Karapatan protests at AFP headquarters over recent killings

THE human rights group KARAPATAN picketed the gates of the AFP Headquarters at Camp Aguinaldo to denounce the alarming spate of extra-judicial killings (EJK’s) by suspected state security forces.

Three activists are the latest victims of EJK’s: BAYAN MUNA activist Rodel Estrellado of Barangay 3, Malilipot, Albay and B’laan tribal chief Rudy Dejos and his son Rody Rick Dejos of Barangay Zone-1, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur.
According to KARAPATAN documentation, there are already ten victims of EJK’s by suspected state forces in eight weeks from January to February this year, and at least 40 victims since Pres. Aquino took office eight months ago. EJK’s are averaging more than once a week under Aquino.

As the Aquino government talks peace, his troops are once again on a killing spree,” KARAPATAN spokesperson Jigs Clamor said. The new Internal Peace and Security Plan (IPSP) ‘Bayanihan’ of the AFP, approved by Aquino, included so-called selective targets of military operations. This is no different from the Oplan Bantay-Laya of the AFP under Macapagal-Arroyo which killed 1,206 in nine years.  Aquino seems "all talk and no action” in ordering state security forces to stop the killings.   If Aquino really wants peace, he should stop the killings,” Clamor said.

Estrellado, 34, was abducted around 9:00 am on February 25 by four men posing as Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) agents as he was walking home after buying food for his family at the local market. He was forced to board a grey car with the plate number MXN 902 according to Vince Casilihan, Karapatan-Bikol regional coordinator.
Casilihan said that as early as 6:30 a.m. on the same day, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) through Major Harold Cabunoc issued a statement that a New People’s Army (NPA) member, identified as a certain Elmer Estrellado, was killed in an encounter in Brgy. Buluang, Bato, Camarines Sur. This was also in a blotter report in PNP Bato filed later by Major Danilo Ambe and 2nd Lt. Maribel Donilla based in Mabaludbalud, Tigaon, Camarines Sur.
The “Elmer” reported by the military turned out to be Rodel. His remains was recovered by his family at a funeral parlor in Camarines Sur on February 27.

Meanwhile, the B’laan tribal chief and leader of the Zone-1 Farmers Association (ZOFA) in Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubuid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Rudy Yalon-Dejos, 50, and his son Rody Rick, 26, were found dead with gunshot and stab wounds inside their house on February 27.

The Dejos family members were consistent targets of harassment and intimidation by soldiers from the 39th IB Philippine Army and members of the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) since June last year.