Tag Archives: The Philippines

The Philippines: Submission to the UN Human Rights Committee

03/10/22

In its upcoming 136th session, the Human Rights Committee will review the fifth state report submitted by the Philippines and will adopt concluding observations that will assist the Philippines in the implementation of the ICCPR. Lawyers for Lawyers welcomed the opportunity to file a submission to inform the Human Rights Committee about the situation of lawyers in the Philippines.

In this submission, Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) reveals that the Philippines has failed to comply with its international human rights commitments to guarantee effective access to legal services provided by an independent legal profession as set out in the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, and subsequently, has failed to comply with article 14 of the ICCPR. The submission contains case examples from lawyers who have been persecuted, harassed and murdered due to their profession as a lawyer.

The submission addresses three key areas of concern: The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, the additional practice of red-tagging and the extrajudicial killings of lawyers. The Anti-Terrorism Act is misused by the Government to unlawfully label lawyers and human rights defenders as terrorists. The practice of red-tagging is a continuous and serious threat to the civil society since individuals or organizations are being publicly labelled as ‘communists’, ‘leftists’ and thus ‘enemies of the state’. The practice of red-tagging has proven to be a grave threat to civil society and freedom of expression. Furthermore, extrajudicial killings of lawyers due to their profession and the violence against them continues to increase. These cases are often not investigated, which creates a culture of impunity.

Given the vital role of lawyers in the protection of the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights, L4L recommends the Committee to address the position of lawyers when reviewing the State Party’s implementation of the ICCPR. More specifically, L4L demands the Committee to include the following recommendations in its review to the Philippines:

[…]

The Philippines: 485 lawyers join SC plea for protection vs Badoy

30/09/22

Some 485 lawyers called on the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday to also take action on the social media attacks against their colleagues by former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) Spokesperson Lorraine Marie T. Badoy.

The 485 lawyers who signed the letter lauded the SC for issuing a stern warning against those who incite violence against judges and their families and informing the public that they could be cited in contempt of court.

“We look forward to the specific action that the Honorable Court will finally take on the matter to exact accountability from Ms. Badoy and others,” the 485 lawyers led by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said in a letter addressed to Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo and the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court.

“We also hope that the Court will address Ms. Badoy’s attacks against human rights lawyers, which were part of her attacks against Judge Malagar,” they added.

Manila Regional Trial Court Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar became the subject of a social media post by Badoy after she dismissed the government’s bid to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist organization.

In her post, she called Magdoza-Malagar an “idiot judge” who lawyers for the CPP-NPA. She also made a hypothetical situation about her “killing” the judge, but she can beg for leniency because it was done because of her political belief. The post has been deleted and denied.

[…]

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/29/22/chief-justice-gesmundo-sc-serious-in-protecting-judges

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/846539/sc-urged-to-address-badoy-s-attacks-vs-human-rights-lawyers/story/

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/09/25/2212171/attack-rule-law-judiciary-judges-group-backs-red-tagged-colleague

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-63056898

The Philippines/USA: New York City Bar Association condemns attack on Cebu lawyer

24/09/22

The group urges the new government ‘to take all measures necessary to ensure that legal professionals are able to fulfill their professional obligations safely and without impediment’

The New York City Bar Association (NYCBA) has condemned the attempted assassination of Cebu Port Authority lawyer Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales.

“The New York City Bar Association joins the international community in condemning the attempted assassination of Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales and fears that it may be a harbinger of things to come,” the NYCBA said in a statement.

“As the CHR’s reference to ‘the continuing violence against legal professionals’ indicates, the recent attempt on the life of Quiñanola-Gonzales is by no means an isolated instance,” it added, noting the number of killings of members of the legal profession in the country during the administration of Rodrigo Duterte.

Gonzales and her son, Keith Gonzales, were driving near Hernan Cortes Street in Barangay Tipolo when they were ambushed by motorcycle-riding men.

Mandaue City police have identified the gunman behind the attack as 42-year-old swimming instructor Richard Basalo Delibo.

Lieutenant Colonel Franco Rudolf Oriol, deputy city director for operations of the Mandaue City Police Office, said they filed a complaint for two counts of frustrated murder against Delibo with the City Prosecutor’s Office on Friday, September 16.

[…]

https://www.nycbar.org/media-listing/media/detail/attempted-assassination-of-philippine-lawyer-karen-quinanola-gonzales

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/844042/ibp-calls-for-protection-of-lawyer-son-after-cebu-attack/story/

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/03/22/nupl-urges-swift-probe-on-lawyers-ambush-in-cebu

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/09/12/philippines-strong-un-rights-council-action-needed

https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/09/philippines-un-human-rights-report-looks-new-administration-progress

The Philippines: Cebu Port Authority lawyer, son ambushed in Mandaue

02/09/22

A lawyer at the Cebu Port Authority and her son were rushed to a hospital after they were ambushed by unidentified gunmen Thursday evening in Mandaue City.

According to the Mandaue City Police Office, Karen Quiñanola-Gonzales was driving with her 19-year-old son along Hernan Cortes Avenue in Barangay Banilad when the incident happened.

Authorities said the suspects were riding in tandem.

Investigators are establishing the motive of the ambush.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Friday condemned the crime committed against the lawyer on the first day of the rule of law month.

“We call for the swift delivery of justice against all those who do harm and destroy the common good,” the IBP said in a statement.

“We enjoin everyone to work together with us to protect the rights of every person and secure the safety of our community,” it also said. “When we allow, by our inaction or apathy, for violence to flourish, we dim the future of our country.”

The IBP added that its Cebu City chapter will give a reward of ₱50,000 to anyone who can give information leading to the capture of the suspects and all those who may have a hand in the crime.

https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/9/2/Cebu-Port-Authority-lawyer-ambush-Mandaue.html

https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/02/22/lawyer-son-ambushed-in-mandaue

The Philippines: Justice Department charges 4 nuns, a lawyer, others for “financing” CPP-NPA

22/08/22

The Department of Justice (DOJ) indicted 16 individuals including four nuns from the Rural Missionary of the Philippines (RMP) and a lawyer for allegedly providing funds to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.

In a hearing before the Iligan City Regional Trial Court, the 16 individuals were charged with the violation of Section 8 of RA 10168 or the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012. This is a non-bailable offense, has a punishment of reclusion perpetua or 40 years imprisonment, and a fine ranging from P500,000 to P1 million.

Mico Clavano, of the Office of the Justice Secretary, withheld the copy of the resolution to the media, citing privacy.

The charge was based on the investigation made by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on RMP’s bank accounts and the testimonies of two individuals who claimed to be former communist rebels. On February 11, 2020, the AMLC ordered a freeze on three of RMP’s bank accounts on the same basis.

RMP is a national, non-profit organization of priests, nuns, and lay workers that provides service to poor communities of farmers, indigenous people, fisher folks, and agricultural workers that has existed for 53 years. It has not been designated as a terrorist group and has consistently denied accusations by state security forces of being a communist front organization.

Also charged is Aldeem Yañez, a lay worker of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, who was arrested during Palm Sunday this year in Cagayan de Oro.

The DOJ’s move was slammed by several groups and individuals including the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).

NUPL’s national auditor, lawyer Czarina “Dingkay” Golda Musni, was one of those indicted. Musni also serves as the Secretary General of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao.

[…]

DOJ to charge four nuns, a lawyer, others for “financing” CPP-NPA

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/topstories/nation/841920/nupl-defends-lawyer-15-others-vs-terrorism-financing-charge/story/

https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/8/9/filipino-lawyer-angelo-guillen-human-rights-award.html

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/08/09/2201404/young-rights-lawyer-receives-us-based-roger-baldwin-medal-liberty

(TAGALOG)

https://es.postsus.com/noticias/982975.html (ESPANOL)

The Philippines: Lawyer endured years of vilification long before terror financing case

18/09/22

Lawyer Czarina Golda Musni comes from a prominent family of human rights lawyers in Cagayan de Oro, and was involved in some of the projects of missionaries for rural communities in Mindanao

The lawyer accused of providing aid to the New People’s Army (NPA) along with 15 nuns and staff of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR) has long been subjected to red-tagging, threats, and a smear campaign.

Her family’s home in Cagayan de Oro was even shot at by a still unidentified person three years ago.

The lawyer, Czarina Golda “Dingkay” Musni, comes from a prominent family of human rights lawyers in Cagayan de Oro, and was involved in some of the projects of the missionaries for rural communities in Mindanao.

Musni’s mother Beverly is a retired arbiter of the National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) while her father Oscar once served as a provincial board member in Misamis Oriental, and established a law firm in Cagayan de Oro.

Oscar was active in the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), and was a political detainee during the Martial Law years. 

Musni’s sister, Beverly Ann, is also a lawyer and works in a court in Bukidnon. Like the rest of the family, she had been red-tagged numerous times.

In 2019, Musni’s mother led a group in calling on the Cagayan de Oro city council to pass an ordinance against red-tagging in the city as a result of the proliferation of posters and flyers that linked lawyers, priests, nuns, journalists, and activists to the NPA. No such measure was ever passed.

[…]

https://www.philstar.com/opinion/2022/08/13/2202285/brave-deep-thinking-human-rights-lawyer

https://www.humanrightsfirst.org/press-release/filipino-human-rights-lawyer-angelo-guillen-honored-baldwin-medal-liberty

https://www.cnnphilippines.com/news/2022/8/9/filipino-lawyer-angelo-guillen-human-rights-award.html

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/08/09/2201404/young-rights-lawyer-receives-us-based-roger-baldwin-medal-liberty

The Philippines: BARMM rights lawyer escapes assassin’s bullets

06/08/22

Maguindanao provincial director of the Bangsamoro Human Rights Commission na si Atty. Ariff Lao, nakaligtas matapos pagbabarilin ang kanilang sasakyan matapos lamang itong bumili ng burger sa Sinsuat Avenue, bandang 7pm kanina.

Sa initial report, dalawang lalaking sakay ng motorsiklo ang dumating at pinaputukan si Lao subalit ito ay hindi tinamaan.

Kinumpirma ni Mayor Bruce Matabalao ang nasabing pangyayari.

Si Atty. Lao ay kamag anak ng asawa ni Mayor Matabalao.

“Luckily, his wife was unharmed,” Mayor Matabalao said.

The mayor said police have launched manhunt operation against the suspects who fled toward Gov. Gutierrez Avenue.

“He has no known enemies, he is very religious person, we are determining if the shooting was work related,” Matabalao said, adding that he has no sensational human rights case as of now.

“I believed in the capability of the police, we leave to them to take the necessary action,” he added in the vernacular.  

Investigation continues.

[…]

https://www.ndbcnews.com.ph/news/barmm-human-rights-lawyer-escapes-assassins-bullets

https://www.thedailybeast.com/philippines-lawyer-john-albert-laylo-shot-dead-next-to-his-mom-in-philadelphia-uber

https://fr.postsus.com/nouvelles/861022.html (FRANCAIS)

The Philippines/USA: Visiting Pinoy lawyer shot in Philadelphia has died

19/06/22

PHILIPPINE authorities have asked Philadelphia police to speed up the investigation, and render justice to the family of a 36-year-old Filipino lawyer visiting from the Philippines, who died when unknown gunmen shot him and his mother while on their way to an airport Saturday.

The Filipino lawyer, whom authorities identified as John Albert “Jal” Laylo,  was first reported in critical condition after being hit in the head by one of six bullets fired at their Uber car, Consul General in New York Almer Cato reported.

Subsequently, however, “we have been informed that the victim has passed away,” said Cato.

“We are also in touch with police authorities in Philadelphia who informed us that the case is being investigated and that no arrests have been made so far,” he added. 

[…]

“Based on information gathered by the Consulate, Laylo and his mother, who were visiting relatives in Philadelphia, were on their way to the airport at around 4 a.m. to catch a flight to Chicago when shots were fired at Uber car they were riding in.”

[…]

Cato had earlier supported mass actions by the Filipino community in New York to protest dozens of attacks victimizing Filipinos in that area, a wave that has been tied to the series of so-called “hate crimes” against Asians and. To simply random assaults by an increasing number of homeless people with mental health problems.

Visiting Pinoy lawyer shot in Philadelphia has died, says DFA official

https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/pinoyabroad/dispatch/835378/visiting-pinoy-lawyer-lies-brain-dead-after-gun-attack-in-us/story/

https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1177035

The Philippines: IBP condemns attack on Cotabato City lawyer; PNP, NBI action sought

17/04/22

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Sunday condemned the attempt on the life of a lawyer in Cotabato City, and requested the Philippine National Police and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to provide protection.

The IBP, in a statement, said lawyers like Atty. Ronald Torres — who was on his way home when he and his driver were shot by unidentified gunmen — are given the “difficult task of striving for justice.”

“Apart from instilling fear and restlessness in the hearts and minds of his family, such an occurrence plainly subverts the administration of justice, which is one of the hallmarks of our free and civilized society,” said IBP.

This danger, the IBP said, may “unduly temper his zeal in representing his client to the fullest extent under the law.”

 “The IBP thus respectfully calls upon our law enforcement agencies, particularly the PNP and the NBI, to thoroughly investigate the matter, exact accountability, and all the more significantly, elevate state responsibility to guarantee that lawyers can do their job without fear of reprisal or violence.”

“The IBP stands beside Atty. Torres on his quest to bring the perpetrators to justice and in his fidelity to the oath he gave as a member of the bar,” it added.

Torres was on board his bullet-proof vehicle when gunmen opened at him and his driver. Both escaped unharmed.

Torres later said that he had no known enemies and believed the attempt on his life was work-related.

The Philippines: Elections must be ‘game-changing’ moment for human rights

06/04/22

Upcoming elections next month should be a game-changing moment for human rights in the Philippines, Amnesty International said today, as it released an eight-point agenda urging all Presidential candidates to ensure that the protection of human rights is a core part of their plans.

Following six years in which human rights significantly deteriorated and were repeatedly attacked by President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the 9 May elections should be a moment to dramatically change course.

“The forthcoming elections are set to be some of the most important in recent history, and we hope they will help pave the way for a radically different approach to human rights,” said Erwin van der Borght, Interim Regional Director for Amnesty International.

“Over the past six years, thousands of people, overwhelmingly poor, have been killed by the police and other armed individuals as part of the government’s so-called ‘war on drugs’. On top of this, there has been almost no justice and accountability. The next government must restore respect for human rights, including the right to life and due process, by urgently abandoning this murderous policy and instead adopting an approach to drugs that puts health and human rights at the centre.”

Across the country there has been a sharp increase in human rights violations and overwhelming impunity under the Duterte administration.

“Political activists, human rights defenders, Indigenous Peoples, lawyers and others critical of the authorities have been threatened, attacked, arbitrarily detained and killed either because they were accused of supporting the communist movement or because of their work to expose and condemn human rights violations.”

“In addition to ending these appalling attacks, the new government must tackle years of impunity, hold perpetrators of serious violations to account in fair trials and ensure long-awaited justice and reparations for thousands of victims. Human rights violations must not be swept under the rug for political expediency.”

[…]

https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/04/06/human-rights-watch-submission-universal-periodic-review-philippines

(FRANCAIS)