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Amid human rights worries, solon not allowed to present witnesses

    Even as the year-long extension of martial law has sparked worries about the prolonged violation of human rights, Congress refused to allow Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao to present a Mindanaoan who allegedly fell victim to its "brutality."   In Wednesday's joint session, lawmakers did not hear any other resource persons besides the security officials of executive branch who justified the request of President Rodrigo Duterte.   Casilao tried to present Jerome Succor Aba of the Sandugo alliance to speak about the so-called Lake Sebu 8 massacre---referring to eight indigenous T'boli and Dulangan Manobo farmers who were allegedly killed by troops ...Keep on reading: Amid human rights worries, solon not allowed to present witnesses.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerDec 13th, 2017

JUSTICE! Eight years after ‘Maguindanao massacre,’ justice still elusive for families of victims

COTABATO CITY – Families of 58 people brutally killed in Maguindanao province continue to cry for justice eight years after 200 gunmen, believed to be followers of the Ampatuan clan, massacred the victims, 32 of them media workers.  The massacre occurred in the village of Salman in Ampatuan town on November 23, 2009 while supporters and family members of Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu were heading to the office of the Commission on Elections to file his candidacy for governor of Maguindanao and challenging Governor Andal Ampatuan, Sr. who was the patriarch of a clan that long held power in the province.  Mangudadatu invited journalists to cover the event and also to protect his group against alleged threats by the Ampatuans. Mangudadatu himself did not go with the convoy for fear that he would be ambushed and instead sent his wife and sisters and supporters to represent him.  True enough, a large group of armed men, many of them militias and policemen, taking orders from the alleged mastermind, Andal, flagged down the convoy on the highway of Shariff Aguak town, the clan’s stronghold, and held all in the group at gunpoint and brought the victims to a remote location in Ampatuan town and raked them all with automatic weapons. Andal’s son and namesake, Andal, Jr., then mayor of Datu Unsay town, and another son, Zaldy Ampatuan, then the regional governor, and several other clan members along with dozens more are now in jail after being implicated in the massacre. The accused have all denied the charges against them. And many witnesses to the gruesome crime had been killed while others were allegedly bribed to prevent them from testifying. The slow progress of the cases is also putting a stress – both psychologically and spiritually – to the families of those who perished in the massacre.  Murders Media watchdog National Union of Journalists of the Philippines said justice remains as elusive as it was 8 years ago and that journalists continue to be murdered with impunity with 178 murdered since 1986 – the last five killed in the year and a half since President Rodrigo Duterte took office.  It said of the 198 massacre suspects, only 115 have been arrested and 112 have been arraigned and that four had died in the course of the proceedings, including primary suspect Andal Sr.  Out of the 112, NUJP said 70 were allowed by the court to post bail, including Andal Sr.’s youngest son, Sajid Islam, who was freed in 2015 after posting P11.6-million bail. This number also included 17 police officers who were allowed by the court to post bail because of weak evidence.  As of July 11, 2017, it said 102 of the accused remain in detention, including main suspects Andal Jr.; Zaldy and also Chief Inspector Sukarno Dicay, then the police chief of the 15th Regional Mobile Group that was conducting the checkpoint when the convoy was stopped by gunmen.  “We have been informed that with only three more principal accused in the massacre trial still to present their witnesses, it would be reasonable to hope for a resolution by next year. We do hope so and pray it will be a triumph for justice. However, the numbers do not offer too much reason for optimism.”  “But as we have pointed out before, notwithstanding its shocking magnitude, the Ampatuan massacre was not an aberration but an inevitable result of the rotten system of governance that afflicts our country. It is a governance of expediency by which all presidents, bar none, court the loyalty of the warlords, crime lords and corrupt clans who infest Philippine politics and rule their bailiwicks like fiefdoms, because this is the only way they can rule effectively,” NUJP said.  Impunity Lawyer Jose Begil Jr, of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao, said the massacre could potentially go down in history as one of the most long-drawn high profile cases, despite the Justice Department’s declaration that the case is now on its tail end.  He recalled that the late Senator Joker Arroyo had predicted that the trial could take 200 years with nearly 200 defendants and 300 witnesses. “Additionally, prosecution witnesses have either been killed under questionable circumstances, are missing, or were intimidated,” Begil said. “Eight years have passed, justice is nowhere in sight,” Begil said, adding, the culture of impunity, still pervades the Duterte government.  “The Arroyo government was responsible for this impunity against journalists, lawyers, and other human rights defenders. The Aquino government failed to deliver on its promise to attain justice for the victims. And now, the Duterte government has simply expanded this culture of impunity, this time not only against journalists but to drug offenders, and more viciously against human rights activists,” Begil said.  Letter to Pope In 2014, family members of journalists who perished in the massacre had written a letter addressed to Pope Francis and read by Grace Morales during the 5th commemoration of the killings in Ampatuan town.  Grace is the widow of Rosell Morales and sister of Marites Cablitas, circulation manager and publisher of News Focus, who was among those killed.  The letter reads: “Kami ay mga asawa, anak, magulang at kapatid ng mga pinaslang sa bayan ng Ampatuan, Maguindanao noong ika -23 ng Nobyembre 2009. Ang aming mga mahal sa buhay ay kasama sa masaker kung saan 58 ang nasawi kabilang ang 32 mamahayag.  Taun-taon ay bumabalik kami rito sa […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsNov 25th, 2017

De Lima seeks probe into summary killings of 17 women rights defenders

December 13, 2017. With the incessant attacks against human rights defenders under the present administration, Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today called for a Senate investigation into the reported deaths of 17 women activists summarily killed amid the rash of extrajudicial killings in the country. In filing… Source link link: De Lima seeks probe into summary killings of 17 women rights defenders.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsDec 13th, 2017

Leftist solon fears rise in rights violations amid terror tag on Reds

Cases of alleged human rights violations might rise with the government move to put a terror tag on the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), a leftist lawmaker said on Saturday. Source link link: Leftist solon fears rise in rights violations amid terror tag on Reds.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsDec 9th, 2017

Myanmar’s great hope fails to live up to expectations – The Guardian

The script called for the lead actor, a Nobel prize winner, to seize control of a country, bring peace where there was conflict and prosperity where there was poverty. A nation emerging from years of military dictatorship was to become a beacon of hope not only for its cowed population but also for much of a fractured and turbulent south-east Asia. But like many political dramas – especially over the past 12 months – the script has not been followed by Myanmar and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. Now, a year since one of the world’s most famous prisoners of conscience came to power in the specially created position of state counsellor, the talk is not of progress. Instead, it is of drastically escalating ethnic conflicts that have simmered and sporadically exploded for decades; a new Rohingya Muslim insurgency that has prompted an army crackdown some say may amount to crimes against humanity; a rash of online defamation cases that have fostered a panic over freedom of speech; and a repressive legal framework that allowed the generals to jail so many still being in place. And all the while, Aung San Suu Kyi is accused of remaining mostly silent, doggedly avoiding the media. Many who led the campaign [to free her] were on the liberal side. I think she’s closer to a Margaret Thatcher. Interviews by the Guardian with more than a dozen diplomats, analysts and current and former advisers reveal frustrations with a top-down government struggling to cope with immense challenges. Aung San Suu Kyi’s questionable leadership style, her inability or unwillingness to communicate a vision, and her reluctance to speak out against the persecution of minorities have raised the question of whether the popular narrative is misplaced. And although some defend her, saying it takes time to right the wrongs of decades, others see a fundamental misunderstanding of the woman herself. “Many of the people who led the campaign [to free Aung San Suu Kyi] … were more on the liberal side of the spectrum,” one diplomat put it. “I think she’s closer to a Margaret Thatcher.” It’s a stark contrast to the Aung San Suu Kyi who, during 15 years of house arrest at her lakeside villa on University Avenue in Yangon, stood on rickety tables and delivered speeches about human rights over the gate. “And she was electric,” said David Mathieson, a longtime Myanmar researcher for Human Rights Watch who is now an independent consultant. “She was funny. She was informative. She was principled … And I think it’s lamentable that she’s not doing the equivalent of that now.” Five hours north by car from Yangon, Myanmar’s dystopian capital Naypyidaw stands surrounded by densely forested mountains. It is here, in the so-called Abode of Kings supposedly built to insulate Myanmar’s generals from attack, amid a landscape of deserted 20-lane highways and grandiose hotels, that Aung Sun Suu Kyi lives her life in power. The 71-year-old is a disciplined ruler. Her habit, established during imprisonment, is to wake before dawn and meditate in the house she shares with her pet dog and a small retinue of maids. She has breakfast with an adviser, often Kyaw Tint Swe, a former ambassador who spent decades defending the junta’s actions. An aide, Win Htein, says Aung San Suu Kyi eats very little. “The amount of food she is taking is like a kitten,” he said. “She doesn’t eat carbohydrates. Fruit and vegetables. No pork, or mutton, or beef. Only fish.” Her few indulgences include a vast wardrobe of luxurious silk longyis and evening film viewings, musicals being her favourite. Win Htein recently gave her a copy of La La Land. But mostly she works. And there is a lot of work. As well as state counsellor – a position created to get around the military-drafted constitution that bars her from the presidency – she is foreign minister, minister of the president’s office and chair of numerous committees. Widely described as a micromanager, she pores over documents after hours. A source close to the attorney general’s office says she asks to see a copy of every draft bill before it is submitted to parliament. Ministers routinely pass decisions upwards. “The problem is there are no policymakers in her cabinet,” said Burmese political analyst Myat Ko. People who know her say Aung San Suu Kyi inspires both devotion and fear. She is variously described as charming and charismatic, and sharp and authoritarian. “She feels like a real leader,” one diplomat said. “Intelligent, quick-witted, quite funny.” At the same time, he added: “I would say that she has appeared to be very keen to be the sole decision-maker to have no chance of establishing rival power centres.” Echelons above her subordinates in stature, the state counsellor is often depicted as living in a bubble, surrounded by a cabal of advisers who are too nervous to convey hard truths. A Yangon-based analyst working on the peace process said bad news often does not reach her. “In meetings, she is dismissive, dictatorial – in some cases, belittling,” said a senior aid worker who, like many others interviewed for this story, insisted on anonymity because he works with the administration. The government, he said, has become “so centralised, there is complete fear of her”. This is not the administration many hoped for when the National League for Democracy (NLD) took over the government [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsMar 31st, 2017

In west Mosul, ‘nowhere is safe for civilians’ – Al Jazeera

The Iraqi army on Sunday resumed operations against ISIL in Mosul after a one-day pause, amid growing concerns over an escalating civilian death toll as fierce fighting spreads to the city's most densely populated areas. The offensive was briefly put on hold after local officials and residents in west Mosul said suspected US-led coalition  air raids last week had killed scores of civilians at the ISIL-held al-Jadida  district. Security forces on Saturday did not permit journalists to get to where the strikes were said to have taken place, but the  coalition admitted that it had struck the area on March 17, and said it was investigating the reports of civilian deaths. Details about what exactly happened on March 17 are difficult to confirm as Iraqi forces battle with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters to recapture the heavily populated parts of the western half of Mosul, the armed group's last stronghold in Iraq. Witnesses and local officials said that more than 200 bodies were pulled from a collapsed building after a coalition air raid. But in a statement on Sunday, the Iraqi army said there was no sign that the destroyed structure had been hit by a strike &'' blaming its collapse on booby traps set by ISIL instead. &'8220;A team of military experts from field commanders checked the building where the media reported that the house was completely destroyed. All walls were booby-trapped and there is no hole that indicates an air strike,&'8221; it said, adding that 61 bodies were recovered from the rubble. READ MORE: Grief and questions amid wreckage of Mosul air strikes Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from a hospital in Erbil, northern Iraq, spoke to people who confirmed that they had lost family members in the air raids of March 17. &'8220;We've been speaking to some of the patients and certainly the words air strikes come up a lot in the conversation,&'8221; she said, referring to a man who said 22 of his relatives had been killed in an air raid, while he had to spend several days under the rubble before being rescued. &'8220;When you ask them what happened … people here say the main problem is that you have ISIL fighters who are roaming around, going in and out of houses, on top of rooftops to take positions and then disappearing. &'8220;So apparently many of the air strikes, according to the people we spoke here, hit the wrong target &'' simply by the time the air strike arrives and is called in, the ISIL fighters have disappeared.&'8221; The US-backed offensive to drive ISIL out of Mosul, now in its sixth month, has recaptured most of the city. The Iraqi government announced that eastern Mosul had been recaptured from ISIL in January, but residents still report almost daily fighting in some areas. Iraqi security and medical sources on Sunday said a t least 16 civilians, including two children, were killed by ISIL shelling in a popular marketplace in  eastern Mosul. Another 43 civilians were wounded in the attack, according to the sources. In western Mosul, the Iraqi army's advances have stuttered in the past two weeks as fighting enters the narrow alleys of the Old City, home to the al-Nuri Mosque where ISIL group's leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a caliphate spanning large areas of Iraq and Syria in 2014. Iraqi forces on Sunday deployed snipers to target ISIL fighters who were using civilians as human shields, Joint Operations Command spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool told the AFP news agency. The military was relying on &'8220;light and medium weapons, among them sniper [rifles], to hunt for Daesh [ISIL] members&'8221; located among civilians, he said. Rasool accused ISIL of gathering civilians together and then blowing up explosives-rigged vehicles nearby to make it look like &'8220;Iraqi forces &' are targeting innocent civilians&'8221;. However, Iraqi forces have also frequently fired mortar rounds and unguided rockets during the battle for west Mosul &'' weapons that pose a much greater risk to residents of areas where fighting is taking place. Hundreds of thousands of civilians are still inside the Old City and are exposed to the intense fighting. &'8220;Patients here say there is nowhere safe in western Mosul for civilians,&'8221; Al Jazeera's Abdel-Hamid, reporting from the hospital in Erbil, said. &'8220;They say the fight in western Mosul is not the same as the fight that happened in the east part of the city. They say it's much more brutal, with many more air strikes and much more shelling.&'8221; According to Iraqi authorities, more than 200,000 people have fled west Mosul since the operation to retake the area was launched on February 19. But the United Nations has said that about 600,000 are still present inside the city. Caroline Gluck, a senior public information officer in Iraq with the UN's refugee agency, said the situation is deteriorating daily. &'8220;The fighting is coming closer to people's homes. It's a very densely packed area, particularly in the Old City, so families have been terrified by the mortars, the shelling and the air strikes,&'8221; she told Al Jazeera from Baghdad. Gluck said a major factor in many residents' &'8220;very difficult decision&'8221; to flee is growing hunger. &'8220;Families have told us they rely on one meal a day &'' and that meal is really just water and flour. People are getting desperate; there is no fuel, no heating, and they are burning furniture and old [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsMar 27th, 2017

PH to present human rights record before UN committee

AMID allegations of human rights violations relative to the Duterte administration's massive campaign to rid the country of illegal drugs, the Philippines is scheduled to present its combined 5th and 6th periodic reports under the International Covenant o.....»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsSep 26th, 2016

Good luck to new PNP commanders

Crame files I start this piece hoping and praying that as promised by General Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa, the reinvigorated Philippine National Police’s Oplan: Tokhang would be less bloody as it would give greater premium to human rights amid lessons they have learned from the past. However, I would say….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsJan 30th, 2018

Gascon takes aim at Roque: What world do you live in?

Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chair Jose Luis "Chito" Gascon took aim at Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Friday for labelling as "fake news" journalists' claims that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ruling to revoke Rappler's license was an assault on press freedom.   "For him to say this is fake news, I don't know what world he lives in because obviously, what is under assault are our fundamental freedoms," Gascon said at the #BlackFridayforPressFreedom protest at the University of the Philippines Diliman.   "And in particular, in this instance, the assault is directed at those who ferret out the truth and to present the truth to those in po...Keep on reading: Gascon takes aim at Roque: What world do you live in?.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 26th, 2018

UP journalism professor dares Duterte spokesman to resign

MANILA, Philippines – Amid mounting attacks against press freedom, University of the Philippines (UP) professor Danilo Arao dared Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, a former human rights lawyer, to resign. “Hinahamon kita, Harry, kung hindi mo na masikmura ang ginagawa mo ngayon bilang tagapagsalita ng isang mapanupil na pangulo, you should ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 19th, 2018

CHR urges public to defend press freedom

MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Thursday, January 18, urged the public to defend press freedom amid threats against it.   In a statement to the public, the CHR said it “stresses the value of these freedoms in upholding ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 18th, 2018

WATCH | Pres’l Spox Roque not sure what Duterte can do about Mary Jane Veloso plea

On Thursday afternoon, Presidential Spokesman and Adviser on Human Rights Harry Roque told a television interview: “I don’t understand what exactly the President can do in this regard,” alluding to convicted drug mule Mary Jane Veloso’s plea for assistance to be allowed to testify remotely against her illegal overseas work recruiter. “She’s detained in foreign […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

Popovich s odd alliance with red state fans

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com SAN ANTONIO -- About 400 people gathered at the Oak Hills Country Club in June 2016 and paid $500 to $250,000 to sip iced tea and nibble hors d’oeuvres next to a golf course designed by noted architect AW Tillinghast, who built many. One is owned by the man who was feted at this political fundraiser, Donald J. Trump. The presidential campaign was in full blast and saltier than the crackers on the cheese plate being passed around. Fresh off the plane, Trump thanked the Republicans for the big ‘ole Texas welcome, witnesses say, before launching a blistering attack on the usual targets: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, illegal immigration. Then, near the end of his 30-minute lunchtime appearance, in an effort to connect with the locals, he pivoted and mentioned perhaps the most famous man in town: Gregg Popovich. Witnesses say Trump called Popovich “a great coach” and said “he does a good job” and then there was some fidgeting in the room when the soon-to-be polarizing leader of the free world said this: “I don’t know if the coach is on my side.” Confirmation came emphatically, right after Trump won a divisive election that November. The coach of the Spurs lit into the President over the next several months with a handful of rants that had the stealth of Kawhi Leonard ambushing a timid ball-handler. In no particular order, here were Pop’s Greatest Hits, all issued through the media and without prompting or provocation: “The disgusting tenure and tone and all the comments … have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in a country where half the people ignored that to elect someone.” And: “He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.” And: “The man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks he can only become large by belittling others.” And: “We have a pathological liar in the White House ... You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.” Popovich didn’t stop there with a President whose sensitivity and intelligence he questioned and accused of being guilty of “gratuitous fear-mongering.” When he took Trump to task for criticizing NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem and defended their rights to do so, Popovich also suspected a measure of the public outrage was racially motivated. “Our country is an embarrassment to the world,” he said. A 68-year-old wealthy white man, therefore, became a sports voice with weight in the political and social justice arena, where the NBA league office has greenlighted players and coaches to speak up. Popovich has done so with clarity and insight to gain national applause in certain corners. He wasn’t the first or the last in sports to verbally spank the president or tackle right-leaning sensitivities, yet he’s certainly the most unique in one respect. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy who works in a military town, and a five-time NBA champion coach who might symbolize the city more than The Alamo, Popovich has long been elevated to icon status, perhaps permanently so, in San Antonio, where folks are mad about the Spurs. Still, this is mostly conservative Texas, one of the most Republican of states based on the state legislature and the congressional delegation, a state that voted Republican in 10 straight presidential elections and saw 52.6 percent of voters punch for Trump. While voters in San Antonio-proper lean liberal, the surrounding areas swing solidly the opposite. Julianna Holt, the Spurs CEO and Popovich’s boss since March after assuming the position held for 20 years by her husband Peter, supported various Republican presidential candidates before eventually donating $5,400 to Trump’s campaign and $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, according to Federal Election Commission records. Popovich is therefore a blue blood in a red state and the contrast makes for strange if not uncomfortable alliance between a beloved coach and a group of conflicted Spurs worshippers. His views have in fact shattered the sacrilege by generating hostility from a segment of the basketball flock, something no coach with his credentials would ever feel. The constant winning and acts of charity do not insulate him from those who would prefer Popovich stuff a sweat sock in his bullhorn. Party lines not Popovich's focus “While we all believe Gregg Popovich has the right to his opinions, where was Popovich when Hillary called half of us a 'basket of deplorables?’Many were Spurs fans who are now tired of being insulted ... many of us will never pay to see a Spurs game again.” -- Donna Howington  “The money I will save this year not attending Spurs games should buy me a nice set of golf clubs. Thanks Pop!” -- Jake Ingorgia  “I will never watch them again until Popovich is gone. He is just like all the other leftist celebrities.” -- Lee Harbach, Bulverde They arrive on cue, most from the dusty towns that orbit around San Antonio, some from the city itself. Popovich has unloaded three times this year on Trump, once after the election, once at the start of training camp and most recently by cold-calling Dave Zirin, a friend and liberal writer from The Nation, a progressive magazine. And each time, the letters land in the office of Ricardo Pimentel, the editor who coordinates the comments section of the Express-News, San Antonio’s newspaper of record. “It’s a cycle,” says Pimental, with a sigh. “He speaks out. People who disagree with him send us letters to the editor, then people who object to their disagreement write us letters to the editor defending Pop. Then they respond to one another.” The initial reaction, he said, is always stacked against Popovich and many identify themselves as Spurs fans ripping up their tickets or promising to never attend or watch games again. Even if those who made threats actually carried them out, the change in the Spurs’ home attendance is a blip, from 99.2 percent capacity last season to 98.6 so far this season. Popovich, of course, has been big for business since his first full season as coach in 1997-98. Besides the titles, the Spurs have reached the playoffs every season and won 50 games every season (except for the lockout-shortened 50-game 1998-99 campaign, when they won 37). In short, Popovich's Spurs have a track record beyond reproach in the NBA. If the 2017-18 Spurs stay on pace, it’ll be 20 straight winning seasons for Popovich, one more than Phil Jackson for the all-time NBA record. He hasn’t been this politically vocal until lately, due to Trump, yet was always politically aware, say those who know him. Well-versed through his readings and observations, Popovich welcomes discussion with acquaintences about classism, leadership, government and preferably over a bottle of wine. His two-decades exposure to young black men from humble beginnings raised his awareness and sensitivities about race and bias. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr once played for the Spurs and lately has echoed many of the same thoughts as Popovich. But Kerr coaches in the Bay Area, where folks nod their heads in agreement. Kerr said he can only imagine the flak Popovich catches in Texas. “Here’s this iconic coach who stands for everything that’s right and for honor and integrity, he served in the military, you see him stand at attention for the American flag — man, Pop loves his country,” Kerr said. “And in the middle of Texas for him to be questioning the Republican President, some of the people down there are probably confused. Like, 'I don’t get it, we love this guy but he’s on the other side from us.' “What I love about Pop is that it’s not about party, not about politics. It’s about integrity and character and that’s what people need to pay attention to. It’s not about some policy, not about how much we pay in taxes. If we can just get back to the point where character matters, then we’ll be in better shape. The problem is, it’s clear character has gone down the tubes in many leadership positions in our country. That’s what Pop is calling out.” True enough, Popovich never publicly attached himself to a political party; to suggest he is against Republicans might be as misleading as believing Colin Kaepernick is against the military. When he played for Popovich, Kerr couldn’t recall a time when the coach was this annoyed by the country’s leadership. “The country was in a better place in terms of a relatively peaceful time back then,” Kerr said. “Yes, 9-11 happened and the whole world changed. But we didn’t have quite the same partisan nature, not only in politics but the national conversation. And so people could just admire Pop for who he was and people might not have been aware of his political leanings because they didn’t ask. When we won and went to the White House, Pop and the team went when Bush was in office. We went in ’99 when President Clinton was there. Republican, Democrat, didn’t matter. The times are so different now.” Kerr laughed quickly when asked about the semi-serious groundswell of social media support for a Kerr-Popovich ticket in 2020. Kerr said he hopes to be on his fifth NBA title as a coach then, but turned semi-serious about Popovich. “Our country needs somebody like Pop who can actually lead and unite from a position of authority and credibility,” Kerr said. “This guy served in the military, grew up in a melting pot, understands leadership. More than anything, he’ll cut through all the [expletive].” Since going nuclear on Trump, Popovich declined invites from the national political shows (and wouldn’t comment for this story). That proves what friends have maintained all along: Popovich doesn’t want to be anyone’s political hero or pundit. He’d rather speak when the moment calls for it, then be left alone. That last part is tricky, though. Empathy often marks Popovich's way “Can you imagine being Republican on the Spurs? Would you feel welcome? He’s like Berkeley -- for free speech unless you disagree with him. Shut up and coach, Gregg.” -- Shannon Deason  “When it comes to coaching basketball or drinking wine, Popovich has experience. When it comes to our country, his opinion is no better than anyone else’s." -- Harold Siemens, Seguin  “Open letter to the NBA referee who ejected Pop from the Warriors-Spurs game: Don’t feel bad about what Gregg Popovich called you. He called the POTUS worse and got away with it.” -- Larry Peabody Once the wheels touched down, the pilot jokingly announced over the loudspeaker: “Welcome to Gregg Popovich International Airport,” and one particular passenger noticed that nobody on the plane thought it was strange. Sean Elliott always knew how deeply rooted Popovich is with San Antonio. Aside from the famous Spanish missions and the River Walk, the city is known for the only professional sports team in town. And while George Gervin, David Robinson and Tim Duncan have come and gone, the one lingering reminder is a sometimes gruff and scruffy coach, maybe the NBA’s best ever. “He’s one of the pillars of the community,” said Elliott, twice an All-Star with the Spurs. “He’s looked at with great admiration. He is as respected as anyone who has ever lived in or been part of the city. It’s not just because he’s a basketball coach. Pop has been a big part of the community, huge contributor to charitable functions, good leader.” Elliott was a Spurs rookie in 1989 when their relationship began and he saw the start of Popovich’s reach in the region. Popovich then was an assistant coach under Larry Brown and just planting his feet in the NBA. That summer, Elliott and Popovich piled into a van with the team's "Coyote" mascot and conducted basketball clinics in San Marcos, Corpus Christi, Laredo and similar places. They were signing autographs in malls and running kids through drills in 100 degree heat, never hearing a complaint from the coach. Elliott said folks in those small conservative towns loved him. “If you sit and hear him talk about something, you tend to agree with him,” Elliott said. “He’ll put it in a logical way and he’s very thoughtful, well read and super intelligent, maybe the most intelligent person I’ve ever known.” The owner of the Spurs then was Red McCombs, a homespun Texan who made his fortune in car dealerships and media companies. McCombs didn’t give Popovich the coaching job after firing Brown, telling Popovich “you’ve got a chance to be a great coach” if he got more experience, which he did, going to the Warriors to work for Don Nelson. Popovich returned to San Antonio two years later as general manager, then became coach and the rest is history. Now 90, McCombs said: “Popovich has become the distinguished part of the franchise. He wears it well. Can’t say enough about what kind of man he is and what he’s meant to San Antonio. God has blessed us with Gregg Popovich.” McCombs loves to tell how Popovich, by chance, learned that a local family needed a car. The coach wrote a check, gave it to the father and walked away. McCombs said it was “typical Popovich” who has empathy for those with less. McCombs, curiously, has traditionally been one of the biggest Republican bankrollers in the state, who gave to the Trump campaign and is fully aware of what Popovich thinks of his choice for President. And so one of the most powerful men in Central Texas, who leans politically to the color of his nickname, had a strong reaction to that. “He’s earned the right to give his comments about citizenship or Trump or anything else,” said McCombs, voice rising. “Yes, he made some statements that others might disagree with. But I’ll tell you this: Popovich would be elected to anything he wants to in San Antonio.” Remaining silent never an option “Our country is not an embarrassment to the world. I will tell you what an embarrassment is. It is an American citizen who got a free education from the great Air Force Academy ... and then has the audacity to say that the greatest nation in the world is an embarrassment because the President rightly demands that Americans stand for the anthem. Popovich should be ashamed of himself.” -- Nick DeLouis, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Nowhere on God’s green Earth do they have the right to disrespect our flag and the men and women who died to keep us free. I’m appalled that you stooped so low to join in that disrespect. Shame on you!” -- Fred Martin, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Coach Pop has squashed my love and enthusiasm for the team. A national treasure, he is not. Coach Pop has a voice, but not my voice." -- Jo Ivan A few years ago Popovich was in New York with his daughter to catch a Broadway play when the coach had a last minute change in strategy. He learned that John Carlos was giving a lecture at New York University that night. So Popovich told his daughter to take one of her friends instead; said he was going to see “Dr. Carlos” speak. “When he came in I was surprised and delighted,” Carlos said recently. “Quite naturally, everyone knew who he was but he just wanted to sit and listen.” A year later, in 2015, Popovich flew Carlos to San Antonio to address the team and Carlos admitted to being star struck around Tim Duncan and others. Yet Carlos was most curious about Popovich and why the coach took a strong interest in an Olympic sprinter who raised a fist on the victory stand in 1968, which is frozen as an iconic civil rights moment. “Being with the Spurs gave me an opportunity to check his character out,” Carlos said. “I knew he was a whiz at putting players together to bring out their best ability. But through my conversations with him it became apparent that he was a social activist himself at one point in his life. He was teaching his players about activism and to be concerned about their fellow man and what was going on around their lives, not just basketball. “I was impressed. He just wanted them to know they had a larger role than just playing basketball in the society in which they live.” Carlos, therefore, was not surprised to see Popovich defend the rights of kneeling black football players who came under attack from Trump. On the first day of training camp in September, Popovich said: “Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly it is not going to get better.” What followed was another swirl of exchanges between Popovich critics and supporters in San Antonio, and Popovich acknowledged receiving mail from both sides. The anti-Pop mail, though, was jarring to Carlos, given the coach’s work in town. “When people write and lambast him for taking leaders to task for what they’re doing to society, that’s like water rolling off a duck’s back, man,” Carlos said. “When they write negative things about him, it encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing. Those people are the problem. Go ahead and throw stones and it just motivates him to do his job. “Look, I’m a black man who spoke out. Imagine what they think of him as a white man who speaks just as strong, to try and get people to see things in a better light? They throw stones at him even more, like, 'Hey you’re white, you have a great life. Keep your mouth shut.’ Well, God points people in certain directions. We know who we are. We do what we do.” And what Popovich does is enlist the help of giants in the social justice world and bring them into his world. He did that with Cornel West, the Harvard professor and civil rights activist, last fall. Popovich invited West to San Antonio to speak at an East Side community center with a few hundred mostly black and Latino students and their parents. Done without TV cameras or media invitation, the discussion was about the importance of education, the imperfect world, self respect and how to help communities. This was an audience that, presumably and unanimously, connected with a white man who didn’t live among them, but was with them. They were the people Popovich had in mind when he attacked present leadership. This was not the audience that writes to the Spurs and the Express-News asking him to take a vow of silence, though he is aware of them, too. “Some responses make you wonder what country you live in,” Popovich said, “and other responses make you very hopeful … overall, it renews my feeling that something must be done because there is enough people willing to listen.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2018

Observations of Filipino UN rapporteurs ‘very partisan’– Palace

The Palace on Friday dismissed the warnings of two United Nations special rapporteurs of human rights abuses on indigenous peoples because of continued martial law rule in Mindanao, claiming their observations were heavily partisan. “Both of them, who are Filipinos, should be more circumspect on their statements. They were elected to their present posts at… link: Observations of Filipino UN rapporteurs ‘very partisan’– Palace.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017

Observations of Filipino UN rapporteurs ‘very partisan’– Palace

The Palace on Friday dismissed the warnings of two United Nations special rapporteurs of human rights abuses on indigenous peoples because of continued martial law rule in Mindanao, claiming their observations were heavily partisan. “Both of them, who are Filipinos, should be more circumspect on their statements. They were elected to their present posts at [...] The post Observations of Filipino UN rapporteurs ‘very partisan’– Palace appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Be fair, Palace urges 2 Pinoy UN rapporteurs

MALACAÑANG yesterday appealed to two Filipino United Nations Human Rights Council special rapporteurs not to embarrass the present administration with claims of supposed human rights abuses against indigenous and internally displaced peoples in Mindanao. Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque in an audio statement made available to reporters pointed out that special….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Palace dismisses UN report of abuses amid martial law in Mindanao 

MALACANANG dismissed claims by the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteurs that the ongoing implementation of martial law in Mindanao to fight terrorism has perpetuated human rights abuses and displaced indigenous peoples (IP). Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque was referring to the report by Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, and Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, [...] The post Palace dismisses UN report of abuses amid martial law in Mindanao  appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Palace to Pinoy UN rapporteurs: Don’t use your post to shame admin

Malacañang on Friday appealed to two Filipino United Nations Human Rights Council special rapporteurs not to embarrass the present administration with claims of supposed human rights abuses against indigenous and internally displaced peoples in Mindanao.   Source link link: Palace to Pinoy UN rapporteurs: Don’t use your post to shame admin.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

Letters From Davao by Jun Ledesma

EJK THE FAVORITE DISH of the political opposition, leftists and the pan-handling human rights watch organizations had always been extra-judicial-killing. And their principal suspect is then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Roa Duterte now President of the Republic of the Philippines.  EJK is actually a political propaganda leveled by the adversaries of the unbeatable Mayor who, during his term as mayor, ran practically unopposed. Those who salivate for the position and dared to run were not only trounced but end up humiliated because the results of the elections have always been lopsided in favor of Digong. The last attempt of his political rivals was to consort with the Commission on Human Rights which was then chaired by Leila de Lima. This was in 2009 a few months before elections in 2010. The local human rights organization and HRW New York connived with CHR to the death of what they claimed were 280 plus victims of EJK. As if this was not enough, they succeeded in bringing in Philip Alston, a Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Commission, to lend drama to the much ballyhooed probe conducted by CHR Chair De Lima.  HRW New York also published a book titled “You Can Die Anytime…”. For over five months of intensive and expansive investigation within which time Duterte took a leave of absence and gave up his supervisory over the police,  to assure the probers a free hand, De Lima and her team never produced a piece of evidence. CHR Chair De Lima even added spice to her task. All the members of her probe team were from Manila. The summons and warrants she all secured from the Regional Trial Courts in Metro Manila because according to her she cannot trust the judges in Davao because they are scared of the Davao Death Squads of Duterte. Well, she became Secretary of Justice and then Senator. She continued haranguing Duterte with EJK issue. The sound bites had all become too familiar as it had become too boring. When she became Senator, she resurrected the EJK charges against Mayor Duterte, who had been catapulted to the highest position of the land by then. This time she had fellow Sen. Antonio Trillanes to revive her issue against Duterte. The duo produced two witnesses, Matobato and Lascañas who at the start of the senate drama contradicted each other but then later sang the same but discordant tune. Matobato had earlier confessed that by himself he killed over 200 on orders of Duterte. Lascañas who refuted the claims of Matobato later turned 180 degrees and joined him for reasons that can be subjected to millions of speculations. This time the duo claimed they buried more than 2,200 EJK victims in an abandoned quarry which is just about three kilometers from city hall. It was the same (Laud) quarry where, in 2009, CHR Chair De Lima made several diggings to look for cadavers but found none. Oh well, they actually unearthed an incomplete skeletal remains of what looked like a Cro-Magnon man along with two pairs of a new license car plates. If you do not call that planted pieces of evidence I do not know what those are but the RTC Judge in Makati threw these out for the badly deteriorated skeletons and the license plates are inadmissible in court. As DOJ Secretary and Senator one wonders why she never came back with pick and shovel this time with Matobato and Lascañas in tow. They could have easily pinpoint the graveyard since they alleged they buried their victims there. This time with more than 2,200 victims buried in that small quarry land, one can shoot an arrow in the air and it could fell anywhere on a burial ground and find their victims there. Instead, De Lima, Trillanes, Matobato and Lascañas opted to unearth their victims in the halls of the senate. I must say though that they succeeded in their quest because they not only increased the numbers of alleged EJK from 300 to 2,200 in Davao City alone and then to 3,000 plus which became the adopted figure of Time Magazine, Rappler and the rest of anti-Duterte publications. The exaggeration did not end there for anywhere from 7,000 to  over 13,000 is now what you see in their score board. The amplification of EJK estimates also depend on events. Before the ASEAN summit in Manila,  an organization even came out with a jarring figures alleging 30-million perished by EJK in the Philippines. Whatever are the concocted figures  by whoever extrapolates or publishes it the fact remains that majority of the Filipinos supports President Duterte on his war on drugs.  This is reflected by the results of surveys which complimented each other’s findings. The positive indicators however are always drowned by the noise and overestimations of the rabid critics of Duterte. For whatever reasons moreover, recently the razzmatazz over EJK had died down as quickly as the numbers of the victims rise. I can only attribute this to the potential bombshell that the controversial Dengvaxia vaccine will create. Suddenly parents of children inoculated with the vaccine are confronted with a terrible and horrible prospect their kids might suffer the severe attack of dengue. The attack dogs that had a pound of flesh of Duterte had their tails behind their legs and the rabid fangs clamped. It is time to think of how to parry the slings […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsDec 13th, 2017

Youth’s message to Duterte: human rights abuses breed resistance

By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL Bulatlat MANILA –Amid the worsening human rights situation under President Duterte, the youth also coe under attack, ranging from death threats against youth activists, to the food blockade of soldiers in Lumad communities. But today’s youth have not wavered as they continue on the path taken by the people their… The post Youth’s message to Duterte: human rights abuses breed resistance appeared first on Bulatlat......»»

Category: newsSource:  bulatlatRelated NewsDec 12th, 2017

Salugpongan Teacher Amelia Pond released after 15-month detention

Activists, amid the brewing furor over the state of repression marking International Human Rights Day, noted with a celebratory air the dismissal of what they described as trumped up charges against Lumad school teacher Amelia B. Pond. Pond, 65 years old and curriculum researcher for the Salugpongan Community Learning Center serving Talaingod and other rural-lumad […].....»»

Category: newsSource:  interaksyonRelated NewsDec 11th, 2017