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Campaigns on Political Prisoners
Statement of Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie on the first anniversary of his arrest and incarceration as a human rights defender
On Political Prisoners
Monday, 14 January 2013 11:20

 

LETTER FROM PRISON

January 14, 2013

Davao City Jail

Maa, Davao City, Philippines

 

 

STATEMENT OF TEMOGEN “COCOY” TULAWIE ON THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY OF HIS ARREST AND INCARCERATION AS A HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER

 

 

Dear Friends, Comrades, Supporters and Fellow Human Rights Defenders,

 

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh!

 

Cocoy_Tulawie_HRD_smallExactly one year ago, January 14, 2012 just at the stroke of midnight, I was with my two sons, Eeman, (17 years old) and Ameer (13 years old) in a rented house at Catalunan Grande, Davao City when combined elements of the Regional Special Action Force and Regional Intelligence Unit of the Philippine National Police led by PSupt. Fernando Ortega forcibly broke in the door in order to arrest me.  As the assaulting team was still alighting their vehicles, I already noticed them from inside the house and I immediately turn on the lights.  The men were in full combat attire, with long high-powered firearms, bullet-proof vests and laser night vision googles as they were under strict orientation that I am a highly dangerous target who possessed bombs and weapons.

 

There was still every chance for me to escape but I did not consider that option as it will just cause unnecessary commotion in the already quiet and sleeping neighbourhood.    I peacefully submitted myself to the arresting team who then brought me to the Davao Medical Center for physical check-up which is a standard operating procedure.

 

Due to direct threats against my life, I had been running the life of a fugitive since I left my hometown in Sulu in 2009.  Since then, I had been sensibly imagining the day of my arrest and have also psychologically prepared my two sons, Eeman and Ameer, on what they should do when that event will actually happen.  Both of them have clear instructions whom to call on, what to do, how to conduct themselves when I will be arrested.  We had been talking about this fateful event for several times.  But even with the amount of preparation, nothing in my imagination actually prepared me for that day.  The first thing that crossed my mind was what if they will summarily execute me.  The Philippine state is notorious in its record for summary execution and political killings and Davao in particular is also infamous for the Davao Death Squad and so the idea that I may never even reach the nearest police station scared me like hell.  I tried so hard to maintain presence of mind and engaged the arresting team members in a conversation.  I asked them to bring me to the nearest police station so they can duly record the conduct of my arrest into the police blotter.  I recalled this standard operating procedure being taught in our past human rights seminars and I have never realized until such time that such procedure could spell life and death for a person in custody.

 

I was fortunate enough that the arresting team led by Col. Ortega faithfully observed the procedures in conducting arrest and dutifully brought me to the Talomo Police Station.  After that, I was brought to the Davao Medical Center for physical examination.  There, I pleaded with Col. Ortega to return back to my house in order to check on the situation of my two minor children and to give them access to my whereabouts.  Without hesitation, the good officer went back and was able meet my two lawyers who were already in the house frantically calling all police stations and military camps for my whereabouts.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 January 2013 11:40
 
Call for solidarity action online on Jan 14
On Political Prisoners
Sunday, 13 January 2013 21:46
ADVISORY
Invitation to a Web Activity
For the first year anniversary of Cocoy Tulawie's detention,
Let us protest using the social media
against the inadequacy of legal remedies afforded to Cocoy,
against the snail-paced movement of the judicial system;
against the human rights violations committed against a Defender.
DEFENDERS MUST BE DEFENDED!!
We invite the members of your organization to wear YELLOW on January 14, 2013,
Take a group photo, and post it on the
Freecocoy Tulawie Facebook Page!https://www.facebook.com/pages/Free-Cocoy-Tulawie-Protect-Human-Rights-Defender/156790421097626
CALL FOR SOLIDARITY ACTION ONLINE ON JAN 14
Lahat ng tao’y may karapatan, mag-isa man o kapisan ang iba, na itaguyod at magsikap para sa pagtatanggol at pagsasakatuparan ng mga karapatang pantao at mga saligang kalayaan sa pambansa at pandaigdigang antas.
-UN Declaration on human rights defenders
FREE_COCOY_copy_small
---------------
ADVISORY
Invitation to a Web Activity
For the first year anniversary of Cocoy Tulawie's detention,
Let us protest using the social media
against the inadequacy of legal remedies afforded to Cocoy,
against the snail-paced movement of the judicial system;
against the human rights violations committed against a Defender.
DEFENDERS MUST BE DEFENDED!!
We invite the members of your organization to wear YELLOW on January 14, 2013,
Take a group photo, and post it on the
 
A LETTER FROM PRISON By: Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie
On Political Prisoners
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:23

A LETTER FROM PRISON

By: Temogen “Cocoy” Tulawie

 

December 9, 2012

 

Dear Fellow Human Rights Defenders, Peace Advocates and Friends of the Bangsamoro people,

Assalamu Alaikum Warrahmatullahi Wabarakatu!

pps_day_poster5_copyI am writing from my prison here at the Davao City Jail where I had been confined for 332 days since my arrest last January 13, 2012. I join all of you in the observance of International Human Rights Day as we renew our universal commitment to respect, promote and defend human rights of all people everywhere in the world.

From the confines of my prison, my thoughts and prayers have never left my homeland in Sulu which is admittedly centuries-old behind from the significant gains of the human rights movement since the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. My current incarceration speaks eloquently of the human rights situation in my beloved homeland. If I come to think of it, I may even be more free inside my jail than my fellow brothers and sisters who could not speak up freely of what is really happening inside our tiny, embattled island. Like my imprisonment, my people are also living in a garrison controlled by warlords who are incidentally the government of the day. Sulu today is like a big prison where people could hardly speak up and criticize due to dire powerlessness amidst a culture of impunity.

It is a known fact that in Sulu, nobody will dare stand for human rights for fear that they will end up like Cocoy Tulawie, who is now languishing in jail, vanished and forgotten. Sige ka, magiging Cocoy ka, is the lesson that mothers are teaching their sons for fear that if young people will fight and stand for human rights, like Cocoy, they will also be punished and forgotten.

What is the message that my current imprisonment conveys to our people? That it is simply foolish to be a human rights defender in Morolandia. That after all, human rights is not universal as it could never apply to Sulu. That it is wiser to keep quiet and submit to the oppressor if only to stay alive. But even those who remain silent are not also spared. No one is spared from the violence, summary killings, mass arrests, indiscriminate bombings, kidnappings, and gang rapes. If you are lucky to survive it all, surely, a neighbour, a child, a sibling or a loved one will not be spared. One way or the other, we are all victims.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:27
 
Rights groups commemorate Political Prisoners’ Day
On Political Prisoners
Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:15

Rights groups commemorate Political Prisoners’ Day

Call on Government to stand by its commitment to look into the plight of Political Prisoners in the country

pps_day_poster8_copy

On the occasion of human rights week, rights group Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) commemorates its annual Political Prisoners’ Day in December 7, 2012 at the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa. Together with other human rights groups and 58 victims of political incarceration in NBP, they reiterate their call for President Benigno Aquino III to release all political prisoners.

 

According to Emmanuel Amistad, Executive Director of TFDP, the Aquino government has yet to prove its sincerity fifteen months after last year’s dialogue in response to the hunger strike undertaken by political prisoners.

 

“More than one year after the hunger strike for freedom and human rights, brought about by the death of Tatay Umbrero, the political prisoner who suffered and died in lung cancer, the government has not fulfilled any of its commitment,” Amistad lamented.

 

The political prisoners’ hunger strike that took place during President Aquino’s 2011 State of the Nation Address was lifted after almost two months when the Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) went into a dialogue with human rights groups.

 

DOJ committed to reactivate the Presidential Committee on Bail Recognizance and Parole (PCBREP), an interagency created during the former President Fidel V. Ramos term tasked to evaluate releases for alleged political offenders.

 

Former President Joseph Estrada continued its existence and it was again reactivated under former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo that eventually released eight political prisoners in her last term of office.

 

Secretary Leila De Lima assigned Usec. Francisco Baraan to lead PCBREP.

“We were informed that last October PCBREP recommended five political prisoners for release. Until now their papers are pending and we fear that it will be on hold especially with government’s attitude towards the issue. We are referring to Presidential Spokesperson Lacierda’s statement that there are no political prisoners in the country,” said Amistad.

 

“TFDP has documented more than 300 political prisoners and detainees languishing in jails nationwide.  We challenge PNoy and Secretary De Lima to stand by their commitment.  Release all victims of political incarceration,” Amistad concluded.

 

TFDP is a national human rights organization founded in 1974 by the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP).
Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 December 2012 11:20
 
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