Philippine Human Rights group condemns Arroyo regime for butchery of Filipinos and their freedom

Manila -- "We condemn the Arroyo regime for its butchery of hundreds of Filipinos and our nation's freedom by presiding over gross human rights violations and insisting on a self-serving charter change similar to that of the Marcos dictatorship," said the Philippine human rights group KARAPATAN whose members and allied organizations joined the anti-Cha Cha rally today at the House of Representatives in Batasan.

KARAPATAN Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez said "We are strongly opposed to the treacherous bid for a charter change that will seek to prolong the rule of the murderous Arroyo regime whose death squads has once again attacked civilians yesterday."

The human rights watchdog received reports on the assassination of Jesus "Butch" Servida, in Cavite and Crisanto Frivaldo in Bicol. KARAPATAN said that as of today, the number of victims of extrajudicial killings reached 799 and victims of enforced disappearance now number 208 in the six years of Mrs. Arroyo's rule.

Jesus Servida, 36 years old, former Executive Vice President of Samahang Manggagawa sa EMI-Yazaki (SME) was shot at close range by an assailant in front of the EMI-Yazaki gate in Barangay Anabu 2A, Cavite, while on his way to deliver supplies to the factory canteen at around 6:30 AM on 11 December. He died on the spot while two other workers Joel Sale and Kenny Mari Severo were injured.

Crisanto Frivaldo, 35, sustained a gunshot wound in the head and four in the chest. The assailant reportedly entered the Frivaldo home in San Julian, Irosin, Sorsogon and shot the victim at close range. His brother Maximo Frivaldo, a Municipal Councilor who ran under the ticket of Bayan Muna Party, was also assassinated in the same manner on January 30 of this year.

Servida is the 21st victim of extrajudicial killing in Southern Tagalog this year while Frivaldo is the 31st victim in the Bicol region.

KARAPATAN strongly condemns the Arroyo government for its refusal to stop the Enhanced National Internal Security Plan (NISP), supported and under the tutelage of the United States Government, that is the policy operating behind these killings and abductions.

"Mrs. Arroyo is stubbornly refusing to stop the policy that is behind the killings and abductions. She and cohorts in Congress led by House Speaker Jose De Venecia had shamelessly claimed that charter change will unite the nation and move it forward when the butcher of hundreds of Filipinos fail to move them," said Enriquez.

KARAPATAN also scored the administration lawmakers for choosing to speed-up the ChaCha train that would extend the term of the new dictator Arroyo, instead of focusing on solutions to the worsening human rights situation in the Philippines.

Enriquez said, "Not only are Filipinos being killed and disappeared, democratic space and our freedoms are being snatched by the power-crazed, illegal President and her minions who want to install themselves in the parliament they are bent on creating without the people's authorization." ###