Victims of torture under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration traveled all the way to Geneva, Switzerland to tell their stories of torture during the 42nd Session of the United Nations Committee Against Torture (UNCAT).
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The Anti-Violence against Women and Children Act or Republic 9262 of 2004 was passed “to protect the family and its members particularly women and children from violence and threats to their personal safety and security”. The intention of the law is to guarantee full respect for human rights of women and children. Five years since it was passed, the women’s group GABRIELA has been receiving an increasing number of reports of violence and threats against women and children.
“The Court of Appeals betrayed the Filipinos,” said Joms Salvador, GABRIELA spokesperson, during a protest rally at the US embassy. By acquitting Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith, the CA justices “have trampled on the hard-fought justice of women in the Subic rape case and the fight of all Filipinos to defend our dignity as a people.”
A new coalition has been formed to counter the dirty and traditional politics in the country. It has pledged to advance the politics of change and promote a ‘pro-people’ platform for the 2010 elections.
A citizens’ group in the Bicol Region has thrown its support behind any investigation that the Senate would undertake into the social cost of the presence of US troops in the country, as well as its adverse effects on the local community. This statement of support by the Bikolano Alliance for Nationalism Against Balikatan (BAN Balikatan) came on the heels of Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan’s call for an investigation into reports that US soldiers participating in the Balikatan military exercises in Bicol are enjoying nightly prostitution “services”.
To eliminate the ASG, Amirah Lidasan, secretary-general of the Moro Christian Peoples’ Alliance, said the MNLF and the MILF need to muster the political will to put an end to the groups that perpetrate kidnappings. It would mean, she said, helping cut the warlords’ power over the communities, as well as their ties with the local government, the military, and the police. “The government will not do anything like that, since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo even coddles known warlords in Mindanao,” Lidasan said.
Who says automated elections will eliminate cheating?
An organization of computer experts in the country warned of possible automated large-scale cheating in the 2010 elections.
P/Insp. Rex Cuntapay and PO1 Marvin Agasen both used to view the communist-led New People’s Army (NPA) in a bad light. Captured last Jan. 3 together with PO1 Alberto Umali after their unit’s encounter with guerrillas belonging to the NPA’s Narciso Antazo Aramil Command (NAAC), which operates in Rizal (a province southeast of Manila), they were held as prisoners of war (POWs) for almost three months. They were released on March 27, very near the place where they were captured. The three policemen had only kind words to say about their former custodians.
Does Leoncio Pitao, alias Commander Parago of the New People’s Army (NPA), have enough reasons to believe that the military is behind the abduction, torture and killing of her daughter Rebelyn? Those whose family members became victims to get back at them or to force them to capitulate think so. They believe it is part of the military’s dirty tactics, which the military has been employing since the time of the Marcos dictatorship.
Human rights group Karapatan raised alarm over the new surge in extrajudicial killings.
Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Karapatan secretary general, noted, “The killings are picking up again at an alarming rate of one victim per week. This is almost the same scenario in 2006, if not worse.”
Evalyn Ursua, whose services as lawyer of Subic rape victim “Nicole” were recently terminated, says she was prepared for such a possibility. Still, she went on, and credits her erstwhile client for sticking it out “during the (most) difficult period.”