We are enraged over the extrajudicial killing yesterday, 25 March 2014, at around 6:00-7:00 in the evening, of William Bugatti, a Tuwali and a devoted human rights worker. William is a Regional Council Member of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance-KARAPATAN, a Regional Council Member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance representing the Ifugao Peasant Movement, and the Provincial Coordinator of Bayan Muna partylist.
We condemn this human rights violation in the strongest possible terms.
William was on his way home to his family at around 7:00 pm at Bolog, Kiangan, Ifugao, when unidentified assassins shot three bullets, piercing his heart. They shot at him treacherously from the back, as cowards do to brave men.
William has been receiving threats to his life and security from State security forces and their agents since the start of Oplan Bayanihan implementation in the Cordillera region. This heightened after the Armed Forces of the Philippines, particularly the 5th Infantry Division and the 86th Infantry Battalion Target List in Tinoc was obtained in October 2012. Bugatti was listed as #21 in the list in a roster of 28 people tagged as brains, members and supporters of the New People’s Army who are now also vulnerable to attack by State security forces and their agents.
He has constantly been accused of being a member of the NPA. This has resulted to notable incidents of surveillance and harassment against him that derailed him from doing his work. He was even barred several times from visiting political detainees at the Ifugao Provincial Jail. The Jail warden claims that there is a “Regional Memorandum” stating that Bugatti was not allowed to enter the jail and visit the political detainees because of the red-tagging.
Yesterday, he attended the hearing of the case of political prisoners Rene Boy Abiva and Virgilio Corpuz in Lagawe, Ifugao. He went to the office of Ifugao Peasant Movement and was last seen alive by his colleagues at around 5:00 pm before he went home.
William has been a diligent paralegal. As a human rights worker, he has always made sure that the welfare and rights of human rights victims are addressed and well-taken care of. Despite the threats to his life, he persisted in the work.
We are in deep grief over this loss of a human rights worker whom the people of Ifugao relied on during the most difficult times when they were under attack by state terror.
The killing is meant to silence human rights workers and defenders in the region. This will not happen.
We will draw strength from the life and work of William. We will persist in the work for human rights and justice as our fitting tribute to him.
We condole with his wife and three children, and the communities in Ifugao that he has served and have considered him as their son.
We demand justice for William Bugatti. We call for an impartial and competent investigation of the case. We demand that perpetrators be brought to the bar of justice.
We hold the Aquino regime accountable for the extrajudicial killing of William. Its bloody record of human rights violations clearly delegitimizes it as a government for the people. The spate of extrajudicial killings, now tallying to 12 only on the first quarter of this year, has to end. This can only be done when Oplan Bayanihan is scrapped and the formal peace talks resume.
Justice for William Bugatti!
Justice for all victims of extrajudicial killings!
End political vilification!
Hold the Aquino regime accountable for its human rights violations!
Scrap Oplan Bayanihan!
Deputy Secretary General
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance
mobile number: +639189199007