12 September 2011
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LGBT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS CALL FOR END TO KILLINGS
PHILIPPINE LGBT Hate Crime Watch and other human rights advocates denounced homophobic attacks as they rallied behind hate crime survivor Ricky Rivero, a high profile television director and actor, as he goes to the Quezon City trial court to press frustrated murder charges against his assailant, Hans Ivan Ruiz.
Reighben Labilles, spokesperson of the Hate Crime Watch, said the group is asking the public to keep a close watch on the case and denounce statements from the side of the accused that would imply that Ruiz committed the stabbing in self-defense against Rivero's alleged attempts to rape him.
Labilles further said that the tactic is called the gay panic defense and was used several times in the United States and Australia by defendants who tried to justify their violent behavior by making it appear that the gay victim approached or attacked the defendant sexually. Also known as the homosexual panic defense, the line defendant claims that he was in a state of temporary insanity triggered by alleged unwanted advances.
"The long string of unsolved murders against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Filipinos are definitely tied to this discredited alibi and if we allow this to set Rivero's assailant scot-free, we are serving a double dose of murder to the memories of all these victims,” said Labilles.
Hate Crime Watch has documented 141 incidents that bear hallmarks of murder and extrajudicial executions since it started culling statistics from known media reports that date back to 1996. This year alone, 29 incidents have been noted, nearing the 2010 record of 34 incidents.
Labilles' group is advocating for legal and administrative measures to be taken by the government that would define hate crimes, punish the acts, and redress the survivors and victims of such crimes. In Congress, Gabriela and Bayan Muna filed separate resolutions calling the state to officially receive the statistics gathered and analyzed by the Hate Crime Watch and provide swift action on the cases.
Aside from legal measures, the group is also raising awareness among LGBT communities about the violence that can occur even if the assailant is an intimate partner, friend or family member. One of its aims is to develop an expansive, grassroots, inclusive and non-partisan community of individuals and organizations that advocates against anti-LGBT prejudice and the violence it causes.
“We have to find measures to put an end to this kind of crime,” said Ladlad Partylist chairperson, Ms. Bemz Benedito. “Government should heed our call to fight these acts of brutality,” Benedito added.
Hate Crime Watch is already investigating links between hate crimes, homophobia, transphobia, religious biases, and the culture of impunity.
The Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch
contact person: Reighben Labilles
Head Researcher and Spokesperson
Mobile Number: 09179714096
With special thanks to:
Oscar Atadero and Dexter Macaldo for the text of the Press Release
With A Joint Release with Pro-Gay
ProGay comes out in support of Ricky Rivero’s case vs. murder attempt
09995331065 (Goya Candelaria - Pro-Gay Spokesperson)
QUEZON CITY – GAY rights activists rallied to the side of their colleague Ricky Rivero, a survivor of a brutal crime during a court hearing at the City Hall of Justice.
The Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) joined other lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) human rights groups in a silent show of support for Rivero’s court confrontation with his alleged assailant, Hans Ivan Ruiz.
ProGay spokesperson Goya Candelario praised Rivero’s decision to pursue the case as this would help establish legal and cultural precedents that in the long run will lessen, if not eliminate altogether, unsolved violent crimes against LGBTQs.
Candelario said it is important for survivors and victims to make a public declaration of being a member of the gay community so that the justice system can make more definite rulings.
The ProGay leader said that surviving families of murdered LGBTQs are ashamed of having to admit that the victims were killed after having intimate relations with suspected assailants. Candelario said gays mostly just want to just shut up and deny their rights to claim justice.
“Because Ricky faced the fact that his being gay has a part in the crime committed against him, it is now easier to pursue case work. Survivor testimonies that are more accurate and detailed can better ensure that the guilty party face the consequences of the crime,” Candelario explained.
ProGay says that the attitude of the both individuals and the community as a whole in the gay and transgender sector to keep silent despite increasing numbers of friends dying to hate-related murders emboldens anti-gay criminals.
"Because many criminals seem to know that their victims and their surviving loved ones will not report the crime as related to sexuality, virtually all of the involved criminals escape or get charged with much lesser crimes, such as robbery or homicide, before eventually the cases get dismissed," Candelario lamented.
ProGay also cites complaints from LGBTQs about the less than desirable handling by the Philippine National Police of anti-gay incidents. According to ProGay, police tend to blame the victims. In many instances, investigators recklessly speculate before tabloid reporters that the killings may have been justified because the gay or transgender victims angered the murderers after not getting their expected monetary rewards.
"We have to stop this nonsense among the police and even our community members, that gays and transgenders are milking cows who are expected to give out cash and that we should be killed if we refuse to shell out money," Candelario protested.