Terror, impunity and injustice continue

A year after Jimmy Liguyon’s death  

Many things happened after the killing of tribal leader, Jimmy Liguyon, exactly one year ago today. Among them were: his tribe were subjected to threats and harassment by his killers from the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (NIPAR), led by Alde Salusad, forcing them to leave their community and evacuate in front of provincial Capitol in Malaybalay, Bukidnon; two died at the evacuation center, a 24-day old baby and a 67 year-old man, because of ailments; Julia Malus-ag and her four children were taken hostage by the same group on October 7, 2012 to pressure the evacuees to return to their village. 

Many things happened, except for the most important one: the arrest of Alde Salusad and his cohorts, despite a warrant of arrest. Alde Salusad and his minions remain free and continue to sow terror in Jimmy Liguyon’s community.  

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general, said that, “Liguyon’s case is no different from the 136 other cases of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino government where the perpetrators are free and are even promoted to higher positions; at best, they are transferred to other assignments or contained in the barracks such as those who were responsible for the massacre of the Capions in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur.”

Other incidents of extrajudicial killing, Palabay added, were made to appear as isolated cases of common crimes, as in the murder of Italian priest Fr. Pops Tentorio, Dutch volunteer Willem Geertman and botanist Leonard Co “even as these cases are clearly a result of the implementation of the Aquino government’s Oplan Bayanihan.” 

Karapatan affirms that Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan is basically the same as Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya, “the lies and cover ups may be a tad refined, but the targets and the pattern by which human rights violations are committed remain the same, no matter how the government raises its pro-human rights banner,” Palabay said. 

“The Aquino government may use all the PR stints at its disposal, but it cannot cover up the fact that Liguyon’s killers, and those in the AFP and its paramilitary groups are responsible for violations of human rights and should be held accountable,” ended Palabay.