Altermidya: Summary Executions and the Problem of the Criminal Justice System

Sharing Altermidya's video interview with Atty. Edre Olalia of the National Union of People's Lawyer on the spate of drug-related summary executions.

NUPL: Illegal Drugs Trade Must Stop; So Must the Savagery Used to Stop It

Here's a statement of the National Union of People's Lawyers on the recent wave of extra-judicial killings.
Let us be crystal clear: The drug menace must stop. Goodness, we hate drugs, too. There should be no two minds about it.

Yet the apparent serial summary executions of alleged street drug users or petty drug lords, which appear sudden, too contrived and predictable, must also stop.

The two are not incompatible. And each of them may be a long, hard, challenging and frustrating undertaking, but you can stop one without automatically or instantly doing the other as a practice or policy.

The madness must stop. Quick-fix savagery and abuse of power by law enforcers, supposedly to quell criminality and illegal drugs—which, wittingly or unwittingly, directly or indirectly, are encouraged, condoned or sanctioned—is a Frankenstein that will haunt us all over time. The cure may turn out to be worse than the illness.

Human rights are not only for the criminals or dregs of society as some may think or believe. It is more to protect the far too many others who are innocent or turn out to be innocent. Enough already.

Secretary General
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers

NGO, Students, Condemn Killing of Youth in PNP Anti-drugs Ops

Reposting this news item from about the killing of EARIST student and Kaibigan Foundation scholar Jefferson Bunuan. Article written by Anne Marxze Umil and originally posted here at Bulatlat.
MANILA – As the government’s “war on drugs” continues to pile up bodies of drug suspects, various groups lambasted police operations, which, they said, do not spare innocent lives.

In a candle-lighting gathering in front of the Eulogio ‘Amang’ Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology (Earist) on July 20, students expressed indignation over the death of their school mate, Jefferson Bunuan, 20, a criminology student who was killed with two others in a buy-bust operation in Sta. Ana, Manila on July 18.

The Katipunan ng Mag-aaral at Organisasyon (Kamao-Earist) urged President Rodrigo Duterte to act to stop the “unjust and senseless killings.”

“Pursue a just anti-drug campaign, resolve poverty as root cause of drug addiction and go after big drug syndicates in the country,” the student group said.

Killed with Bunuan were his cousin, Mark Anthony Bunuan, 18, and Jomar “Totong” Manaois, 20.

The Kaibigan Ermita Outreach Foundation Inc. (Keofi), a non-government organization, also condemned the killing of Bunuan, whom they had sponsored as a scholar for the past 11 years. They called on police to investigate “this unjust killing of innocent people.”

In their official Facebook account, Kaibigan Foundation called on police to “stop extra judicial killing and to follow due process and fair hearing on imposing anti-drug campaign.”

“According to Manila Police District Station 6 Chief Superintendent Robert Domingo, their main target was Jomar, but since Jefferson and Mark were there, they also shot them as they were suspected as Jomar’s ‘cohorts,’” the foundation said in their post.

Kaibigan Foundation said Bunuan wanted to become a policeman, to give justice for his father who was killed. Bunuan was also a volunteer of Lambat Sibat, a Philippine National Police crime prevention program.

The post has gone viral in social media with more than 7,000 shares.

BALCE, Floro E.

Floro Balce was reared in a poor but happy household, where his parents taught their children such values as honesty, simplicity, hard work and idealism. His father was a docket clerk in a local court.

Floro, called Poloy, excelled in academics, was an active scout member, and competed in declamation and oratorical contests. In 1972, when he was his third year high school, he was given an award as "model student for his exemplary character, creative abilities and special talents, scholastic standing, excellent health and cheerful disposition" from the Children's Museum and Library Inc.

He was in the honor rolls from elementary to college. He graduated valedictorian in grade school and salutatorian in high school. He won a government scholarship in college. He was determined to be a good electrical engineer and studied very hard in the university.
He was active in other fields. He joined the UP Students Catholic Action and chaired its sociocultural committee. He was core group member from 1973 to 1975 of the Molave Kurahaw, an organization of Bicolano students at UP's Molave Residence Hall. He was charter member of UP Ibalon, an organization of Bicol students in UP. His friends said he worked in so many areas it seemed he was campaigning early to become president of the Philippines in the future.

President Ferdinand Marcos had just installed martial law when Poloy came to UP, and it hit him as it had not when he was in Bicol. Friends remembered him asking: "Why is there martial law in the Philippines? Why are there rebels? Why are there poor people, and why are there so many of them compared to rich people? What can I M? Where am I going?"

Floro opened friendships with activists. Between studying his lessons and preparing for exams, he would be found helping write placards and streamers for rallies. But he refused to join activist organizations for some time, believing he was more effective if he did not belong to any organization.

In 1975, he finally joined the Kabataang Makabayan, then already a banned organization. Floro left UP in 1978 and went home to Camarines Sur, where he found fulfillment as a teacher of farmers. He dreamed of someday building a school for the children of the hills. "If I could teach little children the values of kindness and nationalism, that would be pure happiness," he wrote a friend.
In explaining this difficult decision to leave for Bicol, he once wrote: “I have come to terms with my life. My questions about the resistance movement have been sufficiently answered. I know what I want to be with the masses."

But Poloy only had a very short while in Bicol. Soldiers were pouring into his area, creating a level of militarization rarely ever seen in those places. Floro's fledgling group had to go farther and farther away, but the soldiers continued their pursuit. Floro and his team were pushed into a fighting it out. Floro was hurt in the first volley, but he survived long enough to be taken to an army camp in Tigaon, Camarines Sur. He died there several hours later, on the very day he turned 23.

* Born 30 July 1955 in Daet, Camarines Norte
* Died 30 July 1978 in Tigaon, Camarines Norte
* Parents : Monico Balce and Vicenta Elep
* Education : Elementary Abaño Pilot Elementary School, Daet, 1969, valedictorian
High School Camarines Norte High School, 1973, Salutatorian
College University of the Philippines Diliman, BS Electrical Engineering

CALIXTO, Leopoldo Jr.

calixto leopoldo pic

Leopoldo Calixto, who was Babes to friends, was raised in an old post-war Manila district. His father owned a motorshop and later a furniture-shop. His mother was a nurse, later becoming head nurse at the Philippine General Hospital.

In college, Babes organized student groups to protest police brutality and demand school reforms.

He contributed articles to the AvantGarde, the school paper at Mapua, writing mostly about fraternities, particularly their response to the imminence of martial law. He helped revive the College Editors’ Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) in 1970 in the face of the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus. Babes met with the staff of various student papers, urging them to tackle school issues and relate them to national issues.

He built a network of out-of-school youth activists in San Andres in Singalong, where he lived, and on the railroad tracks.

After martial law was declared, Babes moved out of Manila to organize resistance to the new regime, choosing the Western Visayas where he had relatives among the Yulos. He described himself as “of the poorer Yulos.”

But he spent most of his time with farmers. He sent news to his family in Manila in small, tightly folded letters where he talked of having to walk barefoot and learning about planting, worlds away from his life in Pasay. But he wrote that he liked his work because it allowed him to help people directly with their problems.

Babes was with an armed organizing team when it met up with paramilitary units in Calinog, Iloilo in February 1974. Babes was wounded in the encounter that followed, but he kept fighting for many hours. He was dead when constabulary soldiers at last dared to approach his hiding place, the following day.

Born 30 July 1945 in Manila
Died 20 February 1974 in Calinog, Iloilo

Parents : Leopoldo Calixto and Elsa Yulo
Education : Elementary - Rafael Palma Elementary School
High School - Philippine School of Arts and Trades
College – Mapua Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering

President Duterte, Do Not Kill in My Name


President Duterte, do not kill in my name

The bandwagon that the President has created is a bandwagon of hate

Jose Manuel Diokno

President Duterte’s war on crime has spawned a nuclear explosion of violence that is spiralling out of control and creating a nation without judges, without law, and without reason.

Do we really want to give the man with the gun the power to judge who are criminals and to kill them? To decide who is bad and who is good, who deserves to live and who deserves to die?

We might as well disband our courts, dissolve the Department of Justice, and abolish Congress. For there really is no need for law when the barrel of the gun dispenses justice.

The bandwagon that the President has created is a bandwagon of hate – a mob mentality that not only condones but encourages the taking of lives “because they deserve it.” Yes, drug pushers destroy lives. Yes, criminals behave like animals. But are those who kill them any better? And will the killing stop there?

Our people have seen what a mob can do in the hands of a tyrant who knows no law but his own. Lest we forget, the first person that Marcos executed was a drug pusher. But did he stop there? By the time he was ousted, he was responsible for killing thousands upon thousands of people whose only fault was their belief in justice, the rule of law, and human rights.

President Duterte, do not kill in my name. That is not your mandate, that is not what you were elected for. Yes, go after the drug cartels and criminal syndicates, the corrupt, the criminals among us. But do it as an officer of the law you have sworn to uphold as a lawyer and a President. –

This was first posted on Attorney Diokno's Facebook account. We are publishing it with his permission.

Over 300 NGOs Call on the United Nations to Take Immediate Action on the Hundreds of Extrajudicial Killings of Suspected Drug Offenders in the Philippines

LONDON (2nd August 2016) – Civil society groups from across the globe, including prominent human rights NGOs, have called on UN drug control authorities to urge an immediate stop to the extrajudicial killings of suspected drug offenders in the Philippines. Since 10th May 2016, more than 700 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines for being suspected of using or dealing drugs, as a direct result of recently-elected President Duterte’s campaign to eradicate crime within six months.

Until now, however, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) – the UN agencies responsible for global drug control – have failed to condemn the Philippines for these gross human rights violations committed in the name of drug control.

353 non-governmental organisations today sent an open letter to the UNODC Executive Director, Mr. Yury Fedotov, and the INCB President, Mr. Werner Sipp, asking them to take immediate action aimed at putting a stop to the extrajudicial killings.

“We are calling on the UN drug control bodies to publicly condemn these atrocities in the Philippines. This senseless killing cannot be justified as a drug control measure”, said Ann Fordham, Executive Director of the International Drug Policy Consortium. “Their silence is unacceptable, while people are being killed on the streets day after day”, she continued.

The open letter asks the UNODC and the INCB to call on President Duterte to:

Immediately end the incitements to kill people suspected of using or dealing drugs,
Act to fulfil international human rights obligations, such as the rights to life, health, due process and a fair trial, as set out in the human rights treaties ratified by the Philippines,
Promote evidence-based, voluntary treatment and harm reduction services for people who use drugs instead of compulsory rehabilitation in military camps, and
Not to reinstate the death penalty for drug offences.

Click here to view the IDPC page.

SANCHEZ, Augusto S.

Sanchez Augusto Santos

Augusto Sanchez, popularly called Bobbit, started to practice law in the early 1960s in the law office of Senator Jovito Salonga. He later established his own law office.

At the same time he published and edited a weekly newspaper which circulated in his hometown of Pasig. The weekly Post became such an irritant with Pasig politicos they were soon calling the paper the Weekly Pest.

Bobbit first came to public notice when he was elected delegate to the 1971 constitutional Commission. However, his hopes for constitutional reform, shared by thousands of his countrymen, were dashed to bits when Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law in 1972.

Bobbit went into hiding for a while but eventually resumed his law practice. However, abuses under martial law could not keep him quiet and so eventually he and other human rights lawyers put up Mabini, which took an openly critical stance against martial law while defending victims of its abuses. Bobbit was Mabini’s first chair, becoming the “epoxy”, in the words of fellow human rights lawyer Rene Saguisag, that glued together lawyers with conscience as well as monumental egos.

As Mabini chair, Bobbit became active in other causes spawned by martial law abuses, and he was later seen heading marches and protest rallies against the Marcos dictatorship.

In 1984, a year after Senator Benigno Aquino’s assassination, Bobbit ran for the Batasang Pambansa, the puppet Congress under the martial law government. He surprised himself and everyone else by winning. He served up to 1986. He would later say that he decided to run as a way of biding for time and as a counter-offensive against plans to arrest and silence him.

When he won his seat, Bobbit realized then the public’s increasingly open disenchantment with martial law. EDSA 1 was bound to happen.

After the dictatorship was dismantled and Corazon Aquino became president in 1986, Bobbit became the new president’s labor secretary, but only for a few months. Cory Aquino relieved him of the post, sacrificing him to appease persistent military pressures, who suspected Bobbit of being a communist, and to please her business supporters, who thought that Bobbit as labor secretary leaned too much on the side of the labor.

Bobbit also received warnings that elements of the military were hatching plans to kill him. When friend and colleague Orlando Olalia, also a lawyer, was assassinated, Bobbit knew he might be next in the hit list. He left the country for a few days returning only when the military plot to kill progressives in government, called the “God Save the Queen”, was busted. Bobbit took his relief as labor secretary as one battle lost but maybe one life, or several lives, saved.

The following year, Bobbit ran for the Senate, but he lost, many believe, due to cheating, black propaganda and the real politic hounding the Aquino transition government.

After that, Bobbit took no more public positions, reverting to lawyering, and to the legal defense of cases of victims of government abuse, away from the limelight but where his gifts as bar topnotcher and brilliant lawyer best applied.

Bobbit died of natural causes on 15 February 2003. He was 71.

Born 6 August 1932 in Pasig, Rizal
Died 15 February 2003 in Metro Manila
Parents : Fernando K. Sanchez and Josefa D. Santos
Spouse : Lolita Panton
Children : Chito, Irene, Josephine, Anthony and Victor
Education : Elementary - Pasig Elementary School
High School - Rizal High School
College - Bachelor of Laws, College of Law, San Beda College

Historical Commission Objects to Marcos Burial at Libingan

(This is a re-post of Rappler's National Historical Commission of the Philippines objects to Marcos burial at Libingan ng mga Bayani by Michael Bueza. Photos and text from Rappler)

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is against the burial of former president Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

The dictator's remains are reportedly set to be transferred from Ilocos Norte to the Heroes' Cemetery on September 18.

The commission said it studied President Rodrigo Duterte's basis for allowing Marcos' burial at the cemetery. In May, days after his election victory, Duterte said he would allow it "because he was a Filipino soldier, period."

This claim supposedly makes Marcos eligible for interment there, in accordance with guidelines set by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

However, in a 26-page pamphlet entitled, "Why Ferdinand E. Marcos Should Not Be Buried at the Libingan ng mga Bayani", the NHCP disputed Marcos' record as a soldier during World War II, saying that it is "fraught with myths, factual inconsistencies, and lies."

The commission said that Marcos "lied about receiving the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, and Order of the Purple Heart", a claim he supposedly made as early as 1945.

The NHCP earlier said it was the US Medal of Honor that Marcos claimed he received, but the commission on Monday, August 8, clarified it was the Distinguished Service Cross, along with the two other awards.

Marcos' supposed guerrilla unit, Ang Mga Maharlika, was also "never officially recognized and neither was his leadership of it," said the NHCP.

US officials, added the NHCP, "did not recognize Mr. Marcos' rank promotion," from major in 1944 to lieutenant colonel by 1947.

The former president's actions as a soldier during WWII were likewise "officially called into question" by the US military.

Along with other sources, the NHCP referred to two documents from the Guerrilla Unit Recognition Files (1942-1948) in the Philippine Archives Collection.

The Ang Mga Maharlika file "contains letters, memoranda, reports, and accounts relating to the guerrilla unit Maj. Marcos claimed to have founded and led."

Meanwhile, the Allas Intelligence Unit file "pertains to the organization led by Cipriano Allas, which claimed to be the intelligence unit of Ang Mga Maharlika."

When a historical matter is doubtful, like Marcos' WWII record, the NHCP wrote in the study's executive summary that it "may not be established or taken as fact."

"A doubtful record also does not serve as sound, unassailable basis of historical recognition of any sort, let alone burial in a site intended, as its name suggests, for heroes," the NHCP added. (READ: Netizens campaign against Marcos burial at Heroes’ Cemetery)

Published on July 12, the pamphlet was the result of NHCP's study as part of its mandate under Republic Act 10086 "to conduct and disseminate historical research and resolve historical controversies."

Open Letter of Kilosbayan to President-elect Estrada



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