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No EJK in PH? Refusal to acknowledge EJK in Duterte’s drug war is ‘absurd – Human Rights Watch

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Philippine National Police said the Philippines only has a single case of extrajudicial killings under President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration.

PNP spokesperson Chief Supt. Dionardo Carlos said on October 6 that they only recorded one case of EJK in the country from July 1, 2016 to September 30, 2017, referring to the killing of journalist Larry Que in December 2016 in Catanduanes.

His statement came after the recent SWS survey showed that Filipinos are worried that they or someone they know may become a victim of EJK.

The PNP protects every individual’s right to life. To allay or remove their fear of becoming victims of EJK, let it be known that under the present administration, there is only one case of extra-judicial killing or EJK for the period July 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017,” Carlos relayed in a text message.

Carlos also added that just like 90 percent of the 1200 survey respondents who want the drug suspects arrested alive, the PNP wanted the same thing, too.

To this, Human Rights Watch Geneva director John Fisher told Rappler that the Duterte government cannot dismiss EJK as non-existent simply by limiting how it is defined.

“The fact is that there have been thousands of reported deaths in the Philippines in the context of the so-called war on drugs. The government cannot just define these bodies out of existence through the application of some legal term,” Fisher told Rappler.

Rappler noted that official data show there have been at least 3,850 people who were killed in police operations while at least 2,290 more were mostly victims of vigilantes. But despite these numbers in the thousands, the PNP said the Philippines has “officially no case” of EJK since Duterte took office.

According to Fisher, an EJK is the “killing of a person by government authorities without sanction of judicial proceeding or legal process.”

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He added, “It is very, very clear that when somebody is killed and in the context of police operations, there is no judicial process, no legal process, there aren’t arrests or charges. It is just a killing that’s taking place outside of the legal process.”

This “no EJK” statement was also the official position of the Philippines during the Universal Periodic Review in September.

“[Their] responses to the UPR process made it very clear that they simply won’t accept the extent or scope of the problem or the problem even exists, let alone putting processes to try and identify those responsible or bring these human rights violations to an end,” Fisher said.

“So it’s inevitable, I think, that they will use national definition or legal tricks or semantic techniques to avoid responsibility for the deaths that are taking place,” he added.

The Philippines’ rejection to consider the UPR recommendations led to backlash by Iceland and almost 40 states at the United Nations.

“The international community is not fooled by the government’s assertion that the killings perpetrated in the name of the so-called war on drugs don’t constitute extrajudicial killings,” Fisher added.

“They need to be accountable [for] these deaths,” Fisher said.

The Commission on Human Rights on October 9 also urged the Philippine government to do something about the cases of EJK instead of continue denying the country’s culture of impunity.

“Now that thousands of deaths related to the ongoing campaign against illegal drugs have been documented and yet no one has been prosecuted, it clearly speaks of how the Philippine government failed to fulfill its obligation to conduct investigations, prosecute, and convict those responsible for violating human rights,” the CHR said.

“This accurately shows that impunity persists in our society. The government must create an environment conducive to the protection of human rights, and tolerance of impunity is a violation in itself,” the statement added.

The CHR noted that it had a meeting with the PNP to encourage them to start a joint task force that will examine the EJK cases, but the PNP refused to reveal spot reports.

“Although it became an opportunity for discussion between the two agencies to address the rising death toll related to the campaign against illegal drugs, the PNP’s denial to share police spot reports makes the investigation more arduous for the Commission and other human rights groups,” CHR said.

“Peace, order, and security of the country can only be obtained if wheels of justice are reinforced to prosecute individuals/ organizations responsible for these crimes. Only by bringing the perpetrators to court can affirm the rule of law and restore trust in the institutions of society,” it added.

“Free movement of perpetrators in the public, especially those who remain in their powerful positions and have the ability to protect themselves from prosecution, breeds not only loss of trust in justice, but also an ongoing threat and fear-mongering among the public,” it read.

Sources: ( abs-cbn.com , rappler.com )

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Fake news sites to be aware of this 2018

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With the widespread practice of misinformation using made-up stories and maliciously edited photos, Senate hearings have been conducted to determine whether new laws are needed to stop the spread of fake news. But you can contribute to the prevention of misinformation in your own way by not patronizing the content of the fake news sites that are causing confusion and baseless hate in the country.

In 2017, MemeBuster has published two lists containing websites that have posted fake stories.

The following are sites that MemeBuster has encountered while we are pursuing our cause of fighting fake news.

We have categorized the sites into active and inactive ones, seeing as how many fake news sites tend to be unavailable after some time. As of February 15, 2018, these are the active and inactive sources of fake news that we have encountered. We will continue to update this list as we bust more false stories.

Active Sites

1. Okd2.com

Okd2.com has been an active source of fake stories that MemeBuster has debunked over and over again. It is also quite known for its ever changing About Us page, which now says that the site started out publishing fake stories for some La Sallian students’ thesis, but that it has stopped in May 2017 to focus on serious topics and general information. But La Salle Dasmarinas disowned the said research.

Okd2.com even lied when they said they stopped posting fake news by May 2017. Even as late as December 2017, we still caught them publishing fake stories, among which are about Sanofi Pasteur research and development department revealing that they used embalming chemicals for Dengvaxia, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV hiring Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato as his personal bodyguards, former President Benigno Aquino saying he’s willing to return money he got from the Dengvaxia deal, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promising visa-free entry to Filipino caregivers, and more.

This fake news site was also in our first list of fake news sites that we published in October 2016.

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Duterte raises bounty for killing communists to P25K

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President Rodrigo Duterte announced that he is increasing the bounty he is offering for anyone who can kill communist rebels, saying it will be cheaper compared to waging a counterinsurgency campaign. The offer is now up from P20,000 to P25,000.

Duterte made the announcement at the oath-taking of newly-appointed officials in Malacañang. The president also reiterated that his controversial war on drugs will stay despite criticisms over the thousands of deaths and a preliminary examination by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the possibility of committing a crime against humanity.

Reckoning that the campaign against communists would last for at least four years, Duterte has made a counteroffer.

“If you’re a CAFGU (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) or anybody here, you kill one NPA (New People’s Army member) and I will pay you P25,000. Kwenta-kwenta ko, mas makamura ako. Bilhin ko na lang itong mga yawa na ito (I calculated and realized it will save money. I might as well buy the devils),” he said.

He also stressed that he has nothing to fear as he has the Philippine Navy, Air Force, Army, and CAFGU.

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In a recent speech to more than 200 rebels, Duterte also made a remark that soldiers can shoot female rebels “in their vaginas”. This comment did not sit well with women’s group Gabriela.

The president also reiterated his resolve to face the ICC and be put before a firing squad if he is found guilty of crimes against humanity to emulate Jose Rizal.

“Don’t worry about me, I can face the ICC. If they want to indict me, fine! I would love to experience what Rizal has experienced,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a statement, the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines denounced Duterte’s reward offer to Lumads for every killed communist rebel saying it promotes a culture of violence in the country.

Manila Auxilliary Bishop Broderick Pabllo said that the statements promote a culture that normalizes violence and attacks the sanctity of life. He also urged the president to promote respect of the law instead of making such statements.

Sources: ( interaksyon.comcbcpnews.net )

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How to spot fake news

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How many times have you fallen for fake stories or seen friends and colleagues get victimized by misinformation? Two Senate hearings have been dedicated to discussing remedies to fight fake news in the country. But you don’t have to wait for any new laws to be created to contribute to the fight. You can do your part by identifying fake news and making sure that everyone who is willing to listen (or read) will know that a certain story is not factual at all.
Here are some eight pointers on how to distinguish fake news:

Does the headline sound too good to be true? Don’t take everything you read online to be true.

Netizens were duped by this obviously fake story with a headline “NASA hailed Duterte as the best president in the solar system.”

Check the URL. Some sites simply imitate the URLs of established news sources.

Some fake news and satirical sites are good at mimicking the URLs of reputable news sites simply by adding “-tv.com,” “-channel.com,” “tv-,” and others. Some also replace the letters in the URLs with numbers to trick people, such as da1lymail.com or theguard1an.com.

Make sure the headline and/or image used matches the content.

Fake story makers take advantage of their readers’ tendencies to read only up to the headline or get their attention using some controversial photo that is actually not relevant to the content. The government-run news agency Philippine News Agency was slammed once for using a Vietnam war photo for a report about the Marawi siege.

Verify information by comparing information from competing sources.

Give yourself some peace of mind by ensuring that you check a story’s claims with different sources.

Check out fact-checking sites like Memebuster.net and VeraFiles.org.

Our website was founded amid the rise of memes that were deliberately made to spread disinformation during the 2016 elections,

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with one of the more serious falsehoods being the meme that contained an invented quote from Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong endorsing then Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte. We also busted that story about the documents that spread online accusing former President Benigno Aquino III and other top government officials during his time of depositing gold in Thailand.

Vera Files is known more for fact-checking President Duterte’s claims when he makes speeches, such as his flip-flopping claims on his wealth, and the statements of other government officials.

Track down quotes and sources to see if everything in the story matches.

Many fake news writers have become quite good at masking the lies by mixing it with some facts. For instance, they would take a quote from a certain person and modify it. If you won’t check and triple check it, you’d really think that quote was accurate. A good example of that would be how a fake news site changed up current CBCP President Archbishop Romulo Valles’ statement, attributed it to former CBCP President Archbishop Socrates Villegas, and made it seem as though Villegas was telling the government to leave the NPA alone.

Watch out for “filter bubbles” that show only items based on personalized searches and be more conscious in engaging in diverse content.

Website algorithm may guess what you would like to see based on your search history and online behavior, which may lead to you seeing only information that agree with your beliefs and opinions. To avoid this, you have to ensure that you have access to diverse news from well-established sources.

Don’t hesitate to ask questions.

This is where the need to verify things often start. A world of information is at your fingertip. Just type a few words in the search engine bar, apply the tips mentioned above, and you’ll be on your merry way to discovering whether the story you are reading is true or not.

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