The killing of Karapatan human rights worker Benjamin Bayles

and KMP peasant leader Rene "Totoy" Quirante in Negros,

Defense Secretary Gazmin admits the Bayles suspects are AFP soldiers

 

Posted: November 12, 2010

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/p

/p
 
           
     

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THE EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING OF BENJAMIN E. BAYLES AND THE DEVELOPMENTS OF THE CASE

by Aldo Gonzalez on Thursday, November 11, 2010 at 6:13pm

Case information sheet   

 

THE EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING OF BENJAMIN E. BAYLES AND THE DEVELOPMENTS OF THE CASE

July 18, 2010   

 

Who was Benjie?

 

Benjamin Estrope Bayles, or Benjie, was 43 years old, single and a resident of Sitio Pamandayan, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, Philippines.  

 

A rural poor himself, Benjie dedicated all his work and energy towards social justice and peace.  He defended human rights amidst socio-economic conflicts and an on-going heavy militarization campaign.  He was a genuine peasant leader who vocally advocated the interest of the marginalized population in Barangay Buenavista and neighboring communities.  Particularly, he fought against forced eviction, militarization and human rights violations.

 

He denounced abuses committed by the officers and men of Philippine Army against upland farmers and agricultural workers.  Being a member of the September 21 Movement- Southern Negros, a local human rights alliance which is an active member organization of the nation-wide human rights alliance KARAPATAN, he facilitated the families of the victims to meet with the para-legals of September 21 Movement and KARAPATAN.  He actively joined fact- finding missions and quick reaction teams sent to investigate human rights violations in the hinterland barangays of Himamaylan City. 

 

His advocacy for human rights and people’s concerns was developed and nurtured by his involvement in church activities in the Parish of San Ramon Nonato of Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI or Philippine Independent Church) at Barangay Su-ay, Himamaylan City.  From being a sacristan, he rose to become a lay worker and a lay leader, and a district coordinator of the Aglipayan Forum, the organization of members of IFI active in human rights and other social issues.  As a lay leader, he was active in anti-mining campaigns and in peasant advocacies.  He was also a member-organizer of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) and a local leader of the Bayan Muna Party.

 

A truly compassionate man, he selflessly gave his entire work and energy to the poor.  Eventually he gave his life.  He was aware of the risks.  Characteristic of an eventual killing, the military put him under surveillance and started vilifying him weeks before the incident.  He knew he was marked.  Despite all this, he remained a soft-spoken and peaceful person.  Full of hope of a just society, he never gave up his faith and belief in fellow men.  Violence by no means was a remote experience to Benjie and his family.  In 1989, his brother was shot to death by the CAFGU – a notorious paramilitary group established by Corazon Aquino under operational command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).  His father rushed to help his son and was killed in the same incident too.  Benjamin “Benjie” Bayles at the October 2009 Human Rights Protest march Benjamin “Benjie” Bayles at the October 2009 Human Rights Protest march 2

 

The Killing and Arrest

 

On June 14, 2010, at around 4:30 p.m., Benjie was waiting for a ride at the crossing Sitio Antolo, Barangay Su-ay, Himamaylan City when two men wearing helmets on board a black Honda TMX 155cc motorcycle with no license plate stopped nearby.  The back rider disembarked and walked towards Benjie.  At about 3 meters away from him, the gunman shot him at different parts of his body.  When he fell down, the driver of the motorcycle also came near him and shot him to ensure his death.  Then the perpetrators left the area on board the motorcycle.  Bystanders took him to the Valeriano Gatuslao District Hospital at Himamaylan City but he was pronounced dead-on-arrival.

 

Among the bystanders who witnessed the incident was a government official who immediately called someone he knows from the Himamaylan City Philippine National Police (PNP) to report the incident.  The Himamaylan City PNP alerted the nearby Kabankalan City PNP. 

 

Meanwhile, at around 5:20 in the afternoon of the same day, Police Officers Joey Santiago, Alvin L. Alvior and Arnold C. Tadiaque, all members of the PNP assigned at Kabankalan City, were on board their patrol car roving around Kabankalan City when they received a radio message that Himamaylan City Police Station (Himamaylan City is adjacent to, and to the north of, Kabankalan City) requested assistance to intercept two suspects responsible for a shooting incident at Barangay Su-ay, Himamaylan City who were sighted heading to Kabankalan City area, prompting them to proceed to Barangay Hilamonan road (Kabankalan) which was the possible exit point of the suspects who were described riding in tandem on a black Honda TMX 155cc motorcycle and wearing helmets and sweatshirts. 

 

While they were in position, the police officers saw an approaching motorcycle resembling the description which turned to the circumferential road (around 5 meters before their position) heading south.  After few minutes of chasing the motorcycle which was moving fast, they were able to stop it, ordered its two riders to drop to the ground and frisked them.  They recovered from one of the suspects who identified himself as RONNIE LIZADA CAURINO, one STI Custom Shop caliber .45 pistol bearing serial number 129528 with one empty magazine, and from the other suspect who identified himself as ROGER MAREZA BAJON, one lightweight Colt Defender Series 90 caliber .45 pistol bearing serial number 195879 with one magazine containing two live ammunitions.

 

They immediately brought the suspects, the confiscated firearms and the motorcycle (with motor number KB509E034382 and chassis number KB509034379) to the Kabankalan City Police Station.  A few minutes later, members of the Himamaylan City PNP arrived and, after proper turn-over, brought the suspects, the firearms and the motorcycle.

 

The two suspects were subsequently positively identified by witnesses as the assailants of Benjie.

 

In a Spot Report dated June 14, 2010 signed and submitted by the Chief of Police of Himamaylan to the Negros Occidental Provincial Police Director, it was stated that at about 5:25 p.m. of the same date, the Kabankalan City Police Station informed the Himamaylan City Police Station that they had intercepted two persons (the suspects)…claiming themselves as members of the Philippine Army. 

 

On the same date, the Kabankalan police, in their statement to radio station DYEZ “Aksyon Radyo” Bacolod, said that the suspects confessed to be “organic” members of the 61st Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army (IBPA), and that the two were turned over to the Himamaylan PNP and detained at the Himamaylan City Jail.

 

In the morning of June 15, 2010, the Himamaylan PNP retracted from the Kabankalan police's initial statement to the same radio station, claiming that the suspects are not connected with the military.

 

The Criminal Case and Its Developments

 

Police Reluctance.  Aside from visiting the crime scene and gathering basic information, the Himamaylan PNP was for unknown reason initially reluctant in further investigating, gathering evidence and pursuing the filing of a criminal case against the suspects.  The police did not attempt to find willing witnesses.  In the evening of June 14, 2010, members of the September 21 Movement investigated the case, looked for and secured witnesses, and brought them to the police station to identify the suspects.  The family of Mr. Bayles had to meet the Mayor of Himamaylan who had to intercede so that the police would do their job properly.  The media castigated the police publicly on air for obviously neglecting their duties.  There was no thorough crime scene investigation.

 

Case Status.  Finally, on June 18, 2010, a complaint for murder was filed by the Chief of Police of Himamaylan City against the suspects at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Himamaylan.  An inquest 1 on the case was scheduled on the same date.  The September 21 Movement and KARAPATAN mobilized about a hundred of their members to the Office of the City Prosecutor to publicly show their demand for justice for the killing of Mr. Bayles.  However, the two suspects signed a waiver of the provisions of Article 125 2 of the Revised Penal Code and requested instead for a regular preliminary investigation.

 

A hearing for preliminary investigation was to be conducted on June 29, 2010.  However, on June 21, 2010, the two suspects filed a waiver of their right to preliminary investigation and to appear on the June 29 hearing.  They did not also file any counter-affidavit to answer the complaint and refute the evidence filed against them.  They instead asked the prosecutor to immediately resolve the case based on the sufficiency or insufficiency of the evidence submitted by the complainant against them.

 

On June 15, the Himamaylan police subjected the two suspects to a paraffin test at the Negros Occidental Provincial Police (NOPP) Crime Laboratory at Bacolod City.  

 

An autopsy was conducted on the cadaver of Bayles on June 16. The city medico-legal officer found 25 wounds (entry and exit) and recovered three (3) slugs from the cadaver.  On June 22, the Himamaylan police indorsed to the NOPP Office for ballistic examination the 3 slugs, the confiscated firearms and the 2 empty shells of caliber .45 recovered by the police from the crime scene.

 

On July 2, the City Prosecutor of Himamaylan issued a Resolution finding probable cause for murder against the two suspects.  Thereafter, on July 5, an Information (or charge sheet) for Murder (a non-bailable offense) entitled “People of the Philippines, Complainant, vs. Roger Bajon and Ronnie Caurino, Accused” was filed by the City Prosecutor at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Himamaylan where the case is docketed as Criminal Case No. 2474.  The RTC is yet to schedule the arraignment of the accused.

 

Ballistic Examination and Paraffin Tests.  The result of the ballistics examination is particularly crucial in this case.  It could directly link the arrested suspects to the murder of Benjie as it could be established whether the slugs taken from his cadaver (which caused his death) were fired from the firearms taken from the suspects during their arrest less than an hour from the shooting incident.  Said proofs (slugs and firearms) were turned over to the custody and control of the police who conducted the ballistic examination.  There was no way of independently ensuring, for example, that the barrels of the firearms are not changed prior to the examination, or that the result would not be “doctored”.  On July 14, 2010, the Himamaylan PNP and City Prosecutor’s Office orally informed us that the ballistic examination and the paraffin tests in this case returned negative results.  We are yet to receive an official copy of the results.  The accused, through their counsel, already filed a Motion to Quash the Information based, among others, on the said results.

 

Concerns.  The serial numbers of the firearms taken from both accused and the motor and chassis numbers of the motorcycle they used could lead not only to the real identities of both accused (who have been very silent up to now) and to the motive behind the killing, but also to the possible mastermind(s) of the killing or to other people possibly involved in the killing.  Information along this line could also possibly help in curbing impunity existing in the country.  However, up to the present, there has been no indication that the PNP or any other agency of the government is pursuing this.

 

Other Case-related Developments.  Mr. Larry Trinidad of Radio Mindanao Network and Jaime Lim, 41, a Bacolod-based journalist, are reported of receiving death threats for having indicated the involvement of the military in the killings of Benjie Bayles.      

 

Prepared by:

Atty. Benjamin T. Ramos, Jr.

PDG Compound, Mohon, Barangay Binicuil,

Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental

 

1  An inquest is a summary inquiry conducted by a prosecutor to determine whether the warrantless arrest of a person was based on probable cause.  Probable cause is the existence of such facts and circumstances as would excite the belief in a reasonable mind (or a reasonable ground to believe) that a crime has been committed and that the respondent/person charged is probably guilty thereof.  

2  Article 125 of the Revised Penal Code reads:  “Art. 125. Delay in the delivery of detained persons to the proper judicial authorities. – The penalties provided in the next preceding articles shall be imposed upon the public officer or employee who shall detain any person for some legal ground and shall fail to deliver such person to the proper judicial authorities within the period of twelve (12) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by light penalties, or their equivalent; eighteen (18) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by correccional penalties, or their equivalent; and thirty- six (36) hours, for crimes or offenses punishable by afflictive or capital penalties, or their equivalent.

In every case, the person detained shall be informed of the cause of his detention and shall be allowed, upon his request, to communicate and confer at any time with his attorney or counsel.”  4

 

 

 

 

 

BAYAN NEGROS
Picket Rally on Extra Judicial Killings
November 10, 2010
Provincial Capitol
Photos by Owen S. Bayog
 

  Owen Segovia Bayog's Photos - PROTEST (IN FRAMES) 

 

     
     
     
     
     
           
     
     
     

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KMU slams Aquino’s continued inaction despite Defense Sec’s admission of military involvement in killings

Reference Person: 

Roger Soluta, KMU general secretary

Contact information: 

0928-721-5313

 

Hacienda Luisita president expert in assaulting farm workers – KMU

 

In the aftermath of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s admission that the murderers of Negros farm-worker Benjamin Bayles members of the military, KMU denounced the Aquino government for its continued inaction over the case.

 

In a Congress budget hearing on Oct. 7, Gazmin, together with AFP Spokesperson Jose Mabanta and other military officials, admitted that Pfc’s Rafael Cordova and Reygine Laus, who gunned down Bayles last June 14, belong to the Army’s 61st Infantry Batallion. The military has always denied before its involvement with the killing of the two, along with other cases of extra-judicial killings all over the nation.

 

Inaction is perpetration

 

“The Aquino administration will find it more difficult to find reasons for not acting on the case of Bayles, with his own cabinet member’s admission that Bayles’ murderers are military men. That is, unless Aquino wants to show that he is actually condoning the killings,” said KMU general secreatry Roger Soluta.

 

“His continued inaction on the cases of etra-judicial killings under the previous administration and on the continued killings under his administration show that our lives are still in peril under Aquino.”

Soluta cited reports of human rights alliance Karapatan that in just a hundred days, there were already 16 cases of murder, 10 frustrated murder, two missing, 28 illegal arrest, and 28 illegal detention,all politically-motivated, under Aquino.

 

Bayles, 44, was waiting for public transport in a waiting shed at Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City when the motorcycle-riding Cordova and Laus shot him. On April, 2010 or two months before the incident, army soldiers already encamped at Brgy. Buenavista.

 

Familiar with Haciendas

 

Bayles was an organizer of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, a member-federation of KMU, since 2002. He has been active in the struggle against landgrabbing and human rights abuses in Himamaylan City and the whole of  Negros province.

 

Bayles is the 11th NFSW member to be killed since 2001. Last year, more than 300 counts of criminal cases were filed by the military against 80 farm workers in Negros.

 

“Resistance among sugar workers is certainly not foreign to our president, as we remember how his family authorized a massacre in Hacienda Luisita. As long government leaders connive with landlords to perpetrate injustice among farm workers, resistance will persist in the vast haciendas of Tarlac, Negros, and the whole country,” Soluta warned. #

 

     
     
           
     
           

 

Sa Ginabing Magdamag
by Ayie Montalban

on Saturday, October 2, 2010 at 7:28am

“This is what we get from the grandstanding and lipservice Aquino did during the elections? Promising change and using his parents, depicting them as icons of democracy, but now already in power, oppression and exploitation to poor Filipinos such as the peasants continue grossly,” Flores asked.

Peasant leader Toto Quirante of Kaugamon-KMP Negros Oriental murdered this 2am by suspected elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Sa Ginabing Magdamag
P. Montalban

Wala pang 'sangdaang dahong
nalalagas, ngunit ang mga kahon
ng mga binunot na muhon
ng aming pakikibaka'y isa-isang
naibabaon.

Litanya ng bawat butil
ng rosaryo sa mga santong inutil
ay di makapapantay na pangsingil
sa bawat buhay na inutas-sinikil,
mga santo ng bayang kinikitil.

Kaninang umaga, sa hiraya
ng sa masaker
ay may pesanteng tumumba:
Isa na namang banal,
ang sa damba, ng baya'y idadasal--


 

x

 


 

Katarungan kay Quirante, Oh!
Ama naming matamis kung ngumisi.

Hatid na gimbal
sa bawat pag-itim
nitong araw
sa ati'y di nakabuwal--

Pagkat nahihirati
sa pinakamadilim na gabi
nang paghihintay' umiigsi
Pagka't ang rilim ng gabing
ginabi, magdamag na paglabag,
ay di mauutas ng paisa-isang bigwas.
 

Bagkus ang talinhaga'y magtatalastas
na ito pa nga'y siyang magluluwal
ng kambal-kambal na pagaaklas,
'Sang pagasam ng pagliligtas.

Dahil, ang dugo
ng mga gaya ni Quirante'ng Santo,
ang mga tintang magpapapula
sa naninilaw na nimdim
ng ginabing magdamag.

Bukas,
abangan.
 

Sisikat muli,
ang pulang
araw.

 

           
           
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==          
           
     

 

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Negros (Bayan Negros) protested in front of Major Nelson L. Gerona in Brgy. Minuyan, Murcia to protest the existence of AFP's “death squad” that killed 41 activists in Negros including Benjie Bayles, an Aglipayan human rights activist and Bayan Muna member. Last Thursday, Oct. 7, Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Voltaire Gazmin during DND budget deliberation in the House of Representatives admitted that the two arrested murder suspects of Bayles are members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines

 

Photos by BAYAN- Negros

 

     
     

 

Media Release
October 11, 2010
For reference:
Christian Tuayon, Spokesperson
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Negros
Cellphone number: 0921.785.9554

Bayan to 303rd IB: dismantle your death squad
now and stop lying!

The umbrella of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Negros (Bayan Negros) today militantly and surprisingly protested in front of Major Nelson L. Gerona in Brgy. Minuyan, Murcia making to protest the existence of Armed Forces of the Philippines’ “death squad” that killed 41 activists in Negros including Benjie Bayles, an Aglipayan human rights activist and Bayan Muna member. Last Thursday, Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Voltaire Gazmin during DND budget deliberation in the House of Representatives admitted that the two arrested murder suspects of Bayles are members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

“We demand the 303rd Infantry Brigade to officially dismantle their death squads that killed 41 political activists in Negros since 2001 under the Oplan Bantay Laya counter insurgency program. They must also stop lying just to cover-up their criminal activities,” said Christian Tuayon Bayan Negros spokesman.

The militant group is accusing AFP of operating death squads since 2001 because of the same pattern of killings of the victims. The creation of death squads is part of Oplan Bantay Laya for the purpose of selective elimination of activists. The case of Bayles is only one of its kind cases because two suspects were arrested with .45 caliber pistols after the murder last June 14 in Himamaylan City. Philippine National Police conducted checkpoint in Brgy. 1 of Kabankalan City after receiving an information of the direction of the perpetrators and arrested Pfc. Regine Laus aka Roger Bahon and Pfc. Ronnie Caurino but the AFP was quick and repeatedly denied that the two suspects are in their roll.

“Now that Sec. Gazmin admitted the suspects affiliation with the AFP, this automatically confirmed our conclusions of the existence of AFP “death squads” since 2001. After ten (10) years of lying and misleading the public, we finally find the hidden fire of the AFP because of the smoke,” Tuayon added.

Bayan challenges Pres. Noynoy Aquino and Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to conduct immediate investigation of the leadership of the 3rd ID and 303rd Infantry Brigade who planned, lie, mislead and cover up the identities of Laus and Caurino for almost four months and to make them accountable to the killings in Negros.

“Col Caro and Sumagaysay, including past and present Civil Military Operation officers of 11th IB and 61st IB must be investigated and suspended because they lie and mislead the people just to hide the identities of Pfcs. Caurino and Laus. They must be held liable for the killings too,” Tuayon added.

Karapatan records show that there have been 1,207 cases of extra judicial killings nationwide since 2001, including 41 cases of killings in Negros and 16 cases of killings under the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III.

BAYAN believes that AFP officials prefer to call themselves inutile in their long overdue investigation than admitting that they are involved in extra-judicial killings.###
 

 

 

 

           
     

 

PRESS RELEASE
October 11, 2010
Reference: Ronald Ian Evidente, Spokesperson
Kilusang Mayo Uno Negros
Mobile Number: (+63)939.165.9454

3rd ID deliberately lied to deny killing of NFSW member – KMU

Bacolod City – The militant and anti-imperialist labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno Negros called the latest statement of the 3rd Infantry Division as deliberate lies that it took them a long time admitting that Pfc. Reygine Laus aka Roger Bahon and Pfc. Ronnie Caurino are not part of their roll because the two used aliases. The statement was released after the admission of Department of National Defense Sec. Voltair Gazmin during the department budget hearing at the House of Representatives last Thursday that the two suspects are members of 61st IB members.

“The 3rd ID is a spinner of lies in misleading the people of the military’s role behind the killing of Bayles, and despite Sec. Gazmin’s admission they continue to spin more lies” said Ronald Ian Evidente KMU spokesperson.

The militant labor center said only Pfc. Reygine Laus used the alias of Roger Bahon but Pfc. Ronnie Caurino since their arrest used his real name. Since the murder of Bayles in June, AFP’s Civil Military Officers of 11th IB and 61st IB including former Battalion Commander Bayhon already denied the name of Laus and Caurino that they are not AFP members. The PNP official police report stated that the two admitted they were soldiers when arrested.

“It is so ridiculous that they are now again using the use of alias of one suspect as an alibi to cover up the membership of the suspects in the AFP. To lie and to use an alias is part of the game in order to hide their real names even in the court of law if ever arrested. ” Evidente explained.

Militant labor center said that the suspects don’t only use aliases but they also cover their faces like ninjas during court hearings.

Benjie Bayles is one of the organizer of National Federation of Sugar workers and was murdered in a broad daylight on June 14, 2010, 4:30 p.m. at Purok Antolo, Brgy. Su-ay, Himamaylan City.
 

     
           
           

Statement of the National Democratic Front-Negros on the admission of DND Secretary Voltaire Gazmin that the suspected murderers of Bayles are members of the 61st IB Phil Army.

We welcome the statement of Congressman Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna partylist in an interview by DYEZ radio informing of the admission of DND secretary Voltaire Gazmin, AFP spokesperson Jose Mabanta and the head general of CRS-AFP during the October 7 budget hearing of the plenary session of the Philippine House of Representatives that the suspected murderers of Benjamin Bayles -- PFC Reygine Laus alyas "Roger Bajon" and Ronnie Caurino (PFC Rafael Cordova) were active members of the 61st IB PA.

 

This admission by Sec Gazmin and military officials only confirms the belief of the people on the truth behind the cases of extra-judicial killings that victimized not only Benjamin Bayles but also the latest victim Rene Quirante murdered by troops of the 11th IB last October 1, 2010 and other past victims in Negros and the whole country.

 

The high officials of the reactionary government and AFP was forced to admit because of the strong political pressure of the people and churches in the country and the international community that condemned the crimes of the Phil Army and demanded justice. Because of the gathering of solid evidences against the two criminal elements of the 61st IB PA, Sec Gazmin and top military officials of the AFP can no longer maintain the state of denial on the murder of Bayles and blame this on "CPP-NPA internal purge." They also believe that their admission on one specific murder case is enough to lead the people on the sweet rhetorics of P-Noy on his "stand for truth" and "daang matuwid" and forget the more than 10 victims of extra-judicial killings under Aquino and the more than 1,000 under Arroyo.

 

Despite the official statement of their superiors, the officers of the 3rd ID and the 61st IB PA earlier denied that the two using the alias "Roger Bajon" and "Ronnie Caurino" are their personnels. Their continuing denial means that they haven't receive yet the official instruction from the AFP chief Ricardo David and DND Sec Voltaire Gazmin that they must admit the two criminals as members of the Phil Army.

 

The statement of Sec Gazmin and other top officials of the AFP admitting "Roger Bajon" and "Ronnie Caurino" as members of the AFP is NOT ENOUGH! To give justice to the victims of extra-judicial killings they must order the court martial not just of the two criminal soldiers but also the masterminds and those who give the orders to kill Benjamin Bayles, Rene Quirante and all the victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearnces in the country.

 

We challenge Sec Gazmin and General David to arrest, put on trial and punish the high ranking officials in a military court those responsible for the extra-judicial killings in Negros like Gen Ralph Villanueva of the Central Command AFP-Visayas, Maj Gen Vicente Porto, Col Maximo Caro, Brig Gen Josue Gaverza, Col Cesar Yano, Col Manuel Luis Ochotorena, Lt Col Ricardo Bayhon and Lt Col Ramil Bitong. They must also order the arrest and filing of cases of crimes against humanity on Jovito Palparan and other military officials that gave orders to implement components of Oplan Bantay Laya on extra-judicial killings, enforced disappearnces and application of tortures against progressive leaders and activists.

 

NDF-Negros is informing the people that the People's Revolutionary Court of Negros has issued warrant of arrests for Maj Gen Vicente Porto, Col Maximo Caro, Brig Gen Josue Gaverza, Col Cesar Yano, Col Manuel Luis Ochotorena, Lt Col Ricardo Bayhon and Lt Col Ramil Bitong. There is also an order from the revolutionary court to all operational commands and unit command of the NPA in all levels to arrest the suspected criminal officers so they will face the cases filed by the people through the Democratic Coalition Government based in the countrysides. The regional revolutionary court of Negros has already sent a copy of the warrant of arrest to the Military Commission of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines and territorial sub-military commissions and commands of the NPAs in other regions to enforce the arrest of the suspects in any place in the Philippines.

 

     
           
     

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NEWS REPORTS AND ARTICLES

AFP admits soldiers involved in activist's slay – solon : Dateline ...

8 Oct 2010 ... AFP admits soldiers involved in activist's slay – solon ... involved in the June 14 murder of activist Benjamen Bayles in Himamaylan City, ... can prove AFP involvement in the extra-judicial killings all over the country ...
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    benjamin bayles - Bulatlat

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    Brother and witness in the Benjamin Bayles killing harassed by soldiers in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, Philippines
    UA No: 2010-11-01
    UA Date : 13 November 2010
    UA Case : Threat/Harassment/Intimidation/ Fear for safety
     

    Victim/s : Manuel Bayles
    50 years old, male, married with 3 children
    Public school teacher
    A resident of Sitio Pamandayan, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental
    Older brother of Benjamin Bayles (UA No: 2010-06-02)

    Vilma E. Tejada
    37 years old, female, married with 6 children
    A resident of Sitio Pamandayan, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental
     

    Place of Incident : Sitio Pamandayan, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental

    Date of Incident :around 5:00 PM of 27 October and past 12:00 midnight of November 5 November 2010

    Alleged Perpetrator(s): uniformed soldiers armed with Armalite rifles believed to be members of the 61st IBPA

    Account of the Incident:

    At around 5:00 PM of 27 October 2010, Vilma E. Tejada was awakened from her nap by a poke of the barrel of an Armalite rifle held by a uniformed soldier purportedly looking for some chickens to buy. Three soldiers barged into her house while she was resting. She told them that she was not selling chickens. The soldier sat down and asked her what is the name of Benjamin Bayles' brother. Fearing for the safety of Manuel, Vilma said she did not know. She overheard the other soldiers saying that she was lying but the other one said that they could not force her. Then they all left.

    Earlier that day, Vilma attended the pretrial conference of the murder case of Benjamin Bayles at the sala of Judge Nilo Sarsaba where she was presented as witness.

    It was learned that Manuel Bayles also noticed overt surveillance after he filed a case against Roger Bahon a.ka. Private 1st Class Reygine Laus and Private 1st Class Ronnie Caurino, the suspects of his brother's murder. Neighbors informed him that unidentified men were asking around if they know Manuel and where he teaches. They also reported that a DT motorcycle has been conspicuously parked in the vicinity of Manuel's house in the past days.

     

     

    At past midnight of 4 November, around 10 soldiers in full battle gear forcibly entered Vilma's house by destroying the kitchen door. She and her six children were surprised to see the armed soldiers inside the house. The terrified children were frantically crying as the soldiers were trying to take their mother away. Vilma resisted and one of the soldiers told her that they did not want her to testify in the Bayles murder case. Vilma asked them how they knew that she is a witness to the case. Without answering her question, the soldiers warned her to keep her mouth shut if she doesn't want to die. She tried to scream but one of the soldiers threatened to shoot her. She was carrying her youngest child in her arms when all these were happening. They again threatened to kill her. Resigned to the fact that the she could be killed that moment, she told them, “If you want to kill me, so be it.” Upon hearing this, her children (age ranging from 15 to 1 year old) wailed “Mama, they will kill all of us now!” She tried to pacify herself and her children by saying “We should not be scared, we did not do anything wrong.” Sensing Vilma's defiance, the soldiers left.

    It can be recalled that the Secretary of the Department of National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin admitted in the House of Representatives budget hearing on 7 October 2010 that Roger Bahon a.ka. Private 1st Class Reygine Laus and Private 1st Class Ronnie Caurino are members of the 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA).

    On October 19, 2010, Brigadier Geneneral Jose Z. Mabanta, Jr. Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesman, confirmed Secretary Gazmin’s admission that the two soldiers arrested and currently detained in Negros, on charges of killing Benjamin Bayles, are indeed members of the Philippine Army. He announced this in a forum-dialogue sponsored by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR) Project in addressing the Extralegal Killings, a round table discussion supported by the EPJUST program and held at Anabel’s Restaurant in Quezon City. This was the first time that a military official admitted in public that AFP elements are involved in the extrajudicial killings in the country.

    URGENT ACTION Prepared by:
    KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)
    National Office
    2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES
    Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146
    Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org
    Website: www.karapatan.org
    --
    KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights

     

     

         

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    DIOCESE OF NEGROS OCCIDENTALDENTAL
    Iglesia Filipina Independiente
    Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist
    Bonifacio-Gonzaga Streets, Bago City,
    Negros Occidental, Philippines

    AN OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT AQUINO

    August 30, 2010

    His Excellency Benigno C. Aquino, III
    President of the Republic of the Philippines
    Malacañang Palace
    JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
    Manila, Philippines

    Justice for Benjamin Bayles – Justice for all Victims of Human Rights Violations
     

    Dear Mr President:
     

    Greetings of Peace based on Justice from Bago City, Negros Occidental.
    In the outset allow me to qoute the verse: But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! -Amos 5:24 (NIV). This is the passage from the Bible intended to the ruler and king of Judah as to how to judge his constituent.
     

    I am Rt. Rev. Felomino N. Ang, Interim Bishop of the Diocese of Negros Occidental of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente. Today, I want to share with you my feelings over the cold-blooded killing of our brother, Benjamin “Benjie” Bayles. My heart is still so heavy. And my rage is ever growing. I am a man of peace – I am not at ease with this emotion. But please understand I am so disappointed and feel angry because men of our army are turning against us, the people. They are mocking our rights. Having killed so many of the best we have amongst us, they mock God. Those are your men now, Mr. President! Call them back NOW! Please!
     

    The killing of our brother Benjie happened during the last days of the term of the Arroyo administration. Now, your administration is called to solve this Bayles case and bring justice to our nation. It is upon you to end this disgusting spate of terror and impunity. We are tired of all those atrocities. We cannot bear anymore those killings, tortures, displacements and disappearances for the sake of power and greed.
     

    Mr. President, why don’t you hear us – we are crying out loud for justice. For the sake of peace in our country, for the sake of justice, for the sake of our values as a Christian nation – for God’s sake – do not turn your back to us but be human enough and do your part for justice to prevail!
    Look at the masses, they are suffering. They are reaching out for nothing less than hope. Do not disappoint them. Mr. President, please do not misunderstand the people – we are not asking favors. We demand from you to live and act to your constitutional duties and obligations!
     

    We do not deserve the ongoing disgraceful travesty of democracy. The military is out to kill wherever we stand for our rights. They have done so more than 1,200 times since 2001. Mr. President, can you recall the feelings you had when you learned about your father’s death? Those are the feelings of the victims’ families. We sympathize with them as we sympathized with you back in August 1983. The victims of extra-judicial killings and your father are the same to us. We are waiting for you to prove that you are a compassionate man. Hear them mourning over the killing of their spouses, sons, daughters, parents!
     

    The accused in the Bayles case introduced themselves as organic members of the Philippine Army and gave their names as (i) Roger Bajon and (ii) Ronnie Caurino. Bajon later claimed to be a fisherman from Purok 4, Barangay Tiling, Municipality of Cauayan, Negros Occidental, while Caurino claimed to be a driver and resident of Barangay Cayhagan proper, Sipalay City, Negros Occidental. The Philippine Army denied that the two are in its ranks or somehow connected to the military.
    We now uncovered who the accused really are: the true identity of Roger Bajon is Private 1st Class Reygine Laus, member of 61st IB, PA from Barangay Bunga, Mambusao, Capiz Province. The accused Caurino also is a Private 1st Class, member of 61st IB, PA. Mr President, we are sorry to say but it is clear now: those are your men!
     

    Both Laus (aka Bajon) and Caurino belong to a unit of the Philippine Army that was assigned at Barangay Basak for a period of about three months to maintain peace and order during the 2010 national election. That is why the local residents are familiar with them and identified them through a picture taken on June 18 during the inquest at the city prosecutor’s office at Himamaylan City. We take the liberty to share with you the same picture just for the foreseen and most likely case that the military administration at Camp Aguinaldo will refuse obedience to your request of forwarding to your desk the military ID pictures of Private 1st Class Laus and Private 1st Class Caurino.
     

    The motorcycle used in the Bayles killing was registered under plate number 7BD718 at the Land Transportation Office under the name of Reygine Laus dated August 9, 2009. It was bought at the DUEK SAM outlet in Sipalay City, Negros Occidental.
     

    Mr. President, it may be difficult to believe but we need to bring to your knowledge what was told to us. Please do your immediate investigation and tell the people that it is not true that:
     

    1.Col. Bayhon, commanding officer of 61st IB, and his S2 (intelligence staff) Lt. Vida approached the manager of DUEK SAM outlet in Sipalay City in order to silence the manager regarding the records of the motorcycle used in the Bayles killing;
    2.The Philippine National Police of Himamaylan City is already clinched and influenced by the military as seen in their lousy and mediocre procedures in extracting the truth and unwillingness to investigate the case. Even until now they were not able to visit and investigate in the crime scene.
    3.The military bastardized the standard protocols and ethics by exerting dirty tactics so that the final decision of the court will be in favor of their men. The probability that the case will be whitewashed.

    Mr. President, whenever an office is held by a person who does not comply with the legal obligations of the office, the question arises whether he or she is unable or unwilling to do so. Regarding some local authorities in Himamaylan City, we have ample information that they are unwilling. Having the constitution and law on your side, we are confident and expect that you will prove of having the actual power, indeed, as well as the necessary determination to enforce the law.
     

    We demand what in civil societies is done in grave instances like this: we demand the immediate suspension of Col. Bayhon, commanding officer of 61st IB, and his S2 (intelligence staff) Lt. Vida, and an investigation under international observation on the above stated accusations.
     

    We demand an immediate suspension of the commanding Himamaylan PNP officer and the investigation of the case under international observation.
     

    Immediately, it needs to be cleared why the 61st IB denied having the accused among their ranks.
    Immediately, it needs to be cleared why the police did not follow the leads. With all due respect, it is an evidence of total incapacity if it needs civic society groups to unearth both the background of the accused as well as the illegal case manipulations.
     

    Immediately, it needs to be cleared what particular role Col. Bayhon played in the killing of Benjamin Bayles.
     

    We have hints and do believe that military hit men are out to eliminate key persons in the Bayles case. These are (i) Mr. Caña from Karapatan; (ii) Atty Benjamin T. Ramos, Jr., the legal representative of the Bayles family, (iii) the prime witness of the Bayles killing, as well as (iv) Tito Mejorada, the local National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) organizer and Anakpawis coordinator (v) Mr. Larry Trinidad of Radio Mindanao Network and (vi) Jaime Lim, a Bacolod-based journalist. Mr. President, enough is enough. We would like to keep them with us for a while!

    Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous.
    Deuteronomy 16: 19 (NIV)

    Yours sincerely.
     

    THE RIGHT REVEREND FELOMINO ANG
    Bishop, Diocese of Negros Occidental
    Iglesia Filipina Independiente
    CP #: 0916-6811266
     

    Downloada Open Letter in PDF format


     

     
     
               
         

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    Human rights worker shot dead in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, Philippines

    UA No: 2010-06-02

     

    UA Date                     :           15 June 2010

    UA Case                     :           Assassination

    Victim/s                       :           Benjamin E. Bayles

    ·        43 years old, single, parish worker of Independent Church of the Philippines

    ·        A resident of Sitio Pamandayan, Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental

    ·        Member, September 21 Movement (member organization of KARAPATAN)

    ·        Coordinator, Aglipayan Forum

    ·        Member, Bayan Muna

    ·        Member, Negros Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW)

     

    Place of Incident        :           crossing Sitio Antolo, Brgy. Suay, Himamaylan City, Negros                                                                    Occidental

     

    Date of Incident         :           June 14, 2010 at around 4:30 PM

     

    Perpetrator(s) :           Roger Bahon and Ronnie Caurino both are “organic” member of the                                           61st IBPA

     

    Account of the Incident:

     

    Benjamin E. Bayles was waiting for a ride at the crossing Sitio Antolo, Brgy. Suay when two men wearing helmets on board a black Honda TMX 155 with no license plate stopped nearby.  The back rider disembarked and walked towards Benjamin.  At about 3 meters away from him, the gunman shot him at different parts of his body.  When the victim fell down, the driver of the motorcycle also came near the victim and shot him to ensure his death.  Then the perpetrators left the area on board the motorcycle.  Bystanders took Benjamin to the Valeriano Gatuslao District Hospital but he was pronounced dead-on-arrival.

     

    Among the bystanders who witnessed the incident was a government employee who immediately called someone he knows from the Himamaylan City Philippine National Police (PNP) to report the incident. 

     

    The Himamaylan City PNP alerted the nearby Kabankalan City PNP who set up a check point and apprehended Roger M. Bahon and Ronnie L. Caurino.   Two .45 caliber pistols were confiscated from the suspects.

     

    The Kabankalan police, in their statement to DYEZ “Aksyon Radyo” Bacolod said that the suspects confessed to be “organic” members of the 61st IBPA.  The two were turned over to the Himamaylan PNP and are now detained at the Himamaylan City Jail.

     

    This morning, the Himamaylan PNP retracted from the Kabankalan police's initial statement to the same radio station claiming that the suspects are not connected with the military.

     

    Fred Caña,  who also experienced unmitigated harassment and threats for his active involvement as Secretart General of  KARAPATAN-Negros Occidental,  expressed apprehension over the incident because Benjamin had been his constant companion in fact finding missions.

     

    URGENT ACTION Prepared by:

     

    KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)

    National Office

    2/F Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin cor Matatag Sts., Brgy. Central, Diliman, Quezon City 1100 PHILIPPINES

    Voice/Fax: (+632) 435 4146

    Email: urgentaction@karapatan.org

    Website: www.karapatan.org 

     

     

     

    Chairperson of a local chapter of a national farmers’ organization shot to death by elements of the 11th IBPA in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, Philippines

     

    UA No: 2010-10-01

     

    UA Date                     :           1 October 2010

    UA Case                     :           Summary Execution

    Victim/s                       :           Rene “Toto” Quirante

    ·        48 years old, farmer, married with 5 children

    ·       

          A resident of Sitio Labaklabakan, Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental

    ·        Chairperson, Kapunungan Alang sa Ugma sa mga Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros-KAUGMAON, an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) “Philippine Peasant Movement”

    ·        Former political detainee

     

    UA Case                     :           Physical Assault, Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

     

    Victim/s                       :           Romeo Gador

    ·        38 years old, farmer, married with 3 children

    ·        A resident of Sitio Labaklabakan, Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental

    ·        Member, Kapunungan Alang sa Ugma sa mga Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros--KAUGMAON, an affiliate of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) “Philippine Peasant Movement”

     

    UA Case                     :           Violation of Domicile, Physical Assault,      

                                                    Threat/Harassment/Intimidation

     

    Victim/s                       :           Neneng Nilles and her 9 children

     

    Place of Incident        :           Sitio Amomoyong, Brgy Trinidad, Guihulngan, Negros Oriental

     

    Date of Incident         :           1 October 2010, at around 2:00 in the morning

     

    Alleged Perpetrator(s):          around 30 armed elements of the 11th Infantry Battalion of the

    Philippine Army ( 11th IBPA) accompanied by a certain Dennis, a

    known rebel returnee in the area

     

    Account of the Incident:

     

    On 30 September 2010, Rene “Toto” Quirante and Romeo Gador went to Sitio Amomoyong to  meet with KAUGMAON members.  The meeting lasted until late in the afternoon.  Since Sitio Amomoyong is quite far from Sitio Labaklabakan, the two decided to spend the night at Neneng Nilles house (Romeo's relative).

     

    At around 2:00 AM, they heard a male voice calling from outside telling them to open the door.  The caller claimed to be a member of the New People's Army (NPA).  No one from inside the house acknowledged the call.  Then the caller forcibly opened the door lock and entered the house. The victims tried to prevent them from entering but they were overpowered. 

     

    It was then that the people inside the house saw around 30 soldiers in the yard in full uniform and armed with rifles.  They also recognized Dennis, a known rebel returnee, together with the soldiers.  Neneng and her 9 children, the youngest of whom is aged 2, were awakened and terrorized of what transpired.  The assailants went straight to Toto and started beating him with the butt of their rifles.  They were forcing him to admit that he was an NPA member.  Romeo and Neneng tried to help Toto but they too were assaulted by the soldiers.  All these happened in front of the terrified children.

     

    The soldiers dragged Toto to the veranda and continued to assault him.  Then they dragged him down on the ground and shot him twice on the head and one on the chest at close range.  They immediately left the area after the shooting.  Romeo heard one of the soldiers shout, “Tinlo na!” (It's clear!).

     

    Toto Quirante was “arrested” on 24 March 2007 on a trumped up charge of Illegal Position of Firearms filed by the military linking him to an ambush that killed 3 soldiers of the 11th IBPA. The charge was dismissed at the prosecutor level. He was very vocal against the military’s setting up of a detachment and Banrangay Defense System (BDS) in the interior villages of Guihulngan, Negros Oriental and against human rights violations. He was publicly demonized and vilified by the military over their radio program.

     

               
         
         

     

    Media Release
    October 11, 2010
    For reference:
    Christian Tuayon, Spokesperson
    Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Negros
    Cellphone number: 0921.785.9554

    Bayan to 303rd IB: dismantle your death squad
    now and stop lying!

    The umbrella of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Negros (Bayan Negros) today militantly and surprisingly protested in front of Major Nelson L. Gerona in Brgy. Minuyan, Murcia making to protest the existence of Armed Forces of the Philippines’ “death squad” that killed 41 activists in Negros including Benjie Bayles, an Aglipayan human rights activist and Bayan Muna member. Last Thursday, Department of National Defense (DND) Sec. Voltaire Gazmin during DND budget deliberation in the House of Representatives admitted that the two arrested murder suspects of Bayles are members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

    “We demand the 303rd Infantry Brigade to officially dismantle their death squads that killed 41 political activists in Negros since 2001 under the Oplan Bantay Laya counter insurgency program. They must also stop lying just to cover-up their criminal activities,” said Christian Tuayon Bayan Negros spokesman.

    The militant group is accusing AFP of operating death squads since 2001 because of the same pattern of killings of the victims. The creation of death squads is part of Oplan Bantay Laya for the purpose of selective elimination of activists. The case of Bayles is only one of its kind cases because two suspects were arrested with .45 caliber pistols after the murder last June 14 in Himamaylan City. Philippine National Police conducted checkpoint in Brgy. 1 of Kabankalan City after receiving an information of the direction of the perpetrators and arrested Pfc. Regine Laus aka Roger Bahon and Pfc. Ronnie Caurino but the AFP was quick and repeatedly denied that the two suspects are in their roll.

    “Now that Sec. Gazmin admitted the suspects affiliation with the AFP, this automatically confirmed our conclusions of the existence of AFP “death squads” since 2001. After ten (10) years of lying and misleading the public, we finally find the hidden fire of the AFP because of the smoke,” Tuayon added.

    Bayan challenges Pres. Noynoy Aquino and Justice Sec. Leila de Lima to conduct immediate investigation of the leadership of the 3rd ID and 303rd Infantry Brigade who planned, lie, mislead and cover up the identities of Laus and Caurino for almost four months and to make them accountable to the killings in Negros.

    “Col Caro and Sumagaysay, including past and present Civil Military Operation officers of 11th IB and 61st IB must be investigated and suspended because they lie and mislead the people just to hide the identities of Pfcs. Caurino and Laus. They must be held liable for the killings too,” Tuayon added.

    Karapatan records show that there have been 1,207 cases of extra judicial killings nationwide since 2001, including 41 cases of killings in Negros and 16 cases of killings under the administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino III.

    BAYAN believes that AFP officials prefer to call themselves inutile in their long overdue investigation than admitting that they are involved in extra-judicial killings.###
     

     

    PRESS RELEASE
    October 11, 2010
    Reference: Ronald Ian Evidente, Spokesperson
    Kilusang Mayo Uno Negros
    Mobile Number: (+63)939.165.9454
     

    3rd ID deliberately lied to deny killing of NFSW member – KMU
     

    Bacolod City – The militant and anti-imperialist labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno Negros called the latest statement of the 3rd Infantry Division as deliberate lies that it took them a long time admitting that Pfc. Reygine Laus aka Roger Bahon and Pfc. Ronnie Caurino are not part of their roll because the two used aliases. The statement was released after the admission of Department of National Defense Sec. Voltair Gazmin during the department budget hearing at the House of Representatives last Thursday that the two suspects are members of 61st IB members.

    “The 3rd ID is a spinner of lies in misleading the people of the military’s role behind the killing of Bayles, and despite Sec. Gazmin’s admission they continue to spin more lies” said Ronald Ian Evidente KMU spokesperson.

    The militant labor center said only Pfc. Reygine Laus used the alias of Roger Bahon but Pfc. Ronnie Caurino since their arrest used his real name. Since the murder of Bayles in June, AFP’s Civil Military Officers of 11th IB and 61st IB including former Battalion Commander Bayhon already denied the name of Laus and Caurino that they are not AFP members. The PNP official police report stated that the two admitted they were soldiers when arrested.

    “It is so ridiculous that they are now again using the use of alias of one suspect as an alibi to cover up the membership of the suspects in the AFP. To lie and to use an alias is part of the game in order to hide their real names even in the court of law if ever arrested. ” Evidente explained.

    Militant labor center said that the suspects don’t only use aliases but they also cover their faces like ninjas during court hearings.

    Benjie Bayles is one of the organizer of National Federation of Sugar workers and was murdered in a broad daylight on June 14, 2010, 4:30 p.m. at Purok Antolo, Brgy. Su-ay, Himamaylan City.

     

               
               
               
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