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Implication of Philippine SC Decison

Kudos to the Supreme Court justices for rendering a decision that shows the incompetence of the DOJ (Department of Justice) and abusive criminal legal shortcuts resorted to by their staff in their highly questionable politically motivated abuse of authority. Is it ignorance or willful abuse of their authority that led them to embarrass themselves to the public? The big problem is they are acting as if they are the aggrieved party to this legal mess they have unfairly subjected people that does not conform to their own line of thinking. Hopefully a growing sentiment is developing on holding the DOJ Chief and his battery of Prosecutors starting with disbarment as voiced out by Mschumey07 of The Philippine Experience, Atty. Erwin of The Bystander, and deus ex machina of Thirty Thousand Fishes.

This Culture of impunity against people who does not conform to the “mainstream” mindset dictated by the present administration should stop now or we may never see the end to these state sponsored political harassment, disappearance, extra judicial killings and torture. In an email from Mila Aguilar circulating the internet is the statement of Pastor Guerrero below:

Statement of Pastor Guerrero

What does it take for a government to abduct, torture, and terrorize my family on the basis of an old inciting-to-sedition case and a baseless murder charge?


Far more absurd is the accusation that I am the Secretary of the CPP Provincial Committee in Cavite. This lie they tried to extract from me by means of physical, mental and psychological torture and projecting me in public as a "handgun and grenade-carrying rebel."


I am a Pastor of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) and have never participated in any killings, illegal or unlawful activities, or any common crime.


My family and I had just taken a tricycle from the local church which I have served for two consecutive years (June 2006-2007), where we celebrated UCCP's and the local church's 59th and 72nd anniversaries respectively. It was May 27, at around 5:30 pm; a white van cut the tricycle's path and military-looking men quickly alighted to grab me

despite my plea that they show me the warrant they said they had. I was manhandled and forcefully shoved inside the van, handcuffed with my hands behind me, my head covered with a cloth and packing tape, then beaten, punched and kicked repeatedly.


They brought me to a place I didn't know. Here, still handcuffed, I was interrogated by men taking turns beating my head with their fists and blunt objects like a 1,000 ml mineral bottle. All throughout, layers of plastic bags covered my head. My torturers would tighten the bag until I could no longer breathe. I passed out two times and urinated in my pants.


They made me shake my head for about an hour and beat me whenever I stopped; they said they would do these things to my family if I did not cooperate. I was forced to give names and addresses of my whole family, officers of church and conferences, the name of my administrator at Union Theological Seminary where I am studying theology, and leaders of progressive labour and peasant organizations in Southern Tagalog.


They opened my computer by forcing me to give the password and got my e-mail password. They erased all of my church, school and personal files and replaced them with documents that belong to the so-called underground Left.


After about twelve hours, they put me back on the van still handcuffed and blindfolded. They threatened to kill me, burn me or bury me. They continued to beat me and make new names for me. They got my SIM card.


They called me Pastor-Impostor, lecturing me on the "evils" of communism and how the church, legal people's organizations are "used" to create trouble by criticizing the government.


When the van stopped, it took an hour before they led me down, made me sit down, then lie down. After an hour, they removed my blindfold. Here I learned I was in Imus, Cavite specifically at Camp Pantaleon Garcia, Cavite Provincial Police Office (PPO).


Later on in the afternoon, for the first time, I saw the warrants of arrest and to what unit of the PNP I was turned over by my abductors.


Now that I have the time to collect my thoughts and view my situation inside what police officers call a "subhuman" cell, let me make a preliminary analysis of my unfinished ordeal.


(1) The unit that abducted me is an organized AFP unit which operates covertly or below the law. It is composed of elements coming from different units of AFP's Intelligence Community. As a counter-insurgency unit, it uses ex-NPAs. They are lawless enforcers.


(2) Making use of court cases which involve suspected personalities of the Left, no matter how weak, they serve these cases and used them to make the arrest legal. In my case, I am implicated in a 1990 murder case. Case files show that I do not have a direct or indirect link to the crime.


(3) Bringing me to the court by means of the arrest warrants is secondary. Their primary objective is to extract information from me by means of torture.


(4) It is also meant to terrorize my family, my relatives, friends, church members and practically everyone I know and who know me. It plants the idea that this repeated attack on a person's right, which may end in incarceration or death, can happen to anybody.


I am outraged by their branding me as a "Pastor-Impostor" because it is an affront to the sacred office I have sworn to serve God Almighty who knows every heart and mind.


Finally, I hold the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo government responsible for the abduction and torture I have suffered and the subhuman captivity I am forced to undergo. The GMA administration should listen to the repeated cries of the people to stop the violation of human rights and the political killings.


They may have put in jail, but my spirit is free and firm because God is with us always.




(SGD.) PASTOR BERLIN V. GUERRERO

United Church of Christ in the Philippines

Inside the Camp Pantaleon Garcia

Cavite Provincial Police Office

Imus, Cavite

May 30, 2007

Meanwhile Fidel Umaga in Fil-Soldier Yahoogroup has sent this email in response to the Supreme Court decision:

I think Crispin Beltran and Satur Ocampo et. al. should file the appropriate civil and criminal complaints against the erring govt. officials that gave way to the cases which were recently reversed by the SC on appeal by the former. This is to stop the practice under this regime regarding non-accountability in public office.


For Beltaran and Ocampo et. al. to wait for tide of public opinion to veer on their side before they would file the cases would surely stain the moral righteousness of their initiative and cloth it with political color.


The people must put an end to the arrogance of these incompetent government functionaries who perform their public functions only to earn pogi points from the tiniest leader of a nation in a world where height is also measured by the volume of moral reserve one has gained from his/her actions as a leader.


As we try to teach others, we also learn in the process.

How true indeed, and I couldn’t agree more. File the case now for the sake of other victims like Pastor Berlin Guerrero and other missing political activist being held in military safe houses whose very life and well being is dependent on ignorant mad killers with a crooked sense of justice. Fidel in another email has pointed out the need to prosecute the DOJ personnel for gross abuse of authority and ignorance of the law. Now how embarrassing can that be as a lawyer should they get convicted for ignorance of the law? More from Fidel below:

On this matter, Beltran et.al. should file as soon as practicable the necessary complaints against these ignoramus masquerading as high priests in the Philippine altar of justice. Beltran et.al. should sue them for damages for blatant violation of their civil rights. We have to put a stop to this culture of non-accountability in public office.

The filing of these cases and their pursuit to their fruition will reaffirm two things that would serve our republic, namely:


1) There is a rule in law which says that the element of negligence negates the existence of intent. But when negligence is grossly present, it is treated as if the negligent act is done intentionally. Thus, Gonzalez et. al. could not claim Sorry, nagkamali kami, eh!


2) Hinde lang ang pagnanakaw ng kayamanan ng bayan ang ma-aaring maging kasalanan ng isang nanunungkulan sa gobierno. Ang KABOBOHAN sa batas o ang PANGAABUSO sa paggamit ng kapangyarihang halaw sa batas ay mga kasalanang din dapat putulin ng maaga.


The DOJ Secretary and all those prosecutors under his department who had, one way or another, assisted in the preparation and filing of these cases against Beltran and Ocampo et.al., which were later on reversed by the SC, should be made accountable. Otherwise, it will establish a dangerous precedent. And the wanton disappearance and killings of social activists in our midst would continue, among the many evils, spawned by non-accountability in public office, during the watch of this administration.


Let me end this DOJ IGNORANCE and ARROGANCE all rolled into one with a Inquirer quote from Crispin Beltran in taking the floor in Congress upon his release:

“It is a bigger crime to remain mute and deaf, indifferent while Filipinos sink deeper, innocent civilians continue to shed blood in the hands of the military”



To read the SC Decision penned by Justice Carpio click here.

Photo Courtesy: Arkibong Bayan


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