Press Release | September 20, 2017
Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580
September 21 is Filipino People’s Day of Protest vs killings, Duterte’s deception, lies, threats
“Tomorrow, activists, students, concerned citizens, and several other progressive organizations and individuals will march to Luneta and to different protest centers in within and outside the Philippines for the Filipino People’s Day of Protest to condemn the deteriorating human rights situation in the country. Along with calls to stop extrajudicial killings, demands to end harassment and intimidation attempts against members and leaders of progressive organizations and dissenters will also be amplified. As September 21 reminds us of the atrocities committed during the Marcos martial law era, we stand in vigilance against Duterte’s national declaration of martial rule,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.
“In the past few months, military agents have launched a series of despicable, desperate attempts to threaten and harass activists, their families and communities. The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ mindless minions are playing their usual ploy of anonymous calls and threats, threats, and surveillance to silence and co-opt those who express opposition to Pres. Duterte’s fascist schemes and projects, particularly members and leaders of progressive organizations. With the commemoration of Marcos’s martial law tomorrow, September 21, we are reminded that these cheap tactics by the State have continued throughout different regimes,” said Palabay.
On May 4, 2017, Ethney Cuevas, the wife of political prisoner Joseph Cuevas, received a letter from an unknown sender. The letter contained a proposition for Ethney to “cooperate” with the sender who referred to herself as “April.” April then proceeded to detail that she has connections that will help Joseph’s immediate release from jail. The sender left a phone number for Ethney to contact.
More than a month later, on August 24, 2017, a woman who introduced herself as Maureen approached Ethney in a market in Antipolo. Maureen introduced herself as a colleague of Joseph. She repeated the same proposition written in the letter that Ethney received earlier, and left a different number for Ethney to contact. On September 13, Maureen again approached Ethney while the latter was in a jeepney, asking again about whether they are open to cooperate. Joseph’s wife said they will still be consulting with other parties, afterwhich Maureen left Ethney and no longer made any attempts to contact her. Ethney is a teacher in a private school in Quezon City.
Also on September 13, 2017, Pya Malayao, council member of Sandugo alliance of Moro and indigenous peoples received a call from a man who identified himself as “Mark.” The caller further introduced himself as an intelligence operative of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency and proceeded to invite Malayao for a meet up. Like the case of Ethney Cuevas, the caller demanded for Malayao to “cooperate” lest she wants to be arrested. Aside from Malayao, Joan Jayme of Kalipunan ng mga Mamamayang Katutubo sa Pilipinas also reported receiving threatening texts and calls from the same perpetrator.
Palabay said that “these efforts to intimidate activists and their families are among the oldest tricks in the military’s book, a dark legacy of Marcos’ martial law. The AFP and its agents continue to scare tactics, expecting they can simply scare and pay people off to stop their advocacies. This narrowmindedness and simplistic solutions come from the minds of fascists who have no concrete understanding of the many ills plaguing our society, and thus the legitimacy of the calls of those struggling to change it. Then again, what can we really expect from this trigger-happy, corrupt, and bloodthirsty institution?”
“Resistance to fascist regimes comes in many forms. Karapatan calls on the Filipino people to see through and act against the threats, lies and deception of the Duterte regime and its minions by marching in the streets tomorrow,” Palabay concluded.
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.