Tuesday, September 05, 2006

site advisory

Please be advised that the Official Weblog of Rep. Etta Rosales of AKBAYAN is now at http://ettarosales.wordpress.com. Thank you.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

On reported bribery of CBCP

The reported bribery of bishops, followed by a dinner reward by Malacañang that took place before, during and after the two-day conference of the bishops is not only an embarassment to ourselves as a people but equally so to the international community.

It reflects how far we have deteriorated in our moral values and how we have internalized bribery as a way of ife, a way by which Malacañang and others form government relate tot he people in the exercise of authority. Without a grasp of the essence of public trust as a basic Constitutional tenet for public leadership, a morally bankrupt leader will not hesitate to bribe because she has lost public respect, and therefore moral credentials, to exercise authority over the people. She has lost respect for herself and for the ones she bribes. The only thing that matters is to retain her seat as President until 2010 no matter the means.

In exercising authority by a discredited leader, bribery is used as one method. The use of force is another. The late Mr. Marcos became a master of both and lasted fourteen years.

But both are anathema to democracy. Sadly, Malacañang has not learned the lesson of democracy deprived us those fourteen years under marcos. What it is fast becoming a master of are hte insturments Marcos imposed for self-rule. This is the current state of affairs in our so-called restored democratic system of rule. It explains how the use of force, through extra-judicial killings, complement rampant bribery and election fraud to help Malacañang's leaders keep power.

These are the very same reasons the campaign for impeachment should reach every nook and corner of the 42,000 barangays and hte thousands of parishes all over the country. The people deserve to know the truth. The people deserve to make their decision freely and take collective action without the use of force and money. We did it then to get rid of a dictator. We can do it again.

Rep. Etta P. Rosales

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Wednesday, July 12, 2006

On the CBCP statement regarding the impeachment complaint

12 July 2006

On 28 June, Bishop Deogracias Yniguez filed an impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. In behalf of Akbayan, my party, I endorsed the same.

As a citizen, the Bishop wanted to walk the way of impeachment, being the Constitutional instrument provided to determine whether or not there is probable cause to impeach the President.

When the CBCP said that Bishop Yniguez had all the right to take initiative in his search for the truth, the bishops were underscoring the right of the bishop as a Filipino citizen to seek the truth in much the same way the Bishop had explained his position.

When the same CBCP collectively decided the other day that the impeachment process in Congress was not the way of seeking the truth, they were merely stating facts about the limitations of the current Congress and its members; that much of what defines the political choices made by members of the House today are determined by concerns parochial and specific to their interests and to what they define as constituent concerns. It is known to all and sundry, although there is no written evidence of this, that what appeared decisive in the votes for or against impeachment last year were the material benefits rewarded to those who voted for the dismissal of the impeachment complaint. In fact, there were some colleagues honest enough to admit that they could not vote against the President considering the fact that a number of projects were provided their districts and jobs were given their constituents. The political value of such decisions is primordial; especially if this will directly benefit the constituents who will look kindly on the representative from whom the material rewards are provided.

The open discussion today on whether or not bags of rice and medicine were given bishops who were conferring these past two days on social and political questions smacks of the same experience. The question on whether or not forty bishops accepted these material benefits intended for the poor is in the same spirit that projects and jobs are provided members of the House specifically to benefit their poor constituents. The issues on whether or not cash was offered by the Palace to the same bishops in conference likewise reflects the same problematic the bishops face with the Palace. That some bishops have openly criticized this Palace behavior and have found it most insulting is precisely the very reason the bishops support individual initiatives to pursue the truth about alleged fraud, cheating and bribery committed by the President.

Hence, the CBCP Statement is not, contrary to views that have come out in the open, in favor of the President; nor is it against impeachment per se and as a process. It asserts repeatedly that it is in favor of the common good, which it feels both Administration and Opposition solons should strive for, "whether Left, Right and Center".

The vision is really in having a Congressional body that would rise above immediate and material considerations. A body where every member defines his vote in accordance with how he values the weight of public trust against the evidence of violations ranging from betrayal of this trust, the commission of election fraud, violations of human rights and bribery committed from the 2004 elections to the present.

The results of last year's impeachment dismayed and disappointed the public and, for this purpose, the Catholic Bishops. It seemed more evident that the common good - which is the relentless search for truth was obstructed by the immediate rewards made available to the members of the House at the time.

"For unless the process and its rules as well as the mindsets of all participating parties, pro and con, are guided by no other motive than genuine concern for the common good, impeachment will once again serve as an unproductive political exercise, dismaying every citizen, and deepen- ing the negative perception of politicians, Left, Right, and Center," CBCP President Angel Lagdameo said.

It was at this time of debate and dialog over the futile exercise of impeachment that reports came out regarding the bags of rice and medicine that freely flowed from Malacanang to the bishops' bailiwicks. It was likewise in this Bishops' Conference where reports came out that envelopes from the Palace were being distributed to the bishops.

What comes out clearer than daylight is the fact that, more than ever, the Filipino people are the ones that must be relied upon ultimately to fight for the common good; given that it is they, the Filipino people, who will benefit best in the pursuit of this good. Let the people and their bishops, priests and nuns knock on every district and party list door of the House in hot pursuit of this common good for the common tao. Contrary to every one's fears, we might yet make the magic 78!

Etta P. Rosales

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Akbayan rep decries harassment of cross-dresser at Metrowalk resto

AKBAYAN Rep. Etta Rosales today called for an investigation into discriminatory practices against gays and lesbians in establishments after a bar in Metrowalk allegedly discriminated against a gay impersonator last week.

TV host and comedian Inday Garutay, together with her boyfriend was waiting for her manager and a friend at Aruba restaurant at Metrowalk in Pasig City when she was told to leave the premises for supposedly violating the establishment's "dress code".

"What was Inday Garutay specifically wearing that violated this supposed dress code?" asked Rosales. "Was it the fact that she is a transsexual instead that the restaurant's manager found unacceptable?"

Rosales said Garutay, whose real name is Christopher Borja, had a right to freedom of expression. "If she is happiest when she is in women's clothing and as long as she is not stepping on other people's right, why should it bother Aruba's manager? She has as much a right to their services as anyone else who could pay."

The lady solon is asking for an investigation into the case. "We will file a resolution to look into this matter, and see if a similar trend is also occurring in other establishments around the country." Rosales has also asked for help from the Commission on Human Rights to look into the matter.

Rosales added, "this only highlights the need to pass the bill penalizing discriminatory practices against the gays and lesbian community, Akbayan's House Bill 634. This bill once enacted into law will make it illegal for establishments like Aruba to refuse rendering services on the basis of sexual orientation."

Rosales added that as a result of the incident Garutay also lost a client for a show in Japan. "The hassle that the incident brought on ranges from hurting the dignity of a person to the very tangible material loss of income, and Aruba should be held liable for that."

"There is absolutely no reason why public establishments like schools, restaurants, and other places should refuse entry to people on the basis of gender or how they look, and this discriminating practice has no place in a just and humane society," Rosales said.


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Saturday, July 01, 2006

On PCGG obstruction of compensation for Marcos victims

Claimants 1081 is organized and composed of thousands of class victims who have won in 1995 a class suit against the Marcos estate in a Hawaii District Court amounting to $2 billion. Its main function is to help facilitate the enforcement of the US Court decision for hte thousands of Marcos vicitms brutally tortured, abudcted and/or summarily killed. As current Chair and in its behalf, I strongly urge the PCGG under the leadership of Chairman Camilo Sabio to please withdraw its motion for re-hearing in the US 9th Circuit Court in order to remove the last obstacle to the initial distribution of $2,000 each ott he Marcos victims.

It is the height of political irony that an executive agency like the PCGG should now stand in the way of the government's commitment to help give compensation to victims of human rights violations. The Marcos compensation bill -- BH3315 was passed on third and final reading in compliance with this mandate and commitment. The House bill awaits the Senate's passage of its own version before the bill is made into law.

Where the international community celebrates the victory of the Marcos vicitms won in the 9th Circuit COurt as a historical breakthrough in the enhancement of international human rights and justice, why must the PCGG look darkly, jealously and narrowly on this victory? It uses taxpayers' money in millions of dollars to bar the thousands of Marcos vicitms -- most of them poor and in subsistence living conditions -- from being compensated, no matter how measly the amount, through an American court order.

No amount of money can erase the agony, hurt and suffering of the victims and their loved ones. But society and its government must look kindly and with compassion on them, if only to help them restore their humanity, help bring them back to the mainstream of collective effort for a more humane and understanding society, a society for the poor.

The separate interviews of Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Chief of Staff Michael Defensor, saying they do not wish to obstruct what rightly belongs to the Marcos victims is a welcome respite to the PCGG's apparent obstinate position. We hope that their statements will translate into a withdrawal of the PCGG obstacle in the same spirit the Marcos compensation bill that now awaits immediate passage and final approval.

Rep. Etta Rosales

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Sunday, June 25, 2006

On the Signing of bill abolishing Death Penalty into law

Death pen repeal is the fruit of historical struggle for human rights advocates and puts the Philippines on the global map, but extrajudicial killings should be solved next.
June 24, 2006

Repealing the death penalty law is the sweet fruit borne of more than a decade of historical struggle for the promotion of human rights in the Philippines. It gives the Philippines a well-deserved niche as one among Asia's leading human rights advocates in the global map. It spells a breakthrough in human rights legislation and makes the country more deserving of its new role in being elected member of the United Nations Human Rights Council this year.
The task of enforcing the spirit and character of the law, however, goes way beyond the ceremonial signing by the President of the law which takes place today, 24 June 2006 in Malacanang.
The abolition of capital punishment addresses the basic right to life and the dignity of the human person. it anchors the entire criminal justice process on the principle of rehabilitative and restorative justice, no matter how heinous are the crimes committed by the offenders of the law. It directs society and its government towards a vision that makes the right to one's humanity a universal reality.
In a country that today suffers from a culture of impunity and violence, where political killings are a daily fare that apparently are beyond the control and competence of those authorized to enforce the law, the enforcement of the repeal of death penalty demands the collective will and direct action of the people themselves, informed citizens who must reach the breadth and spread of every community down to the villlage level. The spirit of the law - which recognizes the humanity and dignity of every person, rich or poor, young and old, Christian, Muslim or Lumad - must be taught in every home, school, church and barangay hall of every community.
This is the only way to fight impunity and violence, a reality that has reached such proportions where it is no longer safe to be in one's home. This is the only way to fight the militarist mindset that appears to dominate state policy on peace and order; a policy that seems to be more preoccupied with witch hunting and red baiting. This is the only way to restore democracy, justice and peace to a beleaguered society hungry for change.
Etta Rosales
House of Representatives

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

Marcos compromise is not the solution to land reform

AKBAYAN party-List Representative Etta Rosales today warned against using CARP as an excuse to further entertain the idea of entering into a compromise agreement with the Marcoses regarding their ill-gotten wealth.

"Simply because the bottomline is you cannot take away the criminal liability of the Marcoses, as the Supreme Court has upheld in a 1998 ruling," said Rosales. "and because you'll never get an honest and full disclosure of just how much the Marcoses stole in the first place."

"Extending the agrarian reform program is okay in principle, but the whole gamut of problems starts form the very first step, which is land acquisition," she added. "Government should follow through with its commitment to employ compulsory acquisition as the primary means to acquire lands and redistribute them to send a signal to landlords that govenrment means business when it comes to CARP."

"As long as govenrment doesn't display the political will necessary, landlords will continue to lord it over the rural areas, and for that farmers will pay with their lives," Rosales explained. "Like what happened to Akbayan peasant leaders in Negros Oriental and Davao del Norte."

"The Marcos money rightfully belongs to the farmers, but it should be the just and full amount due them," Rosales added. "and we can only do that if we see to it that the cases against the Marcoses are brought to their logical conclusion and any compromises are done away with."

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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Explanation of Vote re Abolition of Death Penalty

(from official transcript of records)

June 6, 2006, 8:25 p.m.
Plenary 2nd Session
Thirteenth Congress

I vote yes for the repeal of Republic Act 7659 abolishing the imposition of the death penalty.

May I just say - express my appreciation to my colleagues here in the House of Representatives because the campaign for the abolition of death penalty goes a long way from the Eleventh Congress. I do remember that in the Eleventh Congress there was a moratorium on the implementation of the death penalty law but the Supreme Court decided to push for the enforcement of the law - Republic Act 7659. And this was brought about precisely because they were convinced by the position of the House of Representatives. There was a list of the Members of the House who felt that in fact the death penalty should be imposed and that the moratorium, if I am not mistaken, should be lifted.

Our colleague who led in mobilizing the members of the House to sign their names to the resolution calling for the lifting of the moratorium was no less than Representative Roilo Golez, and he was able to convince a large majority of us. Meanwhile, still in the Eleventh Congress and later in the Twelfth Congress, we abolitionists filed a bill for the abolition of capital punishment. I do remember that we were able to talk to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and asked her if, during the deliberations for the repeal of the death penalty law, we could have a moratorium. And because we were able to get a majority of the Members of the House to sign the moratorium, including those who actually favored the death penalty law, the President decided, although she did not put it writing, that yes, she would push through with the moratorium which, in all fairness to the President, she has done.

Now, we are voting on Third Reading and we could not have been able to do this without the help and support of the people's organizations, the human rights groups, the NGOs, Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), Coalition Against Death Penalty (CADP), Mamamayan Tutol Sa Bitay (MTB), Amnesty International (AI), other human rights' advocates all along because they were the ones - the workers, you know, silent human rights advocates who kept on tirelessly talking to each and every Member of the House of Representatives from the time of the Eleventh Congress up to today. So I would like to applaud them along with my colleagues because I think that without the people's organizations - who have been behind us - I doubt very much that we would be able to reach this level.

And may I express my appreciation and my thanks to our colleague, Roy, for at least having voted yes in conscience. I look forward to more collective and practical work with him.

Thank you very much. I vote Yes.

(keywords: death penalty human rights Roilo Golez MTB CADP FLAG speeches RA 7659)

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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

PCGG perks and privileges should be looked into

"I just want to have fun," Abcede says of his cavorting with Imelda Marcos. This is highly insensitive and callous to the high objectives that the PCGG is mandated to uphold. Abcede has single-handedly undermined the mission of his own office with those six careless words, oblivious to the concept of 'conflict of interest', to the detriment of his primary clients - the Filipino people.

Abcede has tainted his position, in violation of RA 6713 prohibiting public officials from soliciting or accepting "any favor in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of his office." (IRR, Rule X, Section 1[f]). It is the same provision contained, ironically, in a Marcos-era law, Presidential Decree 46, which Abcede is also violating.

And precisely because the PCGG's independence and objectivity has been undermined that AKBAYAN seeks to look into the perks and privileges that PCGG Commissioners receive as contained in House Resolutions 1233 and 1234, which were filed two weeks ago. It is high time to hold Abcede, Sabio and their offices accountable for their actions.

Additionally, to say that those who oppose any compromise agreement with the Marcoses are driven by hatred and a desire for revenge is to patronize and insult the Marcos victims and what they went through during Martial Law.

To do so would also be to turn a blind eye to the Supreme Court ruling of 1998 in Chavez vs. PCGG saying that a compromise agreement entered into with the Marcoses runs contrary to law because "it is a virtual warrant for public officials to amass public funds illegally, since there is an open option to compromise their liability in exchange for only a portion of their ill-gotten wealth."

The PCGG cannot grant immunity to the Marcoses because they are the principal defendants in the spate of ill-gotten cases now pending before the Sandiganbayan. The PCGG can only grant criminal immunity to a person who is a witness to the proceeding according to Executive Order 14-A. Secondly, the PCGG cannot cause the dismissal of cases against the Marcoses because this is tantamount to encroaching on judicial powers. To enter into a compromise agreement would be abuse of power on the part of the PCGG and will only amount to selling out the public's interest for the private gain of a few.

Abcede's demeanor is unbecoming, unprincipled and unethical and it bids ill for the strategic direction of the PCGG and its primary mission: to go after plunderers and recover the wealth they amassed which belong to the people. That's the goal of Abcede's office, and the last thing he should be doing is flirting with the very same criminals he should be pursuing. He should be removed from office and made to stay away from any function having anything to do with the Marcoses.

(keywords: PCGG corruption lifestyle check Marcos compromise agreement RA 6713)

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Friday, April 21, 2006

Downgrade of case vs. Subic rape servicemen is sellout of justice and sovereignty

The DOJ decision to downgrade the case against three of the accused in the Subic rape case is a sad development in the pursuit of justice towards a resolution of the situation.

Sec. Raul Gonzales's statement that the compromise is just to "appease the mob" effectively weakens the case as it undermines the substantive aspect of the case, leading to the resignation of a Prosecutor in the panel pursuing the case. What is it about the findings of the prosecutor's office in Olongapo, which found probable cause to file rape charges against all four American servicemen, did the DOJ find objectionable to now assume this position? His actions constitute undue influence over the prerogatives of the Olongapo prosecutor.

Judging from his words, did the DOJ Secretary base his decision out of political convenience and not on the facts at hand? The secretary, once castigated by the Supreme Court for usurpation of authority and now facing a disbarment case, maliciously contorted procedure and the US alone stands to benefit from the decision he made.

From the original finding of a conspiracy to rape, the downgrading to accessories effectively ties the hands of the Prosecutors and allows for bail. But the other accused, especially Platoon leader Chad Carpenter was in a position to stop the crime form being done, but did nothing, which is why all four became principally accused. Now that aspect has been ignored by the DOJ resolution. And when you add the fact that the government has not yet acquired jurisdiction over the persons of the accused because no warrant has been served yet and therefore the trial cannot proceed, it means Carpenter, Duplantis and Silkwood are almost scott-free.

What can be done now is to ensure that the case proceeds as soon as possible. Sovereignty must be asserted with the successful serving of the warrant of arrest. The Visiting Forces Agreement only provides for a one-year timeframe to resolve the case. With almost half that time spent already, what little chance we have of ensuring speedy justice for the rape victim must be protected at all costs.

(keywords: gender Subic rape DOJ Gonzalez VFA women human rights)

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

AKBAYAN solon insists on legislative action towards full abolition of death pen, not just through commutations

AKBAYAN Party-List Representative Etta Rosales today said that more than a presidential pronouncement; the death penalty should be abolished altogether through the enactment of a pending law.

Rosales urged President GMA to certify as urgent consolidated House Bill 4826 repealing the death penalty law. "It has been reported out by the Committee on Revision of Laws last October 10, 2005 and is now pending second reading for the period of sponsorship."

"I hope GMA's Easter Sunday message is followed up with legislative action to prove that it is a sincere policy shift," added Rosales "so the ball is now in Congress's hands."

"What we want is a culture of human rights and not of violence," added Rosales. "and yet years of living with the death penalty has not resulted in real security, and instead what we have are extra-judicial killings, vigilantism and a continued breakdown in peace and order."

The lady solon added, "defending life by taking another life is not justice, it is vengeance. What we hope for is restorative justice, not bloodshed."

"Eventually we have to learn that eliminating criminality depends on the certainty of arrest and enforcement of the rule of law, not on imposing a penalty considered to be the worst form of human rights violation," said the AKBAYAN solon. "After all, while we ban the cutting of limbs as totally inhuman and a cruel punishment, the taking of one's life is even more cruel because it is irreversible."

Rosales said that with the President's pronouncement, the urgency should not be lost on Congress. "Congress should act with haste and immediately pass House Bill 4826," she said.

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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

COMELEC is wasting taxpayers' money on signature drive verification

The Commission on Elections is again playing the part of Malacañang's dummy with its insistence on verifying the signatures collected by the Sigaw ng Bayan movement for a people's initiative. It feels like 2004 all over again with a compliant COMELEC risking charges of contempt, graft and malversation just to complement Malacañang's blessing on the cha-cha train.

But in the absence of an enabling law, any stack of paper containing signatures for proposed amendments to the Constitution should be met with only one response from the COMELEC. They should do nothing, because the SC ruing states that the COMELEC is enjoined from taking cognizance of any petition for initiative on Constitutional amendments pending the passage of an enabling law.

Instead of cleaning up its ranks, providing the general public with answers regarding the lingering questions of electoral fraud in 2004, the COMELEC is playing dedma to the real issues before us, and is instead toeing the Malacañang-sanctioned moro-moro of a people's initiative to divert the people's attention away from Garci, away from the GMA rice scandal, away from the Arroyo men and jueteng, away form the issue of GMA's legitimacy itself.

The COMELEC knows just as anyone else that this case will reach the Supreme Court, and in the absence of any fact that has changed since the 1997 Santiago v. COMELEC decision, the Sigaw ng Bayan initiative is dead in its tracks. The cha-cha train GMA claimed to have left the station is filled with the same pulitikos who, like GMA, are only after protecting their interests until 2010 and beyond. But there are no tracks ahead, and this scheme is bound to get derailed, sooner or later.

The jurisprudence should hold, and one is left wondering why Abalos seems ultra-confident to defend COMELEC's actions before the Supreme Court. Such loud hints invite curiosity since it seems to undermine the capability of the judiciary to act independently.

The COMELEC should be reminded that as an independent government instrumentality, it should uphold and respect the law and existing jurisprudence guiding the discharge of its functions. Before lending legitimacy to a top-down and bogus "people's initiative", the COMELEC is better advised to clean up its act and help shed light on the real crisis we are faced today - the democratic deficit brought about in part by a degenerated electoral system. The COMELEC is only sanitizing and legitimizing a process that will protect the same elite interests and the hold of the current administration and its cohorts.

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Friday, March 31, 2006

On the Use of Landmines by NPA forces

In behalf of AKBAYAN and as member of the Committee on Human Rights, I condemn in the strongest terms possible terms the NPA call to use land mines in their stepped up offensives against the military.

This drastic and desperate call can only mean even more violations f human rights against the civilian population. It is also a gross violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) signed by both the GRP and the CPP Negotiating Panels in the time of former President Joseph Estrada.

Part II, Article 2 of CARHRIHL states that "(T)he objectives of this agreement are (a)to guarantee the protection of human rights to all Filipinos under all circumstances, especially the workers, peasants and other poor people; (b) to affirm and apply the principles of international humanitarian law in order to protect the civilian population and individual civilians, as well as persons who do not take direct part or who have ceased to take part in the armed hostilities, including persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict."

One of the treaties related to international humanitarian law is the Ottawa Treaty that bans anti-personnel mines and has been ratified by 82 states last 30 June 1999. This Convention prohibits the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of anti-personnel mines.

If we are to believe the newspaper report that quotes Roger Rosal as saying that "We can inflict casualties on an advancing enemy force by using landmines, small teams and snipers," he blatantly violates the human rights and international humanitarian law agreement the CPP signed with the Philippine government.

The argument that the NPA does not use contact-detonated land mines (or anti-personnel land mines) but command detonated land mines which is not included in the Ottawa Treaty falls flat on its face as a claim that the CPP adheres to international humanitarian law.

An earlier newspaper report stating that a civilian was a casualty of a contact-detonated land mine planted by the NPA in Puerto Galera is enough evidence that the civilian population is not spared from these armed attacks of the NPA against the Philippine military. To call the incident "unfortunate" is severely insensitive and unmasks the reality that landmines do main and kill innocents. Additionally, in Butuan, 3 soldiers were also killed, allegedly when one of them stepped on a landmine.

Roger Rosals' call to step up armed action against the military regardless of whether this is violative or not of human rights and international humanitarian law recalls a Palparan mindset.

Both Rosal and Palparan apparently come from the same mold - a mold that believes that the only solution to the problems of Philippine society is the use of force - armed, violent and coercive, regardless of the harm they do to the life of the people and their right to dignity, security and self-fulfillment. It is a military mindset that asserts simplistically that "Might makes Right". It belongs to the law of the jungle. Marcos tried it in his time and he succeeded for 14 years. It took a people that grew in courage and enlightenment to finally topple the dictator.

Under present conditions, only a people that is properly informed of their rights against the tyranny of rule - whether through the use of violence or the manipulation of law - must grow in strength and rise to the occasion. AN informed, enlightened and empowered citizenry is the main and only democratic instrument that can ultimately overcome the rule of force with the rule of law. But such a law must be anchored on the rights of the people and must redound to their common good, never to the few who desperately cling to power by the rule of force and the manipulation of law.

If the President and the leadership of Congress claim to still believe in the rule of law, then immediate effort must be made to put a stop to the extra-judicial killings of the Palparan mode against members of party list organizations such as Bayan Muna, etc. Committee Report No. 1009 regarding HR 728 calling for an immediate stop to the extra-judicial killings must be given priority even before we call for recess for the Holy Week.

In the same vein, Congress should prioritize the enactment of House Bill 2675 or the Comprehensive Law on Landmines, which would be in compliance with the country's obligations under two related treaties - the Ottawa Treaty or the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use of Landmines which we ratified on February 15, 2000 and the 1996 Amended Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines.

AKBAYAN Representative

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

On the proposed PCGG compromise with Marcoses

The Presidential Commission on Good Government cannot enter into any sort of compromise with the Marcoses over the recovery of the ill-gotten wealth amassed by the dictator while in power. Commissioner Abcede's remark that the country should move on is premature and uncalled for given the fact that there has been no closure to the dark days of Martial Law. Instead of moving on, perhaps it is better for Abcede to move out of PCGG instead.

Abcede's 70-30 sharing proposal is a dangerous precedent to all would-be dictators and plunderers telling them that they can get away with stealing and cheating for as long as government is too lazy to lift a finger and go after them.

Abcede should be informed that the Supreme Court had ruled in Chavez vs. PCGG that a compromise agreement entered into with the Marcoses runs contrary to law because "it is a virtual warrant for public officials to amass public funds illegally, since there is an open option to compromise their liability in exchange for only a portion of their ill-gotten wealth."

Additionally, the criminal charges against Imelda Marcos and her cronies are already pending before the courts and what is needed is the political will to bring their prosecution to a decisive closure. Exoneration is not an option. An out of court settlement does not, in the words of the Supreme Court in Chavez vs. PCGG, "does not automatically terminate the criminal proceeding against or extinguish the criminal liability of the malefactor." The Marcoses and those who benefited from the regime must pay for their crimes before closure can be achieved.

Coming from the PCGG one is forced to wonder whether such pronouncements from Abcede reflect the official stand of the office under which the PCGG directly reports. In the light of unanswered questions regarding the supposed illegal use of Marcos wealth for electoral purposes in 2004 and the previously recovered Marcos wealth since 1986 amounting to P5 billion still unaccounted for, the atmosphere becomes gloomy for achieving justice for the Marcos victims and for finally putting a just and lasting closure to the excesses of Marcos.

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Thursday, July 07, 2005

CA decision over automotive case threatens jobs

AKBAYAN Party-List Representative Etta Rosales today expressed frustration over the Court of Appeals decision denying an appeal on its February ruling that reversed a 2002 ban on the importation of used vehicles.

"In declaring Executive Order 156 unconstitutional, the CA is putting thousands of workers under the threat of retrenchment and loss of livelihoods over some vague notion that competition redounds to the local automotive industry," said Rosales. "But the figures speak for themselves."

Rosales cited figures explaining that from a high of 162,056 units in 1996 prior to the Asian financial crisis, domestic vehicle sales have plummeted to 88,074 in 2004, a reduction of about 50%.

And yet, records from the LTO on new vehicle registrations show that almost 270,000 units were registered with it in 2004. "Only 88,000 units were sold by Philippine car manufacturers in 2004. What explains the discrepancy of 181,000 units?"

For Rosales, most of these units are cheap second-hand imported cars, a lot of which are smuggled into the country. "Unless you address that problem then the local automotive manufacturing industry will effectively put thousands of workers out of jobs," she said.

"The CA justified its decision saying that competition from imported second-hand cars would be good for consumers, a noble intent belied by the fact that these vehicles do not cater to mass markets," she said.

For Rosales, who delivered a privilege speech on May 9 to inquire into the importation of second-hand vehicles, it is necessary to first protect the local industry for the benefit of the workers, and to weed out the importers engaged in smuggling these vehicles into the country.

"What we need is an industrial policy that caters to the local economy, not to the privileged few looking to save up on a few pesos and the unscrupulous importers making a killing at the expense of workers everywhere," she said.


Desisyon ng CA pabor sa imported cars peligro sa manggagawa
July 6, 2005

Nagpahayag ng matinding pagkadismaya ngayon si AKBAYAN Party-List Representative Etta Rosales matapos ibasura ng Court of Appeals ang apela laban sa desisyon nito na nagsasawalang-bisa sa pagbabawal ng pag-angkat ng mga imported na segunda-manong sasakyan.

"Sa pagdedeklarang labag sa Konstitusyon ang Executive Order 156, inilalagay ng CA sa panganib ang kabuhaayn ng libo-libong manggagawa," ayon kay Rosales.

Ayon sa kaniya, mula sa daan-libong bagong otseng nagawa sa bansa noong 1996, bumaba ang bentahan sa halos 80,000 na lamang noong 2004, o halos kalahati na lamang ng mga sasakyang nabebenta sa bansa ay mula sa local na mga pagawaan.

Ayon kay Rosales, ang kapupunan ng mga nabebentang sasakyan sa bansa ay mula sa mga inangkat na sasakyan mula saibang bansa, na ang ilan ay illegal na iniluluwas sa bansa. "At dahil dito, ang mga manggagawa sa mga lokal na planta ang apektado dahil kapag nalugi ang mga pagwaang ito, sila ang unang aalisin sa trabaho."

"Sinasabi ng CA na ang patuloy na pagangkat ng mga second-hand vehicles na ito ay makakabuti para sa mga mangongonsumo, pero ang mga angkat na sasakyang ito ay hindi naman pang-masa," dagdag pa ni Rosales.

Para kay Rosales na nagpatawag ng isang imbestigasyon sa Kongreso sa industriya ng automotive noong May 9, kailangan munang protektahan ang local na industriya para mapangalagaan ang interes ng mga manggagawa. "Kailangan muna nating pigilan ang mga smuggler na ilegal na nag-aangkat ng mga segunda-manong behikulo sa bansa, bago pa natin lubusang buksan ang industriyang ito."


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