As human rights groups and people’s organizations gear up for the commemoration of the International Human Rights day on 10 December, the BS Aquino government opted to commemorate the event by going on a rampage, resulting to a series of extrajudicial killings committed by State forces, and in violation of human rights and international humanitarian laws.
“We are outraged by the unabated killings committed by the BS Aquino government. Dito magaling ang gobyernong Aquino, sa paglabag sa karapatang pantao. Pero sa kagalingan ng mahihirap nating kababayan, wala siyang silbi,” (This is where the government of Aquino is good at — in violating human rights. But he is practically inutile when it comes to looking after the people’s welfare.), said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Two successive cases of extrajudicial killings were presented to the media by the military as a result of an encounter between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and members of the New People’s Army.
On 6 December, 54 year-old Pedro Tinga, a farmer and a leader of the Mansaka tribe, was killed by elements of the 71st Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army at Barangay (village) Malamodao, Maco, Compostela Valley Province. Initial reports from a fact-finding team of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao said Tinga, after he tended his farm early in the morning, was on his way to another piece of land he planted with corn when the soldiers fired at him. He instantly died of gunshot wounds.
Tinga was one of the survivors of typhoon Pablo in 2012, and was among the beneficiaries of Indug Kautawan, an organization of the survivors of typhoon Pablo. Tinga’s death is the 26th documented case of extrajudicial killing in Southern Mindanao, under the Aquino regime.
On 5 December, around 7:00 a.m., Aldrin Briones Rabulan, 44, was found dead around at Purok 2, Barangay Tomagoktok, Del Gallego, Camarines Sur. Soldiers were still around him when a village guard saw Rabulan’s body, lying face down and with gunshot wounds on his back and feet. Residents in this village said they heard gun fires at around 4:00 a.m.
At around 3:00 a.m., some 20 members of the Bravo Coy 49th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army based in Barangay Banga Caves, Ragay, Camarines Sur, entered the house of village councilor Aquino P. Salcedo. The soldiers, led by 1Lt. Howard A. Ardedon, searched the house and found Rabulan. The soldiers immediately tied Rabulan’s hands and feet. Before leaving, the soldiers reprimanded the Salcedos for allowing a member of the NPA to stay with them. Aquino Salcedo retorted they were not aware Rabulan was a member of the NPA. Salcedo said Rabulan requested them to allow him to stay for a night. Rabulan was unarmed.
Rabulan was one of those falsely charged with murder for the death of a certain Corporal Perillo at Barangay Maot, Labo, Camarines Sur. At the time of his killing, the warrant of arrest issued against him by the Regional Trial Court in Camarines Sur was suspended.
Earlier, on 1 December, another member of the indigenous tribe Higaonon, Rolen Langala, 35, died of two gunshot wounds and a still undetermined number of stab wounds while his companion, Ruel Tagupa, survived the attempt on his life. The two were on their way home after attending a town fiesta in Barangay Bagocboc, Opol, Misamis Oriental, when village councilors Nestor Bahian, Eugene Papin, and Ramil Salvan accosted them. Tagupa saw how Bahian shot Langala, who was lying on the ground, already bleeding from stab wounds.
Residents in Barangay Bagocboc knew the councilors who were involved in Langala’s killing as “hitmen” of the village captain.
Langala was a member of Pangalasag, an indigenous people’s organization opposed to the operation of A. Brown, an agribusiness corporation that has a palm oil plantation in Opol. Pangalasag chairperson Gilbert Paborada was gunned down by unidentified men on 3 October 2012.
“We commemorate the International Human Rights Day with rage and protests over the morose record of the US- Aquino regime’s gross human rights violations in the past three years. We hold B. S. Aquino accountable for the extrajudicial killings and frustrated killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detentions on trumped up charges, tortures and other gross human rights violations affecting a great number of the peasantry, indigenous people and urban poor dwellers,” said Palabay.
A multi-sectoral protest march is scheduled tomorrow, 10 December from Blumentritt to Mendiola. The group is set to burn the effigy dubbed as “P-Noy Destroyer”, to depict the people’s rage against what it calls the destruction brought about by the Aquino regime on the people’s rights, lives, and livelihood.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
HR Day Media Liaison
HR Day Media Liaison
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.