Karapatan enraged by weekly killing spree under BS Aquino
"BS Aquino’s military and police death squads are like wild dogs on a killing spree, slaying one victim a week this 2014. The trend is an alarming signal of the rising suppression of legitimate protests against the Aquino administration’s anti-poor policies, especially in the rural communities,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said as Karapatan documented the sixth victim of extra judicial killing for 2014.
Karapatan reported that the most recent incident happened on February 5 when two unidentified men on-board a red motorcycle overtook and shot peasant leader 41-year old Julieto Lauron, who was with indigenous peoples organizer Nermie Lapatis on their way to the village of Haindangon, Valencia City.
Lauron immediately died after he was hit in his neck, chest and stomach. Lapatis was hit in her right knee. The assailants quickly escaped.
A few days before he was killed, Lauron was elected chairperson of the local chapter of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma (Kasama or Association of Farmers) of Vintar village; while Lapatis was elected secretary general. In the said assembly, two unidentified men were reported seen taking pictures of participants.
Lapatis had recently moved to Valencia City from Magkalungay village in San Fernando town, Bukidnon because of threats against her life. As an organizer among indigenous peoples in Bukidnon, she campaigned against the entry of large scale mining companies in the area. Because of the local struggles she took part in, she earned the ire of the military and paramilitary groups. She reported several incidents of harassments from the members of the 8th Infantry Batallion Philippine Army and the paramilitary group New Indigenous People's Army Reform (NIPAR) led by Benjamin Salusad, the father of Alde Salusad who killed indigenous people's leader Jimmy Liguyon in 2012.
On January 23, the more than 200 soldiers under the 1st Special Forces Battalion arrived in Cagayan de Oro as “force augmentation” in the AFP’s fight against the New People’s Army. The elite force is said to handle the paramilitary forces under 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, covering the northern Mindanao and CARAGA regions. The 1st Special Forces Battalion was previously deployed in Quezon province in 2012, and was among the eight battalions assigned in Bondoc Peninsula. Some of its members were also involved in the Atimonan shootout.
A day before Lauron was killed, on February 6, in Brgy. San Pascual, Libon, Albay, Rosauro Rayteran and his son Rasty, 18 were killed by unidentified men riding in tandem. Rosauro was a member of Albay People’s Organization and Bayan Muna Partylist. He had been receiving death threats prior to the killing.
The other victims of extrajudicial killings this year were:
- Marcelo Monterona, Barangay Elizalde, Maco town, Compostela Valley, killed January 5.
- Arman Padino, Hacienda Dolores in Pampanga, died on January 13.
- Henry C. Orbina, Cabid-an, Sorsogon City, killed January 30.
Karapatan said all those killed were from the provinces identified as priority areas of the government’s counterinsurgency program, Oplan Bayanihan; the same areas targeted by Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL). The human rights organization documented 169 victims of extrajudicial killing from July 2010 to December 2013.
“Only a beleaguered regime—one that is drawing flak by the minute for its blatant attacks against the poor—stands to gain from the silencing of its critics and those who face these attacks head-on through their opposition. BS Aquino and his mad dogs should be made to answer for the killings and other human rights violations,” Palabay ended. ###