Hackers under the group Cyber PH for Human Rights launched a symbolic cyberattack on the Gov.ph website on Wednesday to protest the killing of nine activists on March 7 and get President Rodrigo Duterte’s attention.
The attack left the main portal to the government’s website disabled for at least six hours, as the Gov.ph home page was “down” until around 11 p.m.
This developed as the group Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday said the police operations in Calabarzon that led to the arrests and deaths of activists showed the need for member countries of the United Nations to probe the “worsening” human rights situation in the Philippines.
HRW said the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights should consider having a “rapid response unit” probe of the police operations.
Also, the European Union on Wednesday welcomed the government’s announcement that it will investigate the deaths of the nine individuals on so-called “Bloody Sunday.”
In a statement, the EU delegation in the country also recalled the country’s commitment before the UN Human Rights Council “to ensure accountability for human rights violations and abuses.”
“Reports on the use of excessive force against unarmed individuals and alleged irregularities in the law enforcement operations have raised concerns,” it added.
The EU delegation said ensuring liability should be “in accordance with due process under national courts of law and in full compliance with its international human rights obligations.”
The Europeans and the Philippines on February 5 discussed strengthening accountability and investigative measures during the meeting of the Sub-Committee on Good Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights under the EU-Philippines Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, the union noted.
“The EU and the Philippines agreed on the need to acknowledge and to protect human rights defenders and enable their work in accordance with the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders,” the delegation said.
Cyber PH for Human Rights said in a statement: “In defense of human rights and justice, at 4 p.m., we have launched a cyberattack on the main website of the Philippine Government (www.gov.ph) through a Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) Attack.”
“This will have been the first and longest cyberattack on government cyber assets, exposing the weaknesses of the government’s IT system.”
“The cyberattack aims to send a message to President Duterte and his government, to stop the killing of unarmed civilians,” the group said. Joyce Pangco Panares, Willie Casas, Rio N. Araja, Maricel V. Cruz, and Rey E. Requejo
Cyber PH scored the alleged “abuse in issuing search warrants,” which it said has become “the modus operandi of security forces in collusion with judges in the Regional Trial Court, who had been wantonly issuing search warrants on the basis of singular testimonies of supposed confidential informants.”