LIST: Human rights watch (October 10 – 16, 2021)

Trigger warning: This article contains one news update that concerns a rape case which readers may find discomforting.

19 months in the COVID-19 pandemic, state forces continue harassing progressives through illegal arrests and even rape in different parts of the country. Meanwhile, justice remains elusive for a 35-year murder case, despite reaching new developments.

Here are the human rights violations reported for this week:

October 8 – Mabalacat City, Pampanga

A woman was reported to be raped by one uniformed personnel of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to serve as “sex-for-quarantine pass” in Mabalacat City, Pampanga, GABRIELA Youth Cavite says.

The victim was barred from the checkpoint area in the city because she forgot to bring her driver’s license. Instead of imposing a penalty, Police Staff Sergeant Robin Manganga took advantage of the unnamed woman.

This was not the first time the said scheme was seen to be implemented by the police. In June 2020, 15-year-old Fabel Pineda was also raped by elements of the PNP. When she charged the officers who abused her, she was shot dead and no justice was served even now (READ: The Shadow Pandemic: State of women and children during quarantine).

GABRIELA Youth Cavite described the incident as an ‘abuse of power from the policemen and military, especially in the times of vulnerability.’

Walang nakikitang kaginhawaan ang kababaihan hangga’t may Duterte [na] naghahari sa bansa. Peace and order for whom? Rule of whose law? Ang sigaw ng kababaihan ay ang kagyat na pagpapanagot sa lahat ng may sala,” the youth group posted in their Facebook page.

[Women will not find ease when there is a Duterte ruling the country. Women cry for immediate accountability for those responsible.]

October 10 – Iloilo City, Iloilo

Elements of the Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO) in Iloilo City arrested Anakbayan Panay Spokesperson Jasper Villa last Sunday, the aforementioned mass organization said.

Villa was arrested by the PSTMO and policemen that day after buying fishball from a street vendor, whose cart was being towed. Kabataan Partylist Panay says that Villa was arrested for “obstructing the towing of the food cart.” Jasper was then taken to one of Iloilo City’s police stations and was detained for a day. 

Villa was later freed the day after. Anakbayan Panay continues to call for the Iloilo City LGU to address the issues about vendors that are hit by the pandemic.

Masusuri natin sa mga naganap [sa pagkakaaresto kay Villa] ang inhustisya na nagaganap sa mga vendor at iba pang naghahanap lamang ng kabuhayan sa ilalim ng pandemya. Nananawagan ang malawak na hanay ng kabataan at mamamayan sa Lokal na Pamahalaan  Iloilo City na tugunan ang ganitong pagtrato sa mga sidewalk vendors,” the group continued.

[We can see from what took place in Villa’s arrest the injustice that vendors and other people working in the pandemic face. The youth and residents of Iloilo vall on the local government to investigate the maltreatment of sidewalk vendors.]

October 12 – Antipolo City, Rizal

After 35 years, the Antipolo Regional Trial Court (RTC) found the three members of Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM) guilty for charges of murder to labor leader Rolando “Ka Lando” Olalia and unionist Ka Leonor Alay-ay. The decision was released on Tuesday, October 12.

In November 1986, Olalia and Alay-ay were tortured before being shot and stabbed by the elements of RAM led by Fernando Casanova, Denis Jabatan, and Desiderio Perez. They were sentenced to reclusion perpetua or lifetime imprisonment.

Despite the conviction, Atty. Rolando Olalia Jr., Ka Lando’s son, stated that among the 13 men accused, about nine men are still at large. One is serving as Philippine Ambassador to Germany, which is Col. Eduardo Kapunan, Jr. Kapunan maintains his innocence.

Atty. Olalia further said that the fight for justice “is not over”, citing that it will only be served when the remaining nine men “and unnamed principals” were held accountable.

(FULL STORY: Glacial pace of justice:’ 3 ex-RAM members charged 35 years after labor activists’ murders)

October 13 – Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental

Reagan Taub, a peasant in Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City, Negros Occidental, was illegally arrested by elements of Special Action Force (SAF) and 62nd Infantry Batallion of Philippine Army (IBPA) last Wednesday morning, October 13, Tug-ani reports.

Before he was brought to their headquarters, Taub was observed to be in “a weak state” while being tied in arms and legs. Taub was also reported to have been tortured and threatened “to comply as a military guide” that will point out the supposed presence of the New People’s Army (NPA) within the vicinity. Military surveillance and operations in Guihulngan and Canlaon cities were also said to be ongoing.

Being a father of five children and a husband, Reagan’s friends and colleagues took to his defense and said that Taub was not affiliated with the armed revolutionary group at all. [P]

Human Rights Watch is a weekly collation of human rights news stories gathered from different sources by UPLB Perspective. This initiative was launched in response to the sweeping number of human rights violations (HRVs) among various sectors across the country.

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