Posts Tagged ‘Duterte’

Philippines: President Duterte “Out To Get” Catholic Nun — But Villagers Liken Her To Fr. Damien of the Lepers

April 21, 2018

Image result for sister pat, philippines, photos

 / 05:16 AM April 21, 2018

For the arrest and detention early this week of Australian missionary Sister Patricia Fox, President Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque offered some sort of appeasement. He said apologies were perhaps “in order” because the nun was released quickly by the Bureau of Immigration, which could also commit a mistake. As he put it: “Siguro apologies are in order kasi madalian naman siyang pinalabas din ng BI. Siguro nagkakamali rin naman ang BI.”

Roque was trying to fudge the facts. Fox was not immediately released by immigration officials. After her surprise arrest on Monday at her home in Quezon City for allegedly engaging in political activities against the government, she was taken to the BI head office in Intramuros, Manila, and detained for at least 22 hours. She was released only on Tuesday after the bureau established that her papers were in order—she is, in fact, a properly documented foreigner with a valid missionary visa, as she has maintained all along.

Fox is 71 years old, and has lived in the Philippines for 27 years. A member of the Notre Dame de Sion congregation, she has devoted her life to ministering to the poorest, most marginalized Filipinos, and has been in and out of the country without incident—until now. “How many Filipinos have spent that many years of their lives, as Sister Pat has, working with the last, the least and the lost of this woebegone country?” wrote Inquirer columnist Ma. Ceres Doyo. But, “for heeding the biblical imperative to walk with those who have been largely forgotten, she is suspected to be an enemy of the state.”

What could have gotten Fox into such a tangle with the government that all of a sudden she is now a person of interest facing deportation for being an “undesirable alien”? Apparently, she has been spotted joining rallies protesting human rights abuses against political prisoners and farmers, and speaking up on their behalf. The fact that her activities caught the eye of the authorities is perhaps not surprising in itself; what is surprising is how high up the case of this hitherto obscure missionary reached—all the way to the presidential sanctum in Malacañang. For Mr. Duterte would eventually reveal that it was he who had ordered the arrest and investigation of Fox, supposedly for “disorderly conduct” in joining political demonstrations and daring to criticize his administration. The nun had a foul mouth, according to the President. The statement in the vernacular is profoundly more startling: “Walang hiya ang bunganga ng madre na yan.”

The arrest and detention of Fox appear to be of a piece with the intensifying crackdown on critics of the administration, but, in this case, it has united members of the Catholic Church and other religious denominations in protesting Malacañang’s heavy hand. The Ecumenical Bishops Forum denounced the “absurd action” against the missionary, and highlighted the disturbing trend of church workers coming under “systematic state-sponsored attack,” such as Catholic priest Marcelito Paez getting killed after facilitating the release of a political prisoner, and Iglesia Filipina Independiente bishop and peace advocate Carlo Morales being arrested and detained for nearly a year.

Meanwhile, in a Facebook post, Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo not only detailed Fox’s ordeal at the Bureau of Immigration (she suffers from “several ailments, what with her thin and frail stature,” he said) but also issued a grim warning: “The grip is getting tighter; getting hard on people who manifest dissent against the abuses of the government… The victim can even be a woman, an elderly, and a religious. Before, they were the poor, the young, and the gullible. Let us be wary. This government cannot take dissent. It uses the machineries of the state—and even the law—to bring down people, whoever and whatever their condition may be.”

Notwithstanding Roque’s attempt at an “apology,” Fox’s arrest was no mistake; it was meant, unmistakably, to be a warning.

Read more:
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

In a phone conversation with people in the Philippines who are served by Sister pat, one man said she reminded him of “Fr. Damien of the lepers in Hawaii.”

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

Image result

Father Damien



U.S. Chief Complaints With The Philippines Remain: Extrajudicial Killings, Impunity, Rule of Law, Human Rights Abuses

April 21, 2018
Image may contain: one or more people, shoes and outdoor
Photo: Journalists and photograpphers have documented thousands of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during the Duterte administration. AP/Bullit Marquez, File photo
State Department report: EJKs still ‘chief’ human rights concern in Philippines

Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( – April 21, 2018 – 11:21am

MANILA, Philippines — The alleged cases of summary execution in President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody drug war remains a major human rights concern in the Philippines, amid rising impunity following a dramatic surge in police killings, the US State Department said in its global rights report for 2017.

“Extrajudicial killings have been the chief human rights concern in the country for many years and, after a sharp rise with the onset of the antidrug campaign in 2016, they continued in 2017,” read the report released Friday (Washington time).

Duterte, who is notorious for his defiance of international pressure and rejection of criticisms on his rights record, easily won the race to Malacañang on a brutal law and order platform.

Human rights monitors say most of the fatalities in the government’s anti-narcotic drive are extrajudicial killings committed by cops taking a frontline role in the lethal campaign and unknown assailants.

But the force had vehemently denied executing suspected drug traffickers in cold blood, saying deaths in police shootings were done in self-defense.

Amid the mounting death toll, critics say Duterte is waging a “war on poor,” making him liable for crimes against humanity for giving cops the “license to kill.”

Citing the 900 drug-related deaths reported by media from January to September last year, the State Department said concerns about police impunity “increased significantly.”

The US government also expressed doubt over the accuracy and legitimacy of Duterte’s list of alleged drug personalities.

“Police claimed to have begun investigations of all reports of extrajudicial killings,” the report read in part.

“Some civil society organizations accused police of planting evidence, tampering with crime scenes, unlawfully disposing of the bodies of drug suspects, and other actions to cover up extrajudicial killings,” it added.

Aside from the drug war, the report likewise flagged other “most significant” human rights issues in the country, including life threatening prison conditions, warrantless arrests, the state’s “disregard” for due process, violence against the free press and rights activists, and forced labor, among others.


The report’s release comes at a time of improving Manila-Washington ties, as US President Donald Trump cozies up to Duterte, whom the American leader said was doing an “unbelievable job on the drug problem.”

In a departure from previous policy of past American leaders to call out human rights violators, Trump had also reportedly said that “Filipinos don’t have drug problem [because] they just kill them.”

Asked how the State Department report is consistent with the human rights policies of Trump—who has been criticized for his apparent affinity for leaders accused of being authoritarian like Duterte—senior State Department official Michael Kozak maintained that the report is “factual.”

“Now, does that mean that the President should never speak to these people? We’re trying to keep the report as the factual baseline for what we’re going to do in policy terms or sanctions as the secretary was mentioning. So we can learn a lot from this, and we can use it to formulate a policy,” Kozak, who helped oversee the report, said in a press conference.

“But usually part of your policy is engaging with the people whose behavior you’re trying to change at some level. And I don’t think those two things are in distinction,” he added.

“The fact is, these other governments and their populations do read the report… And when the President speaks to their leader, often he’s talking about these issues, so it’s – it’s complementary, it’s not a – two things that are in conflict.”




 (Includes FT Op-Ed)


Philippine Government Blast EU For Interfering Human Rights, War On Drugs — “What do they care how many die here? They can all go to hell.”

April 20, 2018
By:  – Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
 / 05:22 PM April 20, 2018

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque INQUIRER FILE PHOTO / JOAN BONDOC

Where are the 12,000 drug war deaths?

Malacañang hit back on Friday at the European Parliament for issuing a resolution urging the Philippines to stop its war on drugs, claiming it is marred by alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations.

The EU Parliament also called on the Philippines to release Sen. Leila de Lima and give her a fair trial and remove the terrorists tag against human rights defenders in the country.

“We of course find it unfortunate that members of the European Parliament once again interfered with the affairs of the Philippine state, rehashing issues and baseless claims that have been explained adequately by the Philippine government in several official statements. ,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a Palace briefing.

Image result for duterte with rifle, photo, april 2018

President Rodrigo Duterte

In this Thursday, April 19, 2018, file photo, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte jokes to photographers as he holds an Israeli-made Galil rifle which was presented to him by outgoing Philippine National Police Chief Director General Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, at the turnover-of-command ceremony at Camp Crame in suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines. Duterte told the crowd he will not stop his so-called war on drugs until his last day in office. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

Source: AP

In their latest resolution, the EU Parliament also noted the death of 12,000 individuals in President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal war on drugs.

Roque reiterated that the Duterte administration does not engage in extrajudicial killings .

Image may contain: 1 person, sitting and shoes

“Ang sabi po nila, 12,000 na raw po ang namatay. Nasaan po iyong mga bangkay, at nasaan po iyong mga demanda ng mga 12,000 victims?  Roque asked.

“Kakaunti lang po ang alam naming mga demanda tungkol dito sa mga patayan na ito, and we of course challenge them – saan po iyong mga datos, saan ang ebidensiya na 12,000 ang namatay na?” he added.

Roque reiterated that the government does not tolerate impunity.

“Impunity does not have a place in our society and we continue to follow due process and hold officers accountable for their actions,” he said.

“Hindi po natin kinukusinti ang mga patayan. Ang ating mga institusyon ay gumagalaw po para bigyan ng implementasyon ang ating batas laban sa patayan (We do not tolerate these deaths. Our institutions are working to implement the laws against killings),” he added.

The war on drugs under the Duterte administration has received international condemnation from rights groups for alleged human rights abuses by police authorities.

De Lima arrest legal

Roque also slammed the EU Parliament, saying the arrest and detention of de Lima followed strict legal procedures.

“The arrest and detention of Senator Leila De Lima on illegal drug charges which follows strict legal procedures has even been declared legal with finality by the Supreme Court of the Philippines,” he said.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday junked the plea for reconsideration of De Lima to nullify the arrest warrant against her issued by Muntinlupa Regional Trial Court (RTC) Executive Judge Juanita Guerrero.

“Ngayong linggo lang po ito, Korte Suprema na ang nagbasura noong Motion for Reconsideration ni Leila De Lima na kinukuwestiyon iyong legalidad ng information laban sa kaniya. Ano pong gagawin natin? Korte Suprema na nagsabi, dalawang beses; hindi lang isang beses na legal ‘yan,” Roque said.

The Palace official said the judicial system in the Philippines is working.

“Gumagana po ang hudikatura dito sa Pilipinas, hindi po naimpluwensiyahan ng mga pulitiko ang mga lower courts at ang Korte Supreme dito sa Pilipinas dahil ngayon po, menorya pa lang ang naa-appoint na mga justices ng ating Pangulo sa Supreme Court,” he said.

He daid the executive branch does not interfere with the decision of the judiciary.

Terrorist tag

Roque said human rights defenders tagged as terrorist by the government were being given due process and the right to be heard.

“United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People Victoria Tauli-Corpuz is included in the list of terrorist because of intelligence information. Ms. Corpuz can submit controverting evidence linking her with the terrorist group, the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army,” he said.

He said Corpuz was not yet a terrorist as her case was still in court.

“Hindi pa naman siya nababansagang terorista; kinakailangan munang magkaroon ng order sa hukuman. So binibigyan po siya ng due process, bibigyan po siya ng pagkakataon na marinig. Magsumite po siya ng ebidensiya na hindi siya terorista, at pabayaan natin ang hukuman magdesisyon,” he said.

Roque said it would be the court and not foreigner lawmakers who would decide and whether Corpuz would be tagged as a terrorist.

“We thus call on the members of the European Parliament to exercise prudence in issuing resolutions,” he said.

“We understand a number of whom have close ties with the local political opposition who tried to distort realities that we have a working democracy, where people now enjoy peace and order,” he added.

In its World Report 2018, Human Rights Watch said President Rodrigo Duterte dragged the Philippines into a serious human rights crisis since the dictatorship of late Ferdinand Marcos, whom Duterte had praised in the past. Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times/World Press Photo via AP, File

PH removal from UN

Roque also addressed the plan of the EU Parliament for the removal of the Philippines from the UN Human Rights Council.

“Well that’s not a decision to be made by the European parliament. That’s a decision to be made by the UN system itself. The members of the UN Human Rights Council are elected by the general assembly, that’s a call to be made by the general assembly,” he said.



Cayetano dares HRW: Show proof 12,000 were killed in PH drug war
Read more:
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook


 (Includes FT Op-Ed)


All this makes one wonder: does the Philippines know what it is doing with China? In the South China Sea?  Benham Rise? Is Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the ICC, and is Agnes Callamard  (Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions at the UN) correct in saying the Philippines is guilty of gross illegalities under international law? Is the Philippine government being run by people who don’t understand the law? Is the move for a “Federal form of Government” based upon any good thinking?


 (No man is above the law…)


The grandmother of 17-year-old Kian delos Santos, Violeta, cries beside his casket yesterday in Caloocan City. Relatives and concerned neighbors of the teenager slain by police are calling for justice. MICHAEL VARCAS
One of the fatalities, who has yet to be identified, was killed in an alleged shootout with police officers in Guiguinto, Bulacan on June 16. AP/Aaron Favila, file

Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine National Police chief General Ronald Dela Rosa whispers to President Rodrigo Duterte during the announcement of the disbandment of police operations against illegal drugs at the Malacanang palace in Manila, Philippines on Jan 29, 2017.PHOTO: REUTERS

Jee Ick-joo, a South Korean businessman in the Philippines, was abducted by police from his home in October. It took his wife, Choi Kyung-jin, three months to learn his fate. Video: Eva Tam; photo: Jes Aznar for The Wall Street Journal

According to the Philippine National Police, there have been 6,225 drug-related deaths between July 2016 and September 2017. Despite this, the authorities claim that there has only been one extrajudicial victim under the current administration. AFP/Noel Celis
Three of five Filipinos believe that only the poor are killed in the government’s anti-illegal drug campaign, the Social Weather Stations said in its latest survey. AFP/Noel Celis
Photos obtained by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism show the body of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa Sr. lying flat on his back with his eyes half-open, and both of his hands empty. He was killed while in police custody during a “jail house shoot out” with police. All the police involved were exonerated and returned to duty. Image obtained by PCIJ/Nancy Carvajal



 (The Philippines seems to be siding with China, Russia and Iran)




Philippines: Human Rights Watch director Phelim Kine also said the numbers of fatalities in the drug war launched by President Rodrigo Duterte when he assumed office on June 30, 2016, are “appalling but predictable” since he (Duterte) vowed to “forget the laws on human rights.”

Image result for Boy Cruz, philippine policeman, photos

Philippines Policeman found tortured and strangled after some fellow police said he was involved in the illegal drug trade. Photo Credit Boy Cruz

 (December 23, 2016)


 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

 (Philippine Star, December 1, 2016)

“They are afraid the incident could cause President Duterte to declare martial law. I talked with some sultans and ulamas and elders here… and that’s what they have told me,” Ponyo said.

 (November 30, 2016)

Image may contain: 1 person, eyeglasses and beard

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein. UN Photo, Jean-Marc Ferré

Summary executions of supposed drug dealers and other criminals have become a common occurence in recent weeks. The STAR/Joven Cagande, file

 (November 16, 2016)

 (August 10, 2016)

Davao City’s Ronald dela Rosa has been appointed to become the next chief of the Philippine National Police to lead President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s planned crackdown on illegal drugs. Facebook/Dela Rosa

Why Does The President of the Phiippines fear a 71-year-old Australian Catholic missionary nun who serves the “poorest of the poor”?

April 19, 2018


Philippine Inquirer

 / 05:32 AM April 19, 2018

A 71-year-old Australian Catholic missionary nun who has been working with marginalized Filipinos for more than 27 years is the latest person of interest in the Duterte administration’s crackdown on what it perceives as openly prohuman rights, propoor, and therefore not to its liking.

Officials of the Bureau of Immigration picked up Sr. Patricia Fox of the Our Lady of Sion (Notre Dame de Sion) congregation from her residence in Quezon City last Monday and detained her for 24 hours at the BI Intelligence Division. She was released on Tuesday but the BI held on to her passport. The nun has a missionary visa that is renewed every two years. Now she has been given 10 days to respond to charges against her, among them her participation in rallies.

Image result for Sister Pat, Philippines, Photos

Sr. Patricia Fox

A not-so-recent photo on the internet shows Sister Pat at an outdoor gathering, carrying a backpack and wearing a floppy hat and a T-shirt with the image of Pope Francis and the words “Struggle with us for land, justice and peace.” What a great smile she had on her face.

Sister Pat was the national coordinator from 2002 to 2008 of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), one of several mission partners of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines. The RMP is composed of religious from different congregations and laypeople who work in the rural areas. It is turning 50 this year, and has been a candle in the dark, so to speak, in parts unknown and on roads less traveled.

I spoke with Sister Pat on the phone after her release from detention and while she was on her way home. With her was the current RMP national coordinator, Sr. Elenita Belardo of the Religious of the Good Shepherd.

Sister Pat said she was really supposed to be detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig City (a god-awful place for a frail 71-year-old), but she was detained instead at the BI as “a concession.” Ay, salamat naman.

She was “nasampolan” (used as an example) — to use street lingo — to warn foreigners not to be openly on the side of the marginalized and the voiceless. How many Filipinos have spent that many years of their lives, as Sister Pat has, working with the last, the least and the lost of this woebegone country? For heeding the biblical imperative to walk with those who have been largely forgotten, she is suspected to be an enemy of the state.

In a TV interview, a BI official said in so many words that monitoring the activities — of the “political” variety, that is — of persons like Sister Pat was part of intelligence gathering.  That statement was a giveaway. Ah, so … she may not be seen or heard sympathizing with the landless, the powerless, the voiceless.

Pray tell, what is political? Is everything to be reduced to the political? Is espousing land for the landless political? Is answering God’s call to clothe the naked, feed the hungry and visit the sick political?

Oh, anything that could open people’s eyes and make them know their rights could be deemed political. So — as I have seen up close — when nuns teach indigenous groups not the ABC but first the Ls and Ds (L for lota or land, D for damowag or carabao), etc. and how to compute the cost of harvested bananas so they are not shortchanged by middlemen, is that political?

“Sister Pat is known among church people for her progressive advocacies and her steadfast commitment to serve the rural poor,” said RMP coordinator Sister Elenita. “This incident is undeniably part of the Duterte administration’s crackdown on human rights and rural poor defenders and land reform advocates.”

Sister Elenita added that when Sister Pat was the RMP national coordinator “she actively advocated for genuine agrarian reform and the rural sectors’ welfare,” and “organized and implemented activities aimed at providing services to [them].”

Last April 6-9, Sister Pat was with the International Fact-Finding and Solidarity Mission in Mindanao that investigated alleged human rights abuses against farmers and indigenous communities in the southern, northern and Caraga regions.


Send feedback to

Read more:
Follow us: @inquirerdotnet on Twitter | inquirerdotnet on Facebook

Duterte’s drugs war lieutenants get key posts in Philippine police reshuffle

April 19, 2018

Image may contain: 2 people

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte holds a Galil sniper rifle next to outgoing Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Bato Dela Rosa during the National Police chief handover ceremony in Camp Crame, Quezon City, metro Manila, Philippines, April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Dondi TawataoREUTERS


MANILA (Reuters) – Police at the helm of the Philippine war on drugs were given top posts in the national force on Thursday, indicating no let-up in a brutal crackdown that has caused international alarm, and defined Rodrigo Duterte’s 21-month presidency.

The job of national police chief was given to Oscar Albayalde, a strict disciplinarian who has been in charge of Metro Manila, where the vast majority of the thousands of drugs war killings have occurred.

He was succeeded as commander of the capital police by Camilo Cascolan, the architect of the controversial operational plan of the anti-drug campaign, “Double Barrel”.

About 4,100 people have been killed by police in the Philippines since July 2016 in what the authorities said were shootouts during anti-narcotics operations. At least 2,300 drug-related deaths have occurred separately, at the hands of what police say are unknown assassins.

Human rights groups believe the death toll has been understated, and accuse the authorities of executing suspects and staging crime scenes. Police deny that and say their more than 130,000 arrests prove their intent to preserve life.

Cascolan is the latest officer promoted to a top command post having served in the Davao region during the 22 years Duterte was a mayor there. The outgoing police chief, Ronald dela Rosa, also served in Davao.

Cascolan’s position as head of operations will go to Mao Aplasca, also from the Davao region.

Albayalde vowed no relent in the campaign and to ensure continuity of its “remarkable accomplishments”, including arresting or convincing tens of thousands of people to surrender, and the “neutralizing” of drug suspects.

“We will not relent on our war against illegal drugs and other forms of criminality. The drug menace, we must all understand, is a worldwide phenomenon,” Albayalde said in a speech.

“We will help and support each other to fight and win this war.”

The outgoing police chief, Dela Rosa, will head the bureau of corrections.

He is leaving behind a police force with “a sordid human rights record”, according to Carlos Conde, a researcher for the New York based Human Rights Watch.

In his departure speech, Dela Rosa lauded Duterte’s for his courage to order an all-out war on drugs, and pledged his “unquestionable loyalty” to him.

“It was an order I certainly could not refuse. I shared the same sentiments as the president and would not let pass the opportunity to do my share,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Neil Jerome Morales and Martin Petty; Editing by Robert Birsel)

Philippine President says he ordered the Bureau of Immigration to detain, investigate Australian nun, advocate for the poor

April 18, 2018


President Duterte said that he ordered the detention of Patricia Fox, 71, for her supposed vocal criticism of the government.

The STAR/Miguel De Guzman


( – April 18, 2018 – 6:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday blasted an Australian nun for her supposed vocal criticism of the government and said that he was the one who ordered the Bureau of Immigration to detain her.

Particia Fox, 71, an Australian nun who has been advocating land reform and rights of farmers in the Philippines, was detained from Monday to Tuesday for her supposed violations of an immigration order banning the involvement of foreign nationals in the partisan activities and political assemblies.

Duterte said that the only reason Fox was released was she was not caught in the act of berating the government.

Bureau of Immigration lawyers, in a two-page note with recommendation to Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente prior to her release, said that “while Fox was alleged to have taken part in protest actions by farmers in the past, she was not doing so at the time when BI operatives served her the mission order.

The Philippine leader made the statement after Fox, in a television interview, said that the military might be behind her detention at the office of the Bureau of Immigration.

“It was not the military who arrested the Catholic nun. It was upon my orders implemented by the Bureau of Immigration, and I take full responsibility, legal or otherwise, for this incident,” Duterte said during his remarks at the turnover ceremony at the Armed Forces of the Philippines in Camp Aguinaldo.

“I ordered her investigated… not arrested, for a disorderly conduct,” the president said.

According to a Law professor who agreed to give input on condition of anonymity, as a general rule, arrests can only be made if a judge has issued a warrant after a criminal case has been filed or if a crime is committed in the presence of law enforcement. In which case, an inquest proceeding must be held immediately to determine if charges should be filed.

The Immigration commissioner, who is under the authority of the president, has a unique power to issue warrants against a foreigner who violates immigration law, the professor said.

Sister Patricia Fox was released Tuesday afternoon, nearly a day after she was arrested by the Bureau of Immigration for her reported violation of the country’s law banning political assembly.

‘Foreigners have no rights to criticize us’

The president said that he was used to being criticized as he has been a politician for several decades and would not mind being attacked by a Filipino.

“You are entitled really to criticize. Freedom of expression is unlimited, and it goes for everybody,” the president said.

“You don’t have the right to criticize us. You can come here to enjoy all the sights,” he said of foreigners.

Duterte’s tirade came just hours after presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in a television interview that an apology might be in order following the detention of Fox, which he said could have been a mistake.

Fox was not the only foreigner who recently had problems with Immigration officials.

Over the weekend, Giacomo Filibeck, an official of the Party of European Socialists, was denied entry in Cebu.

He had been put on an immigration blacklist for being in a delegation of European legislators and activists that criticized the government for its bloody crackdown on illegal drugs in late 2017.

Filibeck was invited to the country by Akbayan and was supposed to attend its congress in Cebu.

‘Criticize Australia, Church instead’

Duterte also told Fox to criticize the Australian government’s handling of its refugee crisis.

“You, nun, why don’t you criticize your own government, the way you handle the refugees, hungry and dying, and you throw them back to the open sea,” the president said.

The Australian government maintains a hardline policy on immigration and pays offshore centers in nearby nations such as Papua New Guinea and Nauru to prevent asylum seekers to make their way to the mainland by boat.

Duterte also said that Fox should also help the Catholic Church address the problems it faced such as “adulterous priests,” malpractices and homosexuality.

He also said that the Philippines could survive without money from foreign governments as he stressed that he would not allow these nations to impose their values on the country.

“Eat your money. You can have your money. We will survive. The Philippines is not a grazing land,” he said.



Philippines says President Duterte’s tirades vs Chief Justice Sereno not an attack to judiciary

April 18, 2018


President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the Congress to fast track the impeachment proceeding against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Presidential photo/Robinson Niñal Jr.
Patricia Lourdes Viray ( – April 18, 2018 – 4:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte’s attacks against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno should not be interpreted as an attack to the co-equal judiciary branch, Malacañang said Wednesday.

“The President’s rebuke of the Chief Justice must therefore be taken as a dislike of the Chief Justice and not an attack to the judiciary or an affront to judicial independence,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

This statement was made in response to a lawyers groups’ report to the United Nations special rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers narrating how the Duterte government attacks the judiciary.

Several lawyers’ groups, headed by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, urged UN special rapporteur Diego Garcia-Sayan to take action on Duterte’s attacks against Sereno.

“The recent tirades of the president against the chief justice do not sound at all foreboding. They rather expectedly punctuate the long-winded attacks on judicial independence that began almost two years ago, when the chief justice dared resist an apparent intrusion into judicial power,” the groups said.

Roque, on the other hand, stressed that some justices of the Supreme Court have testified against Sereno during House impeachment hearings.

“The Chief Justice was made to go on indefinite leave by her colleagues to protect the integrity and reputation of the court after it became clear that the CJ failed to file some of her annual SALN,” Roque said.

He added that Duterte’s remarks against the chief justice, head of a co-equal branch, were only “reaction to these accusations.”

In the report submitted to the UN special rapporteur, the lawyers’ groups narrated how Duterte declared Sereno as an “enemy” during a speech on April 9.

The president had also asked the Congress to fast track the impeachment proceeding against Sereno.



Philippines: If Duterte has nothing to hide, why the crackdown on foreign activists? Arrest of Australian activist Nun, 71, raises eyebrows in Manila

April 17, 2018


Sister Patricia Fox was released Tuesday afternoon, nearly a day after she was arrested by the Bureau of Immigration for her reported violation of the country’s law banning political assembly.

Twitter/Rep. Carlos Zarate

By Gaea Katreena Cabico ( – April 17, 2018 – 3:46pm

MANILA, Philippines — Critics of the government slammed the detention of two foreigners who were nabbed by immigration officials, saying it raises questions about what the government is trying to conceal.

The Liberal Party stressed that the incidents involving rights and land reform advocate Patricia “Sister Pat” Fox and Party of European Socialists official Giacomo Filibeck debunk the claim of the current government that it has nothing to hide.

“The emerging trend on crackdown against foreign activists in the country is alarming as exhibited by the harassment and casual arrests of the two human right advocates who were not even in protest activities or rallies when taken into custody,” LP, the erstwhile ruling party said.

Karapatan also stressed that the illegal arrest of Fox and other cases of threats and harassment against delegates of fact-finding missions in the Philippines are clear signs that President Rodrigo Duterte is “guilty as hell” of rights violations.

“If indeed Duterte is as innocent as his sycophants say, there would be no reason for blocking any form of independent inquiries into the cases of extrajudicial killings and other rights violations against peasants and other poor sectors in the Philippines,” Karapatan said.

READImmigration releases ‘partisan’ Australian nun a day after apprehension

Fox was released Tuesday afternoon, nearly a day after she was arrested by the Bureau of Immigration for her reported violation of the country’s law banning political assembly.

Groups condemned her arrest and detention, saying it lacks due process and respect for her rights as a church person.

The arrest of the 71-year old Australian lay missionary came only a day after BI deported Filibeck. He was denied entry to the country Sunday for being part of the seven-member delegation in October 2017 who denounced the spate of extrajudicial killings.

READEuropean socialists’ party condemns Philippines’ deportation of official




Australian nun, 71, faces deportation from the Philippines for ‘illegal political activities’

An Australian nun arrested in the Philippines for engaging in “illegal political activities” has been released pending further investigation after authorities became aware she held a valid missionary visa.

Key points:

  • Sister Fox says she was arrested by six immigration officials
  • The Australian nun has been working in the Philippines for 27 years
  • MPs are calling for her release

Her detention came a day after Giacomo Filibeck, a Socialist Party official from the European Union who had criticised Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s brutal anti-drugs crackdown, was deported.

Sister Patricia Fox, 71, was reportedly taken from her house and brought to the immigration bureau in Manila, said Renato Reyes, secretary-general of the leftist Bayan (Nation) movement.

She had taken part in a human rights fact-finding mission in the country’s south, according to Mr Reyes, who also said the immigration department informed her about deportation proceedings against her.

“We condemn her unjust detention and the deportation proceedings initiated against her,” Mr Reyes said.

“She is no criminal or undesirable alien.

“She has long been in the Philippines helping the poorest of the poor.”

Sister Fox is the superior of the Notre Dame de Sion in the Philippines, a congregation of Catholic nuns.

In a statement, the Philippines Bureau of Immigration said the department’s legal division had recommended releasing Sister Fox, and that her missionary visa was valid until September 9 this year.

The bureau said she was detained “due to reports that she violated the conditions of her stay by engaging in political activities and anti-government demonstrations.”

“While Fox was alleged to have taken part in protest actions by farmers in the past, she was not doing so at the time when [Bureau of Immigration] operatives served her the mission order yesterday,” the statement said.

“Fox should undergo preliminary investigation to determine if deportation charges should be filed against her before the bureau’s board of commissioners.”

An advocate for human rights

Sister Fox had been involved with human rights missions on the southern island of Mindanao, where Mr Duterte has declared martial law.

The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said she had been working in the Philippines for 27 years.

In a series of tweets, CBCP quoted Sister Fox as saying she was arrested by six immigration officials at a mission house in Quezon City at about 2:15pm on Monday (local time).

The CBCP said she was detained at the Intelligence Division of the Bureau of Immigration in Intramuros.

Sister Fox’s attorney Jobert Pahilga said the fiscal in charge of the inquest recommended Sister Fox be released once she was able to produce her passport, which she had given to a travel agency arranging her trip back to Australia next month, according to CBCP.

The immigration bureau confirmed Sister Fox’s arrest but declined to issue any statement until after the investigation is complete. Sister Fox was unavailable for comment.

Leftist MPs have vowed to hold a congressional inquiry into the deportation of foreign human rights advocates.

“The immigration department is barking at the wrong tree on this one,” the MPs said in a statement calling for her immediate release.

“Helping the poor is not a crime and joining peace activities to advocate peasant welfare and human rights is not against the law.”


US vows freedom of navigation, freedom from fear, coercion

April 15, 2018

Image may contain: ocean, sky, water and outdoor

Speaking at a reception onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the waters of Manila Bay on Friday, US Ambassador Sung Kim said the US will continue to ensure “freedom of navigation, freedom of commerce and freedom from fear and coercion.”
US vows freedom of navigation, freedom from fear, coercion
Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) – April 15, 2018 – 12:01am

MANILA, Philippines — Through the presence and more frequent visits of powerful aircraft carriers in in the Philippines and other parts of the South China Sea, the US is sending a loud and clear message that America’s military forces are ready to defend and protect its allies in the Indo-Pacific region.

Speaking at a reception onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the waters of Manila Bay on Friday, US Ambassador Sung Kim said the US will continue to ensure “freedom of navigation, freedom of commerce and freedom from fear and coercion.”

Kim said the aircraft carrier, carrying a handful of F-18 Hornet fighter jets, helicopters and some 5,000 sailors and marines, is named after the 26th president of the United States.

Roosevelt, a soldier, a visionary president and a Nobel Prize winner, is famous for the saying “Speak softly but carry a big stick.” Hence the carrier is nicknamed “the Big Stick.”

“But I might take exception to the first part of the Teddy Roosevelt saying about speaking softly. I think there are times when we should speak loudly and clearly,” Kim told an audience of that included Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, Presidential Political Adviser Francis Tolentino, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Rear Admiral Robert Empedrad, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Pangasinan Rep. Leopoldo Bataoil and business leaders Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Tessie Sy-Coson, Ricky Razon, Alfred Ty.

“The presence of the Theodore Roosevelt here in Manila Bay sends a very clear message to everyone in the region, especially to our friends in the Philippines, because our commitment to the US-Philippines alliance is unbreakable and will remain so indefinitely,” Kim said.

“Our friendship has never been stronger and we have been and remain an Indo-Pacific nation. And our commitment to this region and its well-being is enduring,” he said.

Kim said the US clearly showed its commitment to the alliance with the Philippines when it came to the assistance of the brave men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as they defeated the terrorists in Marawi City last year.

He said the US also shows its clear commitment when it welcomes every year tens of thousands of Filipinos to the US, to study, to visit loved ones – and sometimes to shop.

“Our commitment is also clear on the number of US companies investing in Philippines’ thriving economy, providing jobs to talented Filipino workers and also when we welcome Filipino products to US markets,” he added.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt is a fourth Nimitz-class aircraft carrier launched in 1984. She saw her first action during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 that is now under the command of Rear Admiral Stephen Koehler of Carrier Strike Group 9 whose crew include some 400 Filipino-Americans.

“At well over a thousand feet long and weighing in at well over a hundred thousand tons, sticks don’t come any bigger than the Theodore Roosevelt,” he said.

Kim said the timing of Roosevelt’s visit to Manila is fitting as the Philippines observed the Day of Valor or Araw ng Kagitingan just a few days ago.

Kim said such day is a somber reminder of what the US and the Philippines have endured troughout history.

“Yet we emerge from these trials stronger, both as individual nations and as friends, partners and allies. The Day of Valor invites us to remember and honor the past. But the presence of this amazing carrier in Manila Bay reassures us that together we can have a secure and prosperous future,” Kim said.

Kim later told reporters that the visit of the USS Theodore Roosevelt to the country is “a clear sign, clear reflection, clear demonstration of our commitment to the Indo-Pacific Region, commitment to the US-Philippines alliance and also our commitment to promoting and protecting important values, principles and rights like freedom of navigation, freedom of flight and freedom of commerce.”

Asked about recent reports that China has put up jamming devices in disputed islands of the West Philippine Sea, Admiral Kohler said the aircraft carrier along with other navies sail through the region regularly.

“We like to promote and ensure that those freedoms and those commons are open to everybody. And so that’s what we’ve done here and that’s what we’ll continue to do here in the region and sail professionally and safely like all other navies that we’ve run into,” he said.

Kim, responding to the same issue, said when US President Donald Trump visited the region in November last year, he made it very clear that one of the central themes of his policy and approach to the Indo-Pacific region was to make sure to secure and promote an open and free region.

“And I think what the Admiral and his team are doing in the region is just that – to promote freedom, fairness, and openness,” he said.

Kohler said the presence and sailing of the USS Theodore “is an indication that we’re here to support all of our friends and allies here in the region.”



US says ties with Philippines ‘unbreakable’ as China flaunts military might

April 14, 2018


Crewmen of the U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt prepare their aircraft Tuesday, April 10,2018, in international waters off South China Sea. The aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) is sailing through the disputed South China Sea in the latest display of America’s military might after China built a string of islands with military facilities in the strategic sea it claims almost in its entirety.

By Ian Nicolas Cigaral ( – April 14, 2018 – 3:18pm

MANILA, Philippines — The United States on Saturday assured its traditional treaty ally, the Philippines, that their decades’ long ties is “unbreakable,” just days after China conducted a naval muscle flexing in the disputed South China Sea.

Aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt which arrived in Manila for a port visit last Wednesday, April 11, US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim said the warship’s presence here “sends a clear message.”

“I think there are times when we should speak loudly and clearly,” Kim said.

“[This] sends a clear message to everyone in the region especially to our friends in the Philippines because our commitment to the US-Philippine alliance is unbreakable and will remain so indefinitely,” he added.

The Roosevelt docked in the capital after China, in an apparent display of military might, held massive air and naval drills in the contested sea.

The Philippines claims parts of the South China Sea within its exclusive economic zone and calls it the West Philippine Sea.

China has been increasing its power projection capabilities in the strategic waterway by building artificial islands.

“The opportunity to have this carrier here and the opportunity to be in all of the South China Sea region is an indication that we’re here to support all of our friends and allies here in the region,” said Rear Admiral Steve Koehler, commander of Carrier Strike Group 9.

“It is about the freedom of commerce and professional operations at sea,” he added.

Ties between the Philippines and China have significantly improved under President Rodrigo Duterte, who has set aside a ruling from a UN-backed tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s claim to sovereignty over most of the resource-rich waters.

Although it is not a party to the maritime row, Washington has been infuriating China for repeatedly sending warships close to Chinese-controlled reefs in recent years.

The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group will continue on their regularly scheduled Western Pacific deployment after departing Manila.