Karapatan demands prosecution of masterminds on killing of Negros human rights worker

"Based on witnesses and the statements of the arresting police, we have known all along that Bayles was killed by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, though retracted by the police and being denied by the military" said Fred Caña, Karapatan - Negros Secretary General said.  "And here is Gazmin's admission at the budget deliberations on Thursday, straight from the horse's mouth!"

Pfc. Ronnie Caurino and Pfc. Reygine Laus were arrested for the killing of Bayles, who was shot and killed on June 14, 2010 in Himamaylan City, Negros Oriental. "This is not the first time that members of the AFP have been identified as perpetrators of various human rights violations." Caña added.

Karapatan acting Secretary General Jigs Clamor also said that this is also further proof that the military is behind the death threats and harassment of Caña, a colleague of Bayles, and the legal offensives against Karapatan's human rights workers such as the trumped-up charges filed against Mr. Kelly Delgado, Secretary General for Southern Mindanao Region, and others.

"Since 2005, Caña has been receiving threats on his and his family's life for his expose's of the military's human rights atrocities in the Negros island." Clamor said. "We also believe that the approach adopted systematically by the AFP are also the ones slapping trumped-up charges against human rights workers, in attempts to prevent them from documenting and exposing human rights violations, and from aiding the victims."

"This is a slap on Noynoy's face, specially since, in his first 100 days as president, he has been courting the AFP and has been diverting the public's attention on the continuing human rights violations" exclaimed Clamor.

Karapatan also demanded the Aquino government to investigate and prosecute the masterminds behind the 16 victims of extrajudicial killing under his watch, and more than 1,000 victims under the Arroyo regime. "We demand who ordered these killings and call on P-Noy to order the investigations and to render justice to all victims of human rights violations." concluded Clamor.##