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BAYAN-USA statement on 3-year anniversary of Iraq War: End U.S. War and Terror in Iraq and the Philippines

On the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, BAYAN-USA (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA) stands in worldwide solidarity with the broad coalition of anti-imperialist and anti-war forces to emphatically demand, End U.S. War and Terror in Iraq and the Philippines!

The Filipino people know first-hand the trauma of American invasion and occupation following the Philippine-American war from 1898-1902. On a visit to the Philippines, President Bush compared the so-called U.S. “liberation” of Iraq to the “liberation” of the Philippines over a century ago.

We know that liberation really means occupation and exploitation, and we call for an end to the military occupation of countries from Iraq to Afghanistan to the Philippines, the alleged “second front of the War on Terror” where over 5,500 U.S. troops are currently training in war exercises in Mindanao where six Moros (Muslims) have been recently killed. We call for the end to Balikatan war exercises and the Visiting Forces Agreement which are aimed at reestablishing permanent U.S. military presence in the Philippines.

The legacy of the American invasion of the Philippines a century ago remains fully intact, as the Bush administration has provided direct military and political support to Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s puppet regime as she and her.

On February 24 of this year, president Arroyo issued Proclamation 1017, which imposed a defacto martial law under the guise of a “State of Emergency” in which progressive Filipino organizations and individuals have been targeted and subject to unconstitutional arrest, detainment, and even assassination. The latest killings involving a BAYAN and Hacienda Luisita Union leader just days ago.

Just as we opposed the U.S.-Marcos regime over twenty years ago, progressive Filipinos say no again to martial law, in the Philippines and anywhere people’s rights are endangered. We demand the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her U.S.-supported regime, and the establishment of a transitional council that truly serves the Filipino people and addresses our right to sovereignty, agrarian reform, jobs and fair wages.

Amidst the hostile political climate both here in the U.S. and in the Philippines, we demand the guaranteed safety of the “list of 51” persons who are currently being targeted by the US-GMA regime. We will steadfastly continue to defend Filipino progressives, in the Philippines and abroad. We demand a stop to the unwarranted arrest of progressive parliamentarians, the release of all post-1017 political detainees, including the Batasan Five and Anakpawis representative Crispin Beltran.

In the words of “Ka Bel,” “If helping the poor is a crime, and fighting for freedom is rebellion, then I plead guilty as charged.” We echo Beltran’s sentiments as we continue to struggle for genuine national democracy and just and lasting peace in the Philippines, Iraq and worldwide.

OUST THE US-ARROYO REGIME!
STOP POLITICAL REPRESSION IN THE PHILIPPINES!
NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!
FREE CONGRESSMAN CRISPIN BELTRAN!
UPHOLD RIGHTS OF THE BATASAN 5!
ESTABLISH TRANSITION COUNCIL!
US TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES, IRAQ, & EVERYWHERE!

Contact: Kawal Ulanday: chair@bayanusa.org
Berna Ellorin: mc@bayanusa.org

Beltran files raps vs GMA before UN rights body

by Gerry Baldo and Mel Cabigting
www.tribune.net.ph

Lawyers representing Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran yesterday lodged a complaint against President Arroyo before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) charging her with illegal arrest and arbitrary detention of the party-list congressman.

The complaint, filed by Committee for the Defense of Lawyers (Codal) spokesman lawyer Neri Javier Colmenares in behalf of Beltran, was received by Marcus Schmidt, head of the Petitions Unit of the! UNHRC, who transmitted it right away to Pierre del Prado of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention in Geneva, Switzerland.

Colmenares told the media that the filing of the case against Mrs. Arroyo and her administration was done based on her violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and other international human rights laws.

In the complaint, Codal said the Arroyo government’s arrest of Beltran is illegal because it was done on the basis of his political beliefs which goes against the administration and that the warrant used in having him arrested was based on a case that was filed against him by the administration of then President Ferdinand Marcos in 1985 but was dismissed in 1986, when the late strongman was overthrown in a popular uprising. The case slapped against Beltran, a former “street parliamentarian” and now real member of Congress, was said to have been among the several politically motivated cases filed by the Marcos administration against its dissenters during his term, especially during martial law.

“By using that same case to have Beltran arrested, Mrs. Arroyo is in essence had him imprisoned for his political beliefs and not for any criminal act committed by him. This is strictly prohibited under international laws,” Colmenares stated.

Beltran, who was arrested by elements of the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group last Feb. 25, just hours after Mrs. Arroyo declared a state of national emergency over a reported uncovered coup d’etat against her government, remains in police custody despite the absence of any judicial order for his detention.

The complaint that was lodged by Codal also stated that despite a release order having issued by a Quezon City Regional Trial Court judge last March 13, the police still refuses to free him.

Colmenares said that under the law, no p! erson could be detained merely because a case, or “information of a charge” had been filed against him or her. He maintained a warrant or an Order of Commitment issued by a court must first be obtained by the authorities to make such detention legal.

Codal, in the complaint, also called on the UN to express concern over the “arbitrary arrest” and the continuing detention of Beltran and the threat of warrantless arrests reportedly poised to be conducted by the Arroyo government against other personalities who are critical of it.

It also urged the UN to immediately send a special rapporteur to investigate the case of Beltran and subsequently submit a report to the international body to verify the charges Codal raised against the Arroyo administration before it.

The lawyer’s group also filed with the UNHCR a complaint against Malacañang for the alleged summary execution by the military of activist and human rights worker Eden Marcell! ana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy in 2003, and also of activist Edilberto Napoles and human rights worker and journalist Benjaline Hernandez in 2002.

The Codal lawyers, in a statement, said they are seriously concerned over the clear shunning of the Arroyo government of judicial procedures in conducting arrests and for its raiding the office of The Daily Tribune, its threatening to take control of media entities and its violent dispersal of rallies, especially those being held against it.

The lawyers’ group said it hopes the UN would move to force the Arroyo government to follow legal and constitutional processes in dealing with opposition forces.

Meanwhile, aside from the Codal, a militant human rights organization yesterday also filed human rights violations cases against the Arroyo administration to the UNHRC which is headquartered in New York. Karapatan (Rights) secretary general Marie Hilao-Enriquez said her grou! p filed the cases based on the optional protocol provided under the ICCPR and which bore the charges against the government on the same summary execution of Marcellana, Gumanoy, Napoles and Hernandez as well as for the attempted killing of another activist, Ruel Landicho.

In a statement, Enriquez said the cases “represent the prevalent practice of extra-judicial, summary execution of activists, human rights workers, peasant and union leaders, journalists and priests by suspected security agents of the Arroyo government.” UNHRC Special Rapporteur Rafael Rivas Posada has granted Enriquez and Edre Olalia, the lawyer handling the four cases, an audience with her on March 16 at 5:30 p.m. (US time) at the UN headquarters in New York.

The UNHRC also stated its “concern at reports of intimidation and threats of retaliation impeding the right to an effective remedy for persons whose rights and freedoms have been violated.”

Karapatan also said it plans to file its own case against the Arroyo government for arbitrary detention of Beltran as well as a motion for the UN to support their call for his release.

While in a meeting with Posada, Filipino-American activists in New York, led by Bayan-USA, will hold a vigil outside the UN building in New York to air support for Karapatan’s filing of the case against the Arroyo administration and to call attention to the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines.

In 2003, the UNHRC, in its Concluding Observations on the Philippine human rights situation, expressed concern about “the (Philippine government’s) lack of appropriate measures to investigate crimes allegedly committed by state security forces and agents, in particular those committed against human rights defenders, journalists…and (its) lack of measures taken to prosecute and punish the perpetrators.”

BAYAN-USA statement on 3-year anniversary of Iraq War: End U.S. war and terror in Iraq and the Philippines

On the third anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, BAYAN-USA (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-USA) stands in worldwide solidarity with the broad coalition of anti-imperialist and anti-war forces to emphatically demand, End U.S. War and Terror in Iraq and the Philippines!

The Filipino people know first-hand the trauma of American invasion and occupation following the Philippine-American war from 1898-1902. On a visit to the Philippines, President Bush compared the so-called U.S. “liberation” of Iraq to the “liberation” of the Philippines over a century ago.

We know that liberation really means occupation and exploitation, and we call for an end to the military occupation of countries from Iraq to Afghanistan to the Philippines, the alleged “second front of the War on Terror” where over 5,500 U.S. troops are currently training in war exercises in Mindanao where six Moros (Muslims) have been recently killed. We call for the end to Balikatan war exercises and the Visiting Forces Agreement which are aimed at reestablishing permanent U.S. military presence in the Philippines.

The legacy of the American invasion of the Philippines a century ago remains fully intact, as the Bush administration has provided direct military and political support to Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s puppet regime as she and her.

On February 24 of this year, president Arroyo issued Proclamation 1017, which imposed a defacto martial law under the guise of a “State of Emergency” in which progressive Filipino organizations and individuals have been targeted and subject to unconstitutional arrest, detainment, and even assassination. The latest killings involving a BAYAN and Hacienda Luisita Union leader just days ago.

Just as we opposed the U.S.-Marcos regime over twenty years ago, progressive Filipinos say no again to martial law, in the Philippines and anywhere people’s rights are endangered. We demand the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her U.S.-supported regime, and the establishment of a transitional council that truly serves the Filipino people and addresses our right to sovereignty, agrarian reform, jobs and fair wages.

Amidst the hostile political climate both here in the U.S. and in the Philippines, we demand the guaranteed safety of the “list of 51” persons who are currently being targeted by the US-GMA regime. We will steadfastly continue to defend Filipino progressives, in the Philippines and abroad. We demand a stop to the unwarranted arrest of progressive parliamentarians, the release of all post-1017 political detainees, including the Batasan Five and Anakpawis representative Crispin Beltran.

In the words of “Ka Bel,” “If helping the poor is a crime, and fighting for freedom is rebellion, then I plead guilty as charged.” We echo Beltran’s sentiments as we continue to struggle for genuine national democracy and just and lasting peace in the Philippines, Iraq and worldwide.

OUST THE US-ARROYO REGIME!
STOP POLITICAL REPRESSION IN THE PHILIPPINES!
NEVER AGAIN TO MARTIAL LAW!
FREE CONGRESSMAN CRISPIN BELTRAN!
UPHOLD RIGHTS OF THE BATASAN 5!
ESTABLISH TRANSITION COUNCIL!
US TROOPS OUT OF THE PHILIPPINES, IRAQ, & EVERYWHERE!

Contact: Kawal Ulanday: chair@bayanusa.org
Berna Ellorin: mc@bayanusa.org

Breaking News: Luisita union leader shot dead

by Abner Bolos, Gitnang Luzon News Service

From: Gitnang Luson News Service
URL: http://www.gitnangluson.com

TARLAC CITY — Motorcycle-riding gun men shot and killed a union leader in Hacienda Luisita shortly after midnight today, March 17, 2006.

Tirso Cruz, 33, a member of the board of directors of the United Luisita Workers’ Union (ULWU) and Anak Pawis coordinator in Hacienda Luisita was shot and killed by gun men on board a Wave motorcycle at about 12:30 am today in Barangay Pando of Concepcion, Tarlac according to ULWU president Rene Galang.

Cruz was on the way home along with his father from the “puni,” Pampango term for an all-night Lenten ritual, when they were waylaid by the assassins on board a Wave motorcycle . Six empty bullet shells were found at the crime scene, Galang said.

The victim was immediately brought to a hospital but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Cruz, who is also a barangay council member of Pando, is a victim and a key witness in the November 16, 2004 Hacienda Luisita massacre.

Galang said Cruz is actively involved in “people power” protests against the construction of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway project (SCTEP) and the deployment of soldiers inside the hacienda.

Up to the time of his death, Cruz has reportedly received numerous death threats during the strike last year.

“About 50 Cafgu members and soldiers from the 71st ID under Gen. Jovito Palparan are deployed in Barangay Pando and are presently using the management office in the barangay as their headquarters. The soldiers are being used to stop the protests,” Galang said.

“We hold the Arroyo government responsible and condemn this latest act of brutality against the legitimate leaders of the hacienda people. By all indications, this may be another brutal handiwork of soldiers under the 71st ID who have been deployed in the hacienda since March 2005,” he said.