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Karapatan dares Mar Roxas to initiate withdrawal of DILG-DND reward system; says it violates JASIG

concha araneta
(Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala/Photo from Aksyon Radio Iloilo)

Karapatan said the Department of National Defense (DND) and Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) “reward system-bounty list” weighs heavier than its joint agreement with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on safety and immunity guarantees or the JASIG and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Reacting on the recent arrest of peace consultant Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said, “The GPH and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would gladly violate JASIG and arrest NDFP peace consultants, earn from the reward money than push forward the long-stalled peace talks with the NDFP. We challenge the DILG Secretary, whether its Mar Roxas or his replacement, to withdraw the Order on Reward System targeting so-called communists but has proven to have victimized innocent civilians.”

“By arresting peace consultants of the NDFP, the government already bagged at least Php 55 million. These funds would have been more useful when channeled to social services since these are taxpayers’ money. The reward system further breeds corruption in the bureaucracy,” Palabay said.

Araneta-Bocala, or Concha, with Php 7.8 million bounty on her head, was arrested early morning of August 1, 2015, by joint forces of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Unit Region 6 and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at a house in Juntado Subdivision, Molo, Iloilo City. Araneta-Bocala is peace consultant of NDFP for the Visayas region. She was issued Document of Identification No. ND978245 under assumed name “Remi Estrella”. Under the JASIG, persons with Document of Identification should be immune from arrests and detention in order to perform their duties as peace consultants.

The DND-DILG reward system is contained in the DND-DILG JOR Number 14-2012. “But it was amended in 2012 through the JO ORDER ON REWARD NUMBER 14(A)-2012 in recognition of the peace negotiations with the NDFP. The order stated, ‘Pursuant to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantess (JASIG) dated 24 February 1995 and the current GPH list of JASIG-covered personalities, the following names are to be deleted from DND-DILG JOR Number 14-2012 in recognition of the pending peace negotiations and conditions upon the existence of the said peace negotiations.’ Some of the deleted names with corresponding reward money were Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, Rafael Baylosis, Vicente Ladlad, Reynaldo Bocala and Jose Maria Sison.

“However, Austria is still detained with husband Benito Tiamzon while Ladlad and Baylosis still face trumped-up murder charges initiated during the Arroyo regime, supposedly Aquino’s nemesis,” Palabay added.

Another NDFP consultant was arrested on July 20 in Quezon City. Ernesto Lorenzo is falsely charged with destructive arson. Lorenzo and his wife Joyce Latayan is now detained at the CIDG holding area in Camp Crame Quezon City. “Lorenzo and Lantayan complained that they are only given food after the CIDG members have eaten and there are left over food,” Palabay said.

OPAPP, saboteur of the peace process

Karapatan strongly criticized the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process for its “consistent role in sabotaging the GPH-NDFP process through its statements and moves that consider previously signed agreements such as the JASIG inoperative.” The OPAPP released a statement yesterday on Araneta-Bocala’s arrest.

Palabay cited an acknowledgement letter issued by the GPH Peace Panel citing “Remi Estrella,” Araneta-Bocala’s assumed name, as entitled to the safety and immunity guarantees under the JASIG, aside from the DI shown by Araneta-Bocala upon her arrest. “The OPAPP, through its Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles, also consistently justifies illegal arrests, disappearances and other rights violations,” Palabay added.

“We reiterate our call to immediately release the NDFP peace consultants and resume the peace talks. We also call on the GPH to stop spending huge amount of people’s money in self-serving and unproductive activities. ###

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People’s SONA 2015

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ITANONG MO KAY PROF: Podcast on Peace Talks – GPH and NDFP & GPH and MILF


Panayam ni Ms. Sonia Capio ng Kodao Productions kay Prof. Jose Maria Sison, NDFP Chief Political Consultant hinggil sa kalagayan ng usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng GPH at NDFP at GPH at MILF.

April 9, 2015

Mga Tanong para sa peace talks sa pagitan ng GPH at NDFP at GPH at MILF

1. Ano po ang update sa usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan ng GPH at NDFP? Matutuloy pa rin po ba ito bago pa matapos ang termino ni Pangulong Noynoy Aquino?

JMS: Patuloy na handang makipag-usap ang NDFP. Pero ang GPH ang hindi handa. Kung gayon, nagiging malabo na ang resumption ng formal talks ng GPH  at NDFP.  Sabi ng Malakanyang na nakabuhos ang atensyon nila sa pagtutulak ng BBL at paghahabol ng peace with  MILF.

Hanggang ngayon walang maliwanag na negotiating panel at chairman ng GPH para makipag-usap sa NDFP.  Lumilitaw na sa buong panahon  ng rehimeng Aquino wala talagang interes sa peace talks kundi paggamit ng dahas laban sa kilusang rebolusyonaryo.

2. Ano po ang inyong masasabi sa usapang pangkapayapaan sa pagitan naman ng GPH at MILF? Tila nagkahati-hati po ang mga pananaw ng mga nasa pamahalaan at matindi ang mga banggaan sa usapin ng Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) at ang kawastuhan kung dapat pa bang ituloy ang pakikipag-usap nila sa MILF o hindi na.

JMS: Sa loob at labas ng GPH, lumakas ang sumasalungat sa BBL dahil sa Mamasapano at constitutional issues. Tiyak na maraming susog ang gagawin sa Kongreso, laluna sa Senado, hanggang sa posibleng ayaw na ng MILF ang lalabas na final draft ng BBL.

Kahit tanggapin ng MILF ang anumang BBL na aprubahan ng Kongreso, may mga magdadala pa rin ng constitutional issues sa Korte Suprema. Baka mauuntol ang BBL hanggang maubos na ang termino o buhok ni Penoy Bugok.

3. Ano po ang inyong pagtingin sa Bangsamoro Basic Law o BBL?

JMS: May constitutional issues na nakasalang sa  Kongreso ng GPH. Hanggang ngayon, walang pinal na anyo ng BBL dahil susugan nang susugan pa yan sa Kongreso. Habang wala pang pinal na anyo ng BBL, mahirap mangahas ng opinion ng pagkatig o pagtuligsa sa kabuuan ng BBL.

Aquino’s “last word” on Mamasapano, the writing on the wall?

President Benigno S. Aquino III’s speech at the PNPA graduation was meant to write finis to the public uproar over the bloody, botched counterterrorist operation in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Instead it only managed to further rile a people sick and tired of the finger-pointing, the obfuscation and lies about what really happened, the stonewalling about key factors that caused the failed operation and, to top it all, the pathetic excuse that the president is, after all, only “human” and also makes “mistakes”.

But the only mistake Aquino admits to is the total trust he conferred on the sacked SAF Commander Napenas (who he says “fooled” him about the seemingly foolproof design of Oplan Exodus and his capability to lead it) and on suspended Chief PNP Purisima (who he says failed to follow his order to coordinate with the AFP and who failed to give him accurate updates on the progress of the operation). The question he refuses to answer: why didn’t he, as Commander-in-Chief/Chief Executive, ensure that AFP chief Catapang and the OIC PNP Chief Espina were in the loop from the very beginning? Why did he rely on a suspended general with no authority whatsoever, and a lower level PNP officer whose authority is not at par with either Catapang or Espina, to call the shots in this complex, high-level and high-risk operation?

What Aquino is still trying to obscure is the fact that he authorized Oplan Exodus including the so-called “time-on-target coordination” with the AFP, meaning the AFP would only be informed when the operation was already under way. He also agreed to set aside the ceasefire protocol with the MILF which meant the SAF commandoes would enter MILF territory without any prior coordination whatsoever with the joint AFP-MILF bodies overseeing the ceasefire. These two factors are what led to the Mamasapano fiasco: the lack of proper and timely coordination with both the AFP and the MILF.

Aquino stonewalls about his authorizing the setting aside of the ceasefire protocol with the MILF despite knowing about the dangers of fully armed contingents of MILF, BIFF and PAGs (private armed groups) in the area and the likelihood of the “pintakasi” phenomenon (where the armed community unites to resist any armed intruder) as clearly pointed out in the BOI report.

According to the BOI report, Aquino never gave any guidance as to how Oplan Exodus would take into consideration the ongoing GPH-MILF peace process. Aquino obviously agreed with the assessment that the MILF was coddling Marwan and was not to be trusted on that score. He apparently did not consider weighty the ensuing fall-out on the peace process should anything go wrong. Aquino does not admit to any of these and still pretends to be the leader who would do everything to achieve “peace” in Mindanao, even if it only means getting Congress to pass a watered down Bangsamoro Basic Law that he wagers the MILF will nonetheless accept.

These two fatal errors sealed the doom of the SAF troopers who in effect walked into a death trap: there was no escape and no rescue until it was already too late.

What stands out in Aquino’s speech is that he was most silent about US involvement in the Marwan operation. The Foreign Affairs department had all but exonerated the US by testifying in the Senate hearings that they accepted hook, line and sinker the US embassy’s declaration that US involvement was limited to the medical evacuation of the trapped SAF troopers.

That claim by the US embassy was proven to be a big lie when a video taken by a SAF commando of a drone flying just overhead and monitoring the battle surfaced. This validated reports from independent fact-finding missions of the presence of drones days before and on the night of the SAF operation.

Forced to amend its statements, the US and some Philippine government officials subsequently admitted that they helped in intelligence gathering (which is allowed under PH-US agreements such as the VFA) but continued to insist that US forces were not otherwise involved, especially in combat operations.

However, SAF commander Napenas testified under oath during executive sessions of the Senate hearings that there were six US officers, three of whom arrived with him, at the Tactical Command Post along with other SAF commanders. The presence of the six Americans, one of whom was even reported to have issued an order to an Army brigade commander to initiate artillery fire, speaks not only of the high interest the US had in the operation but the hand that they were allowed to have by the Philippine government — Aquino no less — in directing the operation.

Did the American “advisers” lead Aquino to believe that they had such reliable intelligence information, and they had trained and armed the SAF commandos so well, that arresting Marwan and Usman would be a walk in the park and that there would be no need to inform the AFP and MILF?

Was BSA so enthralled by the thought that personally turning over “international terrorists” Marwan and Usman to the FBI would be a publicity coup without equal? Coupled with the capping of the Bangsamoro peace process with the imminent passing of the BBL, would this not make him a shoo-in for the Nobel Peace Prize which had eluded his mother? The thought that he could even surpass his revered mom’s record and name must have been so titillating, the other side of the coin — the high probability of a firefight and costly casualties — was completely overlooked or shunted aside in his calculations.

As a bonus, a successful operation would redeem the name of his BFF (best friend forever) General Purisima, justifying his decision to allow the latter to direct the entire operation despite his suspension from office on corruption charges.

Some quarters continue to press the question of where funding for Oplan Exodus could have come from. If the US funded it, then Aquino, Purisima and the SAF could be considered as mercenaries doing the US bidding. But if not, then Aquino and Purisima could be criminally liable for misusing the SAF personnel and related resources outside of the authorized government budget and chain of command and thereafter for bringing about the unnecessary death of the SAF 44, MILF 17 and several civilians.

For the nth time, Aquino dissembles and stonewalls on the full extent of his and US complicity in engineering the Mamasapano disaster. The lid on this political can of worms is off and all attempts at a cover-up by Aquino and his apologists are failing.

The political demise of the Aquino regime is all but written on the wall. #

Published in Business World
30 March 2015

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Aquino Resign: Establish the People’s Council for National Unity, Reform and Peace

Illustrated manifesto of the Noynoy Out Now (NOW) Movement, which was launched March 5, 2015 at the Quezon City Sport Club, laying down the context, basis, and goals of the people’s ultimate drive for the ouster of President Noynoy Aquino.

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KA SATUR: Pananaw hinggil sa Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report (Part 5/6)

Sa panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Ka Satur Ocampo, presidente ng MAKABAYAN Coalition hiningi ang kanyang opinyon hinggil sa inilabas na Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report kaugnay sa insidente sa Mamasapano.

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KA SATUR: Pananaw hinggil sa Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report (Part 4/6)

Sa panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Ka Satur Ocampo, presidente ng MAKABAYAN Coalition hiningi ang kanyang opinyon hinggil sa inilabas na Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report kaugnay sa insidente sa Mamasapano.

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KA SATUR: Pananaw hinggil sa Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report (Part 3/6)

Sa panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Ka Satur Ocampo, presidente ng MAKABAYAN Coalition hiningi ang kanyang opinyon hinggil sa inilabas na Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report kaugnay sa insidente sa Mamasapano.

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KA SATUR: Pananaw hinggil sa Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report (Part 2/6)

Sa panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Ka Satur Ocampo, presidente ng MAKABAYAN Coalition hiningi ang kanyang opinyon hinggil sa inilabas na Board of Inquiry (BOI) Report kaugnay sa insidente sa Mamasapano.