Peasant leader assassinated by suspected military elements after attending anti-Charter Change protest in Dumaguete City

In the height of the mounting protests against the Philippine Congress’ attempts for constitutional amendments through Charter Change, local organizations from Negros Oriental staged their own protest action on June 10, 2009 at the baywalk plaza in Dumaguete City.

After it dispersed at around 4PM that afternoon, Lorico supervised the trip home of some participants, chit-chatted with other leaders before walking off with other attendees.  They were to proceed to KARAPATAN/PCPR’s (Promotion for Church People’s Response) office in San Jose Extention, Dumaguete City for a meeting. On the way to KARAPATAN/PCPR, other participants noticed three men following him and overheard them say, "Unsaon nato ni og pin-down si Fermin, ha?" and "Manyutralisa ra man na ba?"  (How can we pin down Fermin…and neutralize him?) They were not seen in the crowd again.

Earlier, the three suspects were seen by other rally participants observing the rally and taking down notes.  They were suspected to be agents of the 79th IB.

At about 300 meters from the office and 800 meters from the police station, at least three shots rang as the two were walking by the roadside. Fermin's companion dropped on the ground. When the shots fell silent, he glanced at Fermin who was already bloodied and lying by the roadside.

Fermin sustained three gunshot wounds—two just below the nape and a fatal shot in the head.  He died shortly thereafter.  His body was brought to the provincial hospital.

Fermin has been consistently maligned and hounded with threats by the AFP.  The 79th Infantry Battalion Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Bernard Neri and 302nd IBde CO Col. Ceasar Yano have been openly branding Fermin in radio interviews and dialogues as an NPA leader.

Kahugpongan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmay’ng Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros (KAUGMAON) is a local chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas or KMP, a progressive peasant alliance in the Philippines that was included in the Armed Forces of the Philippine’s “Knowing the Enemy” powerpoint presentation. This presentation features a list of organizations blatantly branded as terroristic.

Fermin is the fifth victim of extrajudicial killings in Negros Oriental this year.