AMRSP Official Statement on the Extra-Judicial Killings
General Campaigns
Monday, 22 August 2016 19:04

We, the members of the ASSOCIATION OF MAJOR RELIGIOUS SUPERIORS IN THE PHILIPPINES, acknowledge our active role in being a visible force and a prophetic voice, in participating in social life, in working for the common good. This was a role taken by the Lord Jesus himself when he quoted the prophet Isaiah as he began his ministry: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Luke 4:18–19).

It is this role that we exercise when we look around at what has been happening in our country in these past two months: we have seen a consistent surge in the number of extrajudicial killings, now about a thousand, and counting. Most of these deaths are related to the problem of illegal drugs—alleged drug pushers or users being put to death in the name of vigilante “justice,” but all these bereft of warrant of arrest or proof of guilt.

In the midst of this alarming situation, as a group of religious and consecrated persons, we make our stand.

We express our full support for the government’s serious crusade against the problem of illegal drugs in our country. We admire the leadership that the President has taken in this campaign and the determination of the people under him in working to rid our society of such menace.

Nevertheless, we are alarmed at the continued extrajudicial killings, which seem to go unchecked, without trial or investigation.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2016 19:08
Statement Against Attacks on Women's Dignity
General Campaigns
Monday, 22 August 2016 18:55

Statement Against Attacks on Women's Dignity

1_copyIn a low-handed attempt to derail investigations into the killing of suspected drug peddlers and dependents in the country, President Duterte has accused Senator Leila de Lima of being immoral, an adulterer, with links to the illegal drugs trade. The President is especially scathing in his attacks on women critics. Not only does he hurl accusations left and right as if there are no laws on evidence governing this country, accusations against women are also painted with personal malice—something you don’t hear against male critics. Demonstrating a conduct unbecoming of a head of state, indeed, strutting like a common brute, a bully, the President resorts to name calling when he should be presenting legal arguments and facts to support his policies.

Why does he find it necessary to readily label critics before giving proof? He does it to put opposition figures in a box where he could render them not human- when labeling critics as immoral or adulterous or drug suspects, it removes their dignity, their humanity. In the eyes of society, they become a social disease that needs to be eradicated. So follows soon after, critics also become victims of the heinous crime of murder. We know too well from the labeling of Jews by the Nazis, Tutsis as “cockroaches” in Rwanda, even activists as communists by the late dictator Marcos, results the familiar massacres and other crimes against humanity. Duterte starts with unsubstantiated accusations that end in cardboard signs. We are thus gravely alarmed that if this accusations are the kind of intelligence dirty data requested and used by the President to malign and destroy his critics, what sort of harmful information is gathered and passed on regarding drug suspects to the rank and file of the PNP and/or to the local government officials and personnel to justify EJKs, as well as intensify a coercive environment and a culture of fear.

As more people begin to question his methods we expect more tirades and threats from this man. But what will go down in history are the courageous women and men that speak out against this administration’s excesses-- at the frontline are Senator de Lima and Chief Justice Sereno. iDEFEND extols their example and stand with them amidst overwhelming adversity, amidst attacks by no less than the President himself. We stand with them in the deafening silence of the rest of society. We dedicate to them these words that gave meaning to the struggle of a generation against Martial Law, by the late Lean Alejandro: “In the line of fire is a place of honor”. Mabuhay po kayo at maraming salamat po.
In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDEFEND) is a growing broad coalition of non-government organizations (NGOs), people’s organizations (POs), individual HRDs, human rights lawyers, religious sector and members of the academe which came together to defend and assert human rights for all.
Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2016 19:04
TFDP STATEMENT Defend our Life, Protect our Dignity! Stop the Killings!
General Campaigns
Wednesday, 17 August 2016 10:34
Defend our Life, Protect our Dignity! Stop the Killings!

Sr_Cres_iDEFEND2"Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees, depriving the poor of justice, robbing the weakest of my people of their rights." (Isaiah 10:1)

Inspired by the teachings of the Catholic Church pastoral exhortation to build a society more human, more worthy of the human person, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP) is disturbed by and condemn the spate of killings amid President Rody Duterte’s intensified crackdown on illegal drugs and criminality.

The surge in the killings of suspected criminals since June 30, 2016 is alarming. Most of those killed were identified by the police as suspected drug dealers or pushers (“tulak”). As of August 8, 2016, based on the report of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the list of victims are 564 dead. Government statistics also support assertions of an alarming increase in police killings of drug-related criminal suspects. Philippine National Police (PNP) data according to news report indicate that police killed at least 239 drug suspects were killed in the three weeks after Duterte's inauguration.

The government’s campaign against illegal drugs and criminality has social and political implications, and its moral dimension must be based on the framework of upholding human dignity and protecting human rights.

We believe that it is indeed part of government’s obligations to protect its citizens against criminality that could endanger life and human security. However we are alarmed that the killings of suspected drug dealers violate constitutionally guaranteed rights as stipulated in Article 3, Bill of Rights, Section 1 of the Constitution that “(n)o person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

We are deeply troubled that this campaign against drugs and criminality violates the right to due process of suspects. And we fear the crackdown has promoted vigilantism and encouraged summary executions.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 August 2016 10:47
Don’t make the war on drugs a war on human rights, new HR group told President Duterte -iDEFEND
General Campaigns
Wednesday, 17 August 2016 10:26

Don’t make the war on drugs a war on human rights, new HR group told President Duterte -iDEFEND

iDEFEND_launch_photo_by_PhilRights Photo by PhilRights

August 12, 2016 – Newly formed human rights coalition, In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement (iDefend|) calls on President Rodrigo Roa Duterte not to make his government’s war on drugs a war on human rights.

In their joint statement, the group emphasized that no matter who is extrajudicially killed or whose rights are violated, he or she is a human being with rights and dignity and that human rights are for all, especially for the poor, the marginalized and the vulnerable.

Since May 2016, more than 700 people have been killed by police and vigilantes in the Philippines for being suspected of using or dealing drugs, as a direct result of President Duterte’s campaign to get rid of illegal drugs within six months. In addition, more than 500, 000 alleged pushers and users have already surrendered to authorities under the “Oplan Tokhang” out of fear and humiliation.

The international community has already expressed serious concern with the increasing number of reported extrajudicial killings and other forms of human rights violations in the name of drug control measure. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) even reiterated that such actions contravene to the provisions of the international drug control conventions and will not help to ensure that all people can live a life in good health, dignity and peace, and with security and prosperity.

Prompted by this alarming human rights situation, more than 30 non-governmental organizations of human rights defenders joined hands to form today a new coalition called In Defense of Human Rights and Dignity Movement or iDefend. The group believes that the arbitrary killing of suspects that bypasses the fundamental due process endangers everyone in the Philippine society as anyone can now be accused of any crime or involvement in illegal drugs and be executed before and without having a chance to publicly defend themselves in court.

”Illegal drugs are harmful. But by encouraging the police to use their guns to deal with it is even more dangerous and will not stop the vicious cycle of violence. It only creates a climate of fear, insecurity and helplessness.” Ms. Rose Trajano, Convenor of iDefend said.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 August 2016 10:31
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