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Gabi ng Lagim (Tabi-tabi Po)

Ni Ibarra Banaag

Saklot ng takot ang taong bayan.
Nilamon na ng dilim ang katwiran.
Nayungyungan ng itim ang liwanag
Sanhi ng mga budhing tampalasan.

Mananalasa muli ang mga aswang.
Sisipsipin sa sinapupunan ang buhay.
Wala ng isisilang na mga sanggol.
Tanging Inang iniwang humahagulgol.

Maglilipana sa kalye ang tikbalang.
Ng walang takot at may kahambugan.
Upang paslangin sa lansangan.
Mga batang walang kinalaman.

Maghahasik sa lupa mga bampira.
Sasaklutin mga ligaw na kaluluwa.
Sa gayo’y makalikha ng banta sa madla
At mamamayang takot at umid ang dila.

Lilipad na muli ang Babaeng Puti.
Sa mga liblib na sityo at iskenita.
’Wag subukang dumungaw sa bintana.
Kung natatakot na bumulagta.

Dadapong dagli ang manananggal.
Sa bubong na pawid, bintanang sawali.
Bilog ang buwan at walang bituin.
Bingi ang langit sa langitngit ng gabi.

Ngayong may nagbukas na ng banga.
At bendisyon ng oligarkiya.
’Wag magsumbong sa mga pulis.
Pagkat sa Kongreso nagkukweba!

Sadyang sila’y makapangyarihan
Datapuwa’t di para sa taong bayan.
Dahil kakampi ay kadiliman.
Pinakawalan ang halimaw!

Witnesses under Church protection, hounded by state agents


Witnesses to the recent killings of minors have sought refuge with church and human rights groups while being hounded by state agents.

Human rights group Rise Up for Life and for Rights (Rise Up) announced Saturday it is providing protective custody to Thomas Bagcal after he asked them for sanctuary.

Bagcal was identified by the Philippine National Police as the taxi driver who was allegedly held up by 17-year old Carl Angelo Arnaiz who ended up dead in Navotas City last August 19.

Bagcal is a potential witness in the death of Arnaiz, Rise Up said.

Arnaiz’s reported companion, 14-year old Reynaldo de Guzman, was found dead with 30 stab wounds in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija last September 5, nearly three weeks after the two boys went missing.

Rise Up said they affirmatively responded to the Bagcal family’s request and has been keeping him since September 4 amid the public’s queries for his whereabouts.

“[We have] provided sanctuary during the period of Mr Bagcal’s serious discernment, soul-searching, and firm decision-making,” the group said.

“We are moved by the family’s trust and confidence in Rise Up in assisting them in these very trying and challenging times,” it added in a statement.

A source told Kodao that Bagcal would soon make a public statement on the issue.

Rise Up is a network of church people and human rights advocates dedicated to working with poor families affected by drug-related extra-judicial killings under the Duterte administration.

The group said they ensure individuals and families of protection from harm and threat as it provides burial assistance, psychosocial therapy and spiritual formation, rehabilitation, documentation and legal assistance as they seek justice.

 ‘Thieves striking in the night’

Meanwhile, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) slammed the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for its late night attempt to take custody of a child witness to the killing of 17-year old Kian delos Santos.

The child and his father sought sanctuary with Caloocan Roman Catholic Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.

The Saturday night standoff at Caloocan’s San Roque Cathedral ended with the father staying with his child at the church, MAT said.

“Attempts by the PAO and CIDG to pressure the father and then badmouthing him on media are signs of their bad faith,” MAT in a statement Sunday said.

“These acts put to doubt the CIDG and PAO’s capacity to conduct an impartial and just investigation of Kian’s case. Neither does it foster trust that they can provide respect and protection for witnesses,” the statement added.

The PAO through its chief Persida Acosta had been actively involved in public wrangling for the custody of witnesses to the killing of Delos Santos in Caloocan City last August 16.

“We thank Bishop David for providing sanctuary to the witness and his family at this challenging time,” MAT said.

“We ask the public to be vigilant. The PAO and CIDG tried doing this at the middle of the night and on a weekend –like thieves striking in the dark,” it added.

MAT has called for a big rally against extrajudicial killings on Sept 21, 40th anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law, at Rizal Park to demand an end to the killings. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Witnesses under Church protection, hounded by state agents


Witnesses to the recent killings of minors have sought refuge with church and human rights groups while being hounded by state agents.

Human rights group Rise Up for Life and for Rights (Rise Up) announced Saturday it is providing protective custody to Thomas Bagcal after he asked them for sanctuary.

Bagcal was identified by the Philippine National Police as the taxi driver who was allegedly held up by 17-year old Carl Angelo Arnaiz who ended up dead in Navotas City last August 19.

Bagcal is a potential witness in the death of Arnaiz, Rise Up said.

Arnaiz’s reported companion, 14-year old Reynaldo de Guzman, was found dead with 30 stab wounds in Gapan City, Nueva Ecija last September 5, nearly three weeks after the two boys went missing.

Rise Up said they affirmatively responded to the Bagcal family’s request and has been keeping him since September 4 amid the public’s queries for his whereabouts.

“[We have] provided sanctuary during the period of Mr Bagcal’s serious discernment, soul-searching, and firm decision-making,” the group said.

“We are moved by the family’s trust and confidence in Rise Up in assisting them in these very trying and challenging times,” it added in a statement.

A source told Kodao that Bagcal would soon make a public statement on the issue.

Rise Up is a network of church people and human rights advocates dedicated to working with poor families affected by drug-related extra-judicial killings under the Duterte administration.

The group said they ensure individuals and families of protection from harm and threat as it provides burial assistance, psychosocial therapy and spiritual formation, rehabilitation, documentation and legal assistance as they seek justice.

 ‘Thieves striking in the night’

Meanwhile, the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) slammed the Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) and the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) for its late night attempt to take custody of a child witness to the killing of 17-year old Kian delos Santos.

The child and his father sought sanctuary with Caloocan Roman Catholic Bishop Pablo Virgilio David.

The Saturday night standoff at Caloocan’s San Roque Cathedral ended with the father staying with his child at the church, MAT said.

“Attempts by the PAO and CIDG to pressure the father and then badmouthing him on media are signs of their bad faith,” MAT in a statement Sunday said.

“These acts put to doubt the CIDG and PAO’s capacity to conduct an impartial and just investigation of Kian’s case. Neither does it foster trust that they can provide respect and protection for witnesses,” the statement added.

The PAO through its chief Persida Acosta had been actively involved in public wrangling for the custody of witnesses to the killing of Delos Santos in Caloocan City last August 16.

“We thank Bishop David for providing sanctuary to the witness and his family at this challenging time,” MAT said.

“We ask the public to be vigilant. The PAO and CIDG tried doing this at the middle of the night and on a weekend –like thieves striking in the dark,” it added.

MAT has called for a big rally against extrajudicial killings on Sept 21, 40th anniversary of Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law, at Rizal Park to demand an end to the killings. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

CPP says it’s time to fight Duterte’s ‘repressive tyrannical rule’

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) called for the isolation of the Rodrigo Duterte administration after the successive killings of minors believed connected with the government’s war against drugs as well as its martial law in Mindanao and counter-insurgency program.

In an editorial of the party’s official organ Ang Bayan, the CPP’s said the Filipino people’s outrage is rapidly accumulating against Duterte’s “repressive tyrannical rule.”

“They indict Duterte for the successive killings of several youths these past days by his armed minions: Kian delos Santos, 17 years old, Carl Angelo Arnaiz, 19 and Reynaldo de Guzman, 14, who all were tortured and killed by stabbing and shooting by the police in the “war against drugs”; and Obillio Bay-ao, 19, Lumad youth in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, who was shot and killed by paramilitary forces,” the article said.

The CPP said the people blame Duterte for the killing of many thousands by the three wars he has launched: the Oplan Tokhang “war against drugs”, the Oplan Kapayapaan war of suppression and martial law in Mindanao, and the anti-Moro war and destruction of Marawi.

“The people detest Duterte for repeatedly ensuring protection and giving incentives to police and soldiers for blindly following his kill orders,” the CPP said.

The revolutionary group said almost 20 were killed under Oplan Kapayapaan and Oplan Tokhang in the last two weeks alone.

The CPP also scored the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ failure to end the war in Marawi after more than 100 days of siege.

“The people are fed up with Duterte’s repetitious, scornful and self-conceited speeches. His pretensions, spectacles and false images are rapidly losing efficacy in the face of actual measures, policies and programs which harm the interests of the people and oppress the downtrodden,” the CPP said.

The party called on its forces to “act vigorously to expand and consolidate the ranks of mass organizations and build the people’s broadest unity in order to isolate and resist the US-Duterte regime.”

The group urged the formation of broad alliances, that could include “Duterte’s political rivals.”

“Various forces can also unite against Duterte’s measures to suppress his political rivals (through detention, impeachment and murder) and to monopolize political power through charter change under its supposed pursuit of ‘federalism,’” the CPP said.

The CPP said the people are slowly overcoming and repudiating the climate of awe and fear imposed by Duterte.

Sparrow’ teams and commando units

CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison for his part said there is a public clamor to form self-defense units in communities in addition to New People’s Army and People’s Militia forces to defend the people against Duterte’s “triple war.”

“The CPP’s Central Committee may study and decide on this clamor as it sees fit,” Sison in an online interview told Kodao.

Sison said it is justified that the Filipino people fight the Duterte regime using all forms of struggle in light of the killings of civilians, including minors.

“If ever-increasing and ever-widening rallies won’t be enough to isolate and oust the Duterte regime, the people’s war should move resolutely forward so that it won’t just be Duterte but the corrupt ruling system that would be brought down,” Sison said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Treinta

Tula ni Ben Domingo Jr.

Sa mga peryodista
tanda ito ng katapusan,
na kumpleto na ang sinulat
at handa na itong mailimbag.

Kaya kung ang manunulat
ay binawian na ng hininga,
sa pagharap niya sa hukay
tinatatakan din ng ‘treinta’.

Tulad ng batang si Reynaldo
na sa edad na katorse lamang
ay ginawaran ng isang berdugo
ng treintang saksak sa katawan.

Pero hindi lamang si Reynaldo
ang kabataang hinatulan
ng maagang kamatayan;
nauna na ang marami pa,
kabilang sina Carl at Kian.

Ngunit ang treintang ito
na tumapos sa kanilang buhay
ay magbabago ng kahulugan
dahil sa poot ng taumbayan.

Ang treinta ay magiging simula
ng pagkagising, ng pagkapukaw,
ng iniheleng mamamayan,
upang isara na ang maitim na telon
ng teleserye ng pagpaslang.

Hindi ito isang pagbabanta,
kundi isang mariing paalala
at napapanahong aral
na sa diwa ng pagbabago
pati ang mga kahulugan
ay maari ring maiba.

Hindi ito ang dulo,
ito na ang simula.

Treinta.

Groups launch Movement Against Tyranny

Various groups and personalities launched the Movement Against Tyranny in Quezon City today “to unite all freedom-loving Filippines against tyranny and build a broad front to counter the increasing fascism and militarist rule of the (Rodrigo) Duterte government.”

The group approved the manifesto “Stop the Killings, Stand Against Tyranny” that accuses Duterte of unleashing police and police-backed death squads blamed for the the “brutal and murderous war on drugs” that has victimized thousands of mostly poor, small-time drug users and pushers.

Warning the Duterte government is fast unfolding into another despotic regime, the group calls on the public “to take a stand, speak out and act” against the extrajudicial killings and other “blatant acts of tyranny.”

MAT is the broadest alliance of groups yet that opposes Duterte’s war on drug, which include religious and political leaders, human rights organizations, activists, academics, lawyers, journalists and many others.

Groups to hold rally vs EJKs on June 12

Human rights, church and activist groups announced a massive rally against extrajudicial killings under the Rodrigo Duterte government on June 12.

In a press conference last May 19, the groups belied the Duterte government’s assertions before the United Nations Universal Period Review on the human rights situation in Geneva, Switzerland earlier this month the killings are not state-sponsored.

The groups said the June 12 rally shall call on the government to stop the killings that some reports say have reached 12,000 cases and to demand justice for the victims. (Videography by Ivan Dexter Tolentino and Esther Anne Cabrillas / Editing by Jo Maline D. Mamangun) Read more

Activists condemn human rights violations under Duterte

Thousands of activists slammed continuing human rights violations under the Rodrigo Duterte administration in rallies on International HUman Rights Day last Friday.

In Manila, the main rally led by Karapatan said Duterte is not serious in giving justice to victims of rights violations.

Instead, the activists said Duterte buried the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos as a hero and led the so-called war on drugs that have killed an average of 1,000 every month in his more than five months as president.

Read more