Posts

Joma, peace advocates: ATC move vs. NDFP ‘diabolical’, to worsen armed conflict

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison described their group’s designation as “terrorist” by the Rodrigo Duterte government as “diabolical”, aimed at not just further closing every possibility of resuming peace negotiations but to kill more of their consultants and resource persons.

READ: GRP designates NDFP as ‘terrorist organization’

Reacting to the Anti-Terrorism Council’s (ATC) June 23 resolution designating the NDFP as a terrorist organization, Sison said the government clearly intends to:

  • Close further every possibility of resuming the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations at least for the duration that Duterte is in power,
  • Harass, silence, arrest or even kill the NDFP consultants and resource persons and others involved in the peace negotiations and target even the broad range of peace advocates, critics and oppositionists,
  • Allow Duterte to control and rig the 2022 elections, stay in power together with (Davao City Mayor) Sara and prevent his (Duterte’s) arrest for crimes against humanity on the prospective warrant that may be issued by the International Criminal Court, and
  • Pave a wider path for the Duterte regime to declare martial law and impose a fascist dictatorship on the people either before the anticipated 2022 elections or after this is rigged in order to preempt the 1986 type of people’s uprising.

“The diabolical purpose of the Duterte regime in designating the NDFP as terrorist cannot be understated because this has been preceded by the murder of NDFP consultants committed so flagrantly by Duterte death squads,” Sison said.

In its Resolution No. 21 (2021) issued last June 23, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) designated the NDFP as a terrorist organization/association, saying the group is “an integral and inseparable part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).”

Sison cited the murder of Randy Malayao, Randall Echanis, couple Agaton Topacio and Eugenia Magpantay, couple Antonio Cabanatan and Florenda Yap, Reynaldo Bocala and Rustico Tan as proof the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is into killing NDFP consultants.

The victims were killed after Duterte ordered the GRP Negotiating Panel to walk away from the peace negotiations in mid-2017.

Sison also cited the arrest of NDFP consultants Adelberto Silva, Rey Casambre, Vicente Ladlad, Renante Gamara, Ferdinand Castillo  and others who have been arrested and imprisoned on so-called trumped up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

He added that the designation is “at war” with basic principles of international humanitarian law on the legitimate status, rights and character of national liberation movements such as those by the NDFP.

‘War hawks to blame’

A group of peace advocates blames so-called war hawks in the ATC for NDFP’s designation as terrorist.

The group Pilgrims for Peace (PfP) said GRP’s move bodes ill for human rights, democracy and the quest for peace under the Duterte administration.

“The war hawks are hell-bent on killing peace negotiations and instead pursuing all-out war in the government counterinsurgency program as well as casting a wide net of suppression against all opposition and dissent through state terror as embodied in the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020,” the group in a statement said.

PfP said the designation can only intensify the “nefarious red-baiting/ terrorist-tagging by the National Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict, with dire implications on and further deterioration of the human rights situation and constriction of democratic space in the country.”

The group added the designation directly contravenes a basic tenet of peace advocacy: addressing the roots of the armed conflict through earnest peace negotiations.

“[B]y designating those who have stepped forward to engage in peace negotiations as ‘terrorist,’ the Duterte administration is blatantly acting against the principle and practice of peace building,” PfP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

GRP designates NDFP as ‘terrorist organization’

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) has added the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to its list of terrorist organizations, dashing what remains of hopes for the resumption of formal peace negotiations between the parties.

In its Resolution No. 21 (2021) issued last June 23, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has designated the NDFP as a terrorist organization/association, saying the group is “an integral and inseparable part of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).”

The designation was signed by ATC chairperson and executive secretary Salvador Medialdea and council vice-chairperson and national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon.

“[The] NDFP is organized, controlled, acting on behalf of or at the direction of, and operated by the (CPP), a designated terrorist organization, association and/or group of persons under ATC Resolution No. 12 (2020),” the ATC said.

The Council said the NDFP is the last of three major components, along with the CPP and the NPA, that provides support to the armed and organizational expansion of the Communist movement in the country.

Founded in April 1973, the NDFP describes itself as “[A] revolutionary united front organization of the Filipino people fighting for national freedom and for the democratic rights of the people.

“The NDFP seeks to develop and coordinate all progressive classes, sectors and forces in the Filipino people’s struggle to end the rule of US imperialism and its local allies of big landlords and compradors, and attain national and social liberation,” its website says.

Aside from the CPP and the NPA, the NDFP has at least 15 other “revolutionary allied organizations” and is present in 70 out of the country’s 81 provinces.

Since 1992, the NDFP has been holding peace talks with the GRP to “address the roots of the armed conflict.”

After two years of fruitful negotiations across four formal rounds in three countries in Europe from 2016 to 2017, President Duterte walked away from the process and has since designated the CPP and NPA as so-called terrorists.

Observers said NDFP’s exclusion from GRP’s list of terrorist organizations provides hope that it is still open to resuming negotiations with the underground group.

NDFP officials have yet to respond to requests for comment on this development. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

ITANONG MO KAY PROF: Duterte, ICC, NTF-ELCAC, SONA at Eleksyong 2022

Panayam ng Kodao Productions, sa pamamagitan ni Prof. Sarah Raymundo, kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison hinggil sa mga isyu ukol kay Pangulong Duterte, International Criminal Court (ICC), National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), State of the Nation Address (SONA), at Eleksyong 2022.

ITANONG MO KAY PROF

Duterte, ICC, NTF-ELCAC, SONA at Eleksyong 2022

July 12, 2021

Prof Sarah: Isang maganda at mapagpalayang araw sa lahat ng ating tagapakinig. Nagbabalik ang Itanong Mo Kay Prof!

Usap-usapan ang pagtakbo muli ni Duterte sa pusisyong Vice-President sa halalan 2022. Si Sara Duterte naman ang Presidente sa tambalang ito. Simula nang sumingaw ang ganitong usapan, napakaraming mamamayan ang nagugulat, nababahala, nagagalit, at marami-rami na rin ang mga kritiko mula sa oposisyon, kilusang progresibo, samahan ng mga abogado, periodista, educador, taong-simbahan at kabataan ang nagpahayag ng kritikal na suri rito.

Sabi nga ng mga kritiko, kapit-tuko si Duterte sa kapangyarihang ginamit lang naman niya para sa korapsyon, karahasan at sukdulang pagpapahamak sa ekonomiya at mamamayan sa gitna ng pandemya.

Makakasama natin muli si Professor Jose Maria Sison, Chairperson Emeritus ng ILPS at Chief Political Consultant ng NDF upang mapagusapan at masuri ang usaping ito at iba pang kaugnay na usapin katulad ng imbestigasyon ng International Criminal Court kay Duterte, ang Peace Talks at CASER, at ilan sa mga sikat na personahe na tatakbo bilang presidente sa 2022. Maalab na pagbati, Prof. Sison!

Prof Sison: Maalab na makabayan pagbati sa iyo Prof. Sarah Raymundo at sa lahat ng ating tagapakinig.

Mga Tanong

  1. Prof Sison, ano po ang masasabi ninyo sa pagtakbo raw ni Pangulong Duterte sa 2022 eleksyon bilang vice president? At may nauulinigan din na tatakbong presidente naman si Sara Duterte. Ano ang inyong opinion sa bagay na ito?

JMS: Garapal na kasakiman ng iisang pamilya na kandidatong presidente at bise president sina Sara Duterte at Rodrigo Duterte. Nais nilang magpanatili ng dinastiya. Dating pamantayan na sa isang partido ang nagtatambal na kandidato para sa tungkuling presidente at bise presidente ay galing sa magkaibang rehiyon. Ang dalawang sakim na Duterte ay galing sa iisang pamilya. Pambihira talaga. Naiilang pati ang mga alyado nila. Sabi nila political incest.

  • Hindi pa klaro kung sino sino nga ba ang tatakbong presidente sa 2022. Pero may nakapagsabi na tatakbo daw si Senator Manny Paquiao at Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. Ano ang inyong masasabi hinggil dito, Prof Sison? Sa tingin niyo ba may pag-asa ang mamamayan sa dalawang ito?

JMS: Malalakas ang dalawang posibleng kandidato na binanggit mo, sina Manila Mayor Isko Moreno at Senator Manny Pacquiao. Malayong matitinong lider ang dalawang ito kaysa sa mga Duterte.  Maasahan sila ng mga mamamayan. Mas malaki rin ang following nila kung ihambing sa following ng mga Duterte.  Imbento lamang ng mga bayarang poll survey firm at troll army ang umano’y mataas na popularity rating ng mga Duterte.

Dahil sa napakaraming krimen na gawa ni Duterte laban sa sambayanang Pilipino, kaunti  na lang ang sumusunod kay Digong Duterte. Itinuturing siyang traidor at bentador ng West Philipine Sea sa Tsina, berdugo at mamatay-tao, mandarambong at manggagantso. Pero kontrolado niya ang Comelec at bilangan ng boto sa halalan ng 2022.

  • Ang International Criminal Court (ICC) ay handa ng mag-imbestiga sa Pilipinas hinggil sa mga kinakaharap na kaso ng paglabag sa karapatang tao ni Duterte sa mamamayan. Inisnab ito ni Duterte. Sinasabing hindi naman na tayo kasapi ng ICC kaya walang dapat harapin sa kanila. Ano ang inyong paliwanag sa bagay na ito Prof Sison?

JMS: Maliwanag sa Tratado ng Roma na nagbuo ng International Criminal Court na saklaw pa rin nito ang mga krimeng gawa ni Duterte habang myembro pa ang Pilipinas sa tratado kahit na umalis pa ang Pilipinas sa tratado.  Isa pa, kahit na maging presidente ang anak niya at siya ay maging bise presidente at haharangin nila ang warrant of arrest, puedeng lagyan na ng ICC ng emcumbrance ang mga bank account at investments ni Duterte sa abroad para managot sa mga damage claims ng mga biktima.

Kung maging presidente at bise ang dalawang Duterte sa pamamagitan ng pandaraya tulad ng ginawa sa midterm elections noong 2019, tiyak na magkakagulo sa Pilipinas at  mapapatalsik sila mula sa kapangyarihan tulad ni Marcos noong 1986. Kung mapipigil nila ang posibilidad na ito, lulubha ang krisis sa ekonomiya at pulitika ng naghaharing sistema at lalagablab ang armadong rebolusyon ng sambayanang Pilipino hanggang maibagsak ang mga Duterte. Puede pang habulin si Duterte ng people’s court ng kilusang rebolusyonaryo kung mailagan nya ang ICC at justice system ng reaksyonaryong gobyerno.

  • Ang National Task Force – End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) ang nagpapatupad ng Executive Order 70. Grabe ang ginagawa nilang red tagging sa mga indibidwal at organisasyon. Kayo Prof Sison ay kasama rin sa nilalagyan ng sungay ng mga ito at ikinakalat inyong larawan hindi lamang sa Kamaynilaan kundi maging sa mga probinsya. Ano po ang inyong masasabi sa kanila?

JMS: Mga militarista at pasista, mga mamatay tao at mga magnanakaw ang nasa National Task Force-ELCAC.  Sila ang mga tunay na terorista.  Nagrered-tagging sila sa mga indibidwal at organisasyon na pumupuna at sumasalungat sa mga krimen ng rehimeng Duterte. Pagkatapos pinapatay at inaagawan ng ari-arian ang mga biktima ng red-tagging. 

Antemano bilyun-bilyung piso ang pondo ng task force. Pinagnanakawan ito ni Duterte at mga heneral niya sa ngalan ng surveillance, intelligence, psywar, arrest, combat operations at pakunwaring community development. Walang auditing. Yong red-tagging at murder operations ng task force ay para takutin ang masa, kontrolin ang takbo at resulta ng halalang 2022 at mangurakot ng pondo ng bayan.

  • Marami po ang nananawagan na buwagin ang NTF-ELCAC at ibaling na lamang ang bilyon bilyong pondo nito sa ayuda sa mamamayan. Sa kasalukuyan Prof Sison ay lugmok pa rin sa kahirapan ang marami nating kababayan. Marami ang walang trabaho, nawalan ng trabaho, nabawasan ang kita at nabaon sa utang. Ano ang inyong paliwanag sa bagay na ito, Prof Sison?

JMS: Dapat buwagin ang NTF-ELCAC at ibaling  ang bilyun-bilyong pondo nito sa ayuda sa mamamayan. Makatarungan na gamitin ang pondong ito para makaahon ang marami nating kababayan mula sa kahirapan na bunga ng krisis sa ekonomiya at pandemya.

Lantad ang katotohanan na marami ang walang trabaho, nawalan ng trabaho, nabawasan ang kita, nabaon sa utang at hindi makaagapay sa implasyon o pagtaas ng presyo ng mga batayang pangangailangan sa pagkain at iba pa. Sukdulang lumala at lumaganap ang kahirapan sa Pilipinas dahil sa patakarang neoliberal, korapsyon, militarisasyon at pagiging pabaya ni Duterte sa pandemya.

  • Malapit na ang State of the Nation Address o SONA ni Pangulong Duterte. Ito na po ang huling taon ng kanyang administrasyon. Sa limang taong nakalipas, may ilang natutuwa sa kanyang pamumuno pero mas marami ang nagagalit at humihingi ng hustisya sa maraming paglabag sa karapatang-tao, kawalan at kapos na ayuda sa panahon ng pandemya, kawalan ng subsidyo para sa mga magsasaka, kawalan ng hanapbuhay sa maraming kababayan at marami pang KAWALAN. Ano ang inyong masasabi sa nakalipas na limang taon ni Duterte, Prof Sison?

JMS: Sa pagiging presidente, maraming malalaking krimen na ginawa ni Duterte bilang traidor, tirano, mamamatay-tao, mandarambong at manggagantso.

a. Traidor siya at papet ng dalawang imperyalistang kapangyarihan. Hinahayaan niya ang US sa pagiging dominante pa rin sa ekonomiya, pulitika, militar at kultura sa Pilipinas dahil nagbibigay ng armas na panupil sa mga mamamayan. Bentador siya ng West Philippine Sea sa Tsina at kasabwat siya ng mga kriminal na Tsinong sindikato sa pagpuslit at pagkalat ng illegal na droga.

b. Nagkunwari si Duterte na laban siya sa illegal drugs at nag-utos sa pagpaslang ng higit sa 33,000 drug suspects. Pero ginawa niya itong paraan para maging supremo ng mga drug lord, kumita ng malaki, manakot sa publiko at gawing  kriminal, korap at pribadong utusan  ang mga pulis.

k. Nagkunwari rin siyang Kaliwa at sosyalista at nangakong palayain ang lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal, magkaroon ng seryosong peace negotiations at sumunod sa people’s agenda. Pero hindi nagtagal lumitaw ang pakana niyang sirain ang peace negotiations para magpataw ng terorismo ng estado sa sambayanang Pilipino at magpanatili ng sarili sa kapangyarihan. Pananagutan ni Duterte ang pagpaslang ng maraming tao sa ngalan ng “counter-insurgency” o kontra-rebolusyon.

d. Isa pang dahilan kung bakit  sinira ng Duterte ang peace negotiations. Marahas na tutol siya sa tunay ng reporma sa lupa at pambansang industrialisasyon. Nang malapit nang malubos ang borador ng Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms, nagpahiwatig na ayaw na niyang matuloy ang peace negotiations. Pusakal na burukrata kapitalista si Duterte at aso siya talaga ng mga imperyalista,malalaking komprador at asendero.

e. Nangako si Duterte na puksain  ang korupsyon sa gobyerno. Lumitaw na siya pala ang pinakagarapal na mandarambong sa pondo ng bayan. At pinalaya pa niya ang mga alyado niyang mandarambong tulad nina Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, mga Marcos, mga Estrada, Enrile, Revilla  at iba pa at pinawalang-saysay ang mga kaso laban sa kanila. Mga kasuklam-suklam na  mga burukrata kapitalista sila lahat.

g. Nangako ng subsidyo sa mga magsasaka. Hindi niya tinupad ito at hinahayaan niyang binabarat  ng mga komersyante ang lokal  produkto sa agricultura at pinaluwagan niya ang pag-angkat ng bigas at asukal. Sinira ni Duterte ang kasarinlan ng Pilipinas sa pagkain.

h. Nangako na itigil niya  ang endo. Hindi niya tinupad ito. Pinipigil pa niya ang pagtaas ng minimum wage samantalang walang tigil ang pagtaas ng presyo ng mga batayang kalakal dahil sa TRAIN law at malaking pagbagsak ng ekonomya sa nakaraang dalawang taon. Dahil sa implasyon at bangkarote ang gobyerno muhing-muhi ang mga mamamayan kay Duterte.

i. Hinayaan ni Duterte na kumalat ang Covid-19 sa Pilipinas sa palagay na kikita siya sa mga Chinese casino at 500,000 na Chinese tourist.  Pagkatapos nangako ng mass testing, libreng panggagamot at ayuda sa mga tao. Hindi tinupad ang pangako at ibinulsa niya ang bilyun-bilyon na inilaan para sa ayuda at pagbili ng bakuna at PPE para sa mga front liner.

l. Dati nang pinalulundag ni Duterte ang utang ng Pilipinas dahil sa korupsyon at military overspending. Sabi pa niyang hindi mapigil ang korupsyon at ipinagmamalaki pa na pinalalamon niya ng pera ang mga heneral. Palaki nang palaki ang depisit sa badyet ng gobyerno at sa foreign trade. Magmula 2016, pinalundag ni Duterte ang utang ng Pilipinas mula 5.9 trillion pesos hanggang 10.9 trillion pesos. Sa huling taon, pinalundag niya ng 2 trillion persos ang utang sa ngalan ng pandemya.

m. Pananagutan ni Duterte ang malubhang krisis ngayon ng naghaharing sistema sa ekonomiya at sa pulitika. Makapal pa ang mukha niyang tumindig  na magiging tunay na kapangyarihan sa likuran ni Sara bilang papet niya. Parang hindi niya alam na sa susunod na taon lalong lulubha pa ang krisis at lalong babalikwas ang masang Pilipino.

  • Meron po ba kayong gustong iwan sa ating mga tagapakinig, Prof Sison.

JMS: Dapat ilantad at kondenahin ang mga mga krimen ni Duterte. Dapat tayong magalit sa mga krimen na ito at sa tiyak na gagawin niyang  pandaraya sa darating na eleksyon para manatili sa kapangyarihan at mahadlangan ang warrant of arrest mula sa International Criminal Court.

Gawin ng sambayanang Pilipino at mga makabayan at demokratikong pwersa ang lahat na magagawa para labanan at gapiin ang lahat ng pakana at kilos ng pangkating Duterte para manlinlang at manakot sa masa at manatili sa kapangyarihan.

Pag-isipan na rin kung ano ang dapat nating gawin sa 2022 at sa anim na taon na susunod sa halalan, para sa pagsusulong ng pakikibaka para sa pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya. Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!

Prof Sison: Maraming salamat at paalam  sa inyo Sarah at sa lahat ng ating  tagapakinig.

Prof Sarah: Extro. Maraming-maraming salamat Prof. Sison para sa malaman at komprehensibong pagtalakay sa mga kasalanan sa mamamayan ni Duterte sa nakaraang limang taon. Nilinaw ni Prof Sison na walang silbi ang  pagtakbo ni Duterte, gayundin ng kanyang anak na si Sara Duterte, kundi ang matakasan ang mga kaso at krimen na patuloy na namemerwisyo sa mga mamamayan. Kaalinsabay ng pagnanais ng mga Duterte na paghariin ang impunity o ang kawalan ng pananagutan at kaparusahan para sa mga makapangyarihang gumagawa ng krimen laban sa mamamayan ay ang patuloy na pagkamal ng kita są pusisyon sa gubyerno.

Sinumang kumalaban sa kapangyarihan ni Duterte ay nararapat lamang na tahasang kondenahin at umagapay sa malawak na kilusan ng mamamayan na nagsasabing, Wakasan Na ang tiraniya sa bansa. Parusahan ang presidenteng kapit-tuko sa kapangyarihan.

Muling sumasainyo, ito po si  Sarah Raymundo, guro ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas at aktibista ng Bagong Alyansang Makabayan. Tandaan po natin Ang pagpili ng maka-mamamayan at makabayang mga kandidato na matapang na tutunggali sa tiraniya ay nararapat lang sabayan ng bawat mamamayan ng pakikipagkaisa sa pagbubuo at pagpapalakas ng malawak na kilusang masana nagsasabing “Duterte, wakasan na!”

End

‘DOE has become a mere announcer of oil price hikes’

“Oil price hikes have direct and lasting effects on agricultural and fishing production cost, cost of farm inputs, and overall cost of living for Filipinos. Throughout the deregulation era, the Department of Energy (DOE) has become a mere announcer of oil price hikes. Deregulation under Duterte also caused much damage to the livelihood and economic status of Filipinos.”Rafael ‘Ka Paeng’ Mariano, Chairman Emeritus, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas

Joma looks past the ‘treacherous’ Duterte for peace talks resumption

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison looks past the Rodrigo Duterte administration for the possible resumption of the stalled peace negotiations between the Left and the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

In a statement, Sison said it is “utterly perverse” of the Duterte regime to expect that the Communists can be convinced back into peace negotiations after the murder of NDFP consultants and attempts by GRP officials and agencies to paint him as a “terrorist”.

“I assure these fascists (in the GRP) that the CPP, NPA and NDFP have enough brains to think that even peace negotiations in a foreign neutral venue have become too risky and costly for the NDFP after the murder of so many NDFP peace consultants,” Sison said.

Randy Felix Malayao, Randall Echanis, Julius Giron, ederly couple Agaton Topacio and Eugenia Magpantay, couple Antonio Cabanatan and Florenda Yap, and Reynaldo Bocala were all brutally killed after Duterte terminated the peace negotiations in 2017.

He added that here is a need for certain new guarantees to ensure the safety and immunity of NDFP negotiators, consultants and staff if ever peace negotiations would be held in cooperation with an administration, “which is not as treacherous and murderous as the Duterte regime.”

All-out war

In his statement, Sison confirmed observations that Duterte made a total turnaround on the peace negotiations in the second half of 2017.

In a statement, Sison said that after the Manila government aborted the fifth round of formal talks in May 2017 it became increasingly clear that Duterte had a change of position and attitude.

“He was no longer interested in peace negotiations with the NDFP and was single-mindedly for an all-out war against the CPP and NPA to comply with [then United States of America President Donald] Trump’s order and to aim for fascist dictatorship,” Sison said.

Duterte issued Proclamation 360 terminating the peace negotiations on November 23, 2017 and Proclamation 374 designating the CPP and NPA as “terrorist” organizations on December 5, 2017.

The termination wasted significant progress made in the negotiations and in the drafting of the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms in the previous four rounds of formal talks from August 2016 to April 2017, Sison rued.

Sison said the Manila government’s turnaround came after Duterte failed to lure his former professor to return to the Philippines and instead allowed the Europe-held peace negotiations to produce beneficial agreements such as free land distribution to poor farmers.

Sison said Duterte used the excuse that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founding chairperson has no control or influence over the Party and the New People’s Army (NPA) to push for so-called localized negotiations.

Sison said Duterte and the military are absolutely correct in saying the neither the NDFP Negotiating Panel and its chief political consultant have the power to issue orders to the CPP and the NPA whose leading formations are all in the Philippines.

“Duterte and his running dogs are therefore mendacious and malicious in taking the position and attitude and ranting that I make decisions and give orders to the CPP and NPA and that I am a “terrorist” who should be deported by the Dutch government to the Philippines for punishment by the Duterte regime under its draconian law of state terrorism,” he said.

Sison also scored repeated pro-GRP pickets staged in front of the Dutch Embassy in Makati City calling for his deportation to the Philippines.

The pickets have also demanded that the peace negotiations be held in the Philippines under the auspices of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.

“I wish to point out that Duterte and his fellow butchers are not only criminally brutal but also utterly stupid. They conveniently forget that I am a recognized political refugee under the absolute protection of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the principle of nonrefoulement in the Refugee Convention,” he said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Lawyer’s remarks on Noynoy shocks KBP, group prepares disbarment charge

The association of broadcasters in the Philippines strongly condemned a lawyer for his remarks regarding the death of former President Benigno Aquino III last Thursday, June 24.

In a statement, the Kapisanan ng mga Broadkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) said Atty. Larry Gadon, a fanatical supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte, showed “blatant disrespect for the dead” and that his “shocking behavior is contrary to civilized conduct.”

“[Gadon] violated the standards of responsible broadcasting and therefore must be strongly condemned,” the KBP said.

One of several hosts of the DWIZ-AM morning show “Karambola”, Gadon rejoiced upon learning of Aquino’s death.

“May nagbalita sa akin na ito raw putang*** Noynoy Aquino ay patay na! Patay na raw ang putang***!” Gadon exclaimed. (Someone told me that this son of a bitch Noynoy Aquino is dead! This son of a bitch is reportedly dead!)

Not content with his first string of expletives, Gadon went on to heap more against the late President: “Eh sana namatay na nga ang putang***…Patay na ang putang****! Yehey!” (How I wish this son of a bitch has died! The son of a bitch is dead! Yipee!)

The controversial lawyer also alleged that Aquino died due to HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) which prevented him from recovering from his other illnesses.

May HIV siya (PNoy) kaya hindi na gumaling,” he said. (Aquino had HIV, that was why he did not recover.)

KBP said it is sad about the incident, adding that had DWIZ remained to be its member, the station would have been quickly taken to task and disciplinary action imposed.

More condemnations

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) also condemned Gadon’s allegations of the late President being afflicted with HIV.

In a statement, CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said her fellow lawyer violated several provisions of the Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act or Republic Act No. 11166.

The law says it is unlawful to disclose, without written consent, information that a person has AIDS, has undergone HIV-related test, has HIV infection or HIV-related illnesses, or has been exposed to HIV.

The prohibition applies even to broadcasters and other media workers, de Guia, citing the same provision, said.

“We trust that necessary actions are also being undertaken to avoid similar incidents from happening,” she added.

Red Whistle, a support group for people living with HIV and AIDS, also said it will file criminal and disbarment charges against Gadon for “maliciously imputing that…Aquino III had HIV.”

The group also said that Gadon also violated Rule 1.01 of the Code of Professional Responsibility that says lawyers “shall not engage in unlawful, dishonest, immoral or deceitful conduct.”

“Statements laced with malice like the one made by Atty. Gadon fuel HIV-related stigma and discrimination and offer no help in addressing the HIV epidemic in the country, which has the fastest rising number of new infections in the world,” Red Whistle said.

‘Guest host’

The radio station swiftly apologized to the Aquino family for Gadon’s remarks and sought to distance itself from the controversial lawyer by describing him as a “guest host.”

“The Management of DWIZ would like to apologize to everyone and, in particular, to the Aquino Family about the inappropriate statements made by our guest host in the show Karambola about the sudden death of our former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III,” the station said.

“The Management has taken action about this uncalled for comments and will not tolerate this kind of incident,” it added.

“We sincerely would like to extend our condolences to the bereaved family and the whole nation,” it added.

Even before his broadcasting stint, however, Gadon has already repeatedly figured in controversial incidents, including calling Duterte critics morons, flashing lewd gestures and dancing on the street to provoke activists.

He was one of the lawyers who filed the quo warranto petition that ousted former Ma. Lourdes Sereno as Supreme Court Chief Justice in 2017.

Lawyer to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Gadon is also known to be a supporter of the family of another former President, the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

News reports say Gadon is already facing at least four disbarment charges. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Groups oppose Duterte’s plan to arm civilians

Farmers and human rights groups expressed opposition to a statement by President Rodrigo Duterte ordering the arming of civilian groups to help in law enforcement, saying such move could lead to more unwarranted and merciless killings.

In separate statements, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Karapatan and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said so-called force multiplier groups under the Duterte government may lead to more extrajudicial killings.

“As if police brutality and the PNP’s (Philippine National Police) abuse of power are not enough, Duterte openly allows civic groups to carry arms. This is unacceptable and must be opposed. Tokhang killings have cost more than 30,000 lives,” KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said.

Tokhang refers to extrajudicial killings of suspected illegal drug dependents by the police and suspected State agents since the start of the Duterte administration in 2016.

At the launch of the PNP-backed Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan, Global Coalition of Lingkod Bayan Advocacy Support Groups and Force Multipliers in Camp Crame last Friday, Duterte ordered that the group carry firearms to help in law enforcement.

“If you have this coalition, you have a list of people who are there who can arm themselves. I will order the police if you are qualified, get a gun, and help us enforce the laws,” he said.

KMP said the public must oppose the proposal and Duterte’s move to turn so-called civic groups into his private army and death squads.

“Arming these civic groups will do more harm than good to the civilian population,” Ramos said.

Rights group Karapatan also expressed opposition to Duterte’s statement, citing abuses by state forces under his government.

“Arming them will further weaponize these groups as paramilitaries, which have a long bloody history of human rights violations, for the administration’s whole of nation approach in both campaigns — a tactic that merely uses the population to subvert civilian authority for militarist and fascist objectives and ends,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said.

The government’s own human rights agency opposed the proposal, saying armed civilian groups may cause more killings instead of being a deterrent to crime.

“Elections are fast approaching. We don’t want election-related violence to rise,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said.

“We also don’t want this proposal to be an excuse for armed groups to be used by politicians. We don’t want a Maguindanao Massacre to happen again,” she added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Sandiganbayan convicts Duterte’s frat brods of plunder

The Philippine anti-graft court convicted two of President Rodrigo Duterte’s fraternity brothers of plunder along with a retired police officer over one of his government’s first corruption scandals.

The Sandiganbayan said former Bureau of Immigration deputy commissioners Al Argosino and Michael Robles as well as retired policeman Wenceslao Sombero extorted P50 million from Macau-based gambling tycoon Jack Lam in 2016.

The three were sentenced to 40 years in prison for plunder as well as 10 years for graft. They are also perpetually disqualified from holding public office.

Argosino and Robles were among the Lex Talionis Fraternitas brothers Duterte appointed to office upon assuming the presidency.

The anti-graft court ruled the three were guilty of extorting the amount in exchange for the release of 1,316 Chinese nationals caught illegally working in Pampanga. 

It said Sombero acted as middleman while Argosino was identified as the “main plunderer.”

Closed circuit television footage presented at a Senate investigation showed the officials and the middleman receiving bagfuls of cash from Lam and later carrying them out to a casino parking lot in Pasay City.

Argosino and Robles later claimed they took home to the money to protect it before handing them over to the Philippine National Police.

In 2017, Lex Talionis member and Duterte’s first justice secretary Vitaliano Aguirre appeared to try to protect Argosino and Robles when he declared the three could not be charged for plunder as the money they returned was P1,000 short of the minimum P50 million for the offense.

The National Bureau of Investigation, an agency under Aguirre’s supervision, consequently recommended the lighter charge of graft and corruption.

Then Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales however disregarded the Department of Justice recommendations and went ahead with the plunder charges.

Sandiganbayan justices later discovered the full P50 million was intact after the accused separately returned the amount in batches, leading to their plunder conviction.

Aguirre was himself implicated in the scandal when Sombero revealed the then justice secretary also met with Lam on the day they received the money.

Aguirre however was allowed to stay as justice secretary until April 2018 when he figured in another controversy involving his clearance of alleged big time drug personalities Kerwin Espino and Peter Lim.

The Jack Lam extortion scandal was not the first time that Argosino has figured in the news.

He was among the senior students implicated in the hazing death of fellow San Beda College of Law student Raul Camaligan in 1991.

Argosino and his co-accused pleaded guilty to the charge of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide and were imprisoned from 1993 to 1995.

Argosino passed the bar examinations in 1993.

Upon his release, he petitioned the Supreme Court to be allowed to practice law which was allowed after senators, former magistrates and members of the religious community attested he was of “good moral character.”

He and his co-accused also declared they have promised a Raul Camaligan Scholarship Foundation to atone for the death of the then Lex Talionis neophyte.

Both the Camaligan family and San Beda later told The Philippine Daily Inquirer the foundation was just an empty promise.

Lex Talionis is seen as the most powerful law school-based fraternity when member Duterte became President in 2016 and began appointing several fraternity brothers to high government positions. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

‘The cyberattacks were traced back to the government’

“Malinaw na malinaw ito, the cyberattacks were traced back to the government, which means it is an official policy of this administration to attack media organizations, especially those critical of the Duterte regime. This is damning evidence that the government is out to silence the press, and belies the administration’s repeated claims that they are not attacking press freedom.”Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, Bayan Muna

Progressive Fil-Am groups protest on the 75th year of PH-US relations

Various progressive Filipino-American groups and allies staged a protest action in front of the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., the same day as the 75th anniversary of the Philippine-United States (US) bilateral relations. As Ambassador Jose Romualdez hosted a lavish dinner reception in celebration of the event, the protesters condemned the 75 years of the US exploitation of the Filipino people. They emphasized the role of the US in giving military aid to the Duterte government, which committed numerous human rights violations and extrajudicial killings.