Karapatan: Murder of EJK survivor in Rizal hospital a most vivid illustration of the level of impunity in PH

The murder of 27-year-old Vincent Adia at the Rizal Provincial Hospital’s Angono Annex is “a most vivid illustration of the level of impunity in the Philippines,” human rights watchdog Karapatan said, as the group condemned “what can only be described as a gruesome and horrendous attack emblematic of the rapidly deteriorating human rights crisis in the country.”

“The cold-blooded murder of Vincent Adia — who was gunned down in a hospital’s emergency room, in front of the very doctors and nurses who worked to revive him after he was left to die in the streets — is a deeply disturbing incident that should enrage all of us. Even in the middle of a pandemic, the drug war, which has been a potential angle in Adia’s killing, has not relented in claiming more and more bodies to add to its death toll — and the killings are only becoming more brazen,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay stated.

According to news reports, Adia was shot thrice in the head at the boundary of Brgy. San Isidro and Brgy. Mahabang Parang in Angono, Rizal at around 4 a.m. on Wednesday, November 4, and was left to die by the gutter with a cardboard that labeled him a “pusher.” His body was spotted by motorists and he was brought to the Rizal Provincial Hospital’s Angono Annex, where he was revived by medical personnel. A few hours later, at around 11 a.m., a masked gunman barged into the emergency room and shot Adia twice in front of the medical workers, killing him instantly, and fled through a motorcycle — this despite police personnel walking in and out of the emergency room mere moments before the attack.

In an interview with Rappler, Angono Municipal Police Station chief Major Richard Corpuz claimed it was a case of “salisihan” or bad coincidence, as the attack happened 15 minutes after the police cleared the emergency room’s premises and left. One of Adia’s friends showed Rappler a Facebook message from him on November 2, mere days before he was killed, saying “walang biro... kailangsn ko ng pamasahe totohanan lang [redacted]… papatayin nako.. ng mgs pulis.. pinapapili ako kong ako o si [redacted] kaylangan ko tulong mo binigyan sko ng palugid hangang bukas.” (“No joke, I need travel money. I’m telling the truth, [redacted]. The police are about to kill me. They are making me choose between me or [redacted]. I need your help. They only gave me until tomorrow.”)

Palabay averred that the attack happened mere minutes after the police supposedly left along with Adia’s Facebook message “already raises suspicions on the perpetrators of this horrendous killing. How was the gunman able to enter the hospital and easily locate Adia and then escape the area unscathed? The fact that this deplorable incident happened in a hospital, in front of many people in broad daylight, only suggests that this is not just simple act of vigilante execution: it was meant to instill fear, to intimidate the medical workers that Adia or any target of these executions should not be revived — or else.”

“Karapatan strongly condemns this brutal murder. We also express our deepest condolences to Adia’s family, and we are one with them and all victims of extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in demanding justice. With people like Debold Sinas — whose so-called achievements in the drug war are being trumpeted by this fascist regime as a reason for his promotion — at the helm of the Philippine National Police, we can only expect these brazen killings to continue, but we will continue to assert our rights and fight back. We will not let impunity reign,” the Karapatan officer ended.