Urgent Appeal from the Pacific: Stop the Killings! Grant Presidential Amnesty to All Political Prisoners!
Two years ago on the occasion of your inauguration as new president, we wrote you to express our hopes that the prospects for peace and human rights situation would significantly improve under your administration.
As part of the international community seeking justice for victims of extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearances and illegal detentions under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration, we are gravely concerned and outraged that human rights abuses have continued under your watch, including:
The killings of Italian priest Fr. FAUSTO TENTORIO and Dutch missionary WILHELMUS JJ LUTZ GEERTMAN on top of the killings of over 90 Filipino citizens involved in socio-political causes.
The arrest of civilians on fabricated charges continue, the latest of which includes AGNES TADEO-MESINA, a former member of Migrante Australia who came back to the Philippines as a community worker defending poor peasants and indigenous people’s rights from large-scale mining and other anti-poor projects in Cagayan Valley, Philippines.
In particular we find your inaction on the urgent appeal of human rights groups for you to grant presidential amnesty to all political prisoners extremely disappointing. Considering that your family has also suffered when your father was unjustly incarcerated and eventually assassinated by the Marcos dictatorship, we are disappointed that you continue to ignore the pleas of the families of those unjustly detained and tortured in prisons.
Mr. President, you have four more years in office. We hope that the recorded human rights in the last two years would not go on and on as in the previous administration. As you deliver your third State of the Nation Address (SONA), we wish to reiterate our calls for you as commander-in-chief of the Philippine armed forces to take decisive steps to end impunity.
We seek assurance for justice to be served to all the human rights victims and the perpetrators punished. You have to end this culture of impunity. We are seriously concerned about the safety of Filipino community advocates as well as foreign missionaries including Australians and New Zealanders who are involved with local community groups working for the empowerment of urban and rural poor Filipinos.
We urge you to immediately withdraw trumped up charges against Agnes Tadeo-Mesina and to grant presidential amnesty to all political prisoners. We continue to hope that your administration will pursue the resumption of formal peace talks both with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
From New ZealandHelen Kelly President, NZ Council of Trade Unions
John H. Roberts
President, Methodist Church of New ZealandJohn Minto Spokesperson, Global Peace and Justice Auckland
Campaigns Coordinator, Christian World ServiceStuart Vogel, Secretary, Asian Council Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa-New Zealand
Rev. Chris Sullivan
St Marks / Our Lady Star of the Sea Justice & Peace GroupMike Treen National Director, Unite Union
Secretary, Philippines Solidarity Network of AotearoaCameron Walker Spokesperson Auckland Philippines Solidarity
Convener, Wellington Kiwi PinoyDennis Maga National Coordinator, Migrante Aotearoa
From AustraliaPeter Brock Chairperson, Australian Action for Peace and Development in the Philippines (APDP)
Secretary, Philippines Australia Union Link (PAUL)Denis Doherty Chairperson, Australian Anti-Bases Campaign Coalition
Dr Anne Noonan
Medical Association for the Prevention of War (MAPW), New South Wales, AustraliaJane Corpuz-Brock Chairperson, Philippines-Australia Women's Association (PAWA)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, New South Wales Branch-AustraliaPastor Berlin Guerrero Co-Convenor, Philippine Caucus for Peace
Chairperson, Migrante AustraliaMay Kotsakis, Co-Chairperson Philippines Australia Solidarity Association (PASA)
Chairperson, GABRIELA AustraliaStephanie Rabusa Chairperson, Anakbayan Melbourne