U.S. PRODS PNoy TO END EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS

“It’s clear to me that extrajudicial killings remain foremost among the human rights challenges in the Philippines,” US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg said. He added that he was “encouraged by the Philippines’ recent extrajudicial killings convictions.” There were only three such convictions last year, according to the report, reflecting the need for Aquino’s administration to step up efforts to bring perpetrators of killings and other abuses to justice. The State Department also expressed concern over overcrowded and inadequate prison conditions; killings and harassment of journalists; internally displaced persons (IDPs); violence against women; abuse and sexual exploitation of children; and trafficking in persons. Limited access to facilities for persons with disabilities; lack of full integration of indigenous people; absence of law and policy to protect persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; suspected vigilante killings; child labor; and ineffective enforcement of worker rights were also a concern. The State Department is mandated by the US Congress each year to provide a detailed report on the status of human rights in more than 100 countries to help the US government assess its policy and foreign assistance. Separatist insurgencies The report also noted that long-running Muslim separatist and communist insurgencies continued to result in the displacement of civilians and the killing of soldiers and police in armed clashes.

ALSO: Extrajudicial killings remain biggest concern in PHL - US human rights report

Security forces continue to commit extrajudicial killings under President Benigno Aquino III’s administration although a few convictions of rights violations has sparked hope that change is underway, the US State Department said in an annual human rights report Friday. While the 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices tried to present a mixed picture of progress and concerns in the Philippines, it reported that some of the dismal conditions that allowed rights violations to continue have endured. “It’s clear to me that extrajudicial killings remain foremost among the human rights challenges in the Philippines,” US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said in a statement issued in Manila with the human rights report. But he tried to strike a balance by stating that he was “encouraged by the Philippines’ recent extrajudicial killings convictions.” There were only three such convictions last year, according to the report, reflecting the need for the Aquino administration to step up efforts to bring perpetrators of killings and other abuses to justice. The State Department cited extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances undertaken by security forces as the most significant human rights problem in the Philippines. Although government officials say violations have gone down compared to past periods, including the dark Martial Law era under President Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines continues to be hounded by human rights problems. The US Congress continues to impose a limit on military aid to the Philippines, which was first announced in 2009, due to the country’s failure to stop extrajudicial killings and convict many of the violators. The US report cited conditions that allow rights violations to continue, including the country’s “dysfunctional criminal justice system” that hampers cooperation between police and prosecutors.

ALSO: PH not doing enough to stop rights abuses'

A report by the United States government report has criticized the Philippines for failing to stamp out extra-judicial killings, prompting Manila to vow to take extra measures improve human rights safeguards. The US State Department's global annual human rights report released Thursday, February 27, said, "The [Philippine] government continued to investigate and prosecute only a limited number of reported human rights abuses, and concerns about impunity persisted." The "most significant human rights problems continued to be extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances undertaken by security forces," it added. On Saturday, March 1, President Benigno Aquino III's spokeswoman Abigail Valte told Agence France-Presse the government was taking note of the criticism from a key ally and aid donor. "We'll have the national government agencies go through it and address particular areas of concern, focusing on what can be done to further our efforts" to improve, she added. The criticism of the Philippines, a former US colony that relies heavily on US defense aid, is part of a series of State Department reports on the human rights situation in various countries. It criticized "a dysfunctional [Philippine] criminal justice system notable for poor cooperation between police and investigators, few prosecutions, and lengthy procedural delays," along with "widespread official corruption and abuse of power."

ALSO: EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS Web definition

Extrajudicial/ extralegal killings (EJKs/ ELKs) and enforced disappearances (EDs) are unique in the Philippines in as much as it is publicly and commonly known to be committed also by non-state armed groups (NAGs) such as the New Peoples Army (NPA) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). Though cases have been well documented with conservative estimates of EJKs/ ELKs and EDs committed by the NPAs numbering to about 900-1,000 victims based on the discovery of numerous mass grave sites all over country, legal mechanisms for accountability of non-state actors have been weak if not wholly non-existent. Aside from the Philippines, extrajudicial killings, death squads and desaparecidos were common in South and Central America during the cold war. It is also currently common in the Middle East.


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US prods PNoy: End extrajudicial killings
 


In this file photo, a human rights official views images of the alleged torture of jail inmates by Laguna policemen last year.

MANILA
, MARCH 3, 2014 (MANILA TIMES) The convictions of a few rights violators in recent years have sparked hope that the Philippines’ human rights record may be improving, but the government is facing the challenge of achieving more radical progress to secure increased military support from its long-term ally, the United States.

The US Congress continues to impose a limit on military aid to the Philippines due to the country’s failure to stop extrajudicial killings and send violators to jail.

In its 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the US State Department said extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances undertaken by security forces are the most significant human rights problems in the Philippines.

Impunity persists because the government lacks “sufficient mechanisms to investigate and punish abuse and corruption in the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP),” the report said.

While cases of human rights violations perpetrated by government troops have been investigated, very few ended in convictions because majority of these cases were dismissed, it said.

Limited prosecutions

“The government continued to investigate and prosecute only a limited number of reported human rights abuses, and concerns about impunity persisted,” it added.

“From January to October, the Office of the Ombudsman, an independent agency responsible for investigating and prosecuting charges of public abuse and impropriety, received 306 cases involving military and law enforcement officers accused of committing human rights abuses.

The cases included killings, injuries, unlawful arrest, and torture. Most were filed against low-ranking police and military officials.

As of October, 302 cases were dismissed due to insufficiency of evidence, and eight were under investigation.

No convictions against high-ranking police or military officials were recorded,” the report, released on Saturday, said.

The department listed other factors that allowed human rights violations to continue, such as a dysfunctional criminal justice system notable for poor cooperation between police and investigators, few prosecutions, lengthy procedural delays and widespread official corruption and abuse of power.

As of July last year, the PNP Directorate for Personnel and Records Management reported 28 administrative cases filed against 56 police personnel for human rights violation.

Criminal proceedings were initiated against 138 police personnel accused in 102 cases, and 101 were referred to the Prosecutors’ Office while one case was filed in court, the report said. Officials dismissed at least 15 police personnel for various administrative and criminal offenses as of August.

Last month, 10 policemen in Binan, Laguna province were suspended after their “roulette torture” system was uncovered. Victims said that police officers spun a “roulette” wheel to pick what torture will be meted out. If the arrow points to “Manny Pacman”, a policeman would punch an inmate for 20 seconds.

“It’s clear to me that extrajudicial killings remain foremost among the human rights challenges in the Philippines,” US Ambassador to Manila Philip Goldberg said.

He added that he was “encouraged by the Philippines’ recent extrajudicial killings convictions.”

There were only three such convictions last year, according to the report, reflecting the need for Aquino’s administration to step up efforts to bring perpetrators of killings and other abuses to justice.

The State Department also expressed concern over overcrowded and inadequate prison conditions; killings and harassment of journalists; internally displaced persons (IDPs); violence against women; abuse and sexual exploitation of children; and trafficking in persons.

Limited access to facilities for persons with disabilities; lack of full integration of indigenous people; absence of law and policy to protect persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; suspected vigilante killings; child labor; and ineffective enforcement of worker rights were also a concern.

The State Department is mandated by the US Congress each year to provide a detailed report on the status of human rights in more than 100 countries to help the US government assess its policy and foreign assistance.

Separatist insurgencies

The report also noted that long-running Muslim separatist and communist insurgencies continued to result in the displacement of civilians and the killing of soldiers and police in armed clashes.

Terrorist organizations such as the Abu Sayyaf Group, Jemaah Islamiyah, and the New People’s Army, as well as elements associated with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front, including the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters continue to kill security forces, local government officials, and other civilians, according to the report.

The Moro National Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF) also conducted military operations against government security forces and civilians. PNA, AFP

5 Responses to US prods PNoy: End extrajudicial killings
Jon Effemey says:
March 2, 2014 at 2:01 pm
I am British and have lived in the Philippines for 18 months now. I enjoy it here and will be staying.
One the blights or demons in Philippines culture is these extrajudicial killings which is part of the general contract killing culture here. If the military and or army are involved then this must be thoroughly investigated and dealt with. I know this is possibly a big ask here at the moment, but this has to be addressed. From what I have learnt to date, there is no one shading organization operating here but rather ad hoc decisions are made. Pretty always this is about money, the major exception being in the South with regard to the ongoing problems there. But else where, I am pretty sure it is money. A business man/woman, politician high ranking military or police office has their money making activities compromised then the problem is “removed”. The going rate for a contract was 10000 pesos the last time I heard? Be it a domestic dispute, or Janet Lim Napoles having to wear protecting clothing during the Pork Barrel hearings along with the whistle blowers, again it is money. The Guardian Newspaper in the UK along with other papers often flags up the number of journalists killed in the Philippines. From memory some 500 Punjabi’s were killed in 2012, again contract killings, due I expect to problems with loans. This caused a huge storm in the state of Punjab in India. I would not be surprised if this killing is continuing. Every week on GMA TV or ABS CBN I see news reports showing a car with its rear window blown away and gun cartridges on the ground. The victim was in the rear seat, and the killer/s got away on a motor bike.
The US is restricting military aid which this country really needs given the problems with the East and South China seas etc, World media report the very high killing of journalists here and India and the state of Punjab are incensed by this.
The economy here is doing well, but world opinion and world investments are being effected as this report shows.
Extrajudicial killings and the related contract killings must be addressed.

Reply
darwin says:
March 2, 2014 at 9:42 am
don’t tell Pnoy to step up, he won’t admit to the glaring shortcomings. he’ll say, “buhay ka pa nman di ba?”

Reply
virginia guevara says:
March 2, 2014 at 5:41 am
After all these time wala pa ring natutuhan ang mga kinaukulan para sa kabutihan ng madla at ikauunlad ng ating bansa! You want privacy, the hell you can have it, as long as you dont abuse anyone and turn a blind eye to other abusers!

Reply
David says:
March 2, 2014 at 5:37 am
After the ongoing corruption scanndals, disaster of Yolanda, ineptitude of gov’t, here comes another no-confidence vote by The US vs the absent Abnoy. Tapos na ang maliligayang araw mo.

Reply
Annie says:
March 2, 2014 at 1:05 am
Can PNoy end extra-judicial killings in PH? Or get Maguindanao Massacre trial concluded and perpetrators of this most horrible crime against humanity sent behind bars? Or get Jovito “The Butcher” Palaparan captured?
Dream on. Maybe he can, when the crow turns white.

FROM GMA NEWS TV

Extrajudicial killings remain biggest concern in PHL - US human rights report By MICHAELA DEL CALLARFebruary 28, 2014 10:02pm 3 24 0 97


President Benigno Aquino III

MANILA -Security forces continue to commit extrajudicial killings under President Benigno Aquino III’s administration although a few convictions of rights violations has sparked hope that change is underway, the US State Department said in an annual human rights report Friday.

While the 2013 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices tried to present a mixed picture of progress and concerns in the Philippines, it reported that some of the dismal conditions that allowed rights violations to continue have endured.

“It’s clear to me that extrajudicial killings remain foremost among the human rights challenges in the Philippines,” US Ambassador Philip Goldberg said in a statement issued in Manila with the human rights report.

But he tried to strike a balance by stating that he was “encouraged by the Philippines’ recent extrajudicial killings convictions.”

There were only three such convictions last year, according to the report, reflecting the need for the Aquino administration to step up efforts to bring perpetrators of killings and other abuses to justice.

The State Department cited extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances undertaken by security forces as the most significant human rights problem in the Philippines.

Although government officials say violations have gone down compared to past periods, including the dark Martial Law era under President Ferdinand Marcos, the Philippines continues to be hounded by human rights problems.

The US Congress continues to impose a limit on military aid to the Philippines, which was first announced in 2009, due to the country’s failure to stop extrajudicial killings and convict many of the violators.

The US report cited conditions that allow rights violations to continue, including the country’s “dysfunctional criminal justice system” that hampers cooperation between police and prosecutors.

Although there has been progress in running after big time corruption suspects through high-profile investigations, the process has been slowed by ‘lengthy procedural delays and widespread official corruption and abuse of power.”

Other human rights problems, the report said, include: allegations of prisoner and detainee torture and abuse by security forces; violence and harassment against human rights activists by local security forces; disappearances; warrantless arrests; and lengthy pre-trial detentions.

The State Department also expressed concern on overcrowded and inadequate prison conditions; killings and harassment of journalists; internally displaced persons (IDPs); violence against women; abuse and sexual exploitation of children; and trafficking in persons.

Limited access to facilities for persons with disabilities; lack of full integration of indigenous people; absence of law and policy to protect persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; suspected vigilante killings; child labor; and ineffective enforcement of worker rights were also a concern.

The State Department is mandated to provide a detailed report on the status of human rights in more than 100 countries to help the US government assess its policy and foreign assistance.

The report also noted that long-running Muslim separatist and communist insurgencies continue to result in the displacement of civilians and the killing of soldiers and police in armed clashes.

Terrorist organizations such as the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Jemaah Islamiya (JI), and the New People’s Army (NPA), as well as elements associated with the separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), including the breakaway Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), continue to kill security forces, local government officials, and other civilians, according to the report.

The Moro National Islamic Liberation Front (MNLF) also conducted military operations against government security forces and civilians.

These organizations, the report said, continue to be linked with kidnappings for ransom, bombings that caused civilian casualties, reports of the use of child soldiers in combat or auxiliary roles, and unauthorized courts.

The Philippine government and the MILF recently concluded a new autonomy deal that is expected to be signed next month by both sides in what has been praised as a major step to ease decades of Muslim unrest that has killed more than 120,000 people and held back progress in Southern Mindanao. — JDS, GMA News

FROM RAPPLER.COM

PH not doing enough to stop rights abuses'BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
POSTED ON 03/01/2014 2:48 PM | UPDATED 03/01/2014 4:38 PM


NEVER FORGET. The Maguindanao massacre in 2009 is considered one of the worst cases of political violence and human rights abuses. Rights groups demand justice for the victims. File photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – A report by the United States government report has criticized the Philippines for failing to stamp out extra-judicial killings, prompting Manila to vow to take extra measures improve human rights safeguards.

The US State Department's global annual human rights report released Thursday, February 27, said, "The [Philippine] government continued to investigate and prosecute only a limited number of reported human rights abuses, and concerns about impunity persisted."

The "most significant human rights problems continued to be extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances undertaken by security forces," it added.

On Saturday, March 1, President Benigno Aquino III's spokeswoman Abigail Valte told Agence France-Presse the government was taking note of the criticism from a key ally and aid donor.

"We'll have the national government agencies go through it and address particular areas of concern, focusing on what can be done to further our efforts" to improve, she added.

The criticism of the Philippines, a former US colony that relies heavily on US defense aid, is part of a series of State Department reports on the human rights situation in various countries.

It criticized "a dysfunctional [Philippine] criminal justice system notable for poor cooperation between police and investigators, few prosecutions, and lengthy procedural delays," along with "widespread official corruption and abuse of power."

Mark Cebreros, spokesman for the Philippine government's Commission on Human Rights, said much of the information in the US report actually came from the Philippine agency.

"We acknowledge there are few convictions for extra-judicial killings in this administration," Cebreros told Agence France-Presse.

He said there had been improvements under Aquino, including a drop in extra-judicial killings. However, torture cases were still at the same level, he added.

The commission, which documents and investigates allegations of abuses, also cited other problems like lengthy trials and overcrowded prisons.

"We are talking about the entire criminal justice process," Cebreros said.

Human rights organizations allege that the Philippines suffers from a "culture of impunity" where powerful men feel they can commit abuses without fear of punishment.

In the worst such incident, in 2009 a Muslim political clan murdered 58 people – including members of a rival clan, lawyers, and journalists – to prevent a rival from running for a local post against one of its members.

Despite a global outcry, the trial of the accused has dragged on for years and many suspects remain at large. – Rappler.com

EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLINGS Web definition

An extrajudicial killing is the killing of a person by governmental authorities without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. Extrajudicial punishments are by their nature unlawful, since they bypass the due process of the legal jurisdiction in which they occur.

Extrajudicial killings and forced disappearances in the Philippines are illegal liquidations, unlawful or felonious killings and forced disappearances in the Philippines.

These are forms of extrajudicial punishment, and include extrajudicial executions, summary executions, arbitrary arrest and detentions, and failed prosecutions due to political activities of leading political, trade union members, dissident and/or social figures, left-wing political parties, non-governmental organizations, political journalists, outspoken clergy, anti-mining activists, agricultural reform activists, members of organizations that are allied or legal fronts of the communist movement like "Bayan group" or suspected supporters of the NPA and its political wing, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) by either the state government, state authorities like the armed forces and police (as in Liberia under Charles G. Taylor), or by criminal outfits such as the Italian Mafia.

Extrajudicial killings (EJKs) is also synonymous with the term "extralegal killings" (ELKs).

Extrajudicial/ extralegal killings (EJKs/ ELKs) and enforced disappearances (EDs) are unique in the Philippines in as much as it is publicly and commonly known to be committed also by non-state armed groups (NAGs) such as the New Peoples Army (NPA) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

Though cases have been well documented with conservative estimates of EJKs/ ELKs and EDs committed by the NPAs numbering to about 900-1,000 victims based on the discovery of numerous mass grave sites all over country, legal mechanisms for accountability of non-state actors have been weak if not wholly non-existent.

Aside from the Philippines, extrajudicial killings, death squads and desaparecidos were common in South and Central America during the cold war. It is also currently common in the Middle East.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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