2039days since
his disappearance

Latest news

Emails circulated, letters written, news articles published, and statements released about James


  • CPA Statement on the Decision on the Petition of the Writ of Amparo for James Balao January 23, 2009 The Decision on the Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Amparo in Favor of James Moy Balao has finally been issued after a miserably long wait ...
    Posted Jan 24, 2009, 6:49 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Court Ruling: Arroyo and Her Men Liable for Abduction, Disappearance of Activist Quoted from PinoyPress: The National Union of People’s Lawyers, in a statement, described as a “bold decision” a Cordillera court’s decision finding “substantial evidence” to link President Gloria ...
    Posted Jan 24, 2009, 6:18 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Human Rights Commissioner de Lima Asserts Agency's Right to Inspect Detention Centers http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20081030-169344/CHR-We-have-the-right-to-check-prisons
    Posted Oct 31, 2008, 6:24 AM by Lingling maranan-claver
  • Letter from Amnesty International- Canada Addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper        The Right Honourable Stephen Harper Office of the Prime Minister 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2 October 23, 2008 Dear Prime Minister: Our organizations are deeply concerned for the ...
    Posted Oct 31, 2008, 5:31 AM by Lingling maranan-claver
  • Letter from the Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CP-SHR) and Migrante B.C.,Canada The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CP-SHR) and Migrante B.C. are deeply concerned with the disappearance of James Balao, one of the co-founders of the Cordillera ...
    Posted Oct 31, 2008, 5:30 AM by Lingling maranan-claver
  • Balao: Still Alive but in Detention http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/regions/view/20081024-168320/Balao-still-alive-activists-say
    Posted Oct 24, 2008, 6:45 AM by Lingling maranan-claver
  • Online Petitions to Surface James Balao Gain More Signatories http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/regions/view/20081023-167942/1000-sign-petitions-in-search-for-Balao
    Posted Oct 24, 2008, 6:40 AM by Lingling maranan-claver
  • Conrado de Quiros writes about James http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20081015-166415/Kidnapped
    Posted Oct 14, 2008, 8:22 PM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Letter of Concern from Filipino Scholars in the U.S. re. James Balao (Download PDF file)
    Posted Oct 11, 2008, 6:19 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Day 14 and the Search for James Balao Continues http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Philippines/Cordillera/blog-329684.html
    Posted Oct 11, 2008, 6:17 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Letter by the Secretary General of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD) "Barely a month after the launch of our book, “Reclaiming Stolen Lives,” we hear about the disappearance of James Balao, one of the founding members of the Cordillera People’s ...
    Posted Oct 18, 2008, 11:22 PM by Diego S. Maranan
  • United Church of Canada's Nicole Smith Writes from the Philippines about James Balao http://www.united-church.ca/communications/overseas/smith_0809
    Posted Oct 11, 2008, 6:16 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Cordillera Peoples Alliance calls for the surfacing of founding member James Balao http://www.arkibongbayan.org/2008-09Sept27-jaimebalao/jaimebalao.htm
    Posted Oct 11, 2008, 6:15 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Northern Philippine Times write about James http://northphiltimes.blogspot.com/2008/09/letters-from-agno_30.html(Northern Philippine Times is a weekly publication of opinion and news from the Cordillera, Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and ...
    Posted Oct 11, 2008, 5:35 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Senate Majority Leader Kiko Pangilinan backs amnesty international's call for safe return of missing indigenous rights activist; calls on military to be transparent http://www.senate.gov.ph/press_release/2008/0929_pangilinan1.asp
    Posted Oct 11, 2008, 5:14 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Letter by Oscar V. Campomanes and Susan Tagle to the members and affiliates of the Critical Filipina and Filipino Studies Collective (USA) Dr. Nerissa BalceComparative Literature ProgramState University of New York at StonybrookDr. John David BlancoDepartment of LiteratureUniversity of California, San DiegoDr. Lucy BurnsDepartments of ...
    Posted Oct 11, 2008, 5:05 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • A Letter of Thanks and Appreciation from James' father, Arthur Balao http://www.cpaphils.org/campaigns/from%20arthur%20balao.pdf 
    Posted Oct 10, 2008, 11:46 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • A Statement from the Governor of Mountain Province, Hon. Maximo Dalog http://www.cpaphils.org/campaigns/MP%20Gov.%20Dalog%20Statement_James%20Balao.pdf 
    Posted Oct 10, 2008, 11:45 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • All UP Academic Union Baguio Chapter/All UP Academic Union National statement SURFACE JAMES NOW! 2008 is the Centennial Year of the University of the Philippines. Since January, the entire University System has been celebrating. In fact, in UP Baguio, one of ...
    Posted Oct 10, 2008, 11:43 AM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Updates on the James Balao case from Audrey Beltran October 3, 2008 Dear Friends: This is to update you on our continuing efforts for the immediate surfacing of James M. Balao. The response to our urgent alert, call for ...
    Posted Oct 10, 2008, 7:17 PM by Diego S. Maranan
  • Letter from Matthew Louie His Excellency José S. Brillantes Ambassador for the Republic of the Philippines (via email) Your Excellency: Thanks for giving me time to address you. Enthu Kwut hwum qun tuni tsun ...
    Posted Oct 10, 2008, 11:27 AM by Diego S. Maranan
Showing posts 1 - 21 of 21. View more »

CPA Statement on the Decision on the Petition of the Writ of Amparo for James Balao

posted Jan 24, 2009, 6:48 AM by Diego S. Maranan

January 23, 2009

The Decision on the Petition for Issuance of the Writ of Amparo in Favor of James Moy Balao has finally been issued after a miserably long wait since the Balao Family and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance filed it with Branch 63 of the Regional Trial Court in La Trinidad, Benguet in October 2008. It was granted amidst efforts of the Respondents to dismiss the petition.

Issued on January 19, 2009, the Judgment clearly states that what had happened to James is a case of an enforced disappearance, it is State-perpetrated and politically motivated, affirming this by recognizing that James’ “abduction came at a time when the government is engaged in an all-out war against its perceived enemies, which has resulted in unabated extrajudicial killings, abductions, political persecution and violations of civil and political rights of the people. It happened at a time when organizations and individuals critical of the government are tagged as terrorists or enemies of the State,” and that “On record is evidence pointing to the more likely than not motive for James Balao’s disappearance—his activist/political leanings.”

Thus, it is not a purge within the CPA, not an offshoot of clan disputes or a personal grudge against James as so stated by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

In fact, Presiding Judge Benigno Galacgac states in the Judgment, “I have no reason to doubt that in his time he was a very good CPA researcher, educator, trainor and organizer who spent most of his times living with, educating and organizing farmers in the provinces while doing some research for the CPA.”

The Court likewise admits that indeed, the “police and military failed in conducting an effective investigation of James Balao’s abduction as revealed by the investigation report of respondent’s own witness Hon. Chief Superintendent Eugene Martin and Hon. Senior Superintendent Fortunato Albas xxx The investigation was very limited, superficial and one-sided.”

Directed to respondents Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as the Commander-in-Chief of the AFP, Eduardo Ermita, Gilberto Teodoro, Ronaldo Puno, Norberto Gonzales, Gen. Alexander Yano, Gen. Jesus Versoza, Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, Lt. P/Dir. Edgardo Doromal, Maj. Gen. Isagani Cachuela, Commanding Officer of the AFP-ISU based in Baguio City, PSS Eugene Martin of the PRO-CAR and several John Does, the Judgment instructs the above, and “all persons acting for and in their behalf to a) disclose where James Balao is detained or confined, b) to release James Balao considering his unlawful detention since his abduction, c) to cease and desist from further inflicting harm upon his person and d) respect and protect his civil and constitutional rights and liberty.”

The Decision is strongly-worded and boldly states that the State is responsible and accountable for James’ abduction. Thus, these merit the granting of the interim orders as far as inspection, production and witness protection. However, the Court denied the issuance of the said orders for failure of the Petitioners to comply with the stringent provisions on the Rule on the Writ of Amparo. The stringent provisions defeat the heart of the Writ of Amparo. This is especially since the petition clearly shows the urgency and necessity of the Writ, and the witnesses and evidence presented were not rebutted during the hearings.

While the Court directed the respondents to the above orders (a, b and c) – the respondents can easily deny that James is not in their custody. However, disappointed we may be on the judgment and slow justice this shall not dampen our continuing efforts to search and surface James, and exact State accountability on his enforced disappearance. #


Reference:

Beverly L. Longid
Chairperson, Cordillera Peoples Alliance

Court Ruling: Arroyo and Her Men Liable for Abduction, Disappearance of Activist

posted Jan 24, 2009, 5:44 AM by Diego S. Maranan   [ updated Jan 24, 2009, 6:18 AM ]

Quoted from PinoyPress:

The National Union of People’s Lawyers, in a statement, described as a “bold decision” a Cordillera court’s decision finding “substantial evidence” to link President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and several of her men to the abduction and disappearance of activist James Balao.

The NUPL’s statement reads in full:

In a bold decision promulgated on January 19, 2009, the first on the writ of amparo in the Cordillera Region, the Regional Trial Court-Branch 63 in La Trinidad, Benguet found substantial evidence to link President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro, Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano, PNP Chief Jesus Versoza, Brig. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, P/Dir. Edgardo Doromal, Maj. Gen. Isagani Cachuela and Senior Supreintendent Eugene Martin, to the abduction and continued disappearance of activist James Balao. These government officials were the respondents in a petition for the issuance of the writ of amparo filed by the family and co-workers of James Balao in September 2008. Judge Benigno M. Galacgac penned the Decision in this case.

The Court’s thirteen (13)-page Decision directed the respondents to “(a) disclose where James Balao is detained or confined, (b) to release James Balao considering his unlawful detention since his abduction and (c) to cease and desist from further inflicting harm upon his person.” In reaching this Decision the Court found that James Balao disappeared because of his “activist/political leanings.” The Court also chided respondents for its “very limited, superficial, and one-sided” investigation on James Balao’s enforced disappearance, and for using “technicalities and evidentiary jargon to thwart [the] Petition to surface the activist.”

Equally important, in an unprecedented move, the Court has recognized the need for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to respond to a petition for the issuance of a writ of amparo. The Court brilliantly supported this tack on the President’s own duty to be informed of the goings-on around her and to enforce the rule of law. This ruling of the Court provides substance to the otherwise empty statement that “no one is above the law.” By this Decision the President can be held accountable for every case of human rights abuse, especially enforced disappearances, even simply on the level of ensuring the reappearance of the disappeared.

Through its independence and commitment to the rule of law, the Court has pinned the responsibility for James Balao’s disappearance and reappearance upon President Arroyo and her cohorts.

However, the fight is not over. The bottom line is we need to find James Balao. We thus deplore the Court’s ruling to deny the interim reliefs prayed for, especially the issuance of an inspection order. An inspection order would have saved much time and effort in locating James Balao. Still, we are hopeful that the process of executing the Decision pending appeal, with all ancillary reliefs, would reverse an otherwise empty victory. The Court has found – and rightly so – that James Balao is in the hands of the Respondents. The Court must exercise its vast powers so that justice be done though the mighty respondents fall. As the Court has rightfully quoted,

The tribunals are the palladium of the civil liberties of the people. They are the sanctuary where the fundamental human rights are safeguarded. Shall we fail in the crucial hours of actual test? Shall we disappoint the unfortunate victim? This is the last asylum where the victim can resort to. Shall we reject him with freezing indifference? Here comes for salvation a drowning man. Shall we throw him to his doom? From the deepest bottom of our souls surges a powerful No, as an overpowering answer. No. We cannot do that. We must protect the victim. It is our unavoidable duty. It is an imperative mandate of the conscience.

National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
CAR Chapter

Human Rights Commissioner de Lima Asserts Agency's Right to Inspect Detention Centers

posted Oct 31, 2008, 5:49 AM by Lingling maranan-claver   [ updated Oct 31, 2008, 6:24 AM ]

Letter from Amnesty International- Canada Addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

posted Oct 31, 2008, 5:25 AM by Lingling maranan-claver   [ updated Oct 31, 2008, 5:31 AM ]

 

    





The Right Honourable Stephen Harper

Office of the Prime Minister

80 Wellington Street

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2



October 23, 2008



Dear Prime Minister:



Our organizations are deeply concerned for the safety of our colleague James Balao, one of the founders of the internationally renowned Cordillera Peoples Alliance of the Philippines. James has not been seen since the early morning of September 17. It’s feared that James was the target of an enforced disappearance by Philippines security forces.



The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) has been an important voice for Indigenous peoples in the Philippines and in international fora such as the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. James Balao helped found CPA in 1984. He also served as a member of the Philippines Constitutional Commission. He currently works as a researcher for CPA.



James had reported being under regular surveillance for at least three months prior to his disappearance. This surveillance became more intense in the week before he disappeared. According to a reliable source, the Philippines army has James Balao on a secret list of people alleged to be senior members of the Communist Party of the Philippines.



In an October 3 letter, the CPA writes:



Each day that passes with no positive development, his life in the hands of his captors, is an unimaginable torture to all of us. Each day, the family and us wait and hope for new information yet at the same time dread that it is of his death. Thus, your continuing support becomes more urgent in saving the life of James.



A growing number of political activists have been killed in the Philippines over the last decade. Since January 2001, there have been almost 200 reported cases of enforced disappearance. The government has done little to ensure that these cases are effectively investigated or that those responsible are brought to justice. A climate of persistent impunity encourages more harassment and violence against human rights defenders and other activists.



Our organizations call on the government of Canada to use its considerable influence in the Philippines to speak out for the safety of James Balao and other victims of enforced disappearances and political killings. We urge you to call on authorities in the Philippines to locate James Balao and to carry out a prompt and thorough investigation into his disappearance. Canada should also encourage the Government of the Philippines to take steps to ensure that all cases of enforced disappearance are investigated promptly, impartially and effectively.



This appeal for action is respectfully submitted by the following organizations:



Amnesty International Canada

Canadian Friends Service Committee

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada)

Native Women’s Association of Canada

Quebec Native Women





Yours sincerely,



Craig Benjamin

Campaigner for the Human Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Amnesty International Canada

1.613.744.7667

cbenjamin@amnesty.ca



cc: Mr. Robert Desjardins, Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines

Letter from the Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CP-SHR) and Migrante B.C.,Canada

posted Oct 25, 2008, 8:25 PM by Lingling maranan-claver   [ updated Oct 31, 2008, 5:30 AM ]

The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CP-SHR) and Migrante B.C. are deeply concerned with the disappearance of James Balao, one of the co-founders of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA). James Balao is a committed, dedicated worker and advocate for the rights and integrity of the Cordillera peoples, particularly their rights to their ancestral lands.



It is unfortunate that authorities in the higher echelon of the government are uneasy with James Balao’s work through the CPA, more so that the indigenous peoples are increasingly aware of their rights over their ancestral lands. The government would rather sell off their lands to multinationals and big business corporations through mining and development projects. This is one reason why the government and the military are threatened by citizens like James Balao.



For those who are in power, activists like James Balao are an irritant, an unwanted barrier to the government’s questionable decisions, particularly the government’s Mining Act which has sold out the nation’s patrimony and violated the nation’s sovereignty. The Macapagal-Arroyo government, true to its subservient role with the U.S.-Bush government, calls its critics “terrorists” and “communists” and wages war against them.



The Canada-Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights (CP-SHR) and Migrante B.C. call on the government of Gloria Arroyo to stop the illegal and wanton arrests, forced disappearances and outright murders of leaders of the people who fight for justice and their human rights. We hold her accountable for the more than 900 extra-judicial killings and over one hundred forced disappearances. We demand that she look at improving the conditions of the majority of the Filipino people. It is neither the communists nor the terrorists who cause the government trouble. It is the other way around. If the Arroyo government is truly serving the people, respecting their human rights and conscious of dispensing the law with equal justice for all, then she would not need a brutal military force to implement Operation Bantay Laya, her counter-insurgency program. Kung may katarungan at kalayaan ang mga mamamayan, hindi na sila dapat bantayan pa.



We join the Filipino people’s call for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, a call that is loud, clear, reverberates overseas and intensifies even more as she continues to sow terror against the Filipino people.



We demand that James Balao be surfaced now!

Balao: Still Alive but in Detention

posted Oct 24, 2008, 6:14 AM by Lingling maranan-claver   [ updated Oct 24, 2008, 6:45 AM ]

Online Petitions to Surface James Balao Gain More Signatories

posted Oct 24, 2008, 6:07 AM by Lingling maranan-claver   [ updated Oct 24, 2008, 6:40 AM ]

Conrado de Quiros writes about James

posted Oct 14, 2008, 8:21 PM by Diego S. Maranan

Letter of Concern from Filipino Scholars in the U.S. re. James Balao

posted Oct 11, 2008, 6:18 AM by Diego S. Maranan

Day 14 and the Search for James Balao Continues

posted Oct 11, 2008, 6:17 AM by Diego S. Maranan

1-10 of 21