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De Lima, rights defenders warn UN on Duterte’s ‘snake oil salesman of a government’

By adopting a more diplomatic tone in its resolution on the state of human rights in the Philippines, did the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) expect the Rodrigo Duterte government to suddenly behave? Senator Leila de Lima asked.

Reacting to the Council’s position on the penultimate day of its 45th General Session last Wednesday, the imprisoned Senator asked the UNHRC if after 28,000 murders and hundreds of cases of attacks on critics and human rights defenders, does it expect the Duterte government to “grow a conscience and cultivate an appetite for the promotion and defense of human rights?”

In a statement read at an online press conference by her spokesperson Atty Fhillip Sawali last Thursday, October 8, the Senator also expressed doubt that the technical cooperation offered by the UNHRC to Duterte’s government will finally enable it to fulfill its international obligations on human rights.

De Lima said the resolution is “not responsive to the human rights calamity under the Duterte government,” adding the new UNHRC resolution is out of sync and incongruous with its earlier resolution calling for in-country investigations by independent experts on reports of human rights violations the President himself encouraged.

“It does not meaningfully address the need to stop the policies and practices that result in EJKs (extrajudicial killings) and other gross human rights violations. It does not put in place an independent investigation of the killings and other abuses,” de Lima said.

She added that technical assistance and capacity-building for domestic investigative and accountability and similar measures do not result in any concrete mechanism that can lead to the prosecution and punishment of the masterminds and perpetrators of crimes and human rights violations.

The Senator said she fears that the government may just use UNHRC’s supposed technical assistance and capacity-building programs as convenient covers to hide its actual policy of contempt towards human rights and human rights defenders.

“In other words: the new UNHRC resolution fails to take concrete steps towards ending the killings. It likewise fails to advance the cause of justice for the numerous victims and their bereaved families,” she said.

De Lima urged the UNHRC “not to be easily swayed by the snake oil salesman of a government that has clearly declared an open war against human rights and the rule of law.”

 “How do you disable a killing machine? You confront it tenaciously, with all the talents and tools that you have, aiming at disarming and dismantling it, and holding responsible all its masterminds and operators,” de Lima said.

Diplomacy at work?

Philippine government officials were quick to welcome the UNHRC resolution and claimed the international body trusts that Philippine criminal and judicial institutions to address human rights violations.

In an online briefing Thursday, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the resolution “shows that the UN Human Rights Council trusts the institutions tasked to address human rights violators.”

“We will fully cooperate with the UN Human Rights system because that is what we want. We are not saying we are perfect. Do not criticize us and help us instead,” Roque said.

Justice secretary Menardo Guevarra for his part said he will get the proferred technical cooperation with the UNHRC going and create a panel to review drug operations resulting in deaths.

The latest UNHRC resolution was co-sponsored by the Philippine government.

‘Simple posturing’

Asked on the possible reasons for the tone of the resolution and the calmer response by the Philippine government, National Union of Peoples Lawyers president Edre Olalia said it appears that the Duterte government is shifting its stance from belligerence to mollification.

“After overwhelming, persistent and consistent condemnation by the international community on the state of human rights in the Philippines, the Duterte government painted itself to a corner by its combative stance in the past,” Olalia said.

“The calmer tone may be a tactical approach to temper criticism of its record and it may also be a strategic approach to preempt accountability for its human rights violations,” Olalia added.

The lawyer also explained that voting at the UN is political and influenced by set voting patterns, lobbying, quid-pro-quo among States, and regional considerations.

“But what is relevant is whether the victims receive justice or the perpetrators are only emboldened further. In the end, it is the policy and reality on the ground that matters,” he said.

Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay added that the Duterte government should not be too quick on claiming it won points with a resolution written in fine language.

“What is very clear is that there still needs to be strong domestic accountability and impartial investigations,” Palabay said, noting that the resolution is still based on the report filed by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) detailing thousands of rights violations by the Duterte government.

“The challenge here is how the Philippine government honors and views OHCHR recommendations, as well as those by other independent local and international human rights organizations,” Palabay stressed.

Palabay recalled Duterte’s recent online address of the UN General Assembly where he called for “open dialogue” and “constructive engagement” but complained that human rights had been “weaponized” against him and his government by local and international critics.

“Duterte is clearly just posturing. In any case, the ball is in the government’s court, so to speak,” she said.

The Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas also dismissed the government’s assurance of dialogue and cooperation with human rights mechanisms.

“Any technical cooperation and capacity building on human rights for the part of the Duterte government  would just be tokenistic and superficial. Duterte’s practice of human rights promotion is practically naught. Soon enough, he would [again] be verbally lashing at the UNHRC and human rights defenders,” the KMP said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Pagpupugay at paghatid sa huling hantungan kay Randall Echanis

Nagbigay-pugay ang mga kaanak, kaibigan, at mga progresibong grupo sa martir ng sambayanan at mahusay na lider na si Randall ‘Ka Randy’ Echanis mula sa pinagburulan nito hanggang sa kaniyang huling hantungan sa Loyola Memorial Park sa Marikina noong Agosto 17.

Si Echanis ay isang National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant, tagapangulo ng Anakpawis at pangalawang pangkalahatang kalihim ng Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. Brutal na pinaslang siya sa kanyang tinitirhang bahay sa Quezon City noong Agosto 10. Nagtamo ng maraming saksak, tama ng baril at bakas ng tortyur ang katawan ni Echanis. Kasama rin sa napaslang ang isang lalaking nagngangalang Louie Tagapia.

Hustisya ang panawagan ng mga naulila ni Echanis.

Groups hold protest to cry for justice for slain peasant leader

Peasant groups hold a protest today, August 14, in front of Commission on Human Rights in Quezon City to cry for justice for one of their leaders, Randall “Randy” Echanis.

Echanis was brutally killed in his rented house last August 10. Aside from being a peasant leader, he was also a peace consultant and known member of National Democratic Front of the Philippines’ Reciprocal Working Committee on Social and Economic Reforms.

‘Killing Ka Randy is clearly an act of state terrorism’

“No cover-up could undermine this established political killing. Killing Ka Randy, a leader of Anakpawis and Philippine peasant movement, is clearly an act of state terrorism. This targetting of an unarmed civilian is also known as crime against humanity in the International Criminal Court. Ka Randy’s murder adds to the bloody criminal record of the Duterte regime.”Zenaida Soriano, Chairperson, Amihan National

‘Ito ay bahagi ng nagpapatuloy na crackdown sa hanay ng mga kritiko ng rehimen’

“Ito ay bahagi ng nagpapatuloy na crackdown sa hanay ng mga kritiko ng rehimen. Nagluluksa kami ngayon. Ano pa ba ang gusto ninyo, pinatay na ninyo ang aming ama. Ano pa ba ang gusto ninyo gawin, yurak-yurakan pa? Hindi pa ba kayo kuntento. Bigyan ninyo kami ng panahon na magluksa. Bigyan ninyo kami ng panahon na alayan ng dignidad ang aming ama. Bigyan ninyo kami ng panahon na maningil at maniningil kami sa takdang panahon.” Ariel Casilao, Former Representative, Anakpawis Party List

Buhay dakila

Bigo ang

mga pusakal

matapos dambahin ng

duwag na salarin at

hablutin ang kanyang

hininga.

Muli nilang itinakas

ang walang buhay

na katawan at

hiningang nilagas

ng bala at

patalim.

Sa paga-aakalang

nasa kalamnan nito

ang husay at yaman

ng prinsipyong

umuugnay sa dibdib

ng walang tinig

at karaniwan.

Ipinagkamaling

ang bukal ng talino,

ay isa lamang tiningkal

na lupa sa gitna,

ng nag-aalimpuyong

init ng araw

sa kanayunan.

Humahalakhak na

sinaklot ang hininga,

sa pag-asang

magwawakas

mga sulatin ang paksa,

ay ugat at butil,

at liyab ng apoy.

Namamag-asa

ang mga hunghang!

na sa pagkitil,

sadyang maagaw din

ang bukal ng yaman

mayron si

ka Randy.

Ibarra Banaag

Agosto 12, 2020

Marahas na pagpaslang kay Randall “Randy” Echanis, kinundena

Nagsagawa ng indignation rally ang iba’t ibang progresibong grupo at peace advocates upang ipanawagan ang hustisya para kay NDFP Peace Consultant Randall “Ka Randy” Echanis na brutal na pinaslang sa kaniyang tinitirhang bahay noong Agosto 10. Ginanap ang naturang protesta sa harapan ng Liwasang Diokno, Commission on Human Rights, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City, kahapon, Agosto 11.

Kabilang din dito ang mga kaibigan ni Ka Randy na hanggang ngayon ay hawak pa rin ng PNP ang bangkay.

‘Pinatay siya dahil sa kaniyang paghahangad ng tunay na kapayapaan’

“Pinatay siya hindi dahil siya ay rebelde, hindi [dahil] siya ay may ginagawang krimen. Bali pinatay siya dahil sa kaniyang paghahangad ng tunay na kapayapaan. Saan tayo nakakita, anong klaseng sistema ito, na ang mga taong naghahangad ng kapayapaan ay marahas na pinapatay?”Teddy Casiño, Spokesperson, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN)

Tagumpay ka Ka Randall

ni George Tumaob Calaor

Traidor at saksak sa pagkaberdugo nilang kinitil ang iyong buhay

at ngayoy buong dahas na kinakamkam ang iyong bangkay

hindi sila nagtagumpay

sa pagkukubli ng katotohanang sila’y sangkot sa iyong pagkamatay

lunurin pa nila sa kasinulingan, baluktot na pangangatwirang naglalaway

sila!!!

Kung bakit kayo ngayoy nakahimlay!

Ikaw ay lupang

pasistang kinakamkam ng ganid

at pagkagahaman…

Ikaw ay sagana

sa kanayunang dinukot

ng sa lupa ay buong dahas

na nagdiyos-diyosan

Ikaw ang hustisyang

pinagdamutan

ng katarungan!

at higit sa lahat

Ikaw ay larangan

ng namiminto nang bisperas

ng kanilang kagapian!

‘Pagkat kamatayan niyo

ay kamatayan ng

pananagumpay!

Mababawi ang kanilang

dinukot at kinamkam!

Lalaya ang buhay

Hitik sa kawalan ng uri

sagana at pantay!

HINDI KO KAYO TITIGILAN

Randall Echanis

Bakit ko kayo titigilan

kung patuloy ninyong pinipiga,

pinapahirapan ang mga magsasaka

at dinudusta ang masa?

Bakit ko kayo titigilan

kung patuloy ninyong kinukurakot

ang pondo ng bayan,

pinapatay, ikinukulong

at dinudukot

ang mga aktibista

na sa inyo’y lumalaban?

Bakit ko kayo titigilan

kung patuloy kayong sunud-sunuran

sa mga sakim na dayuhan

na dumarambong sa yaman ng mahal kong bayan?

Hinding-hindi ko kayo titigilan

hangga’t may palalong tirano

na nakaupo sa palasyo

na hangga’t ang mga anakpawis

ay walang kapangyarihan.

Hinding-hindi ko kayo titigilan.

Sinulat niya ang tulang ito noong Disyembre 2008 habang nakapiit sa Manila City Jail sa gawa- gawang kaso na isinampa sa kanya.