Never again to martial law! Break impunity now! Defend human rights! Uphold dignity!
General Campaigns
Thursday, 10 December 2009 07:30


Fifty seven lives were lost in the infamous Maguindanao Massacre perpetrated by mad men and murderers.

This despicable act is the direct result of aiding and abetting a clan that was hell bent on preserving their hold to power whatever the costs, no matter how many lives are lost. It was an affront to the Ampatuans that someone dared to challenge their stranglehold on a province that is deeply mired in poverty.

How can we explain the brazenness that characterized the mass murders even of ordinary civilians, lawyers and journalists? How can we fathom the inhuman and barbaric acts heaped on helpless human beings?

It is a raw, undiluted display of impunity to murder 57 human beings, desecrate their bodies and dump them into pits.

Now the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government has declared martial law to quell a planned rebellion by the Ampatuans and their armed followers. Now this government wishes to wash its hand of responsibility for the carnage in Maguindanao. When it armed and aided the Ampatuans to consolidate its hold in Maguindanao it was creating a monster. The monster devoured 57 lives and now government wishes the criminals to become rebels by charging them with rebellion.

Now it wishes to safeguard its secrets in Maguindanao by declaring first a state of emergency and then martial law. But arms and ammunitions with the markings of PNP and AFP can not hide the complicity of the GMA administration in these murders.

It was the GMA administration which armed the Ampatuans, it was the GMA administration which coddled the Ampatuans despite increasing reports of terror and human rights abuses in the province. It was the GMA administration which entertained every whim and caprice of the Ampatuans in exchange for its loyalty and its assured votes in the elections.

The full force of the law must be applied to these mad men. They can not escape responsibility by hiding under the charge of rebellion. Mass murder can not be subsumed nor hidden under the political act of rebellion.

Martial law can not be used to mask “crimes against humanity”. Martial law must not be used to carry out the sinister designs of those in power.

Now is the time to stand up and declare:

Never again to martial law!
Break Impunity Now!
Defend Human Rights!
Uphold dignity!

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2009 17:26
Political Prisoners Day '09
On Political Prisoners
Monday, 07 December 2009 15:07
On the occasion of International Human Rights Day on December 10, the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) will be holding its annual Paskuhan sa Kampo (PSK) as its main activity for this year’s Political Prisoners’ Day.

PSK 09 schedules are: December 08 at the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), December 12 at the Manila City Jail (MCJ), December 14 at the Metro Manila District Jail (MMDJ), and December 15 at the Bataan Provincial Jail.  

In line with this, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Atty. Leila De Lima met with political prisoners at the NBP in Muntinlupa last November 12.  The meeting was set for the Chairperson to personally interact with the victims of political detention and repression, and for the Commission to formulate programs to assist the political prisoners.

During the meeting, CHR Chairperson De Lima declared, “…bona fide advocates of freedom and human rights through your political advocacies, then we need you to be free at the soonest possible time, and we need those who are free to remain free. We need every Filipino to be on the side of freedom and human rights, political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights. And we need all of you to never lose hope in our shared beliefs of full protection and promotion of human rights for everyone.”

Attendees of the said meeting were 34 political prisoners, their relatives, support groups and members of Free All Political Prisoners Campaign Network.  Also present were CHR Commissioner Jose Manuel Mamawag, TFDP Executive Director Lito Amistad, TFDP Deputy Executive Director Sr. Crescencia Lucero, SFIC, TFDP officers and staff, and representatives from the Balay Rehabilitation Center, the Medical Action Group (MAG), and the Partido ng Mangagawa.

The dialogue was in line with TFDP’s campaign for the release of all political prisoners and political detainees in the country.  It aims to discuss the issue of political detention and seek for the CHR’s commitment to address the concerns of the PPs and PDs, women and men of courage who continue to languish in different jails and detention centers nationwide.

As of December 2009, according to TFDP’s records, there are 258 political prisoners and political detainees in the country.
Last Updated on Monday, 07 December 2009 15:10
No To Proclamation 1959! No To Martial Law!
On Peace
Monday, 07 December 2009 14:34

Press Statement
December 7, 2009

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines calls on the Philippine Congress to reject Proclamation 1959 or the declaration of martial law in Maguindanao as it will only give unsurpassed power to a military and police force that has a long record of human rights violations, and as such will only exacerbate the worsening human rights situation in the country.

Last Updated on Saturday, 31 July 2010 14:33
Speech of CHR Chairperson Leila De Lima for Political Prisoners
On Political Prisoners
Monday, 07 December 2009 10:52

On the Occasion of the Dialogue with Political Prisoners
at the National Bilibid Prison

National Bilibid Prison
Muntinlupa City
12 November 2009


delivered by
Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines

Good morning.

When individuals are restrained of their freedom, special attention must be placed on the protection of their other rights. The atmosphere of confinement, largely hidden from the scrutiny of the outside world, creates a dangerous sphere of secrecy where abuses, if unchecked, may become rampant. When placed in detention facilities or prisons, one may find themselves at the total mercy of the prison officials or even criminal gangs. For this reason, it is especially important that part of the mandate of the Commission on Human Rights is to be able to make visits, announced or unannounced, to detention facilities in order to ensure that the government and prison officials are on their toes, ever vigilant of respecting the rights of detainees.

Of special importance today is the very specific segment of the prison population – political prisoners. To be very frank about the matter, there can be no official classification of “political prisoners.” There is nothing in our cherished democratic way of life that sanctions the suppression of political opinion, even if it is contrary to the established government. Such a classification is obtusely illegal, and rightfully so because our freedom is based precisely on the people's ability to speak freely, to assemble freely and to petition the government freely.

Classically, the term “political prisoner” refers to “someone who is prosecuted or jailed—not for crimes in the ordinary sense of the word, but for harboring or expressing opinions antagonistic to an established order of government”. Another definition says, simplistically, that a “political” prisoner is one “imprisoned for his or her political beliefs or actions.” Yet the term “political prisoner” is so laminated into the radical, leftist  mind that takes on a meaning that is larger than the classical definition.

The danger of expanding the definition beyond harboring or expressing antagonistic opinions is that some segments of society decriminalize outwardly inimical acts on the basis that there is some political motive behind the said act. Illegal acts, such as terrorism, cannot be made integral parts of mere free expression.
Last Updated on Monday, 07 December 2009 11:02
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