Tag Archive: Sulu


Philippines needs a heart to protect its gems

(A Statement on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders)

February 14, 2012

In this month of love and affection, the Philippine government needs a heart to protect its gems – the Human Rights Defenders (HRDs).  HRDs are gems of precious value.  They abound in the depths of human longings.  That is, the protection and defense of the dignity of person.  They are cultivated by natural desires of loving peace and respect; tested by concrete experiences of grief and sufferings; of joys and happiness in ushering individual and community empowerment and development. HRDs are gems personified.  They check the balance of power with the scale of justice.  They keep sanity of the ‘wannabes’ from the lures of corruption and tyranny.  They call for peace in times of war.

Their noble desire to promote the well-being of all has prompted the United Nations to pass Resolution A/RES/53/144 otherwise known as the “Declaration on the Rights and Responsibilities of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders” in 1998.  It recognizes the importance and legitimacy of their works and their vital role in engaging governments on human rights issues.  Even as they find their own rights flagrantly violated, they remain “STEADFAST IN PROTEST” amid the worldwide trends of:

1)     Restrictions of the enjoyment of rights through policy enactments and legislations;

2)     Increasing restrictions to the right to expression and opinion;

3)     Women HRDs are increasingly targeted for who they are and for their work;

4)     Continuing threats to the independence and effectiveness of National human rights institutions,

The Philippines is a rich source of human rights defenders.  So rich that those hit by their brilliance aspire to shred them into pieces, threat their existence and plot all legal and extra-judicial ways to silence them.  This is the current case of Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie – a Human Rights Defender slapped with various charges from allegedly masterminding assassination plots to bombing the City of Jolo.  These accusations emanate from his being vocal on the policies and actions of the local government that violate human rights in Sulu.

Extra-judicial executions, torture, intimidation, harassment and vilification of organizations are just some realities of human rights work and human rights defenders in the Philippines.  With these realities, is an urgent call on the government to take to heart its primary responsibility and duty on the situation of HRDs.  To wit: “Each State has a prime responsibility and duty to protect, promote and implement all human rights and fundamental freedoms, inter alia, by adopting such step as maybe necessary to create all conditions necessary in the social, economic, political and other fields, as well as the legal guarantees required to ensure that all persons under its jurisdiction, individually or in association with others, are able to enjoy all those rights and freedoms in practice” (UN Declaration on HRD, 1998, Art. 2).  With this Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas calls for:

  • an urgent enactment of legislative policies protecting human rights and development workers;
  • mainstreaming human rights in governance through the use of rights-based approach;
  • ensuring the independence and integrity of the judiciary; and,
  • Putting in place protection programmes to ensure the physical and psychological integrity of defenders from attacks and threats.

 

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Situation of Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) worldwide

February 14, 2012 .Quezon City

Criminalization” of Human Rights Defenders Condemned

 

Human rights groups here raised anew an alarm and condemned a global pattern of repression of human rights defenders and as also being experienced in the Philippines

 In a press conference co-sponsored by the Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRDP), the said organizations pointed out the widespread campaign especially in developing countries ruled by either civilian and/or military dictators.  One devious pattern is the “criminalization” of persons who defend the poor, vulnerable and marginalized against repressive governance and impoverishing development.

 One of the victims presented by Mr. Max de Mesa, Chairperson of PAHRA, was Mr.  Ales Bialitski from Belarus presently imprisoned since November 24, 2011 in his own country for promoting human rights..  Bialitski is the Vice President of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH ) and President of the Belarusian Human Rights Center “Viasna” (Viasna).  PAHRA is the Philippine member of FIDH.

“Any opposition to a repressive regime or authority,” de Mesa said, “will be branded as a crime, including the promotion and defence of human rights.”  “This we experienced during the Marcos dictatorship,” the PAHRA Chairperson continued.  Ales was convicted of alleged tax evasion.

Ms. Rita Melencio, TFDP Deputy for Operations, stated that “the cases of both Mr. Ales Bialitski and Mr. Temogen Tulawie expose the same oftentimes political character of the prosecution and persecution of human rights defenders.”  Tulawie’s advocacies included protecting people in Sulu against abuses during military operations as in the Ipil massacre,  and demanding justice and accountability for moro women victims of rape.  Charges of alleged assassination attempts was filed by Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan.  Tulawie is presently detained in Davao.

“Also those who defend economic, social and cultural rights,” according to Dr. Nymia Simbulan, Professor of U.P. Manila and Executive Director of PhilRights, “become subject of trumped up charges to silence their active defence of these rights.”  She cited the arrest of leaders and members of indigenous peoples’ communities resisting development aggression in large-scale mining, as well as those urban poor leaders asserting their right to housing against illegal demolitions.

Finally, Dr. Renato Mabunga, Chairperson of Human Rights Defenders – Pilipinas, called on all present to “become human rights defenders and stand for human rights as our common preferred values.” Adding, “after all, this administration has declared adherence to the primacy of human rights.”

NEWS UPDATES: Tulawie Case

 

NEWS UPDATES: Tulawie Case

18 January 2012

5:00pm

 

 On 13 January 2012, 11:45 in the evening, Mr. Temogen Tulawie was arrested in front of his children by combined elements of Military Intelligence Group (MIG)-Region 9 led by Sgt. Reyes, members of Special Action Force (SAF) headed by Supt. Fernando Ortega and members of Police Regional Intelligence Group-Region 11 based in Davao City at his residence in Catalunan Grande, Davao City.

 He was then taken to Talomo Police station for Police blotter and to Davao Regional Hospital for medical check-up. Afterwards, he was brought to Camp Catitipan, Davao City at the office of the Intelligence division for proper documentation.  He was temporarily detained at Davao City Police Office in Camp Domingo Leonor, Davao City.

 On 16 January 2012 he was presented to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City where a letter from Judge Betlee-lan Barraquias, (Executive and Presiding Judge of Jolo, Sulu Regional Trial Court Branch 3) to the Executive Judge of Davao City was read ordering the transfer of Mr. Tulawie back in Jolo.  A clear defiance to the Supreme Court Order dated 13 June 2011.  Portion of the letter reads:

 ”We wish to most respectfully inform your end that the bearers, Mr. Jun M. Abbas and Mr. Perfecto Canas, Jr. are Sheriff/process server and personnel of the Regional Trial Court of Jolo, Sulu, to serve within your jurisdiction in Davao City the order of this court to P/Supt. Michael Dubria, Chief Regional Intelligence and Investigation Division, Police Regional office 11, Camp Catitipan, Davao City, to deliver/transfer the jurisdiction of the Regional Trial Court of Jolo, Sulu, in criminal cases no. (07-09) 1648-3 and (07-09) 1649-3.”

 It orders those who have the custody of Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie to dispose of the accused to the Regional Trial Court-Branch 3, Jolo, Sulu, “within the period of forty eight hours upon the receipt of this order taking the necessary security measures to ensure the safety of the prisoner during the transfer from Davao City to Jolo, Sulu, and to prevent his escape while under his or their custody to be dealt with in accordance with the law.”

 On 17 January 2012 in the afternoon, Mr. Tulawie was flown by the law enforcers to Zamboanga City and detained at Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG)- Region 9.  On the same day, the Office of the Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines through Deputy Court Administrator Raul Bautista Villanueva sent an order for immediate action saying:

 “Please be advised that said order of Judge Barraquias is contrary to the Resolution dated June 13,2011 issued by the Third Division of the Supreme Court wherein the transfer of venue of Criminal Case Nos. (07-09) 1648-3 and (07-09) 1649-3, both involving Mr. Tulawie, was decreed to be held at the Regional Trial Court of Davao City. Likewise, be advised that the Motion for Reconsideration of the above Resolution had already been acted upon and this has apparently been DENIED. Thus, with more reason that Judge Barraquias has no authority to issue his supposed order.

 As such, you are hereby directed to inform the police or jail custodians of Mr. Tulawie that any order contrary to the Resolution dated 13 June 2011 of the Third Division of the Supreme Court cannot be implemented.”

 It must be known that in October 2011, Hon. Judge Barraquias certified the warrant of arrest previously issued by Judge Leo J T. Principe on Tulawie’s case.  His action signified that the warrant is still enforceable even as the Supreme Court so order for the transfer of the case to the Regional Trial Court of Davao City.

 As of this writing, 5:00 in the afternoon 18 January 2012, Mr. Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie has safety arrived in Davao City and now in the custody of  Davao City Police Office in Camp Domingo Leonor, Davao City.

 Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas reiterates its calls: 

  1. To RTC Branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu to immediately transfer Tulawie’s Case Records to RTC Davao in compliance with the Supreme Court of the Phippines’ Order/Decision.
  2. To RTC Davao City to ensure a fair, impartial and speedy disposition of the case.  Take all necessary measures to ensure that the trial of Temogen Tulawie follows fair procedure and complies with national and international standards;
  3. To all concerned government agencies particularly the Military and the Police to guarantee the full protection and respect for human rights to Mr. Tulawie, as guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.  Take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of Temogen Tulawie while in detention;
  4. Immediately and unconditionally release human rights defender Temogen Tulawie, and drop all charges against him as it is believed that they are solely related to his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;
  5. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in the Philippines are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.

For the background of the case, please click the link:

https://renatomabunga.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/urgent-appeal-arrest-of-human-rights-defender-from-jolo-sulu/

 January 16, 2012

His Excellency Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III 

 President of the Republic of the Philippines 

 Malacanang Palace

JP Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila 1005 

 Fax: +63 2 7361010; Tel: +63 2 735 6201/564 1451 to 80

 

Re: Temogen S. Tulawie Case: A Human   Rights Defender denied of due process and charged in court, notwithstanding   procedural and substantive lapses in the investigation.

Dear Mr. President,

Greetings of peace!

We, at Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas, write to express our grave concern regarding the plight of Mr. Temogen S. Tulawie, a human rights defender.  We have been following his case and lately have known of his arrest in Davao City on 13 January 2012.  Prior to his arrest, he was already planning to voluntarily surrender and face the charges hurled against him.  Especially that, the Supreme Court has granted his petition of transfer of case and venue to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City.  He believes that impartiality and justice will not be accorded him in Jolo, Sulu.

Mr. Tulawie is a member of different human rights organizations working on various issues in Sulu.  His activities as human rights defender includes, public information campaigns, organizing peace rallies and peaceful protests against government policies detrimental to human rights.

Earlier, it was known that Juhan Alihuddin, a prosecution witness, had executed an affidavit on 29 June 2009 denying his previous statement allegedly taken under duress.  He also denied that a counsel represented him during the investigation, saying, the investigation personnel of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) provided the counsel only after he had already signed the prepared confession.  He further stressed that the contents of the confession were false.

As of this writing, we are informed that the RTC Branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu has not yet transferred the case records to RTC Davao.

With this vital information, we are calling for a fair, impartial and speedy disposition of the case.  Moreover, we are requesting all concerned government agencies to guarantee the full protection and respect for human rights to Mr. Tulawie, as guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.

We trust that you will act favorably on this urgent matter.  For the Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas, I remain

Sincerely,

Dr. Renato G. Mabunga

Chairperson

HRD-Pilipinas

 

 c.c.

Hon. Loretta Ann Rosales, Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights

Hon. Juan Ponce Enrile, Senate President

Hon. Leila de Lima, Secretary Department of Justice

Hon. Jose Midas Marquez, Court Administrator, Supreme Court of the Philippines

Police Director General Raul M. Bacalso, Chief, Philippine National Police

Hon. Emilio Gonzalez, Deputy Ombusdman, Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and other Law Enforcement Offices

Case MR. TEMOGEN SAHIPA TULAWIE
 PHILIPPINES:  ARREST OF A PROMINENT MUSLIM HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER FROM   JOLO, SULU
 ISSUES:  FABRICATION OF CHARGES AND ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE

 

URGENT   APPEAL

 Dear Friends,

Human Rights Defenders-Pilipinas (HRD-Pilipinas) was informed by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), about the updates and information regarding the case of Mr. Temogen Sahipa Tulawie. Several appeals were already sent before regarding the harassment he was facing as a human rights defender.

On January 13,2012 at about 11:45 in the evening, Mr. Tulawie was arrested at his rented house in Davao City by combined elements of Military Intelligence Group (MIG) from Region 9 led by Sgt. Reyes, members of Special Action Force (SAF) led by Supt. Fernando Ortega and members of Police Intelligence (R2).

Mr. Tulawie was already planning to voluntarily give himself and face the charges hurled against him after the Supreme Court already granted the motion he filed for transfer of venue to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City, because he believes that he will not be afforded with impartiality if his case will be tried in Jolo, Sulu.

On June 13,2011, the Supreme Court granted the request for transfer of venue. Dispositive portion reads as “ Acting on the Petition for transfer of Venue, filed by Temogen “cocoy” Tulawie, one of the accused in Criminal nos. (07-09) 1648-3 and (07-09) 1649-3 from the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Jolo, Sulu, to any court as this Court may deem convenient, and considering that there is an indication of actual and imminent threat to the life of the petitioner and his family, as well as his witnesses, as found by the Court of appeals in CA-G.R. SP No. 00002-W/RA-MIN and there is reason to believe that continuing with the trial of the subject criminal cases in the RTC, Jolo, Sulu can lead to a miscarriage of justice”.

Details of his arrest:

Mr. Tulawie was arrested by combined elements of Military Intelligence Group (MIG), Region 9 led by Sgt. Reyes, members of Special Action Force (SAF), led by Supt. Fernando Ortega and members of Police Regional Intelligence Group (R2), of Region 11 based in Davao City, on January 13,2012 at about 11:45 in the evening at his rented house in Elenita Heights Subdivision, Catalunan Grande, Davao City.

They were already sleeping together with his two (2) children, when he was awaken by a loud bang from their door. He turn-on the light at their room, then he awaken his children and told them not to panic.

When the authorities came in, he did not resist arrest. He was taken to Talomo Police station for Police blotter and to Davao Regional Hospital for medical check-up. Afterwards, he was taken to Camp Catitipan, Davao City at the office of the Intelligence division for proper documentation.

As of this writing he was temporarily detained at Davao City Police Office in Camp Domingo Leonor, Davao City. On January 16, he will be presented to the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Davao City.

Mr. Tulawie was the former Provincial chairperson of Consortium of Bangsamoro Civil Society (CBCS), a coalition of Bangsamoro civil organizations (CSOs) within the province of Sulu. His work involves; monitoring and documentation of human rights violation cases affecting muslim communities in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, especially in the province of Sulu.

Mr. Tulawie is facing a case of Multiple Frustrated Murder and Attempted Murder, criminal case no. (07-09) 1648-3 and criminal case no. (07-09) 1649-3 at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) branch 3 of Jolo, Sulu, which was filed on July 22,2009. He was implicated in the bombing incident which was happened in the municipality of Patikul, Sulu on May 13,2009, wounding twelve (12) persons including Governor Abdusakur Tan of the Province of Sulu.

BACKGROUND OF HIS STRUGGLE:

As a human rights defender, Mr. Tulawie has also been active in organizing a local organization named “BAWBUG”, which means “Serve, Respect and Protect” in the Tausug language. Bawbug was established to address the defense of the rights of muslim communities affected by military operations in the province of Sulu.

He was also an active  member of Center for Humanitarian Dialogue (CHD) since 2004-2008 and a council member of Non-Violent Peace Force (NP), in the province of Sulu.

From 2004-2007, he was elected to the post of municipal councilor of the capital town of Jolo, and was one of the organizers of the Concerned citizen’s of Sulu, an organization that works for the democratization of local politics, transparency in governance and upholding of civil rights and liberties of the residents of Sulu.

Mr. Tulawie’s human rights work is long and impressive, but it has also brought him into a collision with powerful local politicians. Some of the human rights campaigns that Mr. Tulawie led are the following: Continue reading

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