Urgent Appeal: The EJK of Gloria Capitan, HRD and president of the Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Lucanin (SNML) in Mariveles, Bataan
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Friday, 08 July 2016 12:44


July 7, 2016


Photo by Medical Action Group (MAG)

(PHILIPPINES) The extra-judicial killing of Gloria Capitan, human rights defender, environmental advocate and president of the people’s organization Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Lucanin (SNML) in Purok 2, Barangay Lucanin, Mariveles, Bataan.

ISSUES: Right to life; Access to Justice


Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the extra-judicial killing of Gloria Capitan, human rights defender, environmental advocate and president of the people’s organization Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Lucanin (SNML) in Purok 2, Barangay Lucanin, Mariveles, Bataan.


On July 1, 2016, at around 7:30 p.m., human rights defender, environmental advocate and president of the people’s organization Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Lucanin (SNML), Gloria Capitan, was gunned down by two unidentified men inside her business establishment in Purok 2, Barangay Lucanin, Mariveles, Bataan. She died of multiple gunshot wounds shortly before arriving at the hospital.

Present on the night of Capitan’s death was her cousin Hermina Jordan, a waitress named “Grace”, and her two grandchildren, Angel Capitan, and Jerson Capitan. According to the witnesses, Capitan had just opened her videoke business and was cutting recycled foil wrappers for a project when two unidentified men riding a motorcycle parked near the door. One of them entered the establishment and shot her four times.

Jordan, who was helping with the foil wrappers, was sitting directly in front of Capitan while Angel and Jerson were singing at the videoke about three yards from where Capitan was sitting. “Grace” was standing next to Capitan and, thinking that they were customers, had asked the men for their orders. According to the four, one of the men went directly to Capitan who was sitting on a plastic chair with her back to the entryway of the establishment. The man then allegedly wrapped his left arm around Capitan’s shoulder and shot her. According to Angel and Jerson, the first shot did not fire but was immediately followed by three more shots. The second hit Capitan on the neck; the third shot, which Capitan tried to block hit her arm, and the fourth was fired as the gunman was exiting and its slug hit Jerson Capitan on the right arm.

According to Jordan, none of them were able to shout for help since the incident happened very fast (less than 5 minutes estimate). It was only after the men left that she was able to stand and catch Capitan before she fell off her chair. Jordan also shouted for Capitan’s family, the two grandchildren began to scream and “Grace” allegedly went into shock.

According to Capitan’s grandchildren, the gunman was wearing a yellow handkerchief with “x” patterns around his face, a black cap with the visor to the back of his head, a dark jacket and maong pants, while the other man who drove the motorcycle was wearing a black helmet, dark sweater and pants as well. This was later verified by Ernesto Hatol and Sandra Cabuso, neighbors who both allegedly saw the men pass by the road on the way to the videoke business.

Last Updated on Friday, 08 July 2016 12:52
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines’ position on the proposed restoration of death penalty
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Thursday, 02 June 2016 18:05

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) reiterates its strong opposition to the planned restoration of death penalty with the following reasons:

1.    Death Penalty does not eliminate crime

When death penalty was implemented in 1994 crimes punishable by death persisted. As long as justice system fails to render fair and effective prosecution, occurrence of crime will continue and death penalty will not be a deterrent.  

Scientific research failed to prove that death penalty deters crime and has any significant impact on the incidence of crime.

2.    Implementation of death penalty law bears several flaws

The study conducted in 2001 – 2002 by the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) shows that 2/3 of death row inmates are poor and those who cannot afford to pay a legal counsel. They relied on the free legal services offered by the government. Thus, death penalty will be biased against the poor.

And because torture still persists even with RA9745 or the Anti-Torture Law, there will always be great possibility of suspects being forced and compelled to admit the crime.

Based from the review of death penalty cases from 1995 to 1999 conducted by the Supreme Court, they admitted that two out of three death sentences were erroneous and since death penalty is irreparable, the sanctions deprives the offender to improve and do good in the society.

3.    Death penalty is a violation of person’s right to life

Death penalty is a violation of a person’s right to life which is non-derogable, that is, they cannot be suspended even in a state of emergency.  Article 4(2) of the

International Covenant on Civil Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that no derogation to right to life is permitted.

Philippines is signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and has ratified ICCPR and is obliged to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.
Last Updated on Thursday, 02 June 2016 18:06
Paramilitary groups, impunity….the entrenched legacies of martial law
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Wednesday, 23 September 2015 16:43
Paramilitary groups, impunity….the entrenched legacies of martial law
Photo by Rapha-El Olegario

More than nine months for the Aquino administration term end, his administration will be remembered for lost ground on important measures ofbreaking impunity which is the entrenched legacy of martial law, said the Medical Action Group Inc. (MAG), Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) on the 43rd commemoration of Martial Law.

The harassments and killings of human rights defenders are on the rise in the country. Based on the documentation by the MAG and TFDP under its “Human Rights Defenders (HRDs) Protection project”, since September 2013, there are 34 cases of harassment, intimidation and extra judicial killings committed to HRDs. Most of them are resisting land grabbing, mining and other development aggression projects.

“These incidents are part of a growing pattern of criminalization of human rights work and alleged human rights violations committed against human rights defenders in the country that must be broken before it escalates beyond control,” Edeliza P. Hernandez, MAG Executive Director said.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 16:47
Protect our common home, unite towards ecological justice!
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Tuesday, 01 September 2015 13:30

August 31, 2015

Protect our common home, unite towards ecological justice!

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?”[1]

By the way current and dominant systems and attitudes stand, faith without actions might not be enough to save individuals, but the planet in its entirety as well.

Primarily driven by climate change, an ecological crisis is manifesting itself through extreme weather events, droughts, ocean acidification, and food and water crisis. Such was reflected in the unities made in the National Conference on the Integrity of Creation last July 29-31 in Manila.  This re-echoes Pope Francis’ call and Encyclical “Laudato Si” for a new, universal solidarity to address our urgent task to protect our common home.

In response to these pressing realizations, we, members of the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement, representing the growing faith-based movements and networks within the country and across the globe in the fight for climate justice, enjoin people of all faiths and beliefs to share in the collective responsibility of addressing the ecological crisis.

Amid the numerous impacts primarily being experienced by the poor and most vulnerable people in different countries, there is not a more opportune time than now in acting and standing against a system that utilizes and promotes the exploitation of natural and environmental resources for it to survive. Allowing this system of exploitation to continue only disparages the integrity of all creation and widens the gap between the rich and the poor, instead of encouraging compassion and cooperation.

It is in this light that we acknowledge and declare climate change, including all acts of environmental destruction and exploitation that come along with and as a result of it, as a crosscutting issue that transcends religion, culture, science, and politics. As we ready ourselves for the battle for our common home before us, we call on everyone to prepare and put on a full armor that will enable us to stand and not lose hope in this decisive fight.

The belt of moral, historical and scientific truths

The ecological and climate crisis not only requires our faith-based responses but also a science-driven discourse as well. Instead of contradicting each other, empirical data has supported and complemented what our faith has taught us to do: become good and caring stewards of all creation or face dire consequences.

According to the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report, more people will become poorer because of climate impacts, particularly its effects on agriculture. Armed with this knowledge, it is utterly irresponsible and immoral, to turn a blind eye to the cry of the poor which is now one with the cry of the earth.

The window for keeping global temperature to prevent catastrophic effects – below 1.5 degrees – is rapidly closing. If current trends and carbon emissions continue, the planet is destined for a 4°C or even 5°C rise in global average temperatures. The potential consequences of this temperature rise are unimaginable, considering the various impacts being experienced right now with a 0.8°C increase in temperature.

Upon knowing these truths, it is imperative that immediate actions and efforts be undertaken in order to generate an alternative future that is far from the grim picture being predicted and presented to us.

The breastplate of moral righteousness and social justice

The fight for climate justice is not merely an act of kindness or goodwill. It is our moral obligation to ensure that no rights are trampled upon and no duty is forgotten. We must take it upon ourselves the valiant task of securing and protecting people’s right to energy, to sufficient, healthy, and appropriate food, water, and livelihood, and to the security of possessions and homes from climate impacts.

This task enjoins that local, national, and international institutions to fulfill their roles and duties to the people. Transparency and accountability, especially in the area of finance, are crucial in transforming our market-oriented and profit-driven system into a people-centered and poor-friendly system that exhibits the concept of common good.

This task also means building climate-resilient and stronger communities to protect the most vulnerable members of our society who do not have the means and the ways to adapt to the changing climate by themselves. Strengthening adaptation measures are more than charity; they are the means by which we safeguard the lives and rights of all people regardless of their social and economic status. Their protection rests in our hands as a movement and as members of the same human race.

With private and transnational corporations continuously neglecting this notion of common good, it should nowe become our common responsibility to remind them that the earth and its resources are finite and therefore, more sustainable practices and means to meet all people’s needs must be employed.

The shield of faith

The enormity in scale of the fight for climate justice is less frightening when viewed through the lens of faith. No matter how ambitious or bold our intentions and actions may seem, we are still emboldened to speak out and act in the belief that in these collective voices and actions will our faith be made full.

Every victory, no matter how small or short-term, leads us closer and closer to the ultimate goal of transforming the system that is currently ushering us towards catastrophic climate change. It is in these little victories that we gather the hope and encouragement we need that will enable us to fight the good fight of faith and finish the race.

This global crisis is as much a spiritual crisis as it is an environmental and political crisis. As an inter-faith movement, it is only fair and just that we humbly recognize and acknowledge the faults and failures that we have committed to the environment as well. It is by beginning with genuine repentance and desire for change will we be able to achieve authentic ecological conversion that will be by all and for all, and produce the fruit of love for the environment and our fellow creations.

Protect our common home, unite towards ecological justice!

Armed with these necessary tools, the Ecological Justice Interfaith Movement boldly urges relevant institutions of all creeds and all countries to unite towards a renewed appreciation of our common role as stewards of the environment and keepers of our neighbors.

We enjoin the people of developed countries of the North to heed the call of the brothers and sisters in the developing South: to base their commitment to cut emissions and fund climate justice efforts on a centralized, historically-responsible assessment of their vast contributions to the ecological crisis.

We enjoin the Philippine government to side and stand in solidarity with the poor, vulnerable communities it claims to represent. It must not use the faith and resilience of character Filipinos have to justify its shortcomings in responding to their need for food, land, water and livelihood, as well as just adaptation measures.

The Philippine government must also be the leader in holding developed countries accountable for their environmental faults, not settling for loans and rhetoric but just reparations for the damage the country continually sustains.

Finally, we demand all governments of the world, as well as international funding institutions to stop investing on fossil fuels and begin the transition to a more sustainable, more ecologically-responsible and socially just renewable energy system.

The path to deliverance always begins with the admission of faults, justice and a renewed paradigm. This is also true in the context of ecological justice. Whether in small acts in our community or in the systemic ways of life we utilize as nations and as a species: our beliefs, our faith must reflect in our actions. Through this, we preserve not only our own integrity, but the integrity of the rest of creation.

Protect our common home!
Preserve the integrity of creation!
Unite towards ecological justice now!

Fr. Dexter Toledo
ECOJIM Chairperson

[1] James 2:14 New International Version.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 13:34
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