‘revolutionary government’ is nothing but dictatorship
A Press Statement by the Movement
October 15, 2017
Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s
idea of a “revolutionary government” is nothing else but the one-man
dictatorship that he has been repeatedly dreaming of since last
Duterte merely wants to
concentrate all governmental power to himself as president. He wants
to further dismantle whatever little is left of the system of checks
and balances provided by a rubber stamp Congress, a Supreme Court
dominated by his and former Pres. Arroyo’s appointees, and easily
intimidated Constitutional bodies like the Office of the Ombudsman
and Commission on Human Rights.
He aims to further
intimidate the critical press and overwhelm social media with his
fake news-churning troll army.
Worse, in order to impose
his “revolutionary” regime on the people, he will have to declare
martial law nationwide, He will have to ban all forms of public
criticism and dissent: protest rallies, strikes, political
demonstrations of any kind, not even cultural shows, art works or
social media posts. There will be wide-scale and utter disregard for
due process, human rights and civil liberties.
Meanwhile, the same old
oligarchic interests will remain, with Duterte’s family and friends
as the favored cronies. The same old kowtowing to foreign interests.
The same old corruption and criminality except cornered by the
Duterte clique, the Davao group and even the ascendant mafia in the
illegal drugs business.
Marcos tried the same
thing before, resulting in 14 years of cronyism, plunder of the
national treasury and economy and wholesale human rights violations
of the worst kind.
The Movement Against
Tyranny denounces Duterte’s so-called “revolutionary government” as
nothing less than the usurpation of all powers to impose one-man
rule and trample on the people’s democratic rights. We will not be
cowed. We will not be silenced.
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
October 11, 2017
THIS is no gratuitous,
baseless pursuit. We are not indulging in some fantasy when we exert
the effort to make Christ alive in us. In the first place, because
Christ himself is alive. He continues to be with us and is, in fact,
actively intervening in our lives. We are not in some make-believe
It’s us who have the
problem since we tend to ignore him. It’s the same problem once
articulated by St. Augustine: “You were with me, but I was not with
you.” And even the things around all point to us about Christ’s
constant interventions in our lives. Still, we fail to be aware of
Christ, of course, died,
but then he rose again, never to die again. And even if he rose
again, he after so many days ascended into heaven. He should not be
around anymore. But, no, he continues to be here, this time in the
Let’s remember that before
he went up to heaven, he promised the coming of the Holy Spirit who
would bring to us everything that Christ did and said. More than
that, the Holy Spirit brings Christ alive in us.
This is how God works. The
entire trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is
involved in this continuing divine effort to bring us back to where
we came from – that is, from God himself in whose image and likeness
we have been created. And God in his work cannot be frustrated
despite the mess we make.
We just have to exercise
our faith to the hilt. With it we enter into a reality that goes
beyond what we simply can see and touch and understand. With it we
can feel at home even with mysteries which, by the way, abound in
our life since we are not confined only to the sensible and material
realities. Our world includes the spiritual and the supernatural.
Exercising our faith means
constantly dealing with the Holy Spirit. Dealing with the Holy
Spirit involves certain requirements, like deepening our knowledge
of the truths of our faith by meditating on the gospel, studying the
catechism, following the teachings of the Pope, etc.
It also involves constant
spiritual struggle against our weaknesses, temptations and sins. It
certainly involves developing virtues so that we gradually can be
more perceptive of the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Also indispensable is the
recourse to the sacraments which are the very channels of grace that
Christ himself instituted so that his presence and the effectiveness
of his redemptive work on us can be perpetuated till the end of
This is how we can make
Christ alive in us, Christ who will always understand us even if we
many times fail him. We just have to do our part, and do it as best
as we can, even to the point of heroism and martyrdom. This, in
fact, is also the extent Christ does to reach us and to save us.
If we correspond actively
to what Christ has done for us, we in the Holy Spirit can truly
manage to make Christ alive in us. It is really just a matter of
being consistent with our faith that brings with it the other
virtues of hope and charity. In that way, we would be dealing with
the Holy Spirit who will bring Christ to us alive.
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
September 30, 2017
THE secret is to follow
Christ. He himself said so. “If you want to follow me, deny
yourself, carry the cross and follow me.” (Mt 16,24) We need to be
most familiar with this very useful formula in our life and try our
best to live by it.
The self-denial asked by
Christ is not of the kind that leads us to our self-annihilation.
Far from it. It will rather lead us to our self-fulfillment. It is
asking that instead of our own selves, we should have Christ as the
center of our attention always, the very core and substance of our
consciousness. We need, of course, to exercise our faith to live by
this divine indication.
And the reason is simple.
Christ is the very pattern of our humanity in its original state and
the redeemer of our damaged humanity. It’s him in whom we can have
our ultimate fulfillment, our true and lasting joy and peace. That’s
why Christ said he is “the way, the truth and the life” for us. We
cannot go to God, our Father and creator, except through him.
We have to be wary of
certain ideologies, cultures and lifestyles that tend to replace
Christ as the cause of our self-fulfillment. Sad to say, these
appear to be proliferating these days. We have to learn to do battle
The self-denial asked by
Christ will obviously require a lot of effort and sacrifice. That’s
because we have to contend with our tremendous tendency to stick to
our own selves – our own ideas, desires, ambitions, etc. Besides,
this tendency is constantly reinforced now by the many allurements
of the world, not to mention, the tricks and wiles of the devil
But again, we can be sure
that all this effort and sacrifice is all worth it. We need to do
everything to wean ourselves from our own selves and start to rely
on Christ completely. That absolute reliance on Christ does not
annihilate us. It will simply bring us to our most perfect and ideal
state. We should have no doubts or qualms in pursuing that ideal.
With Christ, we would know
how to use our powers and faculties properly. We would have a clear
idea of the real and ultimate purpose of our life here on earth.
With him, we somehow would know how to cope with all the possible
situations we can have here, including our problems, mistakes and
The self-denial asked by
Christ does not remove our involvement and engagement in our earthly
and temporal affairs. It simply puts them in the right context and
the right direction. We cannot deny that especially these days, we
are exposed to many and complicated distracting elements which we
have to learn to handle.
The self-denial asked by
Christ frees us from unnecessary baggage. It improves our vision and
understanding of things, and predisposes our heart to the real love
which can only be a sharing in God’s love and, therefore, our true
We therefore should not
have superfluous things, creating needs that are really not needs,
and thereby generating attachments that can be a hindrance in one’s
relation with God and with others.
How should the
work on the Asian Charter for Human Rights be carried forward?
BASIL FERNANDO, AHRC
September 22, 2017
The following is a
presentation made at a workshop organized by the Asian Human Rights
Commission and the May 18th Foundation (14-16th September 2017) on
the preparations for the 20th Anniversary of the Asian Human Rights
Charter 1998. This paper addresses the direction the Asian human
rights movement should take in order to contribute to the improved
enjoyment of rights in Asian countries.
The Asian Human Rights
Charter (hereinafter ‘the Charter’) was aimed at changing how human
rights work was conducted in developing countries. This remains
relevant to the context of most Asian countries, particularly
because of the lack of developed systems for the administration of
justice. The aim was to improve the actual realisation of human
rights by the people. The institutions and systems required for the
administration of justice are primarily the policing system, which
plays the vital role of investigating into human rights violations;
the prosecutions department, which is meant to call out violations
of the law; and the judiciary, which is meant to adjudicate
competently and impartially. All of these institutions and systems
had to undergo significant improvements;
How were we to do that?
That was what the Charter was meant to address.
The general human rights
movement engages in calling for inquiries into massacres and other
gross human rights abuses, and demands the prosecution of the
The Charter introduced the
approach of investigating into the actual capacities of the
institutions required for the administration of justice, in order to
discover the defects that prevent people from accessing their
rights. After establishing what was wrong with the system, the goal
was to then engage in work that could help to overcome these defects
and improve the enforcement of human rights.
For example, women in most
Asian countries are denied their rights to liberty, education and
equal opportunities for employment, and many suffer sexual abuse and
associated forms of violence. Why is it that the police,
prosecutions department and judicial system in their countries are
unable to protect the rights of women? Why can’t women travel in the
evenings and at night like men? Why are the police, prosecutions
department and the judiciary unable to ensure the rights of women to
move about in the way that men are able to move about? If the rights
of women are to be enforced, it is necessary to find out why the
institutions responsible for enforcing these rights have failed. In
the same manner, we can discuss other examples like the rights of
minorities, such as Dalits in South Asia. To discuss the rights of
women or other groups without discussing why the institutions of
justice fail them is to leave human rights purely as a dream or a
pie in the sky.
What the AHRC wanted to
suggest is that, in the same way that human rights groups advocate
fact-finding missions into massacres and other crimes, there must
also be fact-finding missions to discover the defects of the systems
of justice that deny people redress for crimes and deprive them of
their rights. Unfortunately while the human rights movement
advocates fact-finding missions into massacres, it is not a
mainstream practice to engage in fact-finding missions into problems
of the justice system. This may be because the issues about defects
of justice systems do not arise in developed countries under normal
circumstances. Therefore, human rights investigations are confined
to especially horrifying events and humanitarian catastrophes. This
piecemeal approach is not suitable for countries that do not have
the kind of institutional development that developed countries have
because the day-to-day practices that lead to such catastrophes
inevitably involve the administration of justice.
To be practical, let us
ask the following questions:
a) Can the human rights
movement engage in fact-finding missions with the view to make a
proper assessment of, for example, the state of judicial
independence in their countries? Can they look into the reasons why
impunity prevails while the judiciary claims that it is independent?
Is it because judicial officers are ill-educated or politically
influenced, or because they do not really appreciate the idea of
equality before the law? Or are there other reasons? If we know the
reasons, then we can address the issue of impunity and take
corrective actions to end it. Without this step, we will only be
forever complaining about impunity. Impunity will continue despite
such complaints. Ultimately, without the ability to understand the
changes that need to be made and then taking steps to change things,
the human rights movement could be seen as unable to show people
what it can really offer to improve lives.
b) We can also undertake
fact-finding missions into ineffective police investigation systems,
with the view to finding out why such incompetence, which often
leads to corruption, remains unchallenged. What are the causes of
this situation and what is the way to change it?
c) The same questions
could be raised about prosecutions, by undertaking similar
methodologies may vary. It could be similar to the fact-finding
missions into massacres. It could also be by way of extensive
documentation work into the attempts taken by victims to seek
justice and to find out why they have failed. It could also involve
academic forms of fact-finding. Whatever be the method, the ultimate
aim is to find the real causes of the defects in the system, with
the view to work towards overcoming these problems.
This whole approach calls
for a different type of activism. In assessing whether human rights
defenders are sufficiently equipped to do their expected tasks, we
must ask the questions that are raised above. There is no other way
for human rights defenders to be well equipped to do their work.
Can this last year before
the 20th anniversary of the Charter be the year in which we could
experiment with new approaches to fact-finding and other human
rights work, including advocacy and monitoring, which are directed
towards the improved knowledge, and thereby increase the capacity of
human rights defenders to improve their justice systems? This would
increase the practical usefulness of human rights work for the
people of their countries.
How can the advances that
have come about in modern technology be used for the above purpose
of fact-finding about justice system problems? And how could it
further improve methods of advocacy so that more people could be
influenced to undertake various types of functions as change makers?
Additionally, how can we learn about the negative uses of modern
technology, through which repressive states could use technology to
repress work for the advancement of human rights? And how could we
learn to counteract such methods?
Freedom of expression
being the key to the improvement of human rights, how could this
freedom be used for gaining and spreading a critical understanding
of the defects of justice systems? These defects obstruct the
enforcement of human rights, and it is important to develop ways to
give expression to these problems so that whole nations and the
international community could have a better understanding of the
local situations, and thereby be in a position to take effective
actions to overcome these problems.
Can we recondition
activists to expand their work beyond the limited methods that they
have gotten used to in accordance with earlier practices, and
thereby learn to develop more efficient ways of showing people that
their frustrations about human rights can in fact be explained, and
that, with a proper understanding of defective systems of justice,
actual improvements and even great changes could be brought about?
In short, can we envisage
a new form of activism and dynamism and create a new type of human
rights defender, one who does not merely talk about defending rights
but can really protect the rights of the people they are working
Make war to gain
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
August 29, 2017
WE have to understand the
proper relationship between war and peace. Christ himself who is the
prince of peace recommended a kind of warfare that we have to
undertake all the time. This can be gleaned from the following words
“Do not think that I have
come to bring peace upon the earth. I have come to bring not peace
but the sword…Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not
worthy of me…” (Mt 10,34 ff)
In another part of the
gospel, he also said: “From the days of John the Baptist until now,
the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent bear it
away.” (Mt 11,12)
We have to understand
though that to be violent in this sense does not mean to be
destructive but rather constructive, driven by love and the desire
to be united with God and with the others in a way proper to us as
children of God and brothers and sisters among ourselves.
Our life here on earth
cannot but be in some form of struggle. Aside from our innate urge
to grow and develop that requires some effort, we also have to
contend with enemies whose sole intent is precisely to bring us
down, to divert us from our proper path toward holiness.
We are not simply ranged
against natural difficulties, challenges and trials in life, but
rather with very powerful and subtle nemeses. The natural enemies
alone are already formidable.
But we still have enemies
tougher than these. As St. Paul said, “Our wrestling is not against
flesh and blood, but against principalities and power, against the
rulers of the world of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness
in the high places.” (Eph 6,12)
Truth is many people – in
fact, I would say all of us one way or another – are looking for
effective ways to develop our spiritual life and to be skillful in
the unavoidable spiritual warfare in this life.
People, including the
young ones whose stirring for the spiritual can be sharp and intense
if hidden, want to know, for example, how to pray, or how to keep it
going amid the many concerns in life. Getting engaged with God all
throughout the day eludes them.
They actually want to know
how to grow in the virtues but do not have ample support to pursue
the goals. For example, to remain chaste, if the interest still
flickers, remains an impossible dream.
They see glimpses of the
need for the cross, for sacrifices in this life, but they get
stalled if not hostaged by worldly distractions. Many want to get
out of their self-absorption, but no one helps them, giving them
ideas or simply encouraging them.
We need to find ways of
how to wage war to gain the peace that is proper to us. We have to
do a lot of personal apostolate based on friendship and confidence.
We should teach our friends in personal direction and confidential
chats how to wage this spiritual struggle in the concrete
environment they are in.
One clear principle to
follow here is to motivate them to truly fall in love with God and
with everybody else. That love has creative ways of waging war
against the enemies of God and of our soul.
Justice for Kian,
justice for all!
A press statement by
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN on the death of Kian delos Santos
August 26, 2017
BAYAN joins the nation in
grief and outrage over the death of Kian delos Santos. We march
today to bring Kian to his final resting place and to support the
call for justice for all victims of Duterte’s fascist drug war. We
call for accountability of the police officers directly involved in
the killings as well as accountability of the commander-in-chief who
sanctioned the killings.
President Duterte's war on
drugs is a war on the poor. It falsely claims to be a solution to
the proliferation of illegal drugs but targets mostly street-level
dealers and not the big criminal syndicates in and out of
government. The killings themselves corrupt the police force through
a system of quotas and financial rewards for police officers. Rather
than eliminating crime, Duterte's grotesque drug war has spawned new
crimes and encouraged impunity on an entirely new level.
Duterte's drug war is a
fascist non-solution to the problem of illegal drugs. So long as
corrupt bureaucrats and their criminal syndicate partners remain
untouched, and so long as poverty drives people to desperation, the
problem of illegal drugs cannot be decisively resolved. No
iron-fisted approach will succeed.
The brutality of the drug
war reflects the same fascist mentality and policies that have
resulted in the militarization of the countryside and gross human
rights violations against farmers, Lumad and Moro people. It is the
same fascist mindset that has resulted in abuses under Martial Law
and the US-led war on terror. Meanwhile, the shameless lying and
fabrication of evidence committed by the PNP in the case of Kian has
long been a practice of the police and the military when they file
trumped-up charges against activists.
The fight against impunity
is a shared struggle of all freedom-loving Filipinos. The murder of
Kian is an assault on all of us, especially the poor.
As Kian is laid to rest,
we call on the Filipino people to continue the fight against tyranny
and abuse, against fascism and impunity. We call on the people to
resist the fascist, US-backed Duterte regime.
Killing Kian: A
A press statement by
Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas - Karapatan Eastern Visayas chapter
August 21, 2017
The Worsening Cases of
Human Rights Violations Nationwide
The human rights situation
in the Philippines has become far worse than how it was in the first
quarter of President Duterte’s term as head of the Republic. Almost
10 months ago, Rodrigo Duterte shot out words that out-rightly
called on his military and police forces to run amok and kill people
who are implicated in the illegal drug trade even if it is in the
most remote of ways. His statements that tolerated extra-judicial
killings were taken as nothing short of formal policy and resulted,
10 months later into a total of 8000 victims of the administration’s
War on Drugs.
Now that Duterte has
completed a total of 14 months in office, his War on Drugs has
claimed more than 13000 civilians under the operations of the
Philippine National Police and their toleration of vigilante groups
wantonly wreaking havoc on urban poor communities.
Claiming the Lives of
Last August 18, a Grade 11
student by the name of Kian De Los Santos was killed in a police
operation meant to raid a drug den in a local village in Caloocan.
The operation took the life of Kian, who the PNP claimed was
implicated in drug-related activities and had presented earlier this
morning alleged collaborators and partners of the said 17-year old.
Amid the release of a CCTV
footage which showed how Kian was defenseless in the presence of
police officers who were visibly harassing him, the PNP still
claimed the police they were on the defensive when they shot Kian
whom they asserted “fought back” and “threatened” the security of
We call on all human
rights groups, organizations and formations to condemn the blatant
murder of Kian De Los Santos, who is one of many victims across the
entire nation who’s lives have been claimed by the police’s war
against the poor. There is also particular weight on the murder of
Kian because his is one of many cases where the police has been
implicated in the murder of minors, the youngest was that of a
4-year old girl in 2016 and a similar case of a 5-year old boy in
Pasay of the same year.
The War on Drugs in
In Eastern Visayas, there
have also been reports of extrajudicial killings committed by the
Philippine National Police. Just last August 16, a Kenneth Bertes
was killed in a police operation for being implicated in illegal
drug trade. According to the mother of Kenneth Bertes, the boy was
unarmed and defenseless against the police who were armed and
greater in number. In 2016, there were also similar cases of
reported extra-judicial killings committed on children belonging to
the urban poor communities of downtown Tacloban and near the airport
The mere fact that these
executions are taking place, not just in Caloocan but in different
parts of the country is evidence that the murder of Kian Delos
Santos is not an isolated case but a national phenomenon. And
despite the growing public clamor to end the killings, Duterte has
expressed support over the rise in the death toll. This is a clear
indication that the president no longer wants to represent what is
best for the people and operate within a framework of justice, from
this we can predict that the killings will persist and will worsen
throughout the rest of his term.
As a convener of the Rise
Up for Life and for Rights Alliance, we believe that human rights is
of paramount concern and must be upheld on all fronts.
JUSTICE FOR KIAN DELOS
SANTOS! JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF STATE FASCISM! STOP THE KILLINGS!
Never be afraid
to approach God
August 17, 2017
NOR be ashamed. Even if we
have offended him big time or find ourselves in a most shameful
condition, let’s never hesitate to approach God to ask for pardon or
any kind of help. God is always a Father whose only delight is to
love us all the way. He is ever ready for that, and, in fact, very
eager too. He will do everything to help us in any way.
This is what we learn from
the episodes of the Canaanite woman (cfr Mt 15,21-28), the official
whose daughter just died, and the woman suffering from hemorrhages
for 12 years. (cfr Mt 9)
In the case of the
official, Christ dropped everything to go to the house of that
official and along the way happened to help the woman also.
In the case of the woman,
it has to be noted that she was publicly regarded as an outcast. But
she was determined to approach Christ even secretly, and even if
only to touch Christ’s cloak.
“If only I can touch his
cloak, I shall be cured,” she said to herself. Her strong faith, her
confidence, her humility, all contributed to the granting of her
desire. “Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you,” Christ told
her. And she was cured.
Let’s take note that more
than just the cure of her hemorrhages, Christ told her she was
saved. Christ is more interested in the salvation of our sinful
soul, which is more important than in the cure of any health
In the case of the
Canaanite woman, Christ readily saw how great her faith was, and so
he relented even if at the beginning he ignored her. Christ was
simply testing her faith. And by so doing, he also showed that faith
can transcend and cross racial and cultural boundaries.
Let’s hope that we can
have the same attitude as the Canaanite woman, the official and the
sick woman. Let’s not delay in going to Christ by whom all our needs
are satisfied. Let’s have the same attitude, the same faith,
confidence and humility that these three characters had shown.
More than that, let’s also
show among ourselves the same attitude that Christ had toward these
three characters. Let’s be quick to help others, to understand them,
to be patient and merciful with them. Let’s develop a universal
heart that can accommodate everybody with love.
Let’s remember that we
have to like him, since as the Son of God, he is the very pattern of
our humanity, and as the Son of God who became man, he is our
redeemer who definitely resolves our earthly human predicament.
Let’s spend time
meditating on this wonderful truth about the fatherhood of God to us
in the hope that we can develop that intimate spirit of filiation to
him. Let’s remember that our divine filiation should be the
foundation of our relationship with God.
We are not just one more
creature of his. We are the masterpiece of the whole of his
creation. We are children of his, yes, in spite of the mess that we
can manage to create because of the misuse of our freedom.
We have to learn not to be
afraid of him, nor ashamed to approach him because of our
stupidities. The fear of the Lord, which is one of the gifts of the
Holy Spirit, is simply the fear of offending him, but not the fear
to approach him after we may have offended him.
God looks kindly on
sinners. The divine justice that our sins deserve does not undermine
at all the divine mercy he is always eager to give us. So, let’s
take heart, just like what Christ told the woman.