A COALITION of civil society organizations and left-wing groups has filed charges of human rights violations against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) in Rome, Italy.

In the summary of charges submitted to the PPT by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Hustisya!, Desaparecidos and Society of Ex-Detainees Against Detention and for Amnesty (SELDA) on behalf of the Filipino people, Arroyo is charged with:

  • gross and systematic violations of civil and political rights (extra-judicial killings, abduction and disappearances, massacre, torture, etc.);
  • gross and systematic violations of economic, social and cultural rights;
  • gross and systematic violations of the right to national self-determination and liberation.

Download the summary of charges vs Arroyo.

The Philippine government, including Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, and Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita were also named as respondents in the summary of charges, along with US President George W. Bush, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and multinational corporations and foreign banks in the Philippines.

Yesterday, the second session of the PPT on the Philippines was convened in The Hague, The Netherlands. The PPT will start the formal trial in March 2007.

The Philippines is only the third country after Afghanistan and the former Yugoslavia to be the subject of the tribunal’s session twice.

Founded in June 1979 by law experts, writers and other intellectuals, the PPT was born after the Bertrand Russel Tribunals I and II, or the International War Crimes Tribunal. In 1967, this tribunal held two sessions to investigate the war crimes committed against the Vietnamese people.

In 1980, the PPT convened a session in the Philippines to hear a case against Ferdinand Marcos. The case was filed by the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MILF).

In its verdict, the PPT found “that the Marcos regime by its reliance in ‘permanent’ martial law and numerous blatant abuses of state power is deprived of legitimate standing as a government in international society and lacks the competence to act on behalf of the Filipino or Bangsa Moro people.” The PPT also condemned the US government, the IMF, WB, and the ADB for “sustaining, supporting and encouraging the Marcos regime.” It was the first international juridical body to do so.

Twenty-six years later, civil society organizations are once again filing a case before the PPT. “Kaya nawa, sa tribunal na ito, matigil na po ang pang-aabuso ng militar, ng estado, at nawa po makamtan na namin ang hustisya, makamtan na namin ang katarungan, at ibigay po ang due process kina Sherlyn, gayundin po ang kanyang kasama na si Karen Empeno at Manuel Merino (Hopefully with this tribunal, military and state abuse will cease, and justice will be granted to Sherlyn and her comrades Karen Empeno and Manuel Merino),” said Erlinda Cadapan. The three were allegedly abducted by soldiers near Bulacan last June.

Aside from the complainants, other organizations initiated the process, including the Public Interest Law Center, Ibon Foundation, Peace for Life, United Churches of Christ in the Philippines, and the Ecumenical Bishops Forum.

Alam po natin na ito ang isang hakbang na kailangan nating gawin sapagkat nagkukulang ang proseso dito sa ating bansa (We know that this is one step that we need to take, because the (justice) process in this country is inadequate),” Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Yñiquez said.

The PPT is an international opinion tribunal, which means that it cannot impose sanctions on governments that it has adjudged. However, the complainants hope that the PPT ruling will create strong international public opinion against those who violate human rights.

After twenty-six years, they believe that once more, international condemnation will catalyze concrete action.

4 Responses to Int’l court to try Arroyo for human rights violations


tongue in, anew

November 2nd, 2006 at 5:47 am

Good luck. But I also think it’s not worth the effort and all the resources necessary for a “conviction”.

Charging her alongside Bush, foreign banks, WTO, etc. may not only turn off prospective sympathetic groups but even whole countries who will never dare make an official comment against co-accused Bush. Who knows, we may solicit more enmity than sympathy.

Already, I can hear Bunye dismissing this move as mere communist-led propaganda. If he’s his usual bonkers, he may even call it a multi-cellular terrorist assault in disguise, to remind Dubya that Gloria must now be his #2 in the fight against terror after the Brit who used to live in 10 Downing St. was pressured to vacate his apartment.

Isn’t there an int’l court that can impose sanctions on offenders found guilty? That would be more deserving of the time, effort and expenses this exercise will incur. Gloria has been convicted in many opinion courts, local and foreign, though not as formal as this but look, she arrogantly continues to sit on her stolen throne. We’ve had enough of symbolic victories already.

Why not focus efforts instead in achieving real victory?



November 2nd, 2006 at 11:12 pm

tongue, a slightly contrary opinion, if i may.

while it may seem taxing to some to include Dubya and others in the charge sheet, (but) this initiative deserves my support, as it would allow international community take a closer look in our affairs – local in nature; yet with international implications, not only because we export labor, but also as a member in the community of nations.

bringing the case before a humanist-oriented international court gives our cries for justice a better chance to be heard and tried, compared to that of 1st & 2nd impeachment cases filed before the House of Thieves, where it was unceremoniously shelved by arguments and votes over mere technicalities.

filing a case in our local courts, with more than a certainty, would similarly lead us nowhere. but of course, you are more than aware of this…

i imagine, the initiative is particularly important for it brings different countries together, alarmed by wanton murders, to help resolve an active socio-political volcano.

a much better option, thus, compared to waiting for the moon and stars to intervene, or wait for the elections regain back its relevance and health.

item number 1 of the charge sheet transcends any electoral and rhetorical issues; for it is a crime against humanity and therefore must be resisted, or rejected outright, no ifs nor buts, by Pinoys and any other nationals.

i do not contest your last statement, in fact submits to it. however, achieving real victory has many fronts. and international arena, to avoid being a phariah, is as important to that of local. a thought just occured now, must add, it is one weakest link of GMA and her gang of usurpers.


(where’s the box for modest contribution anyway, anyone?)


tongue in, anew

November 6th, 2006 at 7:15 am

I admire these people for having the guts to take the first step in getting justice for Gloria’s victims. What I’m against is the inclusion of other “participants” foreign to this case.

How many int’l tribunals that charged Bush and his predecessors were successful? As a matter, of fact those dictators who were successfully deposed were those that have fallen out of Uncle Sam’s grace.

Charging Bush with Gloria will result in the natural knee-jerk that will see Bush strongly destroy the case and with it, as a consequence, Gloria’s too.

Now we don’t want that don’t we?



November 6th, 2006 at 10:48 am

if the ‘evil society’ can’t even file cases against Palpalaran in the local courts how can they expect gaining sympathy from international bodies? file your charges first in our judiciary!!! ngawa kayo ng ngawa wala naman kayong alternatives.

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