OPEN LETTER | Karapatan reports cases of political killings under Duterte administration to United Nations

Apr. 11, 2017

* Human rights group Karapatan writes a letter to United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial/Arbitrary Executions Agnes Callamart on political killings under the current administration

Ms. Agnes Callamard
Special Rapporteur
Extrajudicial/Summary or Arbitrary Executions
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
Palais Wilson, 52 Rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland

Dear Ms. Callamard,

Greetings of peace!

On behalf of Karapatan Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights, a non-government organization working for the promotion of human rights in the Philippines, I would like to bring to your attention the spate of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, in line with the counterinsurgency program of the administration of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.

Despite the 2008 report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Philippines by your predecessor, Prof. Philip Alston, strong recommendations on extrajudicial killings perpetrated as part of counter-insurgency programs, was unheeded both by the Arroyo and Aquino governments. Throughout both administrations, political killings of peasants, indigenous peoples, Moro, workers, women and youth continued and intensified. Under Arroyo, Karapatan documented at least 1,206 individual victims of extrajudicial killing. Under Aquino, there were 334 victims of extrajudicial killing.

Under Duterte, from July 2016 to March 31, 2017, a total of 47 cases of extrajudicial killings have been documented by Karapatan. We allege that State security forces are responsible for these killings that happened even when the Duterte government has resumed the long stalled formal peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) last August 21, 2016, and the government declaration of unilateral ceasefire with the New People’s Army (NPA).

The political killings and other rights abuses escalated after President Duterte lifted the government’s unilateral ceasefire and cancelled the GRP-NDFP peace talks on February 3, 2017. Shortly after, the Armed Forces of the Philippines declared an all-out war against the NPA.

These killings are all in the context of the counter-insurgency programs implemented from one regime to another that supposedly seek to end the armed rebellion of revolutionary movements in the Philippines. From Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya, Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan and to the current Oplan Kapayapaan of Duterte, these counter-insurgency programs have victimized thousands of Filipinos, including struggling communities, tagged as “enemies of the State.”

Lest the root causes of the armed conflict remain unsolved, any militarist solution of the State that targets revolutionary groups, political activists and civilians often results to political killings and other human rights violations.

The victims of killings are peasants, indigenous peoples and workers; many faced harassment and villification by the military because of their advocacy and actions to defend people’s rights and are thus considered as human rights defenders.

In this regard, I would like to submit to you this letter of allegation concerning the cases of extrajudicial killings of the following individuals, for your consideration and to investigate, make recommendation/s or take any appropriate action/s:

1. Gaudencio Bagalay
2. Emeranciana dela Rosa
3. Violeta de Leon
4. Eligio Barbado
5. Ariel Diaz
6. Jimmy Sotto
7. Alexander Ceballos
8. Orlando Eslana
9. Ian Borres
10. Lorendo Borres
11. Gilbert Bancat
12. Renato Anglao
13. Matanem Lorendo Pocuan
14. Makenet Gayoran
15. Remar Mayantao
16. Rogen Suminao
17. Senon Nacaytuna
18. Hermi Alegre
19. Elmer Del Rosario
20. Jessybel Sanchez
21. Jerry Layola
22. Jimmy Barosa
23. Totong Gascon
24. Rita Gascon
25. Jimmy Saypan
26. Joselito Pasaporte
27. Veronico Delamente
28. Venie Diamante
29. Wencislao Pacquiao
30. Glenn Ramos
31. Emelito Rotimas
32. Edweno Catog
33. Pipito Tiambong
34. Jerson Bito
35. Willerme Agorde
36. Roel Rico Satingasin
37. Ariel Gelbero
38. Leonila Pesadilla
39. Ramon Pesadilla
40. Billamin Hassan
41. Nurudin Muhlis
42. Nurmayda Abbi
43. Arman Almonicar
44. Arlene Almonicar
45. Cora Lina
46. Pedro Pandagay
47. Renel Miraballes

Attached are the Urgent Action alerts that Karapatan has released as well as case briefs pertaining to these cases for your perusal. All were cases were directly documented by Karapatan and consent of the victims’ families in the documentation and advocacy of these cases were duly obtained. The said cases have also been submitted to the negotiating panel of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines in its peace talks with the NDFP. We have been informed that the cases were referred to the GRP’s agencies. We also intend to submit this information to States engaged in the 3rd cycle of the Universal Periodic Review of the Philippines, as an addendum to our submissions and for their consideration as well.

We are attaching the link to Karapatan’s individual submission and our joint submission with international NGO CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation to the UN Universal Periodic Review for your reference:

1. ternative+Report+UPR+2017

2. VICUS_Karapatan+Philippines+UP R++Submission

You may also refer to our 2016 Human Rights Report through Human+Rights+Report Thank you very much for your kind attention.

Sincerely yours,

Cristina Palabay
Secretary General

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