SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
[Update: Campos released to custody of local governor.]
Reference: Rupert Estanislao, chair
The San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP) is outraged to hear of the recent arrest of 55-year-old [not 45 as earlier reported by the media) Lumad tribal leader, Jalandoni Campos, by officers of the Philippine National Police (PNP) outside the radio station of SURE FM after giving an interview to a local radio program on March 23rd in Tandag City, Surigao del Sur.
“The arrest of Campos is completely unjustified and utterly bankrupt,” exclaimed SF CHRP chair Rupert Estanislao, “This is but another example of many under the current tenure of the Aquino regime, in where indigenous leaders and community organizers are being targeted, harassed, and illegally detained by those in authority without any sort of due process.”
Under the Aquino regime, since July 2010, there have been over 170 cases of activists (mainly associated with the national democratic movement) who have been targeted by the state and illegally arrested and detained on trumped up and fictitious charges as well as 14 cases of enforced disappearances in where the person was illegally abducted by state forces and has yet to have been surfaced. The PNP have claimed, without any evidence to back up their arrest, that Campos, a well known tribal leader in his area, was actually a member of the communist New People’s Army (NPA) and participated in a raid on a police station in Lianga on April 28th, 2011.
“President Aquino, and his barking dogs at the PNP, have consistently used the practice of ‘red-tagging,’ labeling people as communists or NPA members, to harass and silence community leaders and activists,” said Estanislao. “This despicable practice only shows the moral bankruptcy of Aquino and his lackeys in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the PNP, and actually shows that they are petrified by any attempt to criticize them for their shortcomings. Instead of illegally harassing community organizers and labeling them as NPA, the Aquino regime should listen to the concerns of the vast majority of the Filipino people, not target and silence them.”
Campos himself is the chair of Marihatag, Surigao del Sur, Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU), a member of the Mindanao Lumad alliance Kalumaran, and was doing work for the progressive indigenous partylist Katribu. Campos is now the 14th person in the Caraga region to have been illegally arrested and detained on trumped up charges by the Aquino regime.
“The only activity that could have drawn the venomous ire of the PNP that Campos was doing was in organizing his own people against destructive large-scale mining and terroristic AFP military operations in his region,” explained Estanislao. “In cooperation with large mining corporations and in an effort to try and stamp out any resistance within the Lumad population to these projects in Surigao del Sur, the AFP spearheaded the forced massive evacuations of the Lumad people in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011. Because of his concerted effort to serve the people and resist these blatant and widespread human rights violations, Campos was targeted by the cowardly and inept Aquino regime and was arrested by the PNP.”
SF CHRP is calling on the Aquino regime to cease and desist in allowing, and perpetrating, the widespread practice of red-tagging and in the use of trumped up charges against national democratic activists and community leaders. SF CHRP is also calling for the immediate release of Campos and for all his unfounded and unjust charges to be dropped, and for the Department of Justice to do its job in investigating the real perpetrators of human rights abuses, which is the AFP, and the multinational mining conglomerates operating with Mindanao.