February 10, 2024
“We strongly condemn the murder of elderly couple Pedro and Florencia Regala in Masbate, and demand that justice be immediately served for the two farmers, a testament to the Marcos Jr. regime and the AFP’s murderous reign,” said KARAPATAN secretary general Cristina Palabay.
Pedro Regala, 78, and his wife, Florencia Regala, 67, were in their house in Brgy. Tuburan, Cawayan, Masbate in the morning of February 5 when soldiers belonging to the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) and members of the paramilitary arrived, took the couple by force and brought them to a remote part of a creek where they were shot to death.
The group expressed outrage at the elderly couple’s murder, and lambasted the AFP for falsely reporting that the two were killed in an encounter, saying the military grossly violated the rights of the senior couple under domestic laws, and under international humanitarian law. At the same time, they condemned the obviously fabricated and planted evidence, including firearms and flags of organizations Gabriela and CONDOR-Piston inside the hut of the couple.
“How dare the bloodthirsty Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) report the killings, with the victims both physically unable to defend themselves, as an encounter. Tagging legal organizations Gabriela and CONDOR-Piston are also cheap attempts at justifying the murder of the couple. The Marcos Jr. regime just claimed they have defeated the New People’s Army (NPA) and yet, they continue to use this as justification for their murderous acts. Now, who are the real terrorists? No less than the AFP and the Marcos Jr. regime.” said Palabay.
Palabay said that the killings should prompt the Commission on Human Rights to launch an independent investigation and at the same time, to provide support and assistance to the Regala family and their community, especially with the AFP’s propensity to whitewash any investigation and to maintain the climate of impunity, as they have done many times.”
“We support the Regala family and the community members who quickly belied the claims of the military, and appeal that the rights of the people of the community should also be protected amidst heavy military presence in their communities. Cover-up for crimes committed by the AFP is unacceptable, and the soldiers responsible for the killings should be held accountable,” said Palabay.
Palabay further stressed that the killings reflect that the counter-insurgency program of the Marcos Jr. regime is “one that is aimed at unpeace, with no regard for people’s rights, and international humanitarian laws.”
“Marcos Jr.’s National Security Policy rears its ugly head. We call for an end to the killings and attacks,” Palabay said.