Atty. Benjamin Ramos is a well-known human rights lawyer and Secretary General of the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) - Negros Occidental Chapter. He was described as “passionate, dedicated and articulate yet amiable and jolly,” and for the longest time was “the run-to-pro-bono-lawyer of peasants, environmentalists, activists, political prisoners and mass organizations in Negros.” He was taking a break by a store in Kabankalan City after finishing a legal paper for another client when he was shot to death by two assailants riding tandem on a motorcycle on the night of November 6, 2018. Atty. Ramos was one of the lawyers who assisted the “Mabinay 6,” youth activists erroneously accused of being New People’s Army fighters, and the “Sagay 9” massacre victims and survivor, farmworkers who were occupying a vacant portion of Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
The Duterte regime’s stand against human rights and democracy in the Philippines has encouraged more attacks on human rights defenders, activists and the poor, under the banner the so-called “war on drugs” and his counterinsurgency campaign, Oplan Kapayapaan. It is no coincidence that earlier this year, Atty. Ramos, among many other legal personalities and human rights defenders, was featured on a photo poster created by the Philippine National Police (PNP), declaring them as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and National Democratic Front of the Philippines, practically declaring them as enemies of the state. Lawyers like Atty. Ramos should not be attacked for the exercise of their profession. The vilification of human rights defenders is part of the Duterte administration’s attempt to justify the extrajudicial killings and silence government critics.
We are also deeply disturbed that the United States continues to condone these atrocities by its continued pledge of financial aid to the Philippine government despite growing international condemnation. Just this past July, the United States announced an additional $26.5 million in U.S. tax dollars to the Philippines, to beef up support for the Philippine National Police on top of the $184.5 million that goes towards the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the next two years, as part of its counterterrorism plan. The continued funneling of U.S. tax dollars are tantamount to U.S. government’s active support and complicity in the ongoing human rights crisis in the Philippines.
We, the undersigned, call for justice for Atty. Benjamin Ramos and all victims of human rights violations under the Duterte regime. We call on all Filipinos and the American people to join the struggle against the killings and the creeping Duterte dictatorship. Let us support the fight for genuine freedom and democracy in the Philippines.
We demand that the Duterte regime stop its attacks against human rights defenders and end its murderous campaign against the poor and activists.
We demand that the United States government end its support and complicity in the human rights crisis in the Philippines by cutting all U.S. tax dollars for the PNP and the AFP.
MALAYA MOVEMENTDr Dante C. Simbulan, Malaya Movement Co-ConvenerDr. Ligaya McGovern, Malaya MovementNerissa Balce, Malaya MovementFilipino American Law Society of Santa Clara University- FALS SCUMovimiento de Accion, Inspirando Servicio (MAiZ)GABRIELA USAAnakbayan San Diego ARA-URCICHRP Pacific NorthwestNew Jersey Forum for Human RightsMigrante Orange CountyGreater Malden Asian American Community Coalition Gabriela Washington D.C.Santa Clara County Wage Theft CoalitionPastor Stephen Lee, Alum Rock UMC Hannah Duhaylungsod, NEFFCONPrimo Racimo, St. Margari of Scotland Episcopal Church Pastor Ruth Casipit Paguio, Holy Family Episcopal Church of San JoseCandice Sering, GABRIELA NYMomo Manalang, Gabriela New YorkEllen Cachola, Decolonial Pin@yTaiji Miyagawa, Progressive Asian Network for Action (PANA)Jasper Perry-Anderson, Student Labor Action Coalition, Oberlin CollegeTabitha Ponciano, Portland Committee for Human rights in the PhilippinesJordan Faralan, Anakbayan SeattleIsabella Jaravata, Anakbayan SeattleMichael Alcantara, Anakbayan SeattleRodrigo Bacus, NYCHRPGlenn Ramirez, NYCHRPJhong Delacruz, Migrante Youth Fort Washington MDKarol Ruiz, Wind of the Spirit Immigrant Resource CenterRogyn Beyao, Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) KalingaKate Dolorito, Diwang KabataanJackelyn Mariano, National Lawyers Guild International CommitteeMarijo Pempena, GABRIELA LAKerina Koch, Gabriela OaklandRuth Silver-Taube, Santa Clara County Wage Theft CoalitionRoxie Torres, Gabriela SeattleJessica Valdez, GABRIELA SeattleAlec Summerfield, Baltimore Prisoner Solidarity CommitteeJane OrendainLorna VicenteGlenn HodginsFlorence SumTaiji MiyagawaLuis FranciaAmee ChewDon BrennockSulan MlynarekMichelle Foster Angelie GoloJulianne Gale Sarita SeeEfleda BautistaJavier JardelezaPeter ChuaMarynoel StropeSophia HooverLuke PattersonJorge RodriguezAlisa BierriaJennifer Sta.AnaDenyri DumancasSulan MlynarekKiriko Takahashi, Esq.