BAYAN to Pnoy: Hands Off Activists and Human Rights Defenders

Press Statement
July 18, 2015

The increased and widespread harassment and intimidation of government critics and oppositionists in the run-up to Pres. Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) later this month is a dangerous sign that the Aquino government is adopting the tactics of notorious human rights violator Jovito Palparan – with the blessings of the Arroyo administration – in trying to quell anti-government protests.

Within the past three weeks, BAYAN has received alarming reports of soldiers, police and other state agents hounding union leaders and community organizers, human rights defenders and social activists, as well as progressive professionals, in their homes, workplaces and even in public, such as restaurants and on the street. They tell their targets that their activities are being monitored or that they are already identified as members of the CPP/NPA. They make veiled threats of something bad happening if their targets do not stop their social involvements. Invariably, these state agents leave a name and number to contact if and when their targets are ready to “cooperate”.

The victims of this latest spate of harassment and intimidation come from as far south as General Santos City to as far north as Cagayan Valley. Particularly targeted are activists and leaders in BAYAN-affiliated public sector unions, trade unions, youth and student groups, health workers and professionals, urban poor communities and progressive party list groups.

Even church workers and human rights defenders are not spared, like 15 colleagues in SocSarGen and Davao who were recently slapped with trumped-up charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention for helping Ata Manobo and Balaan communities flee their militarized areas.

Clearly the objective of this intense harassment from state agents is to intimidate their victims into silence and inaction at a time when Aquino is salvaging whatever is left of his supposed “tuwid-na-daan” legacy, desperately looking for people to drag on his bumpy, crooked path to nowhere.

This is exactly the same kind of vilification and harassment tactics that then Gen. Palparan utilized wherever he was assigned, along with a spike in extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances of people suspected to be CPP/NPA leaders, members and even just sympathizers.

Pres. Aquino and his military and police forces are so desperate to silence his critics and derail the nationwide SONA protests that they have decided to do a Palparan.

Worse, the recent appointment of generals in the Palparan mold, with bloody human rights track records to their name, to head the AFP and the Philippine Army bodes a renewed spate of illegal arrests, enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings.

BAYAN and the Filipino people will not be cowed by this latest fascist rampage under the counterinsurgency program, OPLAN Bayanihan of the Aquino regime. The upcoming SONA protests will be the biggest and most damning ever. We shall continue speaking out against the evils of the current regime presiding over a rotten, dying system and empower our people to struggle for a new and better government and society.###

Karapatan slams arrest of NDFP consultant and Bautista’s possible appointment as GPH peace panel chief

Photo: NDFP Peace Consultant Rogelio Posadas/

Photo: NDFP Peace Consultant Rogelio Posadas/

“Actions speak louder than words. The arrest of another the peace consultant Rogelio Posadas and Gen. Emmanuel Bautista’s possible appointment as chair of Aquino’s peace panel with the National Democratic Front of the Philippine contradict whatever hints of openness Aquino is trying to put on with regards to peace,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

Karapatan demanded from the BS Aquino government to release immediately NDFP peace consultant Rogelio Posadas.

Posadas was illegally arrested on January 9, 2015, less than a week before Pope Francis’ arrival in Manila and at a time when political prisoners all over the country were gearing for the nationwide hunger strike. Posadas is covered by the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) with NDFP Identification Number ND978313 under the assumed name “Angel Jose.”

Posadas, 57, was travelling with two companions when a pick-up car overtook their motorcycle and flagged them down along the bio-ethanol plant in Brgy. Punao, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. Some 12 members of the Regional Public Safety Battalion of Philippine National Police showed up and at commanded, at gunpoint, Posadas and his companions to raise their arms. Led by Captain Tony Benitez, members of the arresting unit searched Posadas but found nothing. They were then brought to PNP headquarters of San Carlos City.

The police interrogated Posadas in a conference room. He was told his two companions would be immediately released if he admits he is Rogelio Posadas. At around 3:30 am, he told the police he was Rogelio Posadas. By 4:00a.m., the PNP released his companions. Posadas was later brought to Cadiz PNP Headquarters.

The authorities arrested Posadas using the same warrant used against human rights worker Zara Alvarez, a former political prisoner. Posadas is charged with murder, robbery in band, and homicide.

Bautista: a rights violator, knows no peace

“As the brains of Oplan Bayanihan, the counter-insurgency program of BS Aquino, Ret. Gen. Bautista is the last person fit to sit as chair of GPH’s peace panel with the NDFP,” Palabay commented. Under Oplan Bayanihan, Karapatan recorded 229 victims of extrajudicial killings, 26 enforced disappearances, 700 illegally arrested and detained, and over 46,000 victims of forced evacuations. “BS Aquino reached the full extent of shamelessness if he appoints a certified human rights violator in the peace panel,” Palabay said.

“With Gen. Bautista at the helm, we dread that not one of the three remaining substantive agenda will be tackled. As a militarist, Gen. Bautista seems uninterested in tackling the roots of the armed conflict,like Aquino, and has consistently employed militarist means in addressing them through Oplan Bayanihan,” Palabay said.

“The possibility of Gen. Bautista heading the panel does not encourage good will for the peace talks to continue. We call for a resumption of the talks that would tackle the substantive agenda and not a circus,” Palabay concluded. ###

(Photo: NDFP Peace Consultant Rogelio Posadas/

Human rights defenders declare Aquino guilty of violations

Human rights defenders from all over the Philippines commemorated the 66th International Human Rights Day in Manila by staging a symbolic trial of President Benigno for his government’s violations.

They proclaimed the Aquino government is guilty of about 175,000 documented cases of human rights violations ranging from extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, rape and many others in its four-and-a-half year reign so far.

They blame the Manila government’s implementation of its US-sponsored counter-insurgency program called Oplan Bayanihan for non-stop harassment and forced evacuation specially of indigenous peoples’ communities in the regions.

The protest actions last December 10 concluded with the burning of a US flag-draped effigy of Aquino.