Saturday, December 10, 2005

Sister Courageously Defends Slain FX Manzano

Amen to Jennifer Manzano for her courage! She said she had to do this despite some opposition and threats as it is the RIGHT THING, a BASIC RESPONSIBILITY of a human being to speak the truth for another who cannot defend himself --- whose right to life has been grossly violated by TMG operatives who violated their DUTY TO GOD & COUNTRY.

Jennifer, thank you. I'm sure FX is thanking you from the heavens for doing this. You have always done your very best for him, and that's to courageously speak the truth about him to the media despite some opposition and threats. Our country needs more people like you.


"My brother was not a carjacker"
By Sandy Araneta
The Philippine Star 12/10/2005

A sister of a business school student gunned down last month by Traffic Management Group (TMG) officers during an anti-carjacking operation said yesterday her brother was not a criminal, the first time the family has made a public statement about the incident.

In a press conference held at the Astoria Plaza in Pasig City, Jennifer Manzano, 37, read a statement in connection with the killing of her brother Francis Xavier, praying that the investigation being conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) "may bear fruit and that justice may be done so that Francis may be able to truly rest peacefully."

Francis Xavier, 26, a second year college student at the Thames Business School, was shot dead by police anit-carjacking operatives at the Ortigas Center in Pasig City last Nov. 7.

Also killed were his companions Brian Anthony Dulay and Antonio Cu-Unjieng.

Francis was the youngest of five siblings.

"He has been described as a criminal and a carjacker by those who took his life. Francis Xavier, FX to us, was many things, but he was not a criminal, he was not a carjacker," said Jennifer, who was almost in tears as she read her family’s statement.

She told the media men that neither Francis nor any other member of the family ever owned a firearm.

Jennifer said they are deeply pained and traumatized by the passing of their youngest.

"We believe that we owe it to our brother as well as to our late parents not to allow our name to be trampled upon and vilified without cause and without justification," she said.

Jennifer said that while they do not wish to condemn the Philippine National Police (PNP) as an institution, they cannot turn a blind eye to the video footage of the "overkill" as well as the testimonies of eyewitnesses "that show beyond any doubt that those who killed Francis disregarded the rules of engagement and violated his fundamental human rights."

"We believe in the rule of law. Francis was not accorded the rule of law. He was not a criminal, yet he was treated like the worst kind of criminal. He was never charged, tried, convicted or sentenced, yet he was executed," Jennifer said.

She said the family agreed to cooperate with the CHR in its investigation, and acceded the request to have the remains of Francis exhumed and his body re-examined by a doctor who had been commissioned by the CHR.

This was done last Nov. 26 in Baguio City. They are now awaiting the official report and findings of the autopsy which they believe would bring them closer to the truth.

Jennifer, on behalf of the family, thanked several people including CHR chairwoman Purificacion Quisumbing, UNTV for the video taken by a news crew and other witnesses, for helping them in the search for the truth.

Lawyer Theodore Te, legal counsel of the Manzano family, said they are now closely coordinating with Dr. Raquel del Rosario-Fortun, who performed the autopsy.

He said the family is hoping the report would come out soon.

"We are hoping that it will bring us closer to the truth to finding out what truly happened on Nov. 7, 2005. The re-examination and the re-autopsy will unearth a lot of things that right now cannot be explained in relation to the death of Francis," Te said.

He said that even if the families of those killed do not file charges, then the Department of Justice has a duty to do so, if the CHR finds basis.

Te said there were a lot of people in the area during the alleged shootout. He hopes that those witnesses will come forward.

"Without witnesses or without enough witnesses, I don’t think they will have too much basis to proceed. We are also making this appeal to people who may have been there, may have information, to come forward and coordinate with the CHR. If they are willing to coordinate with us, then I will coordinate with the CHR on their behalf," the lawyer said.

He said the Manzano family is thankful that the CHR took the initiative and continues to follow up the investigation.

"Suspected carjacker’s kin disputes police charges "
By Dennis Carcamo

THE elder sister of one of the suspected carjackers who were killed in a shootout with the police in Ortigas Center yesterday broke her silence and denied that her brother was involved in carjacking.

Jennifer Manzano, 37, sister of Francis Xavier Manzano, 26, one of the three alleged car thieves gunned down by operatives of the Traffic Management Group, surfaced to belie police’s allegations against her brother.

“Francis has been described as a criminal and a carjacker by those who took his life. Francis, FX to us, was many things, but he was not a criminal, he was not a carjacker,” Jennifer, along with her lawyer Thedore Te, said in press conference at Astoria Plaza in Barangay San Antonio Pasig.

She said their family is still waiting for the results of the autopsy on Francis performed by Dr. Raquel del Rosario-Fortun last Nov. 26 and 27 in Baguio City.

“We await her official report and findings, which we are confident will bring us closer to the truth,” she said.

Aside from Manzano, Brian Anthony Dulay and Antonio Cu-Unjieng were also shot dead by pursuing traffic policemen during an operation in Ortigas Center last Nov. 7.

But Jennifer described her brother as “a kind-hearted and peace-loving person” and “a person who abhorred violence and who was incapable of the acts he is now, in death, accused of having done.”

Jennifer read a statement of the family and refused to entertain any questions from journalists.

“Our family is law-abiding and God-fearing. We were raised well by our parents and family members who inculcated in us high moral standards and values,” she added.

The Manzano family, she pointed out, “(does) not condemn the Philippine National Police as an institution. But, they cannot turn a blind eye to the video footages of the killings as well as the testimonies of eyewitnesses that show beyond any doubt that the incident (was) not a legitimate shootout.”

"Manzano’s kin seek justice"

Editor's Note: Published on page A19 of the December 10, 2005 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

THE FAMILY of one of three suspected car thieves killed in a clash with police have agreed to have his remains exhumed and reexamined, ending weeks of silence and starting what they said was a quest for justice and a “search for the truth.”

The family of Francis Xavier Manzano, 26, who was killed in a gunfight with police last month with two other suspected car thieves, said Manzano was wrongly reported as a car thief.

“Francis was not accorded the rule of law,” said Jennifer, 37, Francis’ sister. “He was not a criminal, yet he was treated like the worst kind of criminal.”

Jennifer said the family was now ready to cooperate with the Commission on Human Rights, which is investigating allegations that Manzano, Anton Cu-Unjieng and Brian Anthony Dulay were murdered by police.

The three, accused of being car thieves, were killed Nov. 7 at the Ortigas Business Center by agents of the Traffic Management Group (TMG).

The TMG said the three were killed in a gunfight, but witnesses were quoted as saying the young men never fired at the policemen.

Footage taken by TV station UNTV showed the police used “excessive force” against the three, according to lawyer Theodore Te, counsel of the Manzano family.

“We cannot turn a blind eye to the video footage of the killings as well as the testimony of eyewitnesses that show beyond any doubt that those who killed (Manzano) disregarded the rules of engagement and violated his fundamental human rights,” Jennifer said.

She said Francis, the youngest of five siblings who was called in the family as FX, never owned a gun.

“We don’t have a gun in the family,” she said. “Francis has been described as a criminal and a carjacker by those who took his life... But he was not a criminal, he was not a carjacker.”

She said it took the family “much reflection and prayer” before deciding to have his body exhumed and reexamined.

The family also chose to keep quiet for a long time.

“We are also a very private family, with no desire to engage in public mudslinging with anyone,” Jennifer said.

“However, we believe that we owe it to our brother as well as to our late parents to not allow our name to be trampled upon and vilified,” she added.

The body was exhumed Nov. 26-27 in Baguio City. It is already being reexamined by forensic expert Raquel Fortun as part of an ongoing investigation.

Te said the family doesn’t know how long the examination would take or when its results would be known.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Family of slain carjack suspect agrees to have body exhumed

Let's pray and support the family of Francis Manzano. The decision to exhume his body must have been a very difficult one to make, especially during such a painful time. Their belief in justice and solidarity as a family should be commended.

"Family of slain carjack suspect agrees to have body exhumed"
By Edson Castro Tandoc Jr.

THE FAMILY of Francis Manzano, one of three suspected carjackers killed in an alleged shootout last month with Traffic Management Group operatives, announced on Friday that they were willing to have his body exhumed and subjected to an autopsy.

Jennifer Manzano, sister of Francis, said that it took the family some time to agree to the exhumation because they were traumatized by the brutal killing.

The Commission on Human Rights is conducting an investigation into the Nov. 7 alleged shootout in Pasig City that resulted in the killing of Manzano, Anton Cu-Unjieng and Brian Anthony Dulay. The CHR wanted to have Manzano’s body autopsied anew.

The bodies of Cu-Unjieng and Dulay were cremated.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

More on the life of Francis Xavier Manzano

I just received this comment on a blog I wrote, A Letter About FX. Thank you for sharing with us more about FX and letting the world know the true Francis Xavier Manzano.

I cried reading this blog. It reminded me of all the testimonies of people who spoke in FX's wake...especially his materially poor friends and classmates from the Mt Province to whom he gave ALL HIS THINGS when he graduated. I heard testimony from people from all walks of life. He touched many peoples' lives especially the poor and the needy in his quiet way. Most touching were the testimonies of his daughter and nieces and nephews who could not understand why "bad men had to kill Tito F" . Hindi siya "pasiklab" "mayabang". (He's not flashy or conceited.) He had more poor friends than rich ones. He has been a volunteer counselor for 3 years and we will never know what secret(s) involving TMG, PNP or the military were told to him - that's why he had to be rubbed out too. When something tragic like this happens, we think of "could haves" should haves" and one o fmy thoughts - if he was not too "mabait" (nice/kind-hearted) and too helpful with others' problems as a counselor- baka buhay pa siya ngayon (perhaps he may still be alive today)! Sayang to have his life taken and in such a brutal fashion. The cover-up is so sad but we should be used to it in the Philippines as we read about it everyday in the newspapers involving the highest levels of the government. Manhid na tayo!

Relationship between Philippine Police & Commission of Human Rights: A publicity stunt?!

The Philippine police are now desecrating the victims of the Human rights by "pretending" to uphold their rights after killing them. I wonder how fair this Commission of Human Rights (CHR) will be to Francis Xavier Manzano. I wonder how fair they will be to future victims. I question how fair CHR will be when they're so closely tied to the corrupt Philippine Military and Philippine Police.

I must commend the public relations adviser for the Philippine police for coming up with this strategy -- "Let's publicly befriend the CHR to gain the public's trust." Too bad for them that we're not foolish to their publicity stunts. Too bad for them that we realize the police effort in "partnering" with CHR is just their way of keeping "their enemies closer."

Let's continue to pray and hope for truth & justice in our country. I would like to ask fellow bloggers, readers, mailing lists, websites, e-mailers and others who wish to help us gain justice to please spread the link to this website or simply spread the word of our cry for justice. I pray that someone out there reading this can help gain justice for Francis Xavier Manzano.

"Police to join celebration of human rights week"
By Katherine Adraneda
The Philippine Star 12/05/2005

Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Director General Arturo Lumibao will join the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and human rights advocates in a ceremony that will recognize "CHR partners," including police and military officers, non-government organizations (NGOs), and civic and church-based groups.

"I hope the occasion will send a message of peace and harmony to every individual across the nation, that human rights knows no bounds," said
Commissioner-in-charge Wilhelm Soriano, of the CHR-National Capital Region.

Dubbed as "Karapatang Pantao: Igalang, Itaguyod, at Ipatupad," the event marks the convergence of police authorities, military officials, and other
"state actors," NGOs, urban poor, informal settlers, church groups, and those who firmly believe in the preservation of the dignity of every human

"A celebration of human rights is a triumph of democracy," Soriano said.

Among those to be conferred plaques of appreciation for their contribution to human rights advocacy are Dagat-dagatan Council of Leaders led by Lilia Esparrago, Bantay Bata Foundation group, Human Rights Defense group, Superintendent Rolando Anonuevo of the PNP Intelligence Training Group, Dr. Liza Derillo of the Soroptomist International of the Philippines, Col. Winston Manay of the Philippine Air Force Officer School, Director Reynaldo Varilla of Human Resource Doctrine Development, General Renato Miranda of
the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Councilor Kevin Delgado of Muntinlupa City, and Councilor Corazon Braga of Antipolo City.

"Our theme concretizes the idea of bringing Filipinos together, regardless of their differences in ideologies and ideals, partisan politics notwithstanding...that they may see eye to eye in terms of defining human rights," Soriano said.

Human rights advocates and members of the police clashed months ago over the implementation of the administration’s calibrated preemptive response (CPR) and "no permit, no rally policy," which were deemed as curtailment to the people’s right to free expression.

The military, on the other hand, has been blamed for the series of human rights abuses, and killings against leaders and members of organizations in
the countryside, who were perceived as members of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Meanwhile, human rights group KARAPATAN renews its call for the improvement of the human rights situation in the country.

In its 2005 Human Rights Report, the group said that the Arroyo administration has turned to wanton use of repression and "state terror" to cling to power. KARAPATAN has documented 874 cases of human rights violations, which affected 99,011 individuals; and 14,302 families in 288
communities from January to November this year.

Marie Hilao-Enriquez, leader of KARAPATAN, said that the report is a result of painstaking efforts of human rights workers and volunteers in the

"This makes 2005 possibly the worst year for human rights in the post-Marcos era," Enriquez said.

"The intensity of the political killings that occurred in 2005 and the broadness of its targets to include lawyers, human rights defenders, journalists, church leaders, local officials, community leaders and
organizers, ordinary peasants and workers and members of progressive parties and people’s organization surpasses that of any regime after Martial Law," she added.

According to KARAPATAN, 150 persons, including a two-year-old boy and two unborn children, were killed from January to November this year while the
number of political killings increased by more than 100 percent compared to 2004.

KARAPATAN said that of the 150 victims of political killings, 80 were activists who were critical of the Arroyo regime; the remaining 68 were not known to be affiliated with any political party or organization but were suspected by the military to be sympathizers, supporters, friends or relatives of communist or Muslim rebels.

"On the occasion of the 57th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we believe that possibilities for justice for the victims of
human rights violations and opportunities for the improvement of the human rights situation can only be opened up with the removal of Gloria Arroyo
from the presidency."