Even a lot worse this time inside Bicutan

Chelo Banal-Formoso’s September 25 Philippine Daily Inquirer article “Inside Bicutan in Time of Worse than Cholera” touched familiar cords in my memories of the time I was among the political prisoners in Camp Bagong Diwa during the Marcos martial law regime.

I was then twice confined here at Camp Bagong Diwa during that period – the first time sometime before her October 1978 visit to the detention center and the second time from 1982 up to the release of all political prisoners and the closing down of the detention center for political prisoners in Camp Bagong Diwa right after the February 1986 EDSA People Power.

About 30 years ago, the Marcos martial law regime was claiming to have supposedly already “normalized” the country’s situation, that accordingly necessitated the imposition of martial law in September 1972. In actual fact, the Marcos martial law regime was then still persisting with its fascist dictatorship.

The Marcos fascist dictatorship kept prating then that “there are no longer political prisoners in the country.” In actual fact, however, human rights organizations had then documented, with exact body count, the existence of some 750 political prisoners throughout the country.

About 75 of those 750 political prisoners were then confined at Camp Bagong Diwa. I was then among those 75.

Now, the Benigno S. Aquino III regime also keeps prating exactly the very same Marcos line that “there are no longer political prisoners in the country.” But, in actual fact, human rights organizations have been documenting the actual existence at present of about the same number (750) of political prisoners throughout the country.

One big difference now is that there are now some 450 of us, political prisoners,here in the same Camp Bagong Diwa, five times more than our number during the Marcos martial law regime.

Of these 450 political prisoners presently confined at Camp Bagong Diwa, are some 30 directly or indirectly related to the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) – including five of us, NDFP peace consultants – who have been arrested, tortured, swamped with trumped-up criminalized charges, and who continue to be detained, heavily repressed, restricted and deprived. All these, despite standing agreements with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) for our protection from surveillance, arrest, torture, detention, trumped-up prosecution and other repressive acts that would deter our effective participation and work in the peace process.

There are also some 50 Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) officers and forces, who have long been detained here (many of them for about or even more than a decade already), also on the basis of trumped-up criminalized charges. This, despite a peace agreement (the Comprehensive Agreement on Bangsamoro) already signed by the GPH and MILF about six months ago, and the recent submission of the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law for legislative approval.

And also brought to Camp Bagong Diwa in November last year, were about 260 additional Moro detainees arrested where the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF)-led stand-off in Zamboanga City took place in September last year. Many of them are, however, only innocent civilians, including a number of minors (below 18 years of age) and elderlies (past 70 years of age).

There are, furthermore, about 100 other Moro political prisoners – mostly innocent community folk arrested en masse in “all out war” operations launched against “terrorists” – to justify the collection of tens of millions of dollars of bounty claims from the U.S. Anti-Terrorist Aid.

And there are also a handful of U.S. rendition victims from another country (Indonesia), who have been transferred from previous imprisonment in a foreign country (Malaysia), forcibly (drugged, blindfolded and straightjacketted) smuggled into the country by Philippine police intelligence forces under the direction and supervision of the U.S. FBI. They were assigned fake Filipino identities, charged as Abu Sayyaf Group terrorists, swamped with “terrorism” charges filed against the fake identities assigned to them, and have been kept in Philippine imprisonment – Guantanamo style – for about a decade now. In June 2012, I was surreptitiously transferred here from Camp Crame detention because of my expose of all this and the constant intensive U.S. FBI intrusions into the cases of political prisoners there, especially the Moros.

The swamping of numerous trumped-up charges, given the very, very slow crawl of justice in the country’s courts, have been resulting in the intended practically indefinite detention of these political prisoners here in Camp Bagong Diwa and elsewhere in the country.

The fact that all political prisoners brought here to Camp Bagong Diwa are considered “high risk”, and thus specifically confined to “special intensive care” or “maximum security” jails here under extremely heavy restrictions, has made our quest for justice and freedom, and our very situation under detention all the more difficult.

There are furthermore the related difficulties, and many times the intentional failures, in bringing us to courts in our far-away localities, resulting in the further slowing down of our court cases; the problems even in the visits of our relatives and supporters from our far-away localities; and the excessively tight restrictions imposed upon us and our movements within our very cramp jails.

There are also the very, very stingy and very, very poor food rations that, in reality, amounts, at the most, to only 20% of our measly P50/day per inmate nominal food budget – the lowest, compared to that of jails in all cities in Metro Manila and other cities in the country, where the nominal food budget ranges from P80/day to P100/day per inmate.

And there are the fascist attacks time and again ordered by the top national leadership of the jail management, and viciously implemented by their “greyhound” (search) operatives. The ultimate in absurdities take place during these “greyhound” operations. Confiscations, soiling and wastage of our food, medicines, beddings, clothings and other personal belongings, and even outright thieveries take place right and left. They justify all these by insisting that what they have been confiscating are all “contrabands”. Such include transistor radios, ballpens, paper clips, blunt scissors, artwork and handicraft materials and products, sewing needles, shaving razors, small shaving mirrors, toothbrushes with long handles, nailcutters, belts, rice cookers, cooking stoves, lighters, branded vitamins, and even money. Practically all these have been essential necessities for our humane existence and daily needs as inmates.

What makes their confiscations and their justifications of the confiscations all the more absurd is that most of those items confiscated were brought in with the official permission of the local jail authorities. Many of these were actually bought from the local jail personnel’s cooperative store.

We, NDFP peace consultants and political prisoners, led in making complaints against the absurd and cruel confiscations and many other human rights violations committed by the “greyhound” operatives of the national jail authorities. In reprisal the latter ordered the confiscation of the typewriter that we used to type our complaints. The national director of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) all the more absurdly tried to justify the confiscation of the typewriter, claiming that typewriters are also considered as “contrabands”.

In very stark contrast, in the more than seven years I was detained here at Camp Bagong Diwa, during the Marcos martial law regime, there were no issues at all here about the categorization of any of the belongings of political prisoners as “contrabands”. Unlike now, we were then, without any question and controversy, allowed radios, typewriters, all writing/artwork/handicraft equipment and materials, all cooking equipment and tools, all tools and materials for personal hygiene, and many others that national jail authorities and their “greyhound” operatives now one-track-mindedly, absurdly and in even more fascist mindset and manner keep categorizing and confiscating as “contrabands”.

Very ironically, as political prisoners here at Camp Bagong Diwa during the period of out-and-out fascist dictatorship, we then actually never went through such absurd and fascist “greyhound” operations and confiscations that the present national jail management and forces have every now and then been wielding against us and have been justifying, contrary to our political and human rights, and contrary even to ordinary sensibility.

To make us feel “at home” as “guests of the state”, the buildings we were confined in here during the Marcos martial law regime had no cells and iron bars, but only individual rooms made of wood, that were locked from inside. The main gate of the buildings we were confined in would, however, be locked from the outside only late in the night.

We were then also given more “freedom” within our jail area. We were allowed whole daytime access to wide grounds, where on our own we could have sunning, engage in sports, exercise, and other activities, and also tend to vegetable gardens and raise poultry within a wide-open five-hectare space around our jail buildings. Very much unlike now, when we are not at all given access to grounds outside our very cramp jail buildings, and are instead confined most of the time to a tight, narrow two-by-forty meters corridor of one wing of one floor of the jail buildings, where there are a series of control gates, that are padlocked practically the whole day. Only occasionally, at present, are we allowed access to the rooftop for sunning and exercise, and for only very limited schedules.

We were allocated entire floors of buildings for kitchen work, mess halls, television rooms, a library (with a free daily supply of fresh newspapers), and a couple of production areas (with machines and tools, like cutters, grinders and hammers, to make handicrafts and art work, and even shoe repairs, and the like). Given the mentality of the national leadership of today’s jail authorities, practically all of these would not be given way to.

We used to run our own cooperative store, where goods were sold without any markup at all. Unlike now, where the local jail personnel own and run their exclusive cooperative store, and charge us at more than double the market prices of goods.

So that we could ourselves determine what to make for our meals and control our own food budget and purchases, we were then given, in cash, a daily food budget of P12 per detainee, the present equivalent of which is more than P250 – more than five times our present already very stingy nominal daily food budget of P50, or more than 25 times the real worth of our present even more stingy actual daily food rations.

No different at all from the others, the present post-martial law government has only been putting on a democratic fascade, and in reality continues to hold a big and growing number of political prisoners – despite its repeated denials – and treats us all with persistent fascist mindsets, policies and rules, that, in terms of our experiences as political prisoners here at Camp Bagong Diwa, have ironically been even worse than during the “normalization” period of the Marcos martial law regime.

All these only reflect how fascism have in essence and in practice continued to rule over the county under pseudo-democratic regimes that have taken over after the fall of the relatively more openly fascist Marcos regime. All these only reveal that true democracy and real freedom still need to be fought for all out, in the interest of the entire oppressed people in the country.

Alan Jazmines
NDFP peace consultant
and political prisoner,
Special Intensive Care Area 1 Jail,
Camp Bagong Diwa

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Recent arrest of another NDFP Peace Consultant, in further spite of the peace process

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and various local and international organizations pushing for the peace process have intently been pressing on with their efforts towards genuine, lasting peace through the attainment of mutual agreements, fundamental socio-economic and political-constitutional changes, and serious end to hostilities.

The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) – – in particular, as of late on the part of the present Aquino regime – – has, on the contrary, treacherously been continuing with its belittling and grave disregard of (to the extent of intently trampling upon) agreements already made from the onset and through the course of the NDFP-GPH peace talks.

This, even in the case of agreements quite crucial to the continuation and progress of the peace process, such as the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). The CARHRIHL is supposed to ensure the respect and protection on both sides in the ongoing civil strife in the country. The JASIG is supposed to ensure that peace consultants and staffs of both sides are protected from surveillance, arrest, detention, prosecution and other antagonistic acts that would violate their rights as well as deter their effective participation and work in the peace process.

Yet, the military, paramilitary, police and intelligence forces of the GPH have without let-up been surveilling, arresting, detaining, swamping with trumped-up criminal charges and violating the human, legal and other rights of NDFP peace consultants and other JASIG-protected NDFP forces the GPH forces can lay their hands on.

The latest NDFP peace consultant who has been subjected to such traitorous acts of the GPH forces has been Ma. Loida Magpatoc, an NDFP peace consultant representing the NDFP in Far South Mindanao.

Magpatoc is 52 years old, married and a “Lola” to five grandchildren.

Despite her being JASIG-protected, a P500,000.00 reward was put up by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for her capture.

In performance of her work as an NDFP peace consultant, Magpatoc had been immersing and consulting with the local community folk in the barangays of Far South Mindanao in regard to land, production and other socio-economic and political issues, when the 1002nd Brigade (1002ND Bde) of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (10th ID PA) got wind of her presence in Brgy. Zone III, Digos, Davao del Sur and came to arrest her as early as 4am last July 28.

The entire local community, however, immediately learned of the situation and came out en masse to protect her and block the 1002nd Bde. Magpatoc presented her JASIG Document of Information to the 1002nd Bde and claimed her protection from arrest. But the 1002nd Bde only confiscated her JASIG document, ignored her claim for protection from arrest, and insisted on proceeding to arrest her. The barangay folk, who were surrounding her, refused to let the 1002nd Bde forces take her, as the former were apprehensive that the latter would only commit foul deeds against her. Magpatoc and the barangay folk asked if there was a warrant for her arrest, but the 1002nd Bde forces were not able to present any.

The arrest was eventually made, however, when the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Davao del Sur came later in the day to take her, this time armed with warrant of arrest (based on trumped-up criminal charges of “robbery,” “damage to properties” and “double homicide”), and bring her to their Digos headquarters. From there, she was flown on August 4 to Metro Manila and brought for confinement at the Taguig City Jail Female Dormitory in Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City.

After her arrest, the reward for Ma. Loida Magpatoc’s capture by the AFP, suddenly became P5.6 million.

Alan Jazmines
NDFP peace consultant
detained at the
Special intensive Care Area,
Camp Bagong Diwa, Taguig City
02 September 2013

On what can be done to help in the resumption and continuation of the peace talks between the NDF and the GPH

The NDF firmly affirms the principled basis, historical correctness and legitimacy in practice through the years of its revolutionary struggle for fundamental (political, socio-economic, cultural, and other) reforms in the interest of the mass of the people.  Consistently in pursuit of these, it has developed a significantly large, solid and growing revolutionary following and mass base.

Even if the revolutionary struggle has been protracted (since 1969, already the longest running in the world) and continues to be faced with tough challenges, the determination to advance towards victory and the liberation of the people from long-prevailing political and social ills is unwavering, no matter how formidable may be the resistance of the prevailing state and its forces and how difficult and much longer the struggle would take.

Conditions in the world and locally have, however, presently been becoming more and more favorable for the resurgence and advance of the people’s protest and democratic movements and of the more highly organized, more scientific and more forceful revolutionary movements.

The NDF and the revolutionary movement it leads, even then, remain very much open to peace talks, and in fact always prefer to try to gain the most or whatever can realistically be gained in peace negotiations with whatever ruling GPH regime that in attitude and actual deeds is seen by the NDF as open and interested enough at talking peace towards the possibility of agreeing on significant issues, basic frameworks, fundamental reforms, and up to the conclusion of the already long-prevailing civil strife in the country.

It has actually only been during the GPH regime of Fidel Ramos when there were significant and substantive agreements that were achieved, including The Hague Joint Declaration containing agreements on the framework of the peace talks and the need to come out sequentially, but not necessarily exclusively or only one at a time, with comprehensive agreements on four key substantive agenda (human rights; socio-economic reforms; political and constitutional reforms; truce, military reorganization and end of hostilities) toward a final agreement and settlement.

Further major agreements were later achieved to significantly back up the peace process, such as the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) in 1995 and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in 1998.  A number of NDF peace consultants and staffs who were arrested were released by virtue of the NDF’s assertion of and the GPH’s compliance with their JASIG protection.

In 2004, under the GPH regime of Gloria Arroyo, a number of agreements were also attained, including the affirmation of previous agreements (such as The Hague Declaration, JASIG and CARHRIHL).  There were also agreements reached on the common draft of the guidelines for the work of the Reciprocal Working Committees on the second substantive agenda (Socio-Economic Reforms, or SER) and the sub-committees for each of its major topics; a draft preamble of the envisioned Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reforms (CASER); a draft declaration of principles of the CASER; an agreement for the enhancement/acceleration of the process in this scope of work; and a further meeting to complete common tentative drafts on major sections of SER, including on Economic Sovereignty and National Patrimony, Agrarian Reform and Agricultural Development, and National Industrialization and Economic Development.

To further speed up the whole peace process, it was also agreed upon that simultaneously with the work on SER, preparatory work on the third substantive agenda (Political and Constitutional Reforms, or PCR) would already be started, even as the heart of the agenda on PCR would be initiated and completed as soon as the reciprocal work on SER is completed.

There was also an agreement for the GPH to review, monitor and evaluate the cases of political prisoners (about 300 of these, documented by KARAPATAN) and to immediately release those found to have been arrested, detained, charged, tried, or even convicted of what were made to appear as common crimes, contrary to the Hernandez Doctrine (which prohibits charging with common crimes those with supposed political offenses).

There was also a particular agreement for the GPH to release within 30 days 32 named political prisoners, consisting of women, minors, sick and elderly.

And a further agreement was made for the indemnification of the victims of human rights violations during the Marcos martial law regime.

A big, glaring problem, however, has been that most of these agreements were actually not implemented by the GPH regime of Gloria Arroyo, resulting in strong clashes between the NDF and the Arroyo regime.

Bulk of the 300 or so political prisoners were not released, and more kept on being arrested, detained, tortured and swamped with trumped-up criminal charges, including a number of JASIG-protected NDF peace consultants.

Worse, a number of these NDF peace consultants, including their staffs and families, were involuntarily disappeared and extra-judicially killed.

When the NDF demanded the GPH’s compliance with the JASIG, the CARHRIHL and other peace agreements and the latter’s rectification of its violations of these, in line with its all-out war against the revolutionary movement, the Arroyo regime even went the opposite way and indefinitely suspended the JASIG (even if the agreement provides only two choices – either to implement it or to altogether terminate it).

The Arroyo regime went further and connived with the Dutch police for the latter to arrest the NDF’s Chief Political and Peace Adviser, Jose Ma. Sison; to raid the offices and residences of NDF peace panel members, consultants and staffs in The Netherlands; and to confiscate the latter’s papers, computer disks and other files, including those related to the peace talks and other sensitive data.  The computer disks were corrupted/damaged when they were returned (one computer disk containing the encryption codes was, however, not returned) by the Dutch police.  The returned computer disks were then deposited in a safety deposit box in a Dutch bank for safe keeping.

When, four years later, the next GPH regime of Benigno S. Aquino III had agreed to the resumption of the long-stalled NDF-GPH peace talks, but did not want to just release JASIG-protected but still detained NDF peace consultants and was insisting that the JASIG files of the detained NDF peace consultants be verified direct from the JASIG files first before releasing them, there was a problem of verifying directly from the JASIG files in the corrupted/damaged computer disk returned to the NDF and stored in the bank.  The said computer disk was still attempted to be opened and deciphered by the NDF panel in the presence of the GPH panel and 3rd party peace facilitators, but the JASIG files could no longer be properly extracted, deciphered and read, as the computer disk containing them was already corrupted/damaged.

All protests by arrested and detained NDF peace consultants on the violation of the JASIG in their cases were totally ignored by the arresting forces and the prevailing GPH regimes since the Arroyo regime.  JASIG documents of information in the hands of arrested NDF peace consultants were also always confiscated from them upon arrest, and no longer showed up.

One of us, Alan Jazmines, was arrested just a few hours before the resumption in February 14, 2011 of the peace talks suspended during the Arroyo regime, and he protested his arrest as a violation of the JASIG and a slap at the face of the peace talks even as it was just to begin again.  But the protest was ignored.

Some more JASIG-protected NDF peace consultants were arrested even after the peace talks had resumed.  The GPH regime of Benigno S. Aquino III and its peace panel continued to just ignore the protests.

The Aquino regime deceptively terms the demand for the release of arrested and detained JASIG-protected NDF peace consultants as a “precondition” by the NDF.  But, in fact, it is an obligation – to correct a serious violation of a standing NDF-GPH agreement, in order for the peace talks to proceed.

So that the peace talks can be resumed fully, the NDF had suggested a practical solution to the problem of the loss of the JASIG files – a reconstitution of the JASIG files in cooperation by both the NDF and the GPH peace panels.  But the GPH has been rejecting the proposal.

The current Aquino region has also been totally ignoring the wider demand of the NDF for the release of all political prisoners (more than 400 of them now, with more than half of these arrested since the onset of the current Aquino regime).  Their release should rectify gross violations of justice, human rights and even the GPH’s own laws, especially as in practically all their cases, the Hernandez Doctrine has rampantly, intentionally and cruelly been violated.

While the continuing detention of NDF peace consultants has continued to be a major snag to the continuation of the NDF-GPH peace talks, especially in the holding of “regular track” peace talks (in accordance with The Hague Declaration and related agreement on the substantive agenda regarding fundamental reforms), the NDF peace panel has taken the initiative of flexibility proposing “special track” peace talks.

The NDF peace panel has initiated and the GPH has accepted the “special track” peace talks, initially without the prior release of all detained NDF peace consultants.  But for the “special track” peace talks to continue and progress, the GPH is still unqualifiedly obliged to immediately release all detained NDF peace consultants.  Otherwise, aside from continuing to violate the JASIG, CARHRIHL and other peace agreements, their continued detention will only continue to reveal bad faith on the side of the GPH, prevent the detained NDF peace consultants from performing their respective roles in the peace process, and will soon if not yet immediately cause the stalling once again of the peace talks.

The initial agenda of the “special track” peace talks may start with more urgent and more generalized formulations, even if with more easily stage-by-stage implementable portions of the new combined reform agenda, but will still have to cover the same whole range of agenda as the “regular track” peace talks, as had been agreed upon in The Hague Declaration, although no longer strictly according to the sequence and schedule specified in The Hague Declaration.  The proposed Committee on National Unity, Peace and Development to be jointly formed by the NDF and the GPH should be able to already adequately, even if stage-by-stage, implement major parts of the reform agenda outlined in The Hague Declaration, and supposed to be taken up subject-by-subject in the “regular track” peace talks.

All this, on the assumption that the current Aquino regime may be easier to negotiate peace with through the “special track” process.

In the supposed “special track” meeting in Amsterdam last February 25-26, and in the GPH’s communications and proposals even prior to this, it however made the big mistake of assuming too little of the NDF and angling only for an indefinite ceasefire and “henceforth peaceful means,” but without even any serious discussion – much less any agreement at all – on fundamental reform agenda that the NDF has laid, with all intent, seriousness and priority, across the negotiation table, and also without the GPH’s rectifying its recalcitrant violations of the JASIG, CARHRIHL and other standing peace agreements, and without even releasing just the detained NDF peace consultants, much less the other political prisoners.

While the GPH has practically killed the “special track”, and further refuses to go back to the “regular track” (declaring its anchor in The Hague Declaration as a source of “perpetual division” as it has all the time been showing the absence of intent and preparation to really discuss in depth and substance the fundamental issues that are at the root of the civil war and conflict between the NDF and the GPH; and chastising the “regular track” for the overly long – 27 years already and running – process but without admitting at all that the many long delays were due to the series of serious violations on the part of various GPH regimes, including the current.

The NDF has always been and remains intent on seriously pursuing peace talks – and even at giving it priority when realistically feasible – for the purpose of more immediately attaining fundamental reforms and hastening the end of the long-running civil strife, all in the interest of the mass of the people, their rights, their progress and their future.

The NDF has always been and remains open to whatever GPH regime is also open and interested enough in the process and its objectives.  If a current GPH regime has been or has become totally antagonistic and refuses to talk peace, the only choice left is to wait out a next regime that would be the opposite.

While the current regime has practically killed the “special track” while refusing to go back to the “regular track”, and has also been continuing with its violations of the JASIG, CARHRIHL and other peace agreements, including its obligation to immediately release NDF peace consultants who continue to be detained, the NDF has not totally given up the peace talks with the current regime.

The NDF also views positively the removal of late – and likely replacement with a much better and more open one – of the last GPH peace panel head, who had been the most hardline, insincere and arrogant in refusing to forge a meeting of will and minds with the NDF peace panel, to recognize the need to rectify the GPH’s violations and serious failures of its peace panel’s work, preparations and readiness to positively resolve problems and really talk peace with the NDF.

The NDF also awaits drastic decisive changes and improvements in the leadership, orientation and work of the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) in order to make it more conducive and helpful, instead of remaining hostile to the peace process.

The NDF would very much like to obtain the help of various local and international organizations, groups and personalities with the potential of somehow being able to relink the broken bridge between the NDF and the GPH, including the present Aquino regime, and also suggest urgent improvements and rectifications in problematic areas of the peace process.  Such help may be obtained from the likes of the Norwegian Third Party Facilitators, Conciliation Resources, International Alert, Philippine Ecumenical Peace Platform, Philippine Peace Center, and others.

Some of the most problematic areas where they can help in strongly suggesting urgent improvements and rectifications concern: 1) The need to seriously reaffirm the JASIG – protection of presently detained NDF peace consultants and make way for their participation in the peace process; and 2) The need to seriously and fully make way for comprehensive and in-depth studies and discussions on fundamental reform agenda as laid out in The Hague Declaration, immediately, especially in the socio-economic-cultural and political-constitutional concerns, instead of putting the cart before the horse and prioritizing an indefinite ceasefire even as the roots of the armed conflict have not yet been adequately addressed and resolved.  After all the very purpose and objective of the peace talks is to address the roots of the civil strife and agree on fundamental reforms in the interest of the mass of the people and their future.

ALAN JAZMINES

EMETERIO ANTALAN

LEOPOLDO CALOZA

TIRSO  ALCANTARA

30 June 2013                                                                     

(NDF peace consultants detained at the Security Intensive Care Area (SICA), Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan, Taguig City)

 

Jazmines moved to Bicutan jail for blowing whistle on FBI in Crame?

01-Jul-12, 5:14 PM | Jaime Sinapit, InterAksyon.com | MANILA, Philippines – Political detainee Alan Jazmines was moved from the Custodial Center of Camp Crame to a regular cell in Bicutan, Taguig City, and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said on Sunday it was in punishment for his exposing the alleged presence and activities of some FBI figures inside Camp Crame.

“The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns the arbitrary transfer of Alan Jazmines from the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, the PNP National Capital Region headquarters at dawn last Friday, June 29. Jazmines is a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in peace negotiations,” a CPP statement said.

PNP spokesman Senior Supt. Generoso Cerbo Jr. did not answer a question sent to his mobile phone, on whether or not Jazmines was really transferred and why.

In early June, Jazmines and some of his co-detainees claimed the FBI was holding office inside the Custodial Center as an extension of their condominium office located near Camp Crame.

Cerbo, however, denied Jazmines’s allegation about the FBI holding office inside Camp Crame.

“The alacrity with which the PNP carried out Jazmines’s transfer shows that it was likely carried out upon the orders of US intelligence officers who are actively operating in the Philippines and who wish to isolate Jazmines and make him ineffective in defending the cause of political prisoners and exposing US government intervention,” the CPP said.

“US intelligence operatives in the Philippines have been increasingly active and working closely with the PNP and the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) in conducting surveillance and counter-guerrilla combat operations against Filipino anti-imperialist forces. The US has used the so-called Balikatan exercises in the past several years as a camouflage to set up its physical and organizational espionage network in the Philippines. There are also plans to set up a satellite office of the gestapo New York Police Department right inside the PNP National Headquarters,” it added.

Meanwhile, human-rights group Karapatan said it was investigating the transfer because Jazmines was allegedly not accorded the right to counsel as he was prohibited from even calling and consulting with his lawyers.

“[The move] was illegal since the transfer of a detainee from one detention center to another is the court’s prerogative and cannot be carried out unilaterally by the police or detaining officer. No such court order was obtained by the police to transfer Jazmines to Bicutan,” the CPP said.

At the same time, the CPP said the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should be made accountable not only for failing to stop Jazmines’s transfer and protect his basic civil rights, but for apparently having allowed itself to be used by the PNP in carrying out this patently illegal order.

According to the Karapatan report, CHR chair Loretta Ann Rosales was with PNP Custodial Center chief Supt. Cesar Magsino when Jazmines was to be transported to Bicutan.