March, 2009

Karapatan decry attacks on 2 women human rights defenders, raise alarm over rising extrajudicial killings

Sixteen killed before end of 1st Quarter 2009
Karapatan decry attacks on 2 women human rights defenders, raise alarm over rising extrajudicial killings

The human rights watchdog Karapatan today decried the shooting of two women human rights defenders in Laguna and sounded the alarm over the rising extrajudicial killings.

Sabina Ariola, 51 and Adelaida Calosa, 48 was shot at around 8:25 AM yesterday, March 23, 2009. Sabina, who was hit in the abdomen died at 11 o’clock in the evening and Adelaida who was hit on the face is undergoing medical treatment.

“We condemn in the strongest possible terms, the attacks on human rights defenders Sabina Ariola and Adelaida Calosa,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, Secretary General of Karapatan.

Arroyo tolerant of rapists and other human rights violators

She had set them free, they who have trampled human dignity.  That is how the human rights group Karapatan sees the policy of President Arroyo towards convicted, unrepentant rapists and her military
officials accused of atrocities against civilians.

Karapatan said that perhaps the only difference is that Arroyo wanted to give plum positions to her military henchmen like Gen. Jovito Palparan who not only remain scot-free but also offered several
government posts.

Anti-mining leader assassinated by suspected military elements in Koronadal City, South Cotabato, Philippines

Account of Incident:

On March 9, 2009 at about 4:00 o’clock in the afternoon, the Eliezer Billanes was gunned down by two (2) unidentified men riding a scooter type motorcycle bearing plate number MJ5432. The victim was buying a newspaper along the public market of Koronadal City fronting the City Fire Station when he was shot. He was hit on his right cheek that caused his death.

Justice for Rebelyn Pitao! Justice for all victims of human rights violations!

KARAPATAN human rights workers all over the country join the Pitao family and the Filipino people in mourning the brutal death of Rebelyn Pitao.

Words are not enough to express our sympathies for Rebelyn’s family and our outrage over the violence that state security forces have inflicted upon her.

Two farmers abducted by soldiers found dead in Negros Oriental, Philippines

Account of the incident:

Julito Quirante left home on January 31, 2009 to loan corn from his cousin Francisco Namoco in Sitio Buwang, Brgy. Milagrosa, Sta.Catalina, Negros Oriental.

Ronel Raguing went to his farm to harvest pumpkins and some vegetables on February 1, 2009.  He had intended to sell these in Sitio Lag-asan, Brgy. Nagbin-lod, Sta. Catalina.

It was the last time that each of their families would see Julito and Ronel alive.

Justice for Rebelyn Pitao

Karapatan strongly condemns the abhorrent and despicable abduction and summary execution of Rebelyn M. Pitao, the 20 year-old daughter of Leoncio Pitao a.k.a. New People's Army (NPA) Commander Parago.

“She being the daughter of a member of an armed party to the conflict does not warrant the atrocity done to her. The manner and pattern of Rebelyn’s killing bore the standard signs of the extrajudicial killings committed by the military. Only those state security forces could commit such treacherous crime,” Karapatan Secretary General Marie Hilao-Enriquez said. “This is a cowardly act; the perpetrators could not get her father in the mountains, so they abducted the daughter instead.”

At around 6:30 in the evening of March 4, 2009, Rebelyn was abducted in Davao City.  The following day, March 5, her body was found thrown in a river in Carmen, Davao del Norte.  Based on the initial findings of the autopsy conducted by the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) Dr.Tomas Dimaandal, Jr., Rebelyn’s eyes were badly bruised and bleeding that may be due to a blow from a hard object. She had a 3-centimeter ligature mark in the neck. She sustained 5 stab wounds (possible weapon ice pick):  2 above the left breast, one of which hit the lungs; two wounds under the left breast, one of which pierced through the liver and another one in the diaphragm which also hit the liver.

For Human Rights, Vol. 4, No. 2

For Human Rights, Vol. 4, No. 1

Daughter of Leoncio Pitao a.k.a Commander Parago abducted and summarily executed in Davao City, Philippines

Account of Incident:

At around 6:30 in the evening of 4 March 2009, Rebelyn M. Pitao was at the tricycle terminal in Bago Aplaya getting a ride home.  She was the first to board the tricycle driven by Danny E. Pelicano, occupying one of the seats at the back of the tricycle.  Two men joined her, one sat in front while the other one joined her at the back, facing her.  The men told the driver to go ahead; they would just pay for the fare of the vacant seat.  But before he could drive away, a woman arrived and joined them, sitting beside the man in the front.