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by BAYAN USA Thursday, Mar. 24, 2005 at 9:14 AM

Threats against the Philippines’ premier human rights lawyer linked to Hacienda Luisita massacre, derailment of peace talks and U.S. “war on terror”

For Immediate Release

March 17, 2005


Kawal Ulanday


“With the brutal murders of Tarlac City Councilor Abel Ladera and Rev. Fr. Taneda who were prominent in bringing attention to the recent Hacienda Luisita massacre, reports of a possible assassination attempt on the life of Attorney Romeo “Romy” Capulong who serves as the senior legal consultant to the striking farmworkers, is of great concern to advocates of peace and human rights.” said Kawal Ulanday,

Chairperson of BAYAN USA.

Mr. Capulong is the Philippines’ leading human rights lawyer and the nation’s pioneer in international humanitarian and public interest law, developmental legal aid, and class action litigation.. He also serves as an Ad Litem Judge for the United Nations.

On March 7, 2005, Atty. Capulong reported a possible assassination attempt on his life at his home in Nueva Ecija, Philippines. Atty. Capulong said the suspicious activities may be in retribution to his involvement with the investigation of the Hacienda Luisita massacre of Cojuangco sugar plantation workers, the largest open massacre by the Philippine government in two decades.

Capulong was instrumental in collecting depositions from witnesses, much of whose eyewitness testimony runs counter to the stories propagated by the Philippine military under the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM), which open-fired on unarmed civilian strikers and protestors killing eight persons.

Capulong previously lived in the U.S. where he founded the Philippine Center for Immigration Rights in New York in the 1980s. In 2003, he returned for a national speaking tour on the role of U.S. imperialism in the Philippines presented to diverse audiences in Berkeley, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Seattle, and Washington, DC.

Capulong also serves as counsel to peace talks between the Arroyo Administration and the National Democratic Front and helped craft the landmark Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law. He has been a staunch advocate against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s record of human rights violations that has long surpassed those of the previous Philippine President Marcos.

Atty. Capulong is also a legal consultant for political exile, Professor Jose Maria Sison, a prominent Filipino anti-imperialist, who was recently elected as the Chairperson of the International League of Peoples’ Struggles, an alliance composed of more than 130 people’s organizations from 40 countries. Known for his articulate criticism and leadership in the worldwide movement against U.S.-led imperialism, Professor Sison has been unjustly placed on U.S. list of foreign terrorist organizations.

For the last two decades, Romy Capulong has been at the forefront of every important struggle to uphold the basic human rights of many Filipinos against the tyranny of the state -- from defending workers rights to challenging the Bush/GMA’s persecution of political critics.

“The recent events may be part of Bush’s War of Terrorism on people of the Middle East and Philippines. The new U.S. spy system in the Philippines and continued U.S. military training of Philippine military should alert us to the role the U.S. may be playing in these recent attacks against the people. We don’t want our tax dollars spent supporting and training the Philippine military, which is responsible for thousands of heinous human rights violations such as working with paramilitary death squads employed by elite families like the Cojuangcos.” said Ulanday.

BAYAN USA appeals to the American public to stay aware and condemn actions that interfere with the peace process and movement for human rights in the Philippines. This includes monitoring and advocating against U.S. foreign policy that heralds military aggression as a key doctrine and to stop the deployment of U.S. troops in the Philippines and around the world under the false pretext of “war on terror.”

BAYAN USA is an alliance of progressive Filipino groups in the U.S. representing organizations of students, scholars, women, workers, and youth. As the only international chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), BAYAN USA serves as an information bureau for the national democratic movement of the Philippines and as a campaign center for anti-imperialist Filipinos in the U.S. Members of BAYAN USA include: ANAKBAYAN (Seattle), Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (Oakland, Bay Area), Habi-Arts (Los Angeles), New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NY), League of Filipino Students (San Francisco), Pilipinos Organizing Workers for Empowerment and Respect (Los Angeles), and Critical Filipina and Filipino Studies Collective.

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