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    Chair of a human rights group killed in Aurora province, Central Luzon, Northern Philippines

    Chair of a human rights group killed in Aurora province, Central Luzon, Northern Philippines
    UA No: 2012-06-01
    UA Case                                 :
    Extrajudicial Killing

    Victim                                     :
    ROMUALDO “WALDO” PALISPIS
    ·         51 years old, married with three children

    ·         Chair of the Justice and Peace Action Group (JPAG)

    ·         Convenor of the Task Force “Walang Hatian ang Bayan ng Maria Aurora” (Do not Divide Maria Aurora Town)

    ·         Assistant Officer of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Maria Aurora

    ·         Member of Bayan Muna partylist

    Place of Incident                    :
    At the Palispis residence, Barangay 3, Maria Aurora town proper, Aurora province

    Date of Incident                     :
    June 30, 2012

    Alleged Perpetrators :
    Two men in motorcycle suspected to be state security forces  or have links to

    Account of the Incident: From the Factsheet prepared by the Justice and Peace Action Group (JPAG) Aurora

    On June 30, 2012, at around 8 pm, Romualdo Palispis, or Waldo, was relaxing in front of his home, playing the guitar, when he was shot in the head.  A witness said that two men on a motorcycle stopped a few meters from Waldo’s house, which was surrounded by a concrete fence.  Both suspects were wearing motorcycle helmets. One of the men got off and inserted a gun through a hole in the fence, and fired at Waldo, who was hit in the back of his head, with the bullet exiting through one of his eyes.  Waldo’s wife Sol rushed him to the nearby Maria Aurora Municipal Hospital where he was declared dead on arrival.

    On June 29, at around 8 pm, Waldo’s neighbour noticed that two men on the same motorcycle passed by three times and stopped for a while in front of Waldo’s house.

    Waldo had been the municipal chair of JPAG Maria Aurora chapter since 2002.

    Recently, Waldo led the opposition against a proposed law splitting the municipality of Maria Aurora to create the Dr. Juan C. Angara municipality as the ninth town of Aurora province.  House Bill 3225 was filed by Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara in the House of Representatives, while Senate Bill 3132 was filed by four senators in the senate.

    In May this year, Waldo was one of the convenors of the Task Force “Walang Hatian ang bayan ng Maria Aurora”, which assailed the bills as part of the projects being pushed by the Angara family in the province.  Gov. Bella Angara is pushing for the Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Free Port (APECO) project in Casiguran, Aurora. Waldo is among the leaders of groups expressing the people’s opposition  to the project due to the extreme adverse consequences of these to the rural people and environment.

    The Task Force had started a series of community assemblies and spurred village resolutions opposing the said bills, and also gathered support from various local groups.  The group also started a petition- signing campaign against the bills.

    Recommended Action:

    Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

    The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the extrajudicial killing of Romualdo Palispis.
    The military to stop the labelling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”
    The Philippine Government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians
    The Philippine Government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.

    You may send your communications to:

    H.E. Benigno C. Aquino III
    President of the Republic
    Malacañang Palace,
    JP Laurel St., San Miguel
    Manila Philippines
    Voice: (+632) 564 1451 to 80
    Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
    E-mail: corres@op.gov.ph / opnet@ops.gov.ph

    Sec. Teresita Quintos-Deles
    Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process
    Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP)
    7th Floor Agustin Building I
    Emerald Avenue
    Pasig City 1605
    Voice:+63 (2) 636 0701 to 066
    Fax:+63 (2) 638 2216
    osec@opapp.gov.ph

    Ret. Lt. Gen. Voltaire T. Gazmin
    Secretary, Department of National Defense
    Room 301 DND Building, Camp Emilio Aguinaldo,
    E. de los Santos Avenue, Quezon City
    Voice:+63(2) 911-9281 / 911-0488
    Fax:+63(2) 911 6213
    Email: osnd@philonline.com

    Atty. Leila De Lima
    Secretary, Department of Justice
    Padre Faura St., Manila
    Direct Line 521-8344; 5213721
    Trunkline  523-84-81 loc.214
    Fax: (+632) 521-1614
    Email:  soj@doj.gov.ph

    Hon.  Loretta Ann P. Rosales
    Chairperson, Commission on Human Rights
    SAAC Bldg., UP Complex
    Commonwealth Avenue
    Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
    Voice: (+632) 928-5655, 926-6188
    Fax: (+632) 929 0102
    Email:   chair.rosales.chr@gmail.com, lorettann@gmail.com

    Please send us a copy of your email/mail/fax to the above-named government officials, to our address below.

    URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
    KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
    National Office
    2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
    Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
    Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org
    Website: www.karapatan.org

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