Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s appointment of Gen. Lina Sarmiento is as lame as his understanding of the law

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“Pres. Noynoy Aquino’s lame defense of the appointment of Gen. Lina Sarmiento as head of the martial law claims board is as lame as his understanding of the very essence of the law that he is supposed to implement. It is very clear in the letter of the law that the board members should possess known probity, competence, integrity, deep and thorough understanding & knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts vs Martial Law human rights violations. Nowhere in his statement defending Sarmiento reflect such adherence to the law.”

“Aquino installed a police general, from the dreaded institution-purveyors of human rights violations, whose “experience” in tackling human rights issues is highly questionable. As head of the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office, she dismissed calls for investigation on cases of rights abuses of the military and police which were raised by the international community during the Arroyo administration. In the 2013 AFP-MNLF Zamboanga City stand-off, she was eerily silent on the reported torture and other human rights violations committed against civilians and suspected MNLF members. If her record is as muddied as her concept of human rights, what of Sarmiento’s “experience” then has Aquino considered?”

“If Aquino is worried about “fending of those who want to sabotage the law” as he says, he should just look at the mirror. By appointing Sarmiento, Aquino appears as the primary saboteur of the intent of the law to provide justice and reparations to Martial Law victims.”

Cristina Palabay
 secretary general

SELDA’s Open Letter to Pres. Benigno Simeon Aquino III

February 24, 2014


President, Republic of the PHILIPPINES
New Executive Bldg., Malacañang Palace Compound
1000 J.P. Laurel Sr. St., San Miguel, Manila


Dear Mr. President,

Our warm greetings to you!

We welcome your move in constituting the HR Victims’ Board of Claims that will finally set the implementation of R.A. 10368 that you signed almost a year ago from now.

However, we are quite dismayed and outraged that the provisions of the law as regards the qualification of the members of the Board of Claims were not diligently followed when you appointed former PNP General Lina Castillo-Sarmiento. Not only does she not, we think, fit the qualifications of the member of the Board of Claims, much less the chairmanship of the said body; but she comes from the institution which the majority of the victims pinpoint as one of those that committed grave abuses against their persons and properties during the dictatorship years and even up to now.

That is why, today, the eve of the anniversary of People Power I that catapulted your mother, former President Corazon Aquino; and yes, even you; we are here at the foot of the historic Mendiola bridge AGAIN, EVEN IN OUR SENIOR YEARS, to express our protest at your appointment of former PNP General Lina Castillo-Sarmiento as head of the Victims’ Claims Board. Please understand that her presence in the said body will not inspire respect or confidence in the hearts of the victims whose applications, with all their personal details, the Victims’ Claims Board will process.

There are members of your yellow army who may have been victimized during martial law but are now your administration’s apologists and scoff at our righteous indignation against your action and consider it as something we are afraid of because maybe upon Gen. Sarmiento’s use of her investigative skills, fake claimants will be found out among our ranks. We tell these advisers of yours to perish such thoughts because our years as being human rights defenders investigating human rights violations since martial law up to now have led us to the conclusion that there are very few among our police forces with such skills and that many of them are being used by elements of the AFP to whitewash the cases by bungling the investigations.

In the same breath that you ask us to give General Sarmiento a chance, we ask you TO PLEASE GIVE THE VICTIMS A CHANCE.  For far too long have the government security forces including the PNP, lorded it over our political landscape, we think that it is time for the victims to be heard in matters that concern them. R.A.10368 or the Victims’ Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013 has been fought for by the victims for so long; we think that their voices must be heard in the law’s implementation.

Thank you very much for your time and we hope that we, the remaining victims of martial law, who fought very hard a very lonely, oftentimes, thankless battle to let the dictatorship account for its sins against the Filipino people, can be listened to at this time. Mr. President, please be informed that as long as we are alive, we will always struggle for the Filipinos’ collective and democratic rights. On behalf of the National Executive Board of SELDA, I remain,


Very sincerely yours,

(Sgd) Marie Hilao Enriquez

PRIVILEGED SPEECH | On President BSA’s Appointment of Claims Board



Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate
Bayan Muna Partylist
17 February 2013

Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues;

Today, I rise on a personal and collective privilege to speak on a very important issue that has earned the ire of many human rights victims of the Martial Law regime: President Aquino’s February 13 appointment of a former police general as chair of the Human Rights Victims’ Claims Board.

Mr. Speaker, the said appointment is an insensitive act on the part of President Aquino — even a dishonor to the memory and sacrifices made by the victims of Martial Law.

Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues: the Martial Law victims waited for nearly three (3) decades after the late dictator was ousted before Republic Act No. 10368 or the Human Rights Reparations and Recognition Act was passed into law last year. They were made to wait again for another year before Pres. Aquino finally constituted the Claims Board.

However, other than it was an insult to the victims, the appointment of Police General Lina Castillo-Sarmiento as chair of the claims board is also a highly questionable act.

Mr. Speaker, in Section 8 of RA 10368, the qualifications of the nine (9) member-claims board are the following:

  • (a) Must be of known probity, competence and integrity;
  • (b) Must have a deep and thorough understanding and knowledge of human rights and involvement in efforts against human rights violations committed during the regime of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos;
  • (c) At least three (3) of them must be members of the Philippine Bar who have been engaged in the practice of law for at least ten (10) years; and
  • (d) Must have a clear and adequate understanding and commitment to human rights protection, promotion and advocacy. Indeed, what really was the involvement of Director Sarmiento in preventing human rights violations during the Martial Law regime? Mr. Speaker, President Aquino cannot feign ignorance of the requirements of the very law that he signed last year.

Callously, instead of appointing as head of the claims’ board a victim or even a representative of the victims, Pres. Aquino choose to give this rare distinction to a representative of the very institution – the Philippine Constabulary, the forerunner of the PNP — that unleashed, along with the AFP, the most brutal human rights violations during the Marcos dictatorship.

During the previous Arroyo administration, Director Sarmiento was one of its apologistsasthe former Director of the PNP Human Rights Affairs Office (HRAO).

As HRAO chief, she merely swept under the rug charges of human rights violations committed by PNP officers and personnel. She was part of the “denial machine” that attempted to deodorize the stench of the internationally condemned cases of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances under the Arroyo administration. One such case in the past was the manner by which she handled the investigation involving the case of 32-year-old Renante Romagus, a farmer, who had survived from his ordeal after he was forcibly abducted, tortured, held in captivity, repeatedly stabbed and left for dead last December 12, 2007 in Compostela Valley Province, in Mindanao.

According to the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), Director Sarmiento, as head of PNP HRAO, dismissed calls for investigations on Romagus case, as she lamely but callously blamed instead the victim’s inability to identify his perpetrators.

Again, we asked General Sarmiento, where were you and what did you do as head of HRAO during the height of the state of impunity involving cases of EJKs and Enforced Disappearance under the Arroyo administration?

Last year, during the AFP-MNLF Zamboanga City standoff, the only claim to fame of Director Sarmiento was her program of bringing in clowns and comedians to entertain the affected residents, but, she was very silent on the reported torture and other human rights violations committed against civilians and suspected MNLF rebels.

Yes, Mr. Speaker, even until today, the very institution that Director Sarmiento represents is associated in many more serious cases of human rights violations. For example, just last month, several PNP personnel were exposed to have been involved in maintaining a torture chamber in Laguna.

On the other hand, it is also appalling to note Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, that after a year of dilly-dallying the appointment of the claims board, President Aquino even bypassed and disregarded nominees from SELDA or the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto, an organization of former political prisoners and victims of Martial Law.

SELDA is one of the human rights organizations specifically recognized by RA 10368 to submit nominees to be appointed as members of the claims board.

Mr. Speaker as we closely monitor the actions of this Aquino claims board, I challenged this Chamber, which made possible the passage into law of RA 10368, not to allow President Aquino to desecrate further the said law, even as we continue to fight for justice for the victims of Martial Law and for all the victims of human rights violations.

Thank you, my dear colleagues.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker



February 14, 2014

Almost one year after BS Aquino signed the Human Rights Victims Reparations and Recognition Act, he has composed the Human Rights Victims Claims Board, has appointed a female two-star general to head the Board, and has significantly snubbed the nominees to the Board proposed by SELDA, the original claimants organization that filed the class suit against the Marcos estate!

This gross insensitivity and arrogance of this president once again proves the low priority that he gives to human rights, that he cannot even rise above his aversion for activists critical of his administration to do the right thing and appoint representatives from the original claimants and victims themselves. Instead he chooses to head the Board with someone from the very institution accused of committing human rights violations and to fill the other slots with people known to have the same dislike for national democratic activists. We challenge the Human Rights Claims Board to rise over its partisanship and to do right by the majority of victims and claimants who are represented by SELDA.

Human rights violations continue under the Aquino administration. It is not only this long delay in the implementation of the law and now questionable composition of the Claims Board. Illegal detention, torture, extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances have continued under the P-Noy regime. Many of the victims are indigenous leaders asserting their land rights against large-scale destructive mining and the plunder of the nation’s patrimony and environment. Ongoing militarization of the countrysides in implementation of Oplan Bayanihan has caused the evacuation of communities and the violation of civilian rights. The Philippine government has arbitrarily suspended the peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

As long as human rights violations continue, SELDA–Northern Luzon will continue to speak up and assert our human rights.
Assert legitimate martial law victims claims to reparation and recognition!
Free all political prisoners!

Reference: Joanna K. Cariño, SELDA Northern Luzon chairperson 09394549608

Karapatan reminds Aquino: Same social ills that caused the ouster of two presidents perpetrated by your regime

Press Release | Karapatan
September 21, 2013

Government bureaucrats and their legions in and out of the bureaucracy live on people’s hard labor to load their bank accounts, build business empires, acquire expensive houses here and abroad, buy the most expensive luxury items to indulgence themselves, and to wine, dine, and dance.

Landlords, transnational mining companies, agri-business plantations rob peasants and indigenous peoples of their lands. Capitalists rake in profits by keeping workers’ wages at bare minimum. Private corporations, in cahoots with the government, forcibly evict urban poor dwellers and demolish their houses. The youth are kept out of school because of high education costs, and the sick die without proper medical treatment or even die without seeing a doctor.

The government’s armed forces and paramilitary groups tag civilians as communists. They threaten, harass, arrest, throw false charges against the civilians, detain, and torture them. The armed forces and paramilitary groups abduct civilians, and civilians either disappear or surface dead; armed forces bomb communities of civilians; civilians leave their homes and sources of livelihood to go to evacuation centers.

US and Philippine governments say US troops are here to protect the country from foreign intervention. Without regard for the country’s sovereignty, the President allows the US troops and its warships to enter the country freely. In exchange, the US government gives military aid to improve the fighting capability of Philippine troops to undertake counter-insurgency measures against the Filipino people.

Yes, the images are Marcosian. And, yes the images capture what is currently happening under the Aquino government.  But, the reality is far more biting than these images. People’s lives are on the line, and the children’s future is at stake.

From Marcos through the Aquino government, this reality was never interrupted. The exact names of players may be different, but they are essentially the same. In fact, many survived from Marcos through BS Aquino, to name a few: Marcos-turned-Cory Aquino ally, Juan Ponce Enrile, presidential uncle Danding Cojuangco, business tycoon Lucio Tan who, under the BS Aquino presidency, got off the hook from cases on ill-gotten wealth. Needless to say, the Marcoses and other political dynasties are very much alive.

BS Aquino did not do anything substantial to change all these. He and his spinmeisters merely churned out PR spins, sound bites and surveys meant to condition public opinion.

But, the reality of skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, demolition and forced eviction of thousands of urban poor dwellers, deceptive land reform schemes such as the Hacienda Luisita case, the privatization of almost all public hospitals, high-cost of education, and continuing human rights violations far outweighs lies and spins.

As of August 30, Karapatan-documented cases of extrajudicial killings have gone up to 153, and frustrated extrajudicial killing to 168. There are now 449 political detainees; while documented victims of forced eviction and demolition are almost 13,000 and, forced evacuation nearing 32,000.

And, whatever effect these spins had on the people were finally wiped out when the 10-billion-peso pork barrel scam exploded. People are back on the streets protesting, not only against the scam, but against the pork barrel system, and corruption in general that is committed with impunity.

Widespread protest on the streets, in schools, in workplaces, and in urban and rural areas. In one voice the workers, peasants, women, youth and students, teachers, indigenous peoples, government employees, lawyers, doctors and other professionals, religious leaders and church people call for change, shouted “Enough is enough! Sobra na, tama na!”

BS Aquino should be reminded that such call reverberated and resulted to the ouster of two presidents of the Republic.

Today, as we commemorate the 41st year of the imposition of martial law, the people say “Never Again!” to the same rotten system — of corruption and plunder, injustice, subservience to US dictates, and violations of the people’s rights—perpetuated by the BS Aquino regime. ###

Update: 3rd Bicameral hearing on Marcos victims’ compensation bill

Ngayong hapon, Enero 23, inaprubahan ng bicameral conference committee ang final version ng Human Rights Victims Reparation and Recognition Act of 2013. Ito ang produkto ng pinagsanib na bersyon ng Marcos victims indemnification bill na naunang isinulong ng SELDA katuwang ang mga progresibong partylist sa pangunguna ng awtor na isang kapwa Martial Law victim, si Rep. Neri Colmenares.

Sa pinal na bersyon, kinikilala na ang mga biktima ng Martial Law ay kinikilala bilang mga tunay na biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Kasama dito ang mga 9,539 biktima na nagsampa ng class suit laban sa mga Marcos sa Hawaii noong 1986. Pasok ang probisyong “conclusive presumption” na kumikilala sa mga biktima.

Sa Lunes ay iraratipika na ang panukalang batas. Ibig sabihin, matapos pirmahan ng bicameral committee, ito ay itutulak na para mapirmahan ni Aquino. 

Bagamat tiyak na mahaba pa ang labang ito, isang tagumpay ang pagkilala sa mga biktima ng Martial Law hindi lang para sa kanila kundi sa mamamayang Pilipino. Kailangang tiyaking malubos ang tagumpay na ito. Magagawa natin ito sa ating patuloy na sama-samang pagkilos.

Sa lahat ng mga kasapi ng SELDA, mga biktima at kaanak na kumilos sa Senado kanina, mabuhay kayo! Hustisya sa lahat ng mga biktima ng Martial Law! Hustisya sa lahat ng biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao!


Updates: 2nd Bicam Conference Committee Meeting on Indem Bill

Katatapos lamang ng bicameral conference committee meeting sa House of Representatives kaugnay ng Marcos victims compensation bill. Sa pangalawang pagpupulong, umani ng tagumpay ang mga biktima ng Batas Militar sa pagpapasok ng mga mahahalagang probisyon sa pinal na bersyon ng panukalang batas:

1.       Kasama ang SELDA at Karapatan sa consultative body na bubuuin kung paano ipoproseso ang claims ng mga biktima. Nanatili namang bahagi ang SELDA ng nominations committee na magtutukoy kung sino ang lehitimong biktima o hindi. Samantala, hindi nakasama dito ang Karapatan at Claimants 1081.

2.       Tinanggal na ang “peaceful means” sa pinal na bersyon ng panukalang batas. Sa madaling salita, kinikilala nito ang sinumang lehitimong biktima, anuman ang naging porma ng kanyang naging paglaban sa panahon ng diktadura.

Binabati namin ang mga kasapi ng bicameral conference committee sa kanilang pagtindig para sa biktima, gaya nina Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III, Sen. Chiz Escudero at iba pa. Umaasa kaming patuloy silang titindig sa mga natitira pang agenda sa bicameral conference pabor sa mga biktima ng Batas Militar na matagal nang ipinaglalaban ang hustisya.

Ang susunod na pagpupulong ay nakatakda sa Miyerkules, Enero 23. Ang natitirang contentious na isyu ay ang usapin ng “conclusive presumption,” kontra sa “disputable presumption” na tinututulan ng mga biktima ng Batas Militar.

Iginigiit ng SELDA na ang mga biktima na nagsampa ng class action suit laban sa mga Marcos ay dapat kilalanin bilang mga lehitimong biktima sa ilalim ng “conclusive presumption,” sa halip na muli silang isalang sa proseso ng pagkilala at pagpapatunay na sila ay tunay ngang mga biktima.

Hustisya sa mga biktima ng Martial Law! Ipasa ang Marcos Victims Compensation Bill!

Download Selda_position_paper_for bicam

SELDA’s response to Aquino’s recent statement on compensation to martial law victims

News Release
November 6, 2012

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) today welcomes with guarded enthusiasm, President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s recent statements at the ASEM meeting in Laos to compensate victims of martial law.

“We have waited for this far too long now and President Noynoy Aquino has in fact mentioned this as one of his priority bills in last year’s SONA, but until now, this is  yet to be realized,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson of Selda. “We are hopeful that with this current pronouncement, the bill to compensate the victims will finally be enacted into a law.”

The human rights group clarified that not all of the $680 million Marcos Swiss deposit will go to the victims and that only one-third will be used for the compensation; and this is the equivalent of P10B.  “We recognize that the money is for the Filipinos and that it must be utilized for land reform. We only asked for a small portion of Marcos’ ill-gotten wealth for compensation,” Enriquez stated.

SELDA only wishes that the victims will no longer be made to wait more than they have already done. Furthermore, the human rights group urged
the Senate to pass a bill that would reflect the voice of the victims and remove provisions inimical to the interests of the victims.

SELDA has been lobbying for the Senate to revise and pass SB 2615. The Committee on Justice and Human Rights said it is still awaiting the comments of Senator Joker Arroyo on the bill before they submit it for plenary debates at the Senate. The House version was passed on March 21, 2012.

SELDA Chairperson, Marie Enriquez, brought the bill’s status to the attention of the United Nation’s Human Rights Council in September as well as the Human Rights Committee in October both in Geneva, urging the said bodies to remind the Philippine government of its commitment to compensate the martial law victims.  In her oral intervention at the September Human Rights Council session at the adoption of the Philippine UPR report, Enriquez “particularly took note of Switzerland’s UPR recommendation to compensate the victims of martial law” especially since the Swiss government has already transferred the US$680M Marcos Swiss deposits in favor of the Philippine government in 1997 yet.

SELDA asserts that compensation to human rights violations victims like the martial law victims is a component of justice that is enshrined in the UN instruments as well as in the Philippine Constitution.  Thus, the victims’ demand for indemnification are just and the portion of the funds that Marcos stashed in Swiss banks and have been transferred by the Swiss government rightfully belong to them.

SELDA will be watching and will continue to press for the government to deliver on its promise. ###

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Chairperson, SELDA

After passage of Anti-Enforced Disappearance Bill, martial law victims call for passage of Marcos Victims’ Compensation Bill

Press Statement
22 October 2012

We welcome the approval of the anti-enforced disappearance bill by a bi-cameral session of the Senate and House of Representatives. It is high time that a law criminalizing the practice of enforced disappearance be enforced.

Martial law activist Rizalina Ilagan, a student leader from the University of the Philippines – Los Baños, was disappeared in 1977, together with nine other students and professors from the same University. They were later called the Southern Tagalog 10. Three were surfaced dead, while the rest were never found.

Victims of the dictatorship were vindicated when they won the now historic class suit in 1992 against Ferdinand Marcos. The Hawaii Appellate Court found Marcos guilty of human rights violations against 9,539 victims, among them some 1,000 victims of enforced disappearance. Yet, the military perpetrators, least of all Marcos, was not punished for their crimes.  Once enacted into law, the anti-enforced disappearance bill will allow us to hold responsible the perpetrators of enforced disappearance of activists.

The Anti-Enforced Disappearance Bill provides no prescription period for the crime, unless the victim has surfaced. The perpetrators of involuntary disappearance could be prosecuted no matter how much time has passed since the incident. Moreover, the bill recognizes command responsibility, which means a superior officer would also be culpable for the actions of his subordinates.

However, we are still struggling to claim justice with yet another bill pending in the Senate. The Marcos Victims’ Compensation Bill still has to be finalized by the Senate. Just like the Anti-Enforced Disappearance, this is long overdue

Selda has consistently urged the Aquino government to expedite the compensation bill of martial law victims. President Aquino should not waste any more time in enacting this bill into law. Its implementation, together with the Anti-Enforced Disappearance Bill, will add to our efforts at gaining justice for our loved ones, especially those who were disappeared during martial law. ###

Bonifacio Ilagan (09176291241)
Vice Chairperson

Morong 43’s Hunger Strike is not only legitimate, it is most just; Free all political prisoners – SELDA

December 4, 2010

For reference: FR. DIONITO CABILLAS, Secretary General, SELDA

On the International Day of Solidarity for Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners in the Philippines, is one with the Morong 43 and all 371 political prisoners in the country in calling for their immediate and unconditional release from detention. As human rights organizations and peoples all over the world commemorate on December 3 the International Day of Solidarity for Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles, we are one in condemning the continuing policies and practice of torture, criminalization of the exercise of political beliefs and arbitrary detention of political prisoners and prisoners of war all over the world.

We salute the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the Philippines in their hunger strike which started on December 3, 2010. The hunger strike is a strong political statement of strength and unity amid efforts of the Aquino government to impede the release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the country. There were 2, 059 victims of illegal arrest under the Arroyo government, 579 of them are human rights defenders. 333 of them are women and 112 of them are minors at the time of their arrest. Among these victims are the Morong 43, the forty health workers who are on their 10th month of detention. While Pres. Aquino has called their arrest and the warrant used for their arrest as “fruits of the poisonous tree,” he has not pursued the withdrawal of charges against them and their unconditional release because of his apparent amiable relations with the so-called “security sector” of the state, which includes the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the National Security Council. Thus, the hunger strike of the Morong 43 is not only legitimate, it is most just. We likewise call for the immediate release of political prisoners such as peace advocate Angelina Ipong, National Democratic Front consultants Ed Sarmiento and Ed Serrano, and Sandino Esguerra, all have languished in jails for more than five years now.

In the first four months of the new Aquino government, there are already thirteen (13) political prisoners, among the 23 victims of illegal arrest and detention. Sixteen out of the 23 were victims of torture. SELDA attributes this directly to Aquino’s continued implementation of the Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), Arroyo’s former counter-insurgency policy which has spawned the extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and trumped up charges against activists and supporters. While Aquino’s new counter-insurgency program will still be enforced the next year, we see this as the same terror blueprint, with loads of deceptive programs included. A counter-insurgency policy patterned after the United States Counter Insurgency Guide of 2009 can only result to more victims of illegal arrests and arbitrary detention, EJKs, enforced disappearances and thousands of more human rights violations. It is thus no wonder that the climate of impunity continues.

The US counter-insurgency policies have been consistently drafted and implemented by puppet states of the US all over the world to crush legitimate political dissent in their countries, especially those that seek the halt of US plunder and intervention on its neocolonial states. These have been consistently implemented to promote aggression against national liberation movements of peoples all over the world. These have been consistently implemented to silence and put behind bars those who strive to work for genuine peace, social justice and freedom.

SELDA stands in solidarity with the political prisoners, their families and supporters and peoples of the world against these forms of political repression, fascism and aggression. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners in the Philippines and the world. We call for justice for all victims of human rights violations and state impunity.

Nov9:International conference of former political prisoners in Copenhagen adopts resolution calling for freedom for the Morong 43

9 November 2010

A resolution calling for the immediate release from detention of the Morong 43 was unanimously approved by the delegates to the International Conference on Solidarity, Defense and Struggle for Freedom of Political Prisoners in the World, held October 22-24, 2010 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The resolution condemned the illegal arrest, physical and mental torture and continuing unjust detention of the Morong 43, and called for their immediate release, especially the two nursing mothers and their babies delivered under detention. The resolution also called on the Aquino government to stop the alarming extra-judicial killings which include human rights advocates and defenders.

The resolution presented by Atty Remigio “Ming” Saladero Jr. of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement, KMU), was discussed and prepared by the Workshop on the Philippines.

Attorney Saladero Jr and Cesar T. Taguba of BAYAN International-Europe also spoke during the plenary session and shared information regarding the suffering and struggle of political prisoners, on extrajudicial killings and disappearances from the time of the Marcos regime up to the current Benigno Aquino III government.

The conference approved the following proposals of the Philippine delegation: a). Adopt a political prisoner campaign b). Collection and popularization of the poems and songs written and composed by political prisoners and, c). Holding of an internationally coordinated Political Prisoners Day/Week.

The international conference was attended by delegates from Colombia, Palestine, Iran, Kurdistan, Denmark, Basque, Spain, Colombia, Philippine, Turkey and the US. They shared information about the death by torture, execution and massacre of political prisoners and the struggle against the so-called terrorist blacklisting.

The case of Mumia Abu-Jamal was highlighted. The conference delegates condemned the US-instigated “war on terror” and the global crisis as a result of capitalist greed. The conference was initiated by the Danish International Forum (IF).

Postbus 15687, 1001 ND Amsterdam


We, participants of the International Conference on Solidarity, Defense and Struggle for Freedom of Political Prisoners in the World, 22-24 Copenhagen, Denmark unanimously condemn the illegal arrest, torture and continuing unjust detention of 43 health workers-known as the Morong 43, by the Philippine government. We call for their immediate and unconditional release from detention, especially the 2 nursing mothers and their children.

At the time of their arrest, the Morong 43 were undergoing a Health Training Seminar organized by the Community Medicine Foundation and the Council for Health and Development. The training seminar was maliciously branded by the military as a “terrorist” training program using planted weapons and explosives-making devices as evidence. Among those arrested were 2 medical doctors, nurses and midwives, of which twenty-six are women.

The arresting force composed of 300 heavily armed men did not have a valid warrant of arrest. They deprived those arrested immediate legal assistance, kept them in isolation, prevented family visits and were subjected to physical and mental torture.

The arrest and detention of the Morong 43 violates the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.

We join Philippine and international organizations in calling for their immediate release, especially of the 2 nursing mothers.

We strongly urge the Philippine government to stop the extra judicial killings which includes human rights advocates and defenders.

Unanimously approved at the Plenary Session
International Conference on Solidarity, Defense and Struggle for Freedom of Political Prisoners in the World
23 October 2010 Copenhagen, Denmark

Manindigan Para sa Katarungan at Ganap na Kalayaan

September 21, 2010

Statement of the Morong 43 on the Commemoration of the Declaration of Martial Law

Peace will not just celebrate a silence,
While those in ned still suffer without end
Peace does not require losing hope and fruitful dreams
Peace is just, peace provides, peace is for all
– Live for Peace

Dalawampu’t apat na taon na ang nakalipas nang wakasan ng People Power I ang may dalawang dekadang diktadura ni Marcos. Apat na administrasyon na ang nagdaan simula nang ituring ng sambayanang Pilipino ang pag-alpas mula sa pangil ng Batas Militar at malalang paglabag sa karapatang pantao.

Dalawampu’t apat na taon at apat na administrasyon, kasing-edad na ng ilan sa aming mga itinuturing na terorista ay ngayo’y nananatiling nakapiit. Karamihan sa amin sa Morong 43 ay hindi na naabutan pa ang bagsik ng diktadurang naranasan ng sambayang Pilipino. Ngunit sa aming naranasang dahas mula sa military at iba pang ahente ng gobyernong Arroyo, may pagkakaiba nga ba ang mabuhay noong panahon ni Marcos sa ating ating panahon ngayon?

May pitong buwan na ang nakalipas mula nang iligal na inaresto ang Morong 43 ng mga sundalo sa aming ika-anim na araw para sa pagsasanay medical na aming inilunsad sa Morong, Rizal. Nananatiling nakamarka ang pait at hirap ng karanasang iyon noong Pebrero 6, 2010. Ang pisikal, mental at sikolihikal na tortyur ay bahagi ng aming naranasan, na ayon sa mga humuli sa amin ay SOP daw. Standard operating procedure pala ng militar at pulis ang tortyur! Kasabay ng pagpiring sa aming mga matang luhaan, narinig namin ang paglibak sa aming hangaring maglingkod sa bayansa sarkastikong pagtawa, paulit-ulit na tanong at pagsambit ng “Nars ka ba ng NPA?” o “Sayang ka, yan tuloy ang napala mo!” Inihahalintulad nila ang pagseserbisyo sa mahihirap sa isang bagay na hindi dapat tularan.

Ito nga ang napala ng 43 manggagawang pangkalusugan — ang mapiit dahil sa pagkalinga sa mahihirap at kapos-palad. Ito rin ang sinapit ng daan-libong aktibista, mamamahayag at iba pang sektor ng lipunan dahil sa paniniwalang makatarungan ang lumaban para sa wasto at makatwiran. Kinukutya, tinotortyur at pinapatay ang mamamayang lumalaban dahil sa simpleng paniniwala sa katotohanan at paninindigan para sa inaapi at pinagsasamantalahan. Sa desperasyong ipangalandakan ang katapusan ng insurhensya sa bansa, ginagawang tropeo ang iligal na pagdakip, pagdukot, pagpatay at pagmasaker.

Sa ating paggunita ng deklarasyon ng Martial Law ngayong Setyembre 21, alalalahanin natin ang pananatili ng mga militarista at maka-hayop na pagturing sa karapatan ng mamamayan. Kasama nating alalahanin ang hindi mabilang na paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Kasama nating alalahanin ang mga buhay at pag-asang kinitil kapalit ng gantimpalang pilak at ginto ng mga salot sa lipunan. Kasabay ng ating pag-alala ay ang ating patuloy na paninindigan para sa kanilang ipinaglalaban.

Ang laban ng Morong 43 ay hindi natatapos sa aming pagkapiit. Sa aming pakikibaka para sa katarungan at paglaya, batid naming ang napakalaking papel ng suporta at pagkilos ng mamamayan. Bilang mga manggagawang pangkalusugan, hindi hiwalay an gating mga ipinaglalaban — ang makamit ang katarungan at sapat na serbisyong panlipunan. Bilang mga ina, ama, o anak, hindi hiwalay an gating nais na magkaroon ng malayaat tunay na payapang pamumuhay.

Sa kabila n gaming pagkapiit, asahan niyo ang patuloy naming pakikibaka para sa paglaya, at ang patuloy na pag-asang muli’t muli, babalik kami sa mga komunidadupang magbigay ng serbisyong pangkalusugan. Nagpapasalamat kami at patuloy na nananawagan sa inyo para sa aming paglaya at paglaya ng lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal. Ang pagkilos ng sambayanan ang nagbibigay sa amin ng katatagan at lakas ng loob sa pagharap sa hamong ito sa aming buhay.

Palayain ang Morong 43 at lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal!
Ilantad, tutulan at labanan ang pasismo ng estado!
Katarungan at kalayaan sa lahat ng biktima ng paglabag sa karapatang pantao!

Letter of Appeal for Support to International Human Rights Lawyers

September 20, 2010

We, the imprisoned community health workers, known as the Morong 43, are still being denied justice. For almost eight months in detention, our motion for the writ of habeas corpus filed at the Supreme Court of the Philippines submitted last April has not been acted upon.

Although we are currently under civilian detention, we feel that our rights are gradually curtailed unreasonably. Restrictions on our rights started when we exercised our right to protest on the inhuman ruling of the lower court which brought Judilyn Oliveros and baby back to jail. (Now, Judilyn and baby are on three-month hospital arrest)
Unreasonable policies imposed by the jail personnel in Camp Bagong Diwa violate our rights. Unexplained policies are immediately being imposed while our welfare is halfheartedly taken cared of. Cooking, receiving and entry of donated uncooked vegetables, meat and fish are disallowed, when the vegetables we receive are supplements to the meager meal budgets of P50/person/day. Strip search, the process of undressing our visitors of their pants and undergarments, is a very humiliating act. In effect, this deters some relatives to visit our male companions, whose authorities in their jail facilities require strip search.

Mercy Castro, soon-to-be mother, was twice denied of check-up despite a court order, while Judilyn and baby were almost bodily brought back to jail upon the jail officials’ receipt of the court order.

Problems on the clogged toilets and sewerage in our cell, which were unusable for four days, were not immediately addressed. Medical check-ups and dispense of medicines were done only during Mondays, denying us of our right to access medicines whenever we get sick on other days. Our pens and papers were confiscated and banned entry. These are a few of the examples of unwritten policies in jail that violate our rights twice over inside prison. The jail warden of the women’s detention facilities has disregarded us whenever we seek to raise these concerns through dialogue and written communication. These are additional restrictions on our rights, but the worst violations are what we have traumatically experienced at the hands of the military when we were illegally arrested, tortured and detained.

While we are languishing in jail, our loved ones are suffering. They cannot understand why the rule of law and respect for human rights do not apply on our case. Our children are always asking when will we go home. They and the communities we serve are deprived of our care.

We appeal for your support to remind President Benigno Aquino III to hear our plea for immediate and impartial action on our case and release us from detention, to restore the rule of law and, above all, the respect for human rights. We likewise enjoin you in airing out to the public the dire conditions of prisoners inside Camp Bagong Diwa.

Free the 43 community health workers!
Free all political prisoners!
Uphold the rule of law and respect for human rights!

Correctional Institution For Women: Women Political Prisoners Join Nationwide Fasting

September 17, 2010

Correctional Institution For Women
Mandaluyong City

Mainitong Pagbati sa tanan,

Kami ang 4 ka kababaihan bilanggong pulitikal nga nia karon sa CIW Madasigong masuporta sa pagpapalaya sa Morong 43,Pinaagi sa group discussion og propaganda sulat sa compound aron dugang masabtan unsa ang morong 43.Manawagan usab kami nga ipadayon ge planing panaghisgot sa kalinaw tali sa NDF ng GRP,Aron maduso ang pagpalaya sa tanang Bilanggong Pulitikal,labi na ang may edad na ng mga maysakit.

Manghinaot kami sa kalumpusan ng kadaugan sa tan.

Palayain ang Morong 43 at lahat ng bilanggong pulitikal!


Moreta Algre
Lolita Mahilom
Jovelyn Tawaay
Lucy Canda


SETYEMBRE 17, 2010

Militanteng pagbati!

Ang mga bilanggong pulitikal sa kampo Crame ay lubusang sumusuporta sa dumadagundong na panawagang palayain na ang Morong 43 at ang iba pang mga bilanggong pulitikal na umaabot na ngayon sa sa 388 sa buong bansa.

Aktibong lalahok kami sa Pambansang Araw ng Pagkilos (National Day of action ) sa ika-17 ng Setyembre 2010 sa pamamagitan ng aming pakikiisa sa isang araw ng pagpapagutom (fasting) upang ipaalala sa sambayanang Pilipino ang madilim na yugto ng bansa noong batas militar ng pasistang diktadurang US-Marcos, tatlumpu’t walong taon na ang nakaaraan.

Sa ngayon ,na ipinangangalandakan ng gubyernong Aquino na tinatahak nito ang “tuwid na daan,” isang malaking hamon sa kanya na itaguyod at respetuhin ang mga karapatang pantao sa pagpapatibay ng pag-papalaya sa Morong 43 at sa lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal lalupa`t ang kanyang ama ,ang yumaong Ninoy Aquino ay isa ring dating bilanggong pulitikal at ang kanyang ina,ang yumaong dating Pangulong Cory Aquino na nakagawa ng isang hakbang ng kabutihan sa pagsisimula ng kanyang pagkapangulo.

Marubdob kaming nagpapasalamat sa lahat ng ating mga kamag-anakan,mga tagasuporta at mga tagapagtaguyod ng mga karapatang pantao na walang pagod at pursigidong isinusulong ang kampanya para makamit ang hustisya at kagyat na pagpapalaya sa mga bilanggong pulitikal partikular ang Morong 43 na naging biktima ng iligal na pang-aaresto, tortyur at iligal na pagkakulong sa matagal nang panahon.

Nananawagan din kami na huwag nating lubayan ang militanteng pagkilos para makamit ang mga panimulang tagumpay tulad ng pagigiit ng ating hanay na payagang mailagay sa “hospital arrest” ang kasamang kapapanganak lamang noong Hulyo para maalagaaan ang kanyang anak sa loob ng anim na buwan. Nauna rito,ang nakamit nating munting tagumpay nang ilipat sa sibilyan na kulungan ang 38 manggagawang pangkalusugan mula sa Camp Capinpin.

Lubusan kaming umaasa na sa mahigpit nating pagkakaisa sa buhay at kamatayang pakikibakang ito ay makakamit natin ang ganap na paglaya sa kamay ng mga kaaway ng sambayanan at maglalatag ng landas na tatahakin natin para sa makastysayang pagsusulong ng pakikibaka para sa tunay na pambansang kalayaan at dewmokrasya!

Kagyat na palayain ang Morong 43!

Palayain ang lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal!
Mabuhay ang Sambayanang Pilipino!

Sa Tagumpay ng Pakikibaka,

Prospero F.Agudo Jovencio Balweg

Diego Samontesa

Charito Sarmiento Eduardo O.Sarmiento

Eduardo R. Serrano

Pahayag ng pakikiisa ng mga bilanggong pulitikal sa New Bilibid Prison


SEPTEMBER 17, 2010

Maalab na pagbati ang pinaabot namin sa inyong lahat na mga kasama at sa buong sambayanang Pilipino!

Ang kalagayan ng mga bilanggong pulitikal sa New Bilibid Prisons ay nananatiling matatag sa aming paninindagan bilang bilanggong pulitikal, sa kabila ng matagal na ikinulong ang aming katawan. Pero malaya ang aming isipan upang ipagpatuloy ang pakikibaka at sumuporta sa lahat ng inilulunsad na laban ng mga mamamayan.

Kaming mga bilanggong pulitikal sa NBP ay nakikiisa at sumusuporta sa panawagan
na palayain ang Morong 43 at lahat ng mga bilanggong pulitikal at magsasagawa ng 12 oras na fasting protest.

Naniniwala ang mga bilanggong pulitikal sa pamamagitan ng sama samang pagkilos ng mamamayan, hindi lang ang Morong 43 at ang mga bilanggong pulitikal ang magpapalaya kundi ang sambayanang pilipino sa kamay ng naghaharing sistema.

Habang patuloy na ginigipit ang mamamayang nakikibaka sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang gobyerno, siya naman ang magpapatatag ng aming kalagayan upang mananatili ang diwang mapanlaban.



Jeff Yambot
Edgardo Lingan
Francis Versosa
Victoriano Segura
Ricardo Solangon
Danilo Sioncio
Sonny Mabilla
Arnillo Gavillo
Alfredo Montajes
Lamberto Santiago
Arturo Pangilinan
Crisanto Ceriola
Raul Villar
Romeo Lariano
Generoso Ceriola
Rodel Caballero
Jesus Alegre
Selmam Alegre
Joel Ramada
Marcial Dosmanos
Rolando Panamogan

Statement of Morong 43 on Sept 17 National Day of Action and Sympathy Fast

Prolonged Illegal Detention is Justice Denied!

We, the Morong 43 appeal to our government for an impartial and swift justice on our case and the cases of all political prisoners in the country. For eight months ,we are languishing in jail. We are being detained illegally based on a defective warrant. In addition, we are falsely accused of illegal possession of fire arms and explosives while conducting a health training. Furthermore, our case in the Court of Appeals, has not been acted upon since April 2010.

While in detention, our rights are continuously violated. For the first 3 months
under military detention, we had been subjected to physical and psychological torture while being handcuffed and blindfolded for six hours. Twice, our military
captors blocked our motion for transfer to a civilian detention facility.

Now while on civilian detention, the court denied Judilyn Oliveros’ motion for release on recognizance, to stay out of jail, and only granted a three-month stay at the hospital.

Until now we can not understand what crime have we committed to suffer these kinds of injustices. Is it a crime and impart health knowledge and skills to community health workers in order to help deprived communities of health services?

Eight months of detention has caused suffering to our families, relatives, friends and supporters. The communities that we serve are continuously being neglected and are still suffering from basic health care.

On this day, we join the National Day of Action and Sympathy Fast to protest the continued trampling and violation of our human rights. We appeal to all freedom-loving people to help fight for and restore the respect to the rule of law and above all respect for human rights.

We ask President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to release us and all political prisoners without conditions to concretize his banner pronouncement during his State-of-the-Nation Address on respect for human rights.

Prolonged illegal detention is justice denied!
Free the 43 community health workers!
Free all political prisoners!

September 8,2010:Statement of Political Prisonersin Bohol

We, political prisoners in Bohol, are calling on the government of Pres. Benigno Aquino III to free all political prisoners in the country who were victims of gross human rights violations and political persecution, and corruption of the past administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In the province of Bohol, there are five political prisoners who are languishing inside jails for more than eight years because of fabricated and baseless charges. Five of us are leaders of peasant organizations, while one of us was arrested this year on charges of rebellion.

We are in solidarity with all progressive organizations and groups who are calling for the immediate release of the group of health workers and professionals known collectively as the Morong 43. They are volunteer health workers who have chosen to serve the marginalized and impoverished sectors in society, but they were falsely charged with cases of rebellion and illiegal possession of fire arms a spart of the legal offensives of the Arroyo administration. They were illegally arrested last February 6, 2010 in Morong Rizal, and they were tortured for days. Two of them were pregnant during the time of their arrest, one gave birth while she was detained.

We are calling for the immediate and serious resumption of the formal peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front to further talks on the roots of the civil war in the Philippines.

Scrap Oplan Bantay Laya! We are calling on Pres. Aquino’s government to scrap this anti-insurgency policy being implemented by the military which served as a blueprint for the victimization of more than 1,000 victims of extra-judicial killings, more than 200 victims of enforced disappearances, more than 300 political prisoners at thousands of those whose human rights were violated.

Resume GRP-NDF Peace Talks!

Free all political prisoners! Free Morong 43!

Scrap Oplan Bantay Laya!


Florencio Quiño

Antonio Sanchez

Edwin Lofranco

Ruben Busalanan

Rodrigo Mejias

Elpedio Tagsip

Note: The six political prisoners in Bohol are currently in hunger strike to call for the immediate release of Morong 43 and all political prisoners.

Statement on Inhumane Judicial Process

A statement made by Myrna Cruz, a Political Detainee in Tuguegarao City

I strongly condemn and protest this inhumane judicial process that I have been undergoing. In spite of the fiscal’s report and recommendation that the murder case they’ve involved me into be dismissed and I have to be given release order on the court’s behalf, no such thing happened. I still remain detained or should I say illegally detained here in BJMP Cataggamman, Tuguegarao City after all these judicial proceedings that legally cleared my name. This is just one of the hundreds of unlawful delaying tactics that’s keeping me from my redemption. I should say clearly that our country’s judicial system has been very irrational and biased to those in power and against such political prisoners as myself, my family, friends and supporters. It has been 99 days that I am arbitrarily detained and I have been absolved of these trumped up cases against me, but still justice has not been served equally up to this date.

I call on all political prisoners, human rights defenders, advocates and acquaintances, family and friends to join in and support my struggle for justice and freedom. I will stage a hunger strike to express my protest if on July 9, 2010 they do not grant these release orders to gain my redemption.

2 July 2010