Friday, September 25, 2020
More

    Latest Posts

    Duterte now a known dictator with EU Parliament vote

    President Rodrigo Duterte has become a globally infamous dictator with the European Union (EU) Parliament passing a resolution on the country’s human...

    ICHRP mourns state murder of Filipina human rights worker

    Slain paralegal Zara Alvarez helped bring cases of Negros killings to UNHRC “We mourn the killing of human rights...

    Global rights group condemns state murder of Filipino peace consultant

    Assassination of land reform activist Randall Echanis designed to destroy peace dialogue The International Coalition for Human Rights in...

    The Philippine Government Should Immediately Repeal Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which Harms Human rights and Democracy!

    We Condemn the Duterte government for Continuous Suppression of Human Rights!  Statement of ICHRP-Korea on the signing of the...

    Rights lawyers dispute Malacañang: Political Prisoners exist in the Philippines

    Press Release

    “Three hundred sixty political prisoners still languish in Philippine jails contrary to Malacañang’s denial,” asserted   NUPL Secretary General Atty. Edre Olalia.

    “It might be shocking for Malacanang to find out that there are still political prisoners, several of whom are  our clients,” Olalia sarcastically commented on behalf of the group of lawyers that handles several political prisoners, victims of extrajudicial killings, disappearances, torture and arbitrary arrests as well as peasant, worker and urban poor cases.

    Olalia made the assertion in reaction to the recent statement issued by Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, who reportedly boldly claimed there were no more political prisoners in the Philippines.

    The NUPL, established in September 2007 amid rising cases of extrajudicial killings and forcible abductions attributed to state forces, has over 400 members nationwide comprising lawyers, law students and paralegals . It has  discovered and known all along that the alleged acts of the prisoners they  are representing or helping are, even if hypothetically admitted, actually political in nature.

    Olalia noted that only a minority of political detainees were charged with rebellion. At least 85 % of suspected political offenders are improperly charged with non-bailable ordinary crimes and not with rebellion. They were accused of committing murder, arson, illegal possession of firearms or explosives, physical injuries and other common crimes. “We have assessed that most of these are actually false or fabricated charges that further persecute these detainees, degrade their stature, mock the basic rules of evidence and is a travesty of justice. These, on top of the multifarious violations of their rights including torture and harassment.”

    Recently,  NUPL lawyers had an audience with Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III where they pointed out two dirty tricks that gave notoriety to the past Arroyo administration: Firstly, charging political prisoners with common crimes and, secondly, the improvident use of “John/Jane Does” in criminal informations filed in court. This odious practice continues until today.

    Political activists are the usual victims of the improvident use of John/Jane Does. Whenever an information involving “John/Jane Does” is hastily filed in court, spurious witnesses belatedly spring up to identify activists and members of  political  organizations supposedly as the unknown suspects, by fabricating affidavits naming certain persons to be the John/Jane Does in the charge sheet.

    “After the political activists are identified in bad faith as the John/Jane Does,  arrest warrants are issued and they are arrested without any preliminary investigation in violation of their right to due process,” Olalia added.

    The NUPL, which just marked its 4th year anniversary last month, has joined growing calls  for a “ general, omnibus and unconditional amnesty for all political prisoners” as a matter of justice long overdue.

    Aside from their meeting with the justice secretary, the NUPL visited the Batangas Provincial Jail to talk with seven political prisoners and coordinated with the local chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP-Batangas) to extend to them legal assistance in close collaboration with the NUPL. One of the political prisoners visited by the NUPL in Batangas was Maricon Montajes, a mass communication student of the University of the Philippines . She was charged with Illegal Possession of Explosives, Violation of the Fire Arm Ban under the Omnibus Election Code, and Illegal Possession of Fire Arms and Ammunition.

    While some political detainees have already been freed, Secretary De Lima noted that the Justice Department is working to have more of them released in the near future through the Presidential Committee on Bail, Release, and Pardon (PCBREP). Secretary De Lima agreed with the legal position of NUPL and recognized its concerns,  telling them that a directive will be issued to the National Prosecution Service (NPS) to form a committee that will study these issues  and draft a department circular to address this problem. It was thus totally puzzling to the NUPL delegation that, unlike the military and Malacanang, the DOJ tacitly recognizes that there are political prisoners.

    The existence of political prisoners in several parts of the country is an obvious matter of fact that Malacanang will be hard put to deny with a straight face like the dictator Marcos. #

    Reference: Atty. Edre U. Olalia, NUPL Secretary General (09175113373)

    Latest Posts

    Duterte now a known dictator with EU Parliament vote

    President Rodrigo Duterte has become a globally infamous dictator with the European Union (EU) Parliament passing a resolution on the country’s human...

    ICHRP mourns state murder of Filipina human rights worker

    Slain paralegal Zara Alvarez helped bring cases of Negros killings to UNHRC “We mourn the killing of human rights...

    Global rights group condemns state murder of Filipino peace consultant

    Assassination of land reform activist Randall Echanis designed to destroy peace dialogue The International Coalition for Human Rights in...

    The Philippine Government Should Immediately Repeal Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which Harms Human rights and Democracy!

    We Condemn the Duterte government for Continuous Suppression of Human Rights!  Statement of ICHRP-Korea on the signing of the...

    Don't Miss

    Urgently withdraw “red-tagging” of National Council of Churches of the Philippines, restore the peace talks

    November 7, 2019 Ret Maj Gen Delfin Lorenzana, Secretary, Dept of National Defence DND Building, Segundo Ave. Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo Quezon City, Philippines 1110; Email: publicaffairs.dnd@gmail.com Urgently withdraw “red-tagging” of National...

    Asia Pacific Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines Condemns Mass Arrest of Activists in Negros and Metro Manila

    4 November 2019 Asia Pacific Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines Condemns Mass Arrest of Activists in Negros and Metro Manila The Asia Pacific Coalition...

    Condemn mass arrest of 57 unionists and social activists in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental

    November 5, 2019 Hon Michelle Bachelet United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Palais des Nations CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland E-mail: registry@ohchr.org Condemn mass arrest of 57 unionists and social...

    Bicol, Negros, Samar: intensifying repression

    Human rights in the Philippines roundup May-June 2019   The biggest human-rights news in May-June 2019 in the Philippines are the killings and illegal arrests of activists in...

    A/HRC/41/L.20: Resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines

    Reposted from the UN Human Rights Council site (URL source below) Human Rights Council Forty-first session 24 June–12 July 2019 Agenda item 2 Annual report of the United Nations...

    Stay in touch

    To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.