Dear Friends,

Greetings!

On behalf of Asia Pacific Coordinating Committee for Human Rights I would like to share with you its recent statement on the worsening prevalent state of impunity in the Philippines as a consequence of cold blooded killing of Atty. Ben and other human rights defenders and the abduction of Vic Ladlad peace consultant of NDFP.

Please see the attached statement and circulate it to your network. I am also encouraging you to issue the same statement and in solidarity with the Filipinos let us demand the Duterte government to end the state of impunity in the country and resume the peace negotiation between the GRP and NDFP.

Thank you very much.

In solidarity,

Rev. Joram H. Calimutan

End the state of impunity in the country
Resume the peace negotiations between GRP and NDFP

The Asia Pacific Coordinating Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines condemn in the strongest possible terms the worsening prevalent state of impunity in the Philippines as a consequence of unabated extra-judicial killings and human rights violations against the poor and powerless Filipinos, human rights defenders, justice and peace advocates.

Barely two weeks after the massacre of 9 farm workers and farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental by a group of mercenaries believed to be members of government militia and private army of hacienda owners in the region, a human rights defender and pro bono lawyer, Atty. Benjamin Ramos was assassinated.

Atty. Benjamin Ramos was the founding member and secretary general of National Union of People’s Lawyer in Negros Occidental. He served as pro bono lawyer of the families of Sagay 9 victims and other landless peasants, indigenous people and other victims of state atrocities. Prior to his assassination Atty. Ben was maliciously labeled by the military as a member of the New People’s Army and subjected to constant harassment and intimidation.

A day after the cold-blooded killing of Atty. Ben, Vic Ladlad, a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) together with elderly couple Alberto and Virginia Villamir, was arrested by members of PNP-Criminal Investigation Group/PNP-CIDG in Quezon City. Vic Ladlad, a long time political activist is protected from arrest, charge and detention under the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG) signed by both panels of Government of the Philippines and National Democratic Front.

As with other detained NDF peace consultants Ferdinand Castillo, Rafael Baylosis and Adel Silva, the PNP filed trumped up criminal charges of illegal possession of dangerous weapons and explosives against Vic Ladlad. It is unimaginable how an elderly peace consultant like Vic Ladlad with chronic asthma and emphysema will be like Rambo and could carry high-powered weapons like a M-16 assault rifle complete with magazine and ammunition, 4 hand grenades, AK-47 with bayonet, 2 pieces of .45 caliber pistol and a .9mm caliber pistol.

The PNP and the military in their desperate move to thwart people’s aspiration for just and lasting peace have grown accustomed to planting evidence and filing trumped up criminal charges to justify the arrest and detention of peace advocates, rights defenders and civilians.

The state forces and militia of Pres. Duterte is on the killing spree and unabated human rights violation wrecking havoc to the lives, human rights and dignity of Filipinos. Atty. Ben is the 34thlawyer to be killed within the first two years of Duterte’s term. The continued incarceration of peace consultants like Vic Ladlad further expose the tyrannical and fascist regime of Duterte government, his all-out war and de facto martial law. He aims to silence the Filipinos in opposing his anti-people and pro-oligarch and pro-landlord policies.

Sowing terror to communities actively involve in pushing for a just and humane society through state atrocities, extra-judicial killings, harassment, repression and abduction of human rights defenders, human rights, justice and peace advocates solve nothing. It only strengthens the Filipino people’s resolve to change the unjust societal system and oust leaders that do not serve their interest.

The APCCHRP calls on the Duterte government to end the state of impunity in the country and to prosecute the perpetrators of this dastardly act against Atty. Ben and other human rights defenders. Vic Ladlad and other peace consultants of NDFP must be freed and peace negotiations must resume between the GRP and NDFP. It is only through addressing the root causes of Filipino people’s poverty, landlessness and inequality that can pave the way for a just resolution of social unrest in the Philippines. ###

For reference:

Rev. Joram H. Calimutan
APCCHRP Coordinator
Revjoram2013@gmail.com
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Rev. Joram H. Calimutan
Faith Partnership and Solidarity
Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants
No. 2 Jordan road, Yau Ma Tei, Hong Kong
Telephone number: +852-2723-7536

Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute.[a] Speak out, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31: 8-9)

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APCCHRP Satatement (Atty. Ben and Vic).pdf