Tuesday, November 28, 2006

ON GOLLOSO KIDS' SLAY:
'ONLY SOLDIERS WERE IN OUR VILLAGE THAT DAY'


When Mylene and Raymond Golloso (then 13 and 6 years old, respectively) were killed by armed men on May 7, 2004 in their own home in Bulan, Sorsogon, no other armed group was in the village except seven Army soldiers and two members of the paramilitary Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO

Bulatlat

When Mylene and Raymond Golloso (then 13 and 6 years old, respectively) were killed by armed men on May 7, 2004 within the sanctity of their own home in Baranggay (village) Recto, Bulan, Sorsogon, no other armed group was in the village except seven soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, 901st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army's 9th Infantry Division; and two members of the paramilitary Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).

Eleven officials and 42 residents of Baranggay (village) Recto stood by this claim this in a signed statement. Bulatlat received a copy of their statement through the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), whose lawyers Rachel Pastores and Amylyn Sato will form part of the panel that will prosecute President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal (PPT) in Den Haag, The Netherlands this coming March for violations of the Filipino people's individual and collective rights.

Data from Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) show that there have been 791 victims of extra-judicial killings from January 2001 – when Arroyo was catapulted to power through a popular uprising – to November 2006. At least 340 of the victims are with known political affiliations. Of the 791, 58 are children, among them Mylene and Raymond Golloso.

Based on reports from human rights groups and the media, Mylene was cooking minatamis with her eldest sister Melody who was then 17 years old. Meanwhile, brothers Raymond and Resty were playing outside the house a few minutes before 3 p.m. on May 7, 2004.

Melody was getting a glass when they heard gunshots. Mylene rushed towards Melody and they called out to her brothers to get inside.

Melody told her three siblings to hide in their parents' room. Mylene and Raymond sat on the bed while Resty stayed by the door, peeping out. They could not see anyone outside the house. They then heard two more gunshots.

When Resty looked back at his siblings, Raymond was wounded and had blood gushing from his head. He was almost dead and Resty was frantically trying to stop the bleeding. When he turned to Mylene, the left part of her face had been shattered and she was calling out to their mother.

Melody and Resty ran as fast as they could toward the nearest relative's house, that of Vilma Gracilla, who lived almost 100 meters away from their place. However, the two children took several detours and negotiated slopes, so the total distance they traveled was about 1.5 kilometers.

As they were coming down from the house, they heard someone say, “Pasukin natin ang bahay, baka may buhay pa” (Let's get inside the house, there might be others still alive). They had run a considerable distance when they heard another volley of shots and then a single loud shot.

Meanwhile, based on the account of Adelia Golloso (mother of the slain children), she had gone out at around 2:35 p.m. that day. She saw soldiers at the baranggay hall and at the house of Baranggay Captain Eduardo Adamos. She recognized one of them as Cesar Loares, a CAFGU member from Baranggay Quirino, Bulan.

She stopped at a friend's house to take a rest. About 10 minutes later, she heard gunshots and ran to her house, hearing a volley of shots as she ran. The gunshots stopped for a few seconds, and then she heard two more shots. From a distance, she saw her house and noticed there were soldiers there. One of them saw her and asked her who she was.

“Ako po ang nagmamay-ari ng bahay na 'yan! Ang mga anak ko nasa loob ng bahay!” (I own that house! My children are inside!), she answered.

The soldier told her to take a different route, but she insisted on going what she believed the easier way and ran straight to her house. She saw Mylene and Raymond slumped in the bedroom, with Raymond's head resting on Mylene's stomach. Both were bleeding. Mylene was able to open her eyes and call her. She cried for help from the soldiers, but no one came to the rescue, she said.

“Sabi nila, NPA ang pumatay sa mga anak ko” (They told me it was members of the New People's Army who killed my children), Adelia said.

After the incident, the soldiers went to the house of barangay captain Adamos and asked him to draft a certification saying they had an encounter with the NPA and that the NPA guerrillas were the first to open fire and it was they who killed her children. Adamos complied with the request and signed the certification, a copy of which was received by Bulatlat. Aside from Adamos, others who signed the document were baranggay councilors Mila Sorio, Emily Martirez, Ricky Hernandez, Melchor Grajo, Antonio Hernandez, Remedios Magillo and Nora Hallig.

The incident was reported to the Bulan Municipal Police Station at 5 p.m. that same day. “Suspects up to this writing still unknown,” read an excerpt from the police blotter dated June 7, 2004, signed by SP02 Adolfo O. Villaroya. “And motives not yet certain.”

In a later written statement, however, Adamos and the councilors– together with Baranggay Secretary Virginia Graydo, Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) Chair Edwin Martinez and Barangay Treasurer Ailyn Maquiniana – identified which armed group was in their village that fateful day. The statement was co-signed by 42 other Baranggay Recto residents, including four tanods (watchmen).

''San Mayo 7, 2004, wara man kamisin iba na naimod digdi sa amo baranggay na nagsulod na armado kundi yadto na siyam na Army. Ang nakilala mi lang didto yadto na si Cesar Luares saro na CAFGU. Nag-abot sira sa Recto mag-aala-una ng hapon. Mala ngani kay nagpaluto pa sin kaonon kay nagkaraon pa sira kina Kapitan. Pagkatapos mga alas-tres na hapon nagharale na pairaya san baryo an lakaw'' (On May 7, 2004, we saw no other armed group that came here except the nine Army men. The only one we recognized among them was Cesar Luares, a CAFGU member. They arrived at Recto a little before 1 p.m. They even went and had someone cook food for them at the Captain’s house. Then, at about 3:00 p.m., they went off to the village on foot), the Baranggay Recto officials and residents said in their statement.

The death of Mylene and Raymond Golloso is among the cases to be heard March next year by the PPT in Den Haag, The Netherlands where Arroyo is to be tried for the following offenses:

* Violations of human rights, especially civil and political rights, with particular focus on summary executions, disappearances, massacres, torture as well as other vicious, brutal and systematic abuses and attacks on the basic democratic rights of the people;

* Violations of human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights of the Filipino people through the imposition of “free market” globalization to exploit them; transgression of their economic sovereignty and national patrimony; various forms of economic plunder and attacks on their economic rights; and the destruction of the environment; and

* Violations of the rights of the people to national self-determination and liberation through the imposition of the U.S. war of terror; U.S. military intervention; as well as the perpetration of crimes against humanity and war crimes; misrepresentations of the people's right to national liberation and self-determination as terrorism and the baseless “terrorist” listing of individuals, organizations and other entities by the U.S. and other governments.

The PPT will be hearing the cases based on the suit filed by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA or Society of Ex-Detainees Against Detention and for Amnesty), Desaparecidos, an organization of relatives of victims of forced disappearances; and HUSTISYA, the organization of victims of the current administration's human rights violations. Former UN ad litem judge Romeo Capulong is the chief prosecutor and lawyers Pastores and Sato of the PILC will be part of the prosecution panel in the PPT session. Bulatlat

Friday, November 24, 2006

COLLATERAL DAMAGE
Alexander Martin Remollino

They say that all wars are bound to inflict
collateral damage.
This is what they say when queried
about the rising piles of non-combatant corpses
across the land.
No less than seven hundred all in all --
and all of these, they say,
are collateral damage.
So expect every war to take the heaviest toll
on the likes of Mylene and Raymond Golloso --
thirteen and nine years old, respectively,
who were shot to death in the sanctity,
in the sanctity of their parents' bedroom
by soldiers fighting a legitimate encounter
with ''rebel'' forces.
For as they say,
all wars are bound to inflict
collateral damage.
HINDI LAGING PINAGPAPALIGUAN ANG UNANG ULAN NG MAYO
Alexander Martin Remollino

Ang sabi nila'y mainam pagpaliguan ang unang ulan ng Mayo.
Ang sabi ko nama'y maaaring oo't maaari ring hindi:
ang salalayan nito ay kung ano ang bumubuhos.

Hindi dapat na maligo sa unang ulan ng Mayo
kung ang bumubuhos ay mga bala,
tulad ng umulan kina Mylene at Raymond Golloso,
mga paslit na pinasok sa silid ng mga magulang
at binaril sa mukha, binaril sa mukha
ng mga sundalong napalaban sa mga rebeldeng komunista
noong hapon ng Mayo 7, 2004.

Hindi laging pinagpapaliguan ang unang ulan ng Mayo.
Hindi dapat na maligo sa ulan
kung ang bumubuhos ay kamatayan.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

THE HUMAN KINETICS BEHIND A KILLING
Alexander Martin Remollino

There is human kinetics involved in the killing
of Andy Pawecan, a UCCP pastor in Nueva Ecija.

The soldiers of the Philippine Army's 48th Infantry Batallion, "D" Coy,
deserve our salutes --
not only because they are protectors of the people
but because they have made a monumental discovery
in the realm of human kinetics.
Through their painstaking research, we learn
that a man carrying a child eight months old
can fight back at three soldiers who blocked his way,
because they were just going to ask him some questions
and then let him go home anyway,
and eight more surrounding him;
that the right protection against such a menace
to the lives of eleven soldiers
is to shoot him to death.

This, my friends, is the human kinetics
behind the killing of Andy Pawecan.
SLAIN UCCP PASTOR WAS HOLDING HIS CHILD WHEN LAST SEEN WITH SOLDIERS

Andy Pawecan, a licentiate pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) slain in Nueva Ecija last May, was last seen by witnesses being held by soldiers. The killing of Pawecan is one of several cases to be heard in March next year by the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT), where President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is to be tried for violations of the Filipino people’s individual and collective rights.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO

Bulatlat

Andy Pawecan, a licentiate pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) slain in Nueva Ecija on May 21 this year, was last seen by witnesses being held by government soldiers. Bulatlat gathered this from copies of written testimonies by the witnesses, whose names are being withheld for the meantime for security reasons, as well as with human rights lawyers.

Pawecan is one of the 783 victims of extra-judicial killings from January 2001 –- when Arroyo was catapulted to power through a popular uprising –- to November 2006, based on data from the human rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights). At least 330 of the victims are with confirmed political affiliation, Karapatan data further showed.

Based on the account of one of the witnesses, Pawecan had just concluded Sunday service in his church at noon in Sitio (sub-village) Maluyon, Barangay (village) Fatima, San Jose City and was on the way to take lunch with some devotees at the house of one of his congregation members in Sitio Maasip, Barangay Tayabo, Pantabangan. The witness was one of those with Pawecan.

“Humigit-kumulang 200 metro na lamang ang layo sa aming bahay nang harangin kami ng tatlong sundalo sa daan at pinigilan kaming umuwi ng aming bahay at sinabihan kami ng mga sundalo na: ‘Huwag muna kayong umuwi, baka magkaputukan e madamay pa kayo,’ kaya kami ay huminto sa daan sa kainitan ng araw” (More or less just 200 meters away from our house, we were stopped by three soldiers and prevented from going home and were told: “Don’t go home yet, an encounter may break out and you might be caught in it,” so we stopped on the road amid the heat of the sun), the witness said.

“Umalis ang isang sundalo at umakyat sa lugar na kinaroroonan ng aming bahay, pagdaan ng humigit-kumulang 30 minuto ay bumalik sa aming kinatatayuan ang isang sundalo at sinabihan kami na puwede na kaming umuwi pero pinaiwan si Andy Pawecan na noo’y kilik pa ang kanyang walong-buwang anak” (One of the soldiers left and went to the area where our house is and after more or less 30 minutes returned and said we could go home except Andy Pawecan, who was still carrying his eight-month-old daughter), the witness added. “Sinabi sa amin na kakausapin lamang siya ng mga sundalo at pauuwiin din pagkatapos” (We were told that the soldiers would just be talking to him and he would be allowed to go home afterward.)

Another witness, who was in Maluyon at the time Pawecan and his congregation members were held, said he was stopped by soldiers in front of a house morning that same day while on his way to the local market for reasons unknown to him.

“Noong ika-21 ng Mayo, 2006, ang oras ay ika-12 ng tanghali, ay pinahinto naman nila si Ptr. Andy Pawecan na noon ay kasama ng kanyang asawa na si Dominga Pawecan” (On May 21, 2006, at 12 noon, they stopped Ptr. Andy Pawecan who was then with his wife Dominga Pawecan), the witness said. “Noong mag-ikatatlo ng hapon, iyon ding araw na iyon, Linggo, ika-21 ng Mayo, ako mismo ay narinig ko na ang magkasunud-sunod na putok na iisang uri ng putok. Pagkatapos ng maraming putok ay mayroong sumigaw nang ganito, ‘Lumaban y’ong maydala ng bata.’” (At 3 that afternoon, that same day, May 21, 2006, I myself heard successive gunshots which sounded the same. After several gunshots, someone shouted, “The one carrying the baby fought back.”)

The first witness quoted in this article saw a soldier carrying Pawecan’s baby a few minutes after the burst of gunfire. She had a scratch on her face, the witness said of the baby.

“Nang hapon ding iyon ay nalaman naming patay na si Andy, sinabi ng mga sundalo na lumaban daw siya kaya siya binaril” (That same afternoon we learned that Andy was dead, the soldiers said he fought back so he was shot), the first witness said.

The next day, Maluyon residents went to claim Pawecan’s remains, and the witnesses said they were told by the soldiers that the pastor was a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and that they recovered from him a SIM card marked “NPA,” which was the reason he was suspected of being an NPA member. The residents denied Pawecan was an NPA member, the witnesses said.

A fact sheet from Karapatan-Nueva Ecija identified the soldiers involved in the killing as belonging to the Philippine Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion, “D” Coy, which is part of the 7th Infantry Division then headed by Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. Palparan retired from military service last Sept. 11. Data obtained through military sources point to Lt. Milner Taglinao as having direct command over the 48th Infantry Battalion, “D” Coy.

Pawecan’s case is one of those to be heard March next year by the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) in Den Haag, The Netherlands where President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is to be tried for:

* Violations of human rights, especially civil and political rights, with particular focus on summary executions, disappearances, massacres, torture as well as other vicious, brutal and systematic abuses and attacks on the basic democratic rights of the people;

* Violations of human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights of the Filipino people through the imposition of “free market” globalization to exploit them; transgression of their economic sovereignty and national patrimony; various forms of economic plunder and attacks on their economic rights; and the destruction of the environment; and

* Violations of the rights of the people to national self-determination and liberation through the imposition of the U.S. war of terror; U.S. military intervention; as well as the perpetration of crimes against humanity and war crimes; misrepresentations of the people’s right to national liberation and self-determination as terrorism and the baseless “terrorist” listing of individuals, organizations and other entities by the U.S. and other governments.

The PPT will be hearing the cases based on the suit filed by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA or Society of Ex-Detainees Against Detention and for Amnesty), Desaparecidos, and HUSTISYA, the organization of victims of the current administration's human rights violations. Former UN ad litem judge Romeo Capulong is the chief prosecutor and lawyers Rachel Pastores and Amylyn Sato of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) will be part of the prosecution panel in the PPT session. Bulatlat

Thursday, November 16, 2006

LUNSAD-AKLAT: SUBVERSO. NOB. 23, 2006

Book Launching of Subverso: Mga Tula at Kuwento Laban sa Pulitikal na Pandarahas

November 23, 2006 (Thursday), 2-5pm, Claro M. Recto Hall, Faculty Center, U.P. Diliman

Mykel Andrada, Joi Barrios and Rolando B. Tolentino / Editors

Contributing Writers and Artists:

Bayani S. Abadilla • Aurelio S. Agcaoili • Mila D. Aguilar • Rio Alma • Mark Angeles • Monico M. Atienza • Romulo P. Baquiran • Don Belardo • Herminio S. Beltran, Jr. • Kristoffer Berse • Ian Rosales Casocot • Dexter B. Cayanes • Piya Cruz Constantino • Gary Devilles • Iris Pagsanjan-Estrera • Tom Estrera III • Eugene Y. Evasco • Melecio Fabros • Jayson Fajarda • Edel E. Garcellano • German V. Gervacio • Genaro R. Gojo Cruz • Vladimeir B. Gonzales • Kenneth Roland Al. Guda • Lisa C. Ito • Estelito B. Jacob • Jose F. Lacaba • Bienvenido L. Lumbera • Cynthia Nograles Lumbera • Maricristh Magaling • Rogelio Ordoñez • Will P. Ortiz • Roselle V. Pineda • Axel Pinpin • Nonilon V. Queaño • Peye Rana • Alexander Martin Remollino • Elyrah Loyola Salanga • Romulo A. Sandoval • Ina Stuart Santiago • Lilia Quindoza Santiago • Soliman A. Santos • Prestoline Suyat • Tomasito T. Talledo • John Iremil E. Teodoro • Enrico C. Torralba • Renato O. Villanueva

From the Introduction:
Tereyn ng Panitikan at Pang-uring Tunggalian
Mykel Andrada, Joi Barrios at Rolando B. Tolentino

Simula nang manungkulan si Gng. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo noong 2001, umaabot na sa halos 800 ang kaso ng mga pulitikal na pamamaslang sa bansa. Ayon pa sa KARAPATAN, isang alyansang nagsusulong ng karapatang pantao, simula 2001 hanggang Nobyembre 2006, humigit-kumulang 200 naman ang bilang ng desaparecidos o iyong mga biglang naglaho dahil sa pandurukot ng hinihinalang mga elemento rin ng militar at gobyerno. Ayon naman kay Purificacion Quisumbing, Tagapangulo ng Commission on Human Rights (CHR), ang limang-taong panunungkulan ni Arroyo ay nagluwal ng mas maraming kaso ng paglabag ng karapatang pantao kumpara sa 15-taong pinagsama-samang panunungkulan nina Corazon Aquino, Fidel Ramos at Joseph Estrada. Nangangahulugan lamang na ang maikling administrasyon ni Arroyo ang mas pasistang rehimen, kasama na ang diktadurya ni Marcos, sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas.

Ang kasaysayan ng bansa ay kasaysayan ng protesta’t rebolusyon. Kasaysayan itong naiukit sa imahinasyong pampanitikan ng bansa. Mula sa tradisyong protesta ng Kilusang Propaganda noong panahon ng kolonyalismong Kastila sa bansa, sa rebolusyunaryong panulat ng Katipunan, sa dupluhan at balagtasan, sa panitikang andergrawnd, hanggang sa patuloy na pagyabong ng tradisyong radikal sa kasalukuyan. Ito ay kasaysayang isinulat at isinusulat. Ito ay kasaysayang isinasagawa. Sa ganitong lapit isinusulong ang ikaapat na serye ng Publikasyong Iglap, ang Subverso: Mga Tula at Kuwento Laban sa Pulitikal na Pandarahas. Ang koleksiyong ito ng mga tula at maikling kuwento ay tumutuligsa sa umiigting na paglabag ng administrasyong Arroyo sa karapatang-pantao, kabilang na ang tumataas na bilang ng pulitikal na pamamaslang at dumaraming bilang ng desaparecidos.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

ONE OF BICOL PASTOR'S KILLERS HAD ARMY MISSION ORDER

Army Pfc. Lordger Pastrana, the leader of a group of hooded armed men who tortured and killed Methodist Pastor Isaias Sta. Rosa in Daraga, Albay on the fateful night of Aug. 5 this year was a soldier who had a mission order authorizing him to carry a firearm outside the headquarters. The case of Sta. Rosa is one of those to be presented before the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) next year.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Bulatlat



Army Pfc. Lordger Pastrana, the leader of a group of hooded armed men who tortured and killed Methodist Pastor Isaias Sta. Rosa in Daraga, Albay on the fateful night of Aug. 3 this year was a soldier who had a mission order authorizing him to carry a firearm outside the headquarters.

A copy of the mission order was obtained by the Daraga local police in the course of its investigation into the killing. The mission order and the name of Pastrana were recently mentioned in a report by the human rights alliance Karapatan and also reported by a major daily.

Sta. Rosa is one of 780 victims of extra-judicial killings, as of Nov. 11, under the Arroyo administration. His case is one of many to be presented before the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) in Den Haag, The Netherlands, where President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is to be tried for violations of the Filipino people’s individual and collective rights, next year.

Based on sworn statements and affidavits by Sta. Rosa’s wife Sonia, the victim’s brothers Jonathan and Ray-Sun, and neighbor Alwin Mirabona, at around 7:30 p.m. that night, three hooded armed men barged into the house of Jonathan and Ray Sun.

The men – two of whom were wearing camouflage pants, combat boots, and dark long-sleeved shirts – were looking for Isaias. They ordered the two brothers to lie on the ground, and then stepped on their heads and pointed guns at them. From his position, Ray Sun was able to observe more hooded armed men positioned amid the bushes. Jonathan tried to look around and was hit with a gun barrel in the head.

Jonathan and Ray Sun were both accused of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA), which they both denied. They were stripped of their shirts to see if they were armed. Jonathan was then dragged at gunpoint to Isaias’ house a few meters away.

In her affidavit, Sonia said that she and her son Philip were watching TV while Isaias and their daughter April Handem (“Dem-dem”) were watching videos on a laptop computer.

Habang nagkukuwentuhan sila, biglang may kumatok sa pintuan ng bahay namin at narinig namin ang ‘Manoy...’ (tawag sa Bikolano sa nakatatandang kapatid na lalaki). Pagsilip ko sa pinto, nakita ko si Jonathan (‘Owie’), bunsong kapatid ni Pastor. Wala siyang damit pang-itaas at parang maysakit ang hitsura. Kaya tinawag ko ang aking asawa. Pagsilip naming mag-asawa, bigla at mabilis na pumasok sa bahay namin ang humigit-kumulang sampung armadong kalalakihan na lahat ay nakabonet, tinutukan kami ng mga baril at pinadapa kaming lahat” (As they were talking, someone suddenly knocked on the door and we heard someone calling “Manoy...” [Bicolano term for elder brother]. When I peeped through, I saw Jonathan naked from the waist up and looking in pain. So I called my husband. When we peeped through, more or less ten armed and hooded men suddenly and barged into our house, pointed their guns at us and told us to drop to the floor), Sonia said.

The men, Sonia said, were all wearing black sweatshirts, camouflage pants, and combat shoes – except for the one commanding them, whom she described as wearing a maroon polo shirt, a vest, black shorts, and black rubber shoes.

Isaias’ hands were tied with a nylon cord behind him. In Sonia and Jonathan’s affidavits and sworn statements, they told of Isaias being beaten up as he was forced to admit he was the “Elmer” they were looking for.

Jonathan, Sonia and her three children Dem-dem, Philip and Mikko were brought to a room while Isaias was taken to another. They could hear the soldiers continuing to beat Isaias up, said Sonia and Jonathan. Ray Sun was then brought into the room where Sonia, Jonathan, and the children were.

A few minutes after, the soldiers went out of the house bringing with them the bloodied and still tied-up Isaias, as well as the laptop computer and the mobile phones of the pastor and Mikko.

Sonia ran out and cried for help from her sister Madelyn, who lived nearby. Madelyn roused the neighbors with her cries for help.

From a distance, six shots were heard, and then a pause, and then another three shots. Ray Sun, Jonathan, and the neighbors ran in the direction of the gunshots.

They found Isaias’ bullet-riddled body about 50 meters away from his house. Beside his body was that of a hooded man wearing a maroon shirt, black short pants, and black rubber shoes, as well as a .45 pistol fitted with a silencer.

After a few more minutes, a group of policemen led by Supt. Jose Capinpin, Daraga police chief; and barangay (village) captain Artita Padilla arrived.

They recovered from the scene the pistol, a spent shell from a .45 caliber pistol, and a .45 caliber slug.

From the corpse of the hooded man they recovered a Philippine Army identification card of one Pfc. Lordger Pastrana and a mission order issued to the ID card bearer by the 9th Military Intelligence Battalion of the Philippine Army’s 9th Infantry Division, based in Camp Weene Martillana in Pili, Camarines Sur. The mission order was signed by Maj. Ernest Rosal and refers to a “secret mission” valid July 1 to Sept. 30, 2006.

A photocopy of the mission order was received by Bulatlat courtesy of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), whose lawyers Rachel Pastores and Amylyn Sato are part of the prosecution panel that will face the PPT next year.

Based on a news item from the Philippine Information Agency (PIA), the 9th Infantry Division – which has headquarters at Camp Elias Angeles in Pili – has been under the command of Maj. Gen. Ricardo Nobleza since December 2004.

However, Daraga police investigators ruled that the case was one of robbery with homicide. “Based on the foregoing facts, evidence at hand and sworn statements of the witnesses Cpl. Lordger Pastrana was among the group who abducted and killed Isaias Sta. Rosa and also the robbery hold up (sic) of Alwin Mirabona, Ray Sun Sta. Rosa and Jonathan Sta. Rosa all of Malobago, Daraga, Albay,” wrote SPO1 Alex Moral of the Daraga police in an investigation report dated Aug. 21.

Subsequent investigations by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Region V and a fact-finding team formed by the United Methodist Church (UMC) affirmed that the group led by Pastrana was responsible for the killing of Sta. Rosa.

The findings from both investigations, however, were that there was more to the killing than a mere robbery with homicide. Bulatlat
PUBLIKHAAN: MAKING HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUES PUBLIC

Tutok Karapatan (TutoK), a group of artists advocating human rights, will hold a series of upcoming art events starting this month, tackling the spate of extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. TutoK was formed late last year as a response to what the group described as the “deteriorating” human rights situation in the country.


BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
Bulatlat



Performance artist Jeho Bitancor came out of a room dressed in dark glasses, slacks and a long-sleeved shirt with necktie. Threatening to burst out from under his shirt, making him look like a heavy-built underworld ninong (godfather), were various objects he had stuffed under it.

He stood by a table and took out from under his shirt a loaf of bread. He next took out a glass object that looked like the top of a cathedral’s steeple. He inverted the glass object and inserted the cross into the bread. He then filled the part of the glass object sticking out with cream. He sipped some and then spit it out, letting it drip over his necktie and shirt.

He took out three apples from under his shirt, and then a plastic doll resembling a baby. With a hammer he also took out from under his shirt, he bored a hole into the doll’s abdomen, stuffed the apples into it, and then crushed them with the hammer. The doll now looked like a bloated and disemboweled corpse of an infant.

He placed the doll into a plastic bag which he hanged with a string from his neck.

Attached to the string was a tag on one side of which read “kapayapaan” (peace), and on the other side read “demokrasya” (democracy).

Bitancor’s performance was the finale in a press conference held by Tutok Karapatan (TutoK) last Nov. 7 at the Newsdesk Cafe in Quezon City. TutoK held the press conference to announce a series of art events tackling human rights starting this month to April next year.

TutoK was formed late last year as a response to what the group described as the “deteriorating” human rights situation in the country.

Based on data from Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights), there have been 780 victims of extra-judicial killings under the Arroyo regime from January 2001 to Nov. 11, 2006. Of this number, 339 are with known political affiliations.

The idea for TutoK came up in November last year during a workshop among artists on women, art and healing at Sambalikhaan, Quezon City. In an open forum held after a discussion on the human rights situation in the country, a number of the participants talked about a plan to pay tribute to the victims of extra-judicial killings through a series of portraits.

Artists’ initiative


“This is an artists’ initiative,” explained TutoK project director Karen Ocampo-Flores, a painter, during the press conference. “The art events are to be financed mainly with our group’s own funds, which we raised by selling artworks last year.”

Painters Emmanuel Garibay and Jose Tence Ruiz are the group’s chairman and adviser, respectively.

Other members of the group’s steering committee aside from Flores are: Ruel Caasi, Mideo Cruz, Noel Cuizon, Boy Dominguez, Racquel de Loyola, Cap Reyes, Raoul “Iggy” Rodriguez, Wire Tuazon, Ramon “Chitoy” Zapata, Mike Muñoz, Noell El Farol, Ferdie Montemayor, Alfredo Juan Aquilizan, writers Lisa Ito and Richard Gappi, and Arlene Brosas of the Musicians for Peace.

The first event to be held by TutoK for this year is Publikhaan: Making Human Rights Issues Public, a partnership with the Neo-Angono Artists Collective which spearheads the activity. In this event, TutoK integrates with the third Neo-Angono Public Art Festival, to be held Nov. 16-22.

Participating groups in Publikhaan are Kaktus, Linangan ng Imahen, Retorika at Anyo (LIRA), Kalipunan ng Sining at Kultura ng Pasig, Kilometer 64, New World Disorder, Ugatlahi, Komikera, Anino Shadowplay Collective, Sto. Niño Choir, Surrounded by Water, Ideas, Tandang Juancho Museum and the University of Rizal System.

The next event would be Perspektiba, a series of exhibits on the political killings. Curated by Cruz, it will open at the Beato Angelico Gallery, University of Santo Tomas (UST) on Nov. 21 with a live installation by Bitancor. The exhibit will run at UST until Dec. 2. As part of the Perspektiba-UST event, TutoK will hold a forum in the afternoon on Nov. 29, with multi-awarded novelist Jun Cruz Reyes as the main speaker. At night that same day, there will be performances by artists Jose Tence Ruiz, Jef Carnay, and Cos Zicarelli; and award-winning poets Roberto Ofanda Umil and Angelo Suarez.

Other participating artists in the Perspektiba-UST exhibit are painters Antipas Delotavo, Boy Dominguez, Gene de Loyola, and Manny Garibay; multi media artist Claro Ramirez, Lyra Garcellanno, Don Salubayba, Ed Manalo, Benjo Elayda, Mark Ramsel Salvatus III and Buen Calubayan; and art groups Anting anting and UGATLahi.

The Perspektiba series of exhibits will next run at St. Scholastica’s College in January next year, and at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City in February.

Dos por Dos

In December, TutoK will hold Dos por Dos, an exhibit of 2 x 2 works in media at the Boston Art Gallery in Cubao, Quezon City. It will be curated by Montemayor, Garibay, Farol and Caasi. Dos por Dos will run Dec. 2-30.

In February next year, TutoK will hold Pasang Masid at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP). The group describes the project as “a critical and historical overview of a national cultural institution and aims to illustrate the CCP’s peculiar role as a cultural instrument of the state and as venue for artistic excellence.” Selections from the CCP art collection will be exhibited side by side with current works, photos and artifacts from TutoK artists. Pasang Masid will be TutoK’s project for National Arts Month next year.

Karapatan secretary-general Marie Hilao Enriquez expressed support for TutoK at the Nov. 7 press conference.

“We laud this effort because art has a way of capturing the imagination of people and arousing interest in them,” Enriquez said.

“It must be remembered that artists and cultural workers played a major role in awakening our people to assert our rights and fight for basic freedoms and democracy under the dark years of martial law,” Enriquez, herself a victim of human rights violations during the martial law years, also said. “Now, that there are attempts to bring back the dark days of the dictatorship and in the wake of unabated killings and disappearances, our nationalist artists are once again rising up to the occasion of being with the people’s side.” Bulatlat

Sunday, November 05, 2006

ANG BALON NG IYONG LAKAS
Alexander Martin Remollino

Dati nang dumapo sa aking mga tainga
ang paglalarawan sa iyo
bilang isang ang kagaya raw ay tingting,
nakatatakot daw na salingin man lamang
sapagkat baka kagyat na mabali.
Ang mga nagsabi niyon
ay pinanawan na marahil ng kanilang mga utak
bago pa man lumisan ang huli nilang hininga.
Sapagkat sino ba ang talagang marupok?
Nasa pagitan ng iyong butuhang mga daliri
ang panulat na di matangay-tangay,
di matangay-tangay
ng gaano man kabagsik na unos.
Ang balon ng iyong lakas
ay isang pinanghahawakang paninindigang
kasinlantay ng araw na naglalagablab sa katanghalian,
di tulad ng marami sa mga bituin
sa langit kung gabi
na mga larawan na lamang,
mga larawan na lamang
ng mga talang matagal nang naubusan ng liwanag.

The Makata, October 2006
HINDI HUKUMAN ANG HULING HUGUTAN NG KATARUNGAN
Alexander Martin Remollino

Sa ikaisang taon ng panggagahasa ng ilang sundalong Amerikano kay "Nicole"


Ang isang taon ay waring isang habang panahon --
isang taon iyong ikaw na nagsasakdal,
ikaw na nagsasakdal ang siyang isinasakdal.
Nagsabwatan sila sa loob ng panahong iyon
upang pakilingin ang timbangang tangan
ng babaeng nakapiring
sa panig ng mga dayo, mga dayong
lumugso sa iyong puri't sa dangal ng bansa.
Ang mga itinalagang magtanggol sa iyo
ay sila pang umusig sa iyo.

Sa panig kaya ng katarungan dudulo ang lahat?
Hindi natin matiyak, "Nicole" --
hindi natin matiyak
sapagkat mahirap tiyaking ang tama'y mangyayari
sa bansa kung saan ang tagapangalaga ng watawat
ang siya ring nagpupunas nito sa mga puwit at paa.

Ngunit kung ang hatol ma'y maging sumpa sa iyo,
pakatandaang lagi
na hindi,
hindi hukuman ang huling hugutan ng katarungan.
CONSTITUTION NOT CURE-ALL FOR MINDANAO STRIFE, SAYS MILF LEADER

“Not all solutions to the ongoing conflict in Mindanao can be found in the Constitution.” This was the observation made by MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu in a phone interview with Bulatlat.

BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO

Bulatlat

“Not all solutions to the ongoing conflict in Mindanao can be found in the Constitution.”

This was the observation made by MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu in a phone interview with Bulatlat over the weekend. Kabalu, who is also a lawyer, was reacting to a recent statement by Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye that the Arroyo government was willing to grant the MILF’s demands on the ancestral domain claim, but within the framework of the Constitution.

The ancestral domain claim issue has emerged of late as the most contentious subject in the GRP-MILF peace negotiations, which are being brokered by the Malaysian government.

During a bilateral meeting preceding the China-ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) commemorative summit in Nanning, China last week, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo asked Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi to tell the MILF that she was willing to grant the group’s demands.

“The president mentioned the current status (of the peace talks and how) we have stalled on some territorial issue, again… The president mentioned that we are willing to provide, we are willing to grant this,” Bunye told reporters in Nanning.

“But this should be done within the framework of the Constitution,” Bunye added. “The President hoped that this would be properly conveyed to the other side.”

Ancestral domain

The MILF is proposing a Bangsamoro Juridical Entity based on an ancestral domain claim over Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan. “These are areas which historically belonged to our ancestors,” Kabalu told Bulatlat.

Kabalu, however, recognized that there are now many non-Muslim settlers in these areas.

“They will be given the option of either joining the Islamized community or remaining with their original groups,” the MILF spokesman said when asked what would become of the non-Muslim settlers in these areas should the ancestral domain demands be granted. “We will not impose on them.”

The government had insisted that areas to be included to the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity in addition to the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) should be subject to “constitutional processes.”

The ARMM –- which includes Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-Tawi, and Maguindanao –- is a product of the 1996 Final Peace Agreement between the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) and the Ramos government, which sought to end the MNLF’s 27-year armed struggle for a separate state.

Impasse

MILF leaders say the issue of “constitutionality” had not emerged in any of the signed documents related to the peace talks since 1997. It had only surfaced when the MILF put forward its ancestral domain claim, the group’s leaders say.

The ancestral domain issue had caused the GRP-MILF peace talks to hit a snag last September.

Amid the impasse, two bombings took place in Mindanao on Oct. 10. The first took place at early afternoon in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat, wounding four women. The second happened eight hours later in Makilala, North Cotabato, killing six people and wounding 29 others.

Named by the Philippine National Police (PNP) as suspects in the Makilala bombing were:

MILF chairman Al Haj Murad; Kule Mamagong alias Ustadz Kule, Daud Sarip, Biznar Salahuddin, Atti Lintungan alias Ustadz Atti, Samsudin Demaalo alias Commander Platon Blah, Ahmad Akmad Batabol Usman alias Abdulbasit or Basit Usman, Zahide Abdul alias Zabiri Abdul or Bedz, Usman Al Majad – all alleged MILF commanders;

Dulmatin alias Amat Usman and Omar Patek alias Abdul Sheik, alleged members of the Indonesian-based terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah; and Hadji Akmad Bayam, allegedly a former MNLF commander now working for Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita as an assistant secretary.

Kabalu had warned of a “total breakdown” in the peace talks if the PNP should pursue charges against Murad.

Ermita has said he did not know that Murad was included in the charge sheet. He berated local authorities for not clearing the issue with “higher authorities,” considering, he said, that there are peace talks going on between the GRP and the MILF. “I have to look into this... because it infringes on the higher activity which is the negotiation going on with the MILF,” the executive secretary said last week.

In his interview with Bulatlat, Kabalu cited Ermita as having spoken of the possibility of having Murad’s name withdrawn from the charge sheet.

Government proposal

Government negotiators had asked for a Sept. 30 deadline for coming up with a counter-proposal to the MILF’s demand, but failed to meet it.

The GRP panel subsequently asked for an Oct. 31 deadline for the counter-proposal, but once more failed to meet it.

“They have asked for a Nov. 15 deadline for their counter-proposal,” Kabalu said of the government negotiators.

“We are awaiting their counter-proposal,” Kabalu added. “Whether or not the peace talks will move forward from the impasse depends on that.”

Roots of the Moro war

During the presidency of Diosdado Macapagal (1961-1965), Sabah, an island near Mindanao to which the Philippines has a historic claim, ended up in the hands of the Malaysian government. His successor Ferdinand Marcos later conceived a scheme which involved the recruitment of between 28 and 64 Moro fighters to occupy Sabah.

The reported summary execution of these recruits in 1968 by their superiors, which Moro historian Salah Jubair says was due to their refusal to follow orders, led to widespread outrage among Moros and led to the formation of the MNLF that same year.

The MNLF, which fought for an independent state in Muslim Mindanao, entered into a series of negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP), beginning in the 1970s under the Marcos government. Conflicts on the issue of autonomy led to a breakdown of talks between the GRP and the MNLF in 1978, prompting a group led by Dr. Salamat Hashim to break away from the MNLF and form the MILF. Since then, the MILF has been fighting for an Islamic state in Mindanao.

In 1996, the MNLF signed a Final Peace Agreement with the GRP which created the ARMM as a concession to the group. That same year, the MILF began peace negotiations with the GRP. Bulatlat