalanan

Sanaysay at mga larawan ni Denver del Rosario

Umulan ma’y hindi nagpatinag ang sambayanan, at kanilang isinigaw ang patuloy na panawagan, “Never again!”

Sa hiyaw ng madla’y nangibabaw ang isang sektor ng lipunan na walang-sawang kumikilos at nagmumulat para sa kalayaan ng bansa. Halos limang dekada na ang nakalipas mula sa pinakamadilim na bahagi ng ating kasaysayan, ngunit hanggang ngayo’y kasama pa rin ito sa laban. Patuloy sitong nagpapaalala sa mga kasalanan ng lipunan at kumukontra sa pagbubulag-bulagan sa panahong inaapakan ang mga karapatan ng mamamayan.

Ika nga ni Lean Alejandro, patuloy na babalik ang kabataan.

Muling gumawa ng kasaysayan ang sambayanang Pilipino noong nakaraang Biyernes, kung saan kasama ng kabataan ang iba’t ibang sektor ng lipunan upang gunitain ang ika-46 anibersaryo ng batas militar sa Pilipinas sa ilalim ng diktador na si Ferdinand E. Marcos. Taas-kamaong pinagpugayan ng sambayanan ang mga taong naglaan ng kanilang mga buhay upang labanan ang diktadurya at tiraniya noong panahong iyon.

Isa si Andrew Mencias, 20, sa naitalang labinlimang-libong nagprotesta sa Luneta. Kasama ang kanyang mga kaibigan mula UP Diliman ay tumungo siya sa Luneta upang sumama sa mas malawak na hanay ng mamamayan. Kasabay ng pag-alala sa kamatayan ng demokrasya ay ang pagkundena sa nagbabadyang pagbabalik ng pamilyang Marcos sa mas mataas na kapangyarihang politikal at ang patuloy na pagtapak sa karapatang pantao ng kasalukuyang administrasyongRodrigo Duterte.

“Pumunta ako ng Luneta dahil naniniwala ako sa kahalagahan ng sama-samang pagkilos,” ani Mencias. “Para sa akin, maraming bagay tayong dapat nating natatamasa pero hindi natin nakukuha.”

Nagkataong itinakda din noong nakaraang Biyernes ang Pandaigdigang Araw ng Kapayapaan, ngunit isa itong malaking kabalintunaan sa ating bansa. Sa araw na ito’y binabalikan ng sambayanan ang taong 1972, kung kailan tinanggal ang kalayaan ng mamamayan. Kung iisipi’y ilang dekada nang lumipas, subalit muli itong nagiging tampok ngayon kaugnay ng pamamalakad ng administrasyong Duterte, na inihahalintulad ng mga grupong sektoral kay Marcos.

Patuloy ang pagnupuna at pagkukundena ng iba’t ibang mga grupo sa kasalukuyang administrasyon dahil sa kawalang-respeto nito sa karapatang pantao at ang patuloy na pagsasabatas ng mga anti-mamamayang polisiya. Aktibong lumalahok sa mga pagkilos ang kabataan—kasabay ng pagsama sa iba’t ibang mobilisasyon ay ang pagsulong ng kanilang mga adbokasiya bilang tugon sa iba’t ibang isyung panlipunan.

Katulad na lamang ni Mencias na nakikiisa sa laban ng kabataan para sa libreng edukasyon, na itinuturing niyang pundasyon ng isang progresibong lipunan. Habang malayo na ang narating ng kampanya, patuloy pa rin ang mga dagok na humahadlang upang makamit ang edukasyon para sa lahat.

“Nakakalungkot na pangit yung quality ng maraming public schools dito sa atin,” ani Mencias. “Nakakulong pa rin tayo sa isang sistemang wala tayong napapala.”

Kamakailan lamang ay napagtagumpayan ng kabataan na tanggalin ang Return Service Agreement mula sa Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) ng RA 10931 o ang Universal Access to Quality Tertiary Education Act of 2017. Matagal nang pinupuna ng mga estudyante ang probisyong ito—ayon sa National Union of Students of the Philippines (NUSP), ang edukasyon ay karapatan at dapat walang kapalit.

Gayunpaman, sa maliliit na hakbang ay patuloy pa rin ang mga banta sa karapatang ito, katulad ng nagbabadyang budget cut sa edukasyon at ang pasuweldo sa mga guro na hindi pa rin sapat.

Isa pa sa isinusulong ni Mencias ay ang karapatan ng pambansang minorya, na patuloy na binubusabos ng kasalukuyang rehimen. “Higit sa lahat, sila yung pinaka-apektado ng mga batas, at hindi rin naman sila pinoprotektahan ng military,” ani Mencias.

Ayon sa Save our Schools (SOS) Network, kamakailan lamang ay pitong kabataang Moro ang pinatay ng mga militar sa Patikul, Sulu sa ilalim ng batas militar sa Mindanao—bukod pa dito ay ang serye ng mga pagbomba sa mga katutubong komunidad at mga kaso ng puwersahang pagsuko sa kamay ng mga puwersang gobyerno, isang manipestasyon na patuloy pa rin ang paglabag ng estado sa karapatang pantao.

Isang patunay si Mencias sa libo-libong kabataang patuloy na nakikibaka para sa tunay na pagbabagong panlipunan at tumatangging kalimutan ang ating masalimuot na nakaraan. Patuloy nilang ginagampanan ang kanilang papel bilang mga pag-asa ng bayan. Ang sabi ng iilan, huwag nang mangialam ang kabataan, hindi naman kayo buhay noong mga panahong iyon.

Ngunit sila’y hindi magpapatinag.

“Hanggang ngayon naman, nararamdaman pa rin natin ang mga ginawa ni Marcos, ngayon pang gusto nilang bumalik sa mataas na kapangyarihan,” ani Mencias. “Dapat naman talaga nating binabalikan at pinag-uusapan ang kasaysayan, para maisakonteksto natin yung sitwasyon na meron tayo ngayon.”

Kung babalikan ang 1970, ang kabataan ang nanguna sa panawagang baguhin ang sistemang pulitikal at pang-ekonomiko ng bansa. Sa Sigwa ng Unang Kwarto, kabataan ang nanguna sa paghingi ng pagbabagong panlipunan sa ilalim ng administrasyong Marcos, na nagpapakita na ng mga tendensiyang diktaduriyal. Maraming kabataan ang nagbuwis ng buhay upang ipaglaban ang kinabukasan ng inang bayan.

Halos limang dekada na ang lumipas, ngunit muli nilang pinatunayang patuloy silang lumalaban kasama ang sambayanan.

Hindi pa rin nagbabago ang lipunang ginagalawan—sa ilalim ng administrasyong Duterte, kinikitil ang mga pag-asa ng bayan at pilit pinipinturahan ito ng estado bilang “collateral damage”. Nariyan si Kian delos Santos, si Carl Arnaiz, at daan-daang kabataang biktima ng pambubusabos at paglabag sa karapatang pantao ng kasalukuyang liderato.

Ganoon pa rin ang sistemang pulitikal at pang-ekonomiko na patuloy na pinoprotektahan lamang ang interes ng makapangyarihang iilan. Patuloy ang pagtatangkang baguhin ang kasaysayan at ilagay sa pedestal ang diktador na kumitil ng maraming buhay at binaon ang bansa sa utang na hanggang ngayo’y pasanin ng mamamayan.

Patuloy pa rin ang laban.

Madalas na tinuturo sa mga paaralan na nakamtam muli ng sambayanan ang kalayaan matapos nilang pabagsakin ang diktadurya noong 1986. Ngunit alam ng kabataang hindi pa tunay na malaya ang bansa—mahaba lang ang tanikala. Sila ang patunay na hindi maaaring magbulag-bulagan ang mamamayan, lalo’t harap-harapan ang paglabag at ang pagsasawalang-bahala.

Ilang buhay man ang kunin, patuloy silang babalik at lalaban. #

Method in its madness

By Luis V. Teodoro

Despite the bluster of President Rodrigo Duterte and his equally loud lieutenants, yes-men and accomplices in the Cabinet, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the Supreme Court, his regime is in reality completely without anything that even approximates a rational and coherent platform of governance. It is making things up as it goes along, and patching together ad hoc attempts to make it seem as if it were addressing the urgent problems that haunt the nation, most of which are of its own making.

But there is some method in this seeming madness. Devising the right solutions to the country’s problems is not only beyond the regime’s capacity; it is also the last of its priorities. What it craves most is absolute power and political dominance, to achieve which it uses the most absurd and politically self-damaging means to silence and suppress its critics as well as anyone else opposed to — among its legions of offenses against this portion of humanity — its lawlessness and contempt for human rights, and the terrible cost in lives of its savage “war” on drugs.

To achieve that dominance it has demonized and threatened the independent press, and elevated as policy the use of coercion against dissenters including the manufacture of various forms of deception to imprison its perceived enemies.

Both are failing, however, and have become counterproductive. The threats on the press are uniting much of the media community behind the imperative of defending its constitutionally-protected freedom as well as free expression. Its latest attempt to jail another political opponent, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, has instead enhanced Trillanes’ status as a leader of the political opposition by keeping him in the media limelight and providing him a forum from which to address the public and condemn the many failings of the regime that’s persecuting him.

In obvious recognition of how much its mindless attack on Trillanes has earned him near-unprecedented media mileage, the regime launched a media campaign that began with that misnamed September 11 “tête-à-tête” between Mr. Duterte and his legal counsel. In the public mind that event seemed so much like a conversation solely between Mr. Duterte and himself that few took seriously even his claim that there was a conspiracy afoot to oust him from power.

Its obvious and desperate attempts to preserve and enhance what it mistakenly believes should be permanent citizen approval of anything and everything it says or does, and its egregious failure to even begin to address the problems its own lack of vision and ineptitude created, have led some observers to conclude that it’s only a matter of time before the regime collapses from the dead-weight of its own blunders and ineptitude.

There is indeed that inviting possibility. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the regime capacity to inflict irreparable harm on this country and its people before it finally goes. For if at all it has any semblance of a plan, it is to transform the Duterte dynasty from a petty rural tyranny to a national dictatorship — a process that thanks to the perverse character of Philippine elections as a media and popularity contest began in 2016, when the electorate catapulted a provincial despot to national office. Only by putting the entire country under authoritarian rule can it protect and preserve the dynasty’s long-term interests.

A third of the Philippines is still under martial law 32 years after the fall of the Marcos terror regime in 1986, and despite the lessons from that dark period that every Filipino should have learned by now.

Because Mindanao is the laboratory in which the regime is testing the feasibility of placing the entire Philippines under one-man rule, martial law has twice been extended by a Congress and Supreme Court dominated by landlords, their hirelings, and by bureaucrats with neither a sense of history nor concern for the rights and liberties of the people. It is likely to be extended for the third time on the argument that it is needed to check the violence it has failed to prevent — and of which its military and police implementors are often the perpetrators.

As distressing as this may be, what is even more abhorrent is the growth of the myth that the Marcos version of martial law ushered in some kind of Golden Age in the troubled history of this Republic. There is also the growing popularity of the dangerous notion that the nationwide imposition of martial rule is a legitimate government option, and its acceptance by regime partisans as a supposed means of ending criminality and the drug problem that Duterte the candidate promised in 2016.

The by now conventional view is that these delusions are among the consequences of the failure of those who lived through the terrors of the Marcos dictatorship to pass on to succeeding generations what authoritarian rule meant to the hundreds of thousands who were its victims as well as its immediate and long-term impact on the present and future of this country and its people.

There is much that is true in that explanation. But those falsehoods are also the results of a campaign in which the Marcos, Arroyo and kindred dynasties are not only willing collaborators but also the driving forces, to prettify fascist rule and pass it off as the only means of bringing about the changes that have eluded the Filipino people for centuries.

This is the context in which the current President of the Philippines has been making his frequent promises to resign. Is the goal — and Mr. Duterte has hardly tried to conceal it — for him to relinquish the Presidency once Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. is declared by the Supreme Court, while sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET), Vice President in place of Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo?

If this is indeed the plan, Marcos, Jr. would be interim President until 2022, from the commanding heights of which he could then complete Mr. Duterte’s march to despotism, thus clearing his daughter Sara Duterte-Carpio’s path to the Presidency.

The catch in this seemingly clever scheme is that the Marcoses’ agenda is entirely different from that of the Dutertes. Marcos, Jr. as well as his mother Imelda, his sisters, and the rest of the Romualdez and Marcos clans have made it abundantly clear that they want “Bongbong” to be President to complete their return to the pinnacles of power, from where they can foist upon the people their version of what happened during the 21-year rule of their late patriarch.

Therein lies the fatal flaw in this conspiracy against the country, the Constitution and the Filipino people. There is every likelihood that as in times past, the alliances of convenience forged among the ruling cliques in this vale of uncertainty will come apart under the pressure of their unremitting greed for pelf and power.

Their differences can find expression in the armed confrontations and assassinations that still characterize much of local politics, and which have numerous times spilled into the national arena. The ensuing violence would then be part of the already bloody legacy the Duterte regime will leave behind once it passes into history.

(First published in BusinessWorld. Photo from PCOO)

Filipinos defiant under US-Duterte police state

As police troops deploy a tight cordon around Rizal Park on the 46th anniversary of martial law, persecuted Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno dare speak at the Luneta rally.

The crowd chants “never again to martial law.”

Joining the rally are farmers from as far as the Bicol region, workers, women and youth organizations, scientist and artist groups led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) and the Philippines Chapter of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS-Phils).

The rally was held simultaneously with other protest actions in the country and Philippine embassies in other countries. (Contributed video)

 

Groups hit Marcos-Duterte alliance on dictator’s 101st birth anniversary

The Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang (CARMMA) and groups belonging to the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) denounced what they call an alliance between the family of the late dictator and President Rodrigo Duterte in a picket protest at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig City on the 101st birth anniversary of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Tuesday, September 11.

The protesters said Duterte sponsored the wholesale accomodation of the ousted tyrant’s family by allowing him burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani and enabling them to be firmly entrenched back into power.

BAYAN also slammed Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos’ statement that those against their family should “move on and accept the reality.”

“How can we  forget the atrocities under Martial Law and the ill gotten wealth amassed by the late dictator and his family? The Marcos regime was a curse to the Filipino people and the dictatorship  that devasted the people are now treated by President Duterte as heroes,” BAYAN said in a statement.

They also warned Duterte against attempts to revise the history and impose his own Marcos-inspired brand of dictatorship.

“Almost one third of the country is under Martial rule and Duterte has already surpassed Marcos in terms of extra-judicial killings,” the protesters said.

CARMMA and BAYAN called on the Filipino people to join the United People’s Action Rally in Luneta on September 21 to thwart “threats of another dictatorship.” (Video and report by Joseph Cuevas)

Rights defenders raise alarm over PNP dossier

By Kimberlie Quitasol
BAGUIO CITY–Human rights defenders raised alarm over a ‘confidential memorandum’ of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to its intelligence group to submit a dossier of individuals the police labeled as New People’s Army (NPA) leaders.
Mary Ann Gabayan, secretary general of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA) said they are deeply concerned for the people listed in the said memorandum which includes Sherwin de Vera, an environmental activist and journalist, a lawyer and activists from the Cordillera and Ilocos regions, and names like an Edwin Rimando, who has the same family name as Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Ilocos spokesperson, Engr. Eduardo Rimando.
De Vera has already been under the surveillance of the state forces prior to his arrest for trumped-up charges on December 2017 and is currently facing trial.
The said memorandum posted at scribd.com by a certain Jayson Guerrero on August 10 came from Camp Crame and was dated May 28, 2018. The memorandum was addressed to “chiefs, RIUs 1 and 14” directing them “to provide SOI on the following NPA leader”.
The list  included Jovencio Balweg, a councilor in Malibcong, Abra; lawyer Jose Malintas, United Nation Special Rappoteur Victoria Tauli-Corpus (Corpuz) and Joan Carling, Co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group on Sustainable Development of the United Nations, Cordillera activists Joanna Carino, Wendel Bolingit, Jeannet Ribaya Cawiding and Beverly Longid were also listed.
A certain Esteban Manuel is also listed in the said memorandum. It can be recalled that Eduardo Esteban, a senior citizen and cancer survivor was arrested in his house in Jaro, Iloilo on August 5, 2014 with an arrest warrant issued for Esteban Manuel. He was jailed for 13 trumped up charges of murder, frustrated murder and arson among others in various courts in Abra, Mountain Province and Ilocos Sur. He was released in 2017 after all the charges were dismissed.
“We hope that the police would be more circumspect in their intelligence gathering so that they will not endanger the lives and security of civilians, indigenouse peoples and human rights defenders,” Atty. Mary Ann Bayang, one of the legal counsels of Corpuz said.
Bayang added that “the police has the obligation to be foremost in ensuring the protection of human rights, not to be instruments in the violation of human rights”.
It is also notable that these individuals were also listed in the proscription petition of the Department of Justice (DOJ) as terrorists. Just recently Corpuz and Molintas were delisted from the proscription terror listing  with former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Consultant Rafael Baylosis.
“Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra even admitted the DOJ did not verify the names they have listed in the proscription petition yet the PNP uses this to issue a memorandum subjecting our colleagues to further harassment,” Gabayan stressed.
“While IHRA is deeply concerned with the safety of our colleagues De Vera and Rimando and other personalities on the list, we will continue to expose these ruthless attacks and will hold the government liable for whatever untoward incident and further attacks that may happen,” Gabayan said.#

LODI: ‘Imee as guest of honor degrades Cry of Pugadlawin’

A group of artists and writers slammed the choice of Ilocos Norte Governor Maria Imelda Josefa “Imee” Marcos as guest of honor at the 122nd anniversary of the Cry of Pugadlawin in Barangay Bahay Toro Thursday, August 23.

The Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI) asked what was a daughter of a dictator doing in an event that supposedly celebrates the people’s heroism as when Andres Bonifacio and the Katipunan tore their “cedulas” to signal the start of country’s revolution against Spanish colonialism.

“Her presence in Pugad Lawin is a desecration of the sacred grounds where Andres Bonifacio once stood with the revolutionaries to proclaim their independence. Once more, it diminishes our collective efforts to fight for justice and emancipation from greed and avarice,” LODI said.

“She is not only the daughter of the dictator. She herself has blood in her hands,” LODI said in the statement, recalling college student Archimedes Trajano who was alleged to have been tortured and killed by Imee’s bodyguards when he dared ask her pointed questions in 1977.

LODI also said Imee is reportedly the owner of the production house that produced many a social media content debunking the people’s victory in EDSA and reducing the people’s anti fascist struggle to a Marcos vs Aquino narrative.

In her speech at the event, Governor Marcos paid homage to the revolution against Spanish colonization and the heroes that fought for freedom of the Philippines.

She also challenged the audience to look past beyond personal interests and serve the country wholeheartedly.

Ang Pugad Lawin ay historical hindi lamang sa himagsikan kundi historical pa rin noong sunod-sunod na EDSA People Power Revolution,” Gov. Marcos said. (Pugad Lawin is historical not only because of the uprising, but historical also because of the successive EDSA People Power Revolution.)

A source told Kodao that Marcos represented President Rodrigo Duterte who could not attend as he is in Davao City for the 12th anniversary celebration of the Eastern Mindanao Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos’ wreath laying at the Pugadlawin Shrine thursday, August 23 (Photo by QC PAISO)

Quezon City Vice Mayor Josefina “Joy” Belmonte led the anniversary rites in behalf of the city.

Belmonte was the daughter of the late Betty Go-Belmonte who was a prominent figure in the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship.

LODI accused the governor of wanting to run for a Senate seat, thus her current public visibility.

The group said the people cannot and should not allow another Marcos in the Senate.

“We urge Filipinos to remain vigilant and oppose any attempts by the family of the thieving dictator to rule the nation once more,” LODI said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘Hindi krimen ang lumaban’

“Hindi krimen ang lumaban. Ang tunay na krimen, mga kababayan, ay ‘yong nag=aasta lang diktador na lahat ng sabihin mo ay itinuturing na batas. Walang pakialam sa rule of law. Walang pakialam sa due process.”—Rep. Sarah Elago, Kabataan Partylist

Marcos all over again, women journalists on Women’s Day say

History is repeating itself, Filipino women journalists said at a forum on the role of women in Philippine media at the University of the Philippines last Thursday, International Working Women’s Day.

Eminent women journalists likened the Rodrigo Duterte government to Ferdinand Marcos’s martial law for its many attacks against press freedom at the Women Talk Back: We are not All Vagina forum at the College of Mass Communication Auditorium.

“The media may seem free but many are afraid. There is a chilling effect,” broadcast journalist Ces Oreña-Drilon said.

The Duterte government has been condemned for its attacks against critical media outfits such as the Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS-CBN, Rappler, Catholic Media Network, Kodao, among others.

Duterte himself has been criticized for his rants and threats against journalists and catcalling broadcaster Mariz Umali on live television.

Broadcaster Kara David for her part criticized Malacañan Palace’s statement that people should look beyond Duterte’s jokes and instead look at his pro-women record as Davao City mayor.

David said that while Davao City has pro-women programs, it still does not look good to see a leader who constantly makes derogatory jokes and sexist remarks.

“These impacts big against women,” she said, adding Duterte should be kicked out if he were a student.

Veteran journalists, Jo-Ann Maglipon, Ma. Ceres P. Doyo, Cheche Lazaro, Melinda de Jesus, Chuchay Fernandez, Malu Mangahas and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines acting chairperson Jo Clemente were resource persons at the forum.

Recalling her experiences under the Marcos dictatorship, Lazaro said history is repeating itself under the Duterte government. # (Report and photo by Maricon Montajes)