Karapatan to BS Aquino: STOP THE KILLINGS!


DOJ, Padre Faura, Manila


March 20,  2014





Photos by Arkibong Bayan and Alex Legaspi as indicated by the filenames


Press Statement
March 20, 2014

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

Extrajudicial killings on the rise
Karapatan to BS Aquino: shape up or ship out

The National Council of Karapatan, in a recently concluded meeting, called on BS Aquino to “shape up or ship out” as the human rights alliance condemned the rising incidents of extrajudicial killings, now with 11 people killed in the first ten weeks of 2014.

“If the Aquino government cannot control and stop its killing spree, BS Aquino, the commander in-chief of the armed forces, has no business staying in Malacañang,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

The members of the National Council of Karapatan, representing 16 regional chapters and people’s organizations gathered at the Department of Justice (DOJ) to air the call to stop the killings and for the government to find and punish the perpetrators of these killings and other human rights violations. The group also called for the junking of Oplan Bayanihan, Aquino’s version of Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya.

The latest victim of extrajudicial killing is Romeo Capalla who was shot on March 15 in Oton, Iloilo province; and father and sons, Licuben, Eddie and Freddie Ligiw in Baay-Licuan, Abra province. The three were missing for a few days and found buried in a shallow grave on March 8.

“Just two weeks ago we were here at the DOJ to sound the alarm bell and protest the seven reported incidents of killing in the first six weeks of 2014. In a matter of two weeks, four more incidents of extrajudicial killings happened," Palabay said. "Naghahabol ng ba ng quota ang ang gobyernong ito?" Palabay asked.

The protesters again laid down “corpses” in front of the DOJ like they did two weeks ago; this time with 11 “dead bodies”. "The BS Aquino government stinks—with corpses of victims of rights violations and those who were victims of his criminal negligence during disasters. Families of victims cry out for justice but the Aquino regime knows nothing about justice," Palabay said.

Karapatan said the Aquino government has no intentions to render justice. It noted that as cases of human rights violations mount up, justice has not been served to Fernando Baldomero, the first victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino regime. Baldomero was killed five days after Aquino assumed presidency. Since then, Karapatan has documented 169 victims of extra-judicial killing (as of December 2013).

Baldomero was detained on false charges of arson in 2005, under the Arroyo regime. “Who would have known that Baldomero’s co-accused, Romeo Capalla would become the 180th documented victim of extrajudicial killing. BS Aquino finished off what Arroyo started during the OBL,” Palabay said.

Aquino's Oplan Bayanihan and Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya are both local versions of the US Counter Insurgency program. "With the imminent signing of a new framework agreement between Aquino and Obama—the basing of US troops in the Philippines and a direct hand in the local counterinsurgency operations of the Philippines armed forces –the Philippines will become a killing field," Palabay warned. ###




Press Statement
March 17, 2014

Reference: Cristina “Tinay” Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831
Angge Santos, Media Liaison, 0918-9790580

Karapatan to BS Aquino: STOP THE KILLINGS!

Karapatan, through its secretary general Cristina Palabay, today called on all civil libertarians and human rights defenders in the country and in the international community to demand from the BS Aquino government to take concrete steps to stop the spate of killings, as another activist was slain on March 15 in Oton, Iloilo.

Romeo Capalla, 65, chairperson of the Board of Directors and former manager of the Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), was shot by unidentified gunmen at the Oton Public Market around 6:30 p.m. He sustained two gunshot wounds in the head and was declared dead on arrival at the Western Visayas Medical Center.

Capalla is the 11th victim of extrajudicial killing in the last two and a half months, starting in January 2014. Karapatan has documented 169 victims of extrajudicial killing starting July 2010, from when BS Aquino assumed presidency, to December 2013.

“As early as February, Karapatan already sounded the alarm as the cases of killings started to rise. There were killings once a week, on the average. We see a comeback of Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bayanihan. The BS Aquino government is speeding up the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan to meet its internal deadline and offset its failure in the last three years,” Palabay added.

Capalla was arrested on August 3, 2005 based on trumped up charges of arson. His co-accused in the said case, Aklan councilor Fernando Baldomero, became the first victim of extrajudicial killing under the BS Aquino regime. Baldomero was killed five days after Aquino was sworn into office in 2010.

“BS Aquino government’s audacity to face the people, to lie on the human rights situation in the country and bid for a seat the United Nations Commission on Human Rights is unbelievable. It has not done anything as new cases of killings are happening one after another, while those committed in the past years remain unsolved,” added Palabay.

Capalla was at the market to assist his mother in-law when the gunmen shot him; hitting the right side of his head, near the temple. His left eye popped because of the bullet. The Oton police said aside from the gunmen, there were three others who fled from the market to the town of San Miguel, Iloilo.

Capalla was chairperson of the board of the PFTC, and was also its manager. The PFTC, a member organization of the International Federation of Alternative Trade, exports certified-organic muscovado sugar and banana chips.

He was a member of Samahan ng mga Ex-detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA). Even after the dismissal of the false charges against him, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police did not stop harassing and tagging Capalla commander of the New People’s Army. He was included in the order of battle list of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in 2004.

Romy Capalla is the brother of Archbishop Fernando Capalla, former chairperson of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). ###




Former political prisoner assassinated in Oton town, Iloilo province

At around 6:30 p.m. on March 15, 2014, Romeo Capalla was at the Oton public market when unidentified gunmen shot him at close range. He succumbed to two gunshot wounds in the head, and was pronounced dead on arrival at the Western Visayas Medical Center. He was at the public market to pick up his mother-in-law from her store.

Capalla, 65, was a member of the Board of Directors of the Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC) and its former manager. The PFTC, a member organization of the International Federation of Alternative Trade, exports certified-organic muscovado sugar and banana chips.

In August 2005, Capalla was arrested on false charges of arson. The said incident was allegedly committed by the New People’s Army in Guimbal, Iloilo. Capalla’s co-acused in the said case was Fernando Baldomero, then town councilor of Oton and was the first victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino government. Both Capalla and Baldomero were released after the charges against them were dismissed. Baldomero was killed five years later on July 5, 2010, five days after Aquino took his oath of office.

Being in the Order of Battle of the 3rd Infantry Division-Philippine Army, surveillance and harassment against Capalla continued even after his release. The red baiting and tagging of Capalla by the military did not stop.

Capalla is the 11th victim of extrajudicial killing in the last two and a half months, starting in January 2014. Karapatan has documented 169 victims of extrajudicial killing starting July 2010, when BS Aquino assumed presidency, to December 2013.

He is the brother of Bishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla, former chairperson of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP).

During martial law, Capalla was arrested after being suspected of being a member of the New People’s Army. He was released after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship and devoted his time to fair trade advocacy and production of organic food.



Call for justice for the victims of killing in Central Luzon

submitted on Mon, 03/17/2014 - 15:23

Dear friends,

Please join us in our call for justice for the farmers who were victims of killing and other human rights violations. The farmers are in haciendas owned by big landlords or in haciendas targeted for land conversion for real estate and other commercial purposes.

Arbitrary killing, frustrated killing, and harassment of farmers in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga

On January 12, 2014, around 3:00 to 3:30 am, Eduardo Tolentino, a resident and farmer of Purok 7, Hacienda Dolores, Porac, Pampanga went to his field to pick fruits and tend to his animals. Upon reaching an underpass that connects the village and farm lands through the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Eduardo, with his neighbors, were accosted by Triple L security guards. Eduardo called for assistance. Ener, Eduardo’s brother, woke up his companions, including village guard Tanod Virgilio Padiño and residents Arman Padiño, Noel Tumali, Norma Ignacio and Josie de Jesus to go to the said underpass to talk to the security guards.

While negotiating with the guards, Ener’s father village captain Antonio Tolentino arrived. The guards immediately fired their guns. Arman Padiño was hit in the head and Noel Tumali at the back. Both were immediately brought to Songco Lapid District Hospital in Porac. At around 2:00 p.m., the following day, January 13, Padiño was pronounced dead.

During the gunfire, Bgy. Captain Tolentino grabbed security guard Larry Sabado who was about to shoot him. Luckily, the gun misfired. Sabado reloaded his gun and Tolentino again grabbed Sabado, who in turn, hit him on his head with the gun.

Sabado was eventually overpowered. The men tied him and brought to Tolentino’s house before he will be turned over to the authorities. Sabado was able to escape, but was later found hiding in another house nearby. He later surrendered to the policemen who arrived at the village.

The next day, on January 13, Brgy. Capt. Tolentino and his son Ener charged Larry Sabado with frustrated murder at the Prosecutor’s Office; only to learn that the they already face charges of slight physical injuries and three counts of grave threat filed by Triple L Company.

The two Tolentinos were arrested and detained at the Pampanga Provincial Police Office in San Fernando, Pampanga. They were released on bail.

Sabado, who was detained at a police precinct, was released on January 15, and is undergoing preliminary investigation for charges of attempted murder filed by Capt. Tolentino.

The farmers of Hacienda Dolores face threats of eviction from the land they tilled for generations as the Leonardo Lachenal Leonio Holdings, Inc (LLL), FL Property Management Corporation (FL) and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) eye the vast tracts of lands.

Bulldozing of farm lands and displacement of farmers in Hacienda Luisita, Tarlac City

Since December 2013, the Cojuangco-owned Tarlac Development Corporation (TADECO) had bulldozed and fenced off the farm lands of more than 20 farmers in Brgy. Balete, Tarlac City.

The land is covered by land reform and is no longer private property of the Cojuangco-Aquino clan based on the notice served by the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) on December 2013. The DAR’s resolution was reinforced by the local court’s dismissal, on February 4, 2014, of the unlawful detainer or ejectment charge filed by the Cojuangcos against the farmers.

On February 8, security guards of TADECO began bulldozing the farms and farm huts in Brgy. Balete.

Rey Flores, 16, was accosted by the guards who saw him took video of the destruction of the farms. The guards held Flores at gunpoint. He was turned-over to the police. Flores was only released upon the assistance of Tarlac City Councilor Emily Ladera-Facunla and representatives of the Department of Social Work and Development.

In 2013, several peasant-leaders and rights defenders in Hacienda Luisita were illegally arrested and charged with “harassment suits.” The latest victim of these suits is Councilor Emily Ladera-Facunla who was charged by the Tadeco with trespassing and coercion. The charge was ssued by the Tarlac City Prosecutor’s Office without preliminary investigation.

Councilor Facunla is the sister of Abelardo Ladera, a victim of extrajudicial killing in March 3, 2006. Their parents were former sugar workers in Hacienda Luisita. Abelardo was also a city councilor at the time of his death.

Farmers of Brgy. Balete continue to protest the destruction of their lands and the Cojuangco’s blatant disregard of the ruling of the Supreme Court and DAR to distribute the land to the farmers.



Press Release:
March 17, 2014

Contact Person:
Lorena “Aya” P. Santos, secretary general

Anti-disappearance law, a failure—Desaparecidos

"That dog doesn’t hunt,” said Lorena P. Santos, secretary general of Families of Desaparecidos for Justice, referring to the Anti-Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance Law as another farmer-activist in Roxas City, Isabela was reported missing since February 28.

Romulo de la Cruz is the sixth victim of enforced disappearance since the law was enacted in December 2012. "BS Aquino should also apologize to the public for the persistence of this heinous crime despite the law," Santos said. Based on Karapatan’s documentation, there are now 20 victims enforced disappearances under the BS Aquino regime.

Dela Cruz was a member of Agbiag Matusalem Association-Roxas Isabela (AMA-RI), a local farmers’ organization affiliated with a progressive Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon iti (Dagami) based in Isabela.

De la Cruz’s son and relatives, with the assistance of AMA-RI members, immediately reported the abduction to the San Manuel police station. The police inspected the site of the incident and declared that the case is “outside their jurisdiction because Dagami has ‘several rival organizations’.

"Where else will victims and their families seek help when government authorities are not cooperating? The authorities don’t seem to know the law," Santos said.

“The Aquino government takes pride on the Anti-Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance Law as the first in Asia. Yet, not one perpetrator has been prosecuted. Not even the poster boy of impunity, Gen. Jovito Palparan who was already served with a warrant of arrest more than two years ago,” Santos added.

Coming from his son's wedding, de la Cruz was driving a motorcycle together with one of the wedding sponsors. His son Romy and his wife were on another motorcycle behind Romulo's when a van suddenly cut them. A man, whose face was covered with a handkerchief, alighted the van and pulled Romulo off the motorcycle. The man said he was a member of the National Bureau of Investigation. The man pushed Romulo inside the van and sped away. Dela Cruz remains missing as of this writing.

Santos noted the BS Aquino government, despite the anti-enforced disappearance law, has not yet signed and ratified the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICCPED), an instrument of the United Nations to prevent enforced disappearances. The ICCPED was adopted in 2006 by the UN General Assembly. ###




Press Statement
17 March 2014

Justice for Romeo Capalla! Junk Aquino's Oplan Bayanihan!

We condemn the extra-judicial killing of Romeo Capalla, member of the Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA) and chairperson of the board of directors of the Panay Free Trade Center (PFTC), last March 15 in the town of Oton in Iloilo.

This is the 11th case of extra-judicial killing in 2014 and the 174th case since 2010 and we condemn Pres. Noynoy Aquino for continuing his predecessor’s policy of carrying out the extra-judicial killings of activists and other critics of the government.

The extra-judicial killing of Capalla and the recent spate of extra-judicial killings of activists are surely related to the Aquino government’s growing paranoia over mounting criticisms and protests against Aquino’s defense of the pork barrel system, criminal negligence over natural disasters, and implementation of anti-worker and anti-people policies.

The Aquino government’s record on extra-judicial killings and other human-rights violations show that its Oplan Bayanihan is just as fascist and brutal as the Arroyo government’s Oplan Bantay Laya. It is most telling that Aquino has not lifted a finger to make Arroyo accountable over her rampant violations of human rights.

Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan could not be implemented without the support of the US. One of the objectives of US President Barack Obama’s visit to the Philippines on April is to show support for the Aquino government, including the latter’s rampant violations of human rights.

Reference: Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, 0908-1636597




March 15, 2014

Glendhyl Malabanan
Secretary General
KARAPATAN-Southern Tagalog
Contact Number: 0949-984-5629

Christopher Regencia, Spokesperson,
Contact Number: 0909-241-9534

NPA hors de combat dies in the hands of Army’s 85th IB,
family seeks justice

[GUMACA, QUEZON] ---A grand tribute and a funeral march was held today for the slain New People’s Army fighter Roberto Campaner, aka Ka Brando. Campaner, 42, a native of Gumaca, Quezon was brutally killed by members of the 85th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army on 01 March 2014 at Brgy. Sto Nino Ibaba, Lopez Quezon. Despite being an Hor de Combat -- those combatants who are already incapable of fighting due to severe wounds and have expressed their intention to surrender— Campaner was exposed under the sun for five hours and was refused of prompt medical attention. He was declared dead-on-arrival upon reaching Magsaysay Memorial Hospital, sustaining 9 gunshot wounds. He suffered tremendous pain and agony in the hands of the military and there was an indication that he may have been a victim of summary execution after additional bullet wounds were found on the victim.

According to Karapatan-Quezon, this incident of barbaric and inhumane treatment of a legitimate combatant is a gross violation of the rights of Hors de Combat under existing International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws.

KARAPATAN-ST Secretary General Glendhyl Malabanan stated, “We are one with his family seeking justice and accountability for this kind of human rights violations. We condemn the Aquino administration’s insincerity in resuming peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Phils to resolve the armed conflict. We also condemn the AFP for its violations in International Humanitarian Laws and continuing militarization and human rights violations in southern Quezon and Bondoc Peninsula areas sowing terror among civilian communities under its Oplan Bayanihan counter-insurgency campaign.”

As they pay tribute to their brother, the family of Campanero has been appealing to the Commission of Human Rights, Department of Justice and the Joint Monitoring Committee of the NDFP-GRP that could shed light on the brutality that was committed on their brother who is a legitimate combatant and hoping that justice will be served. #




Anti-mining advocate shot dead in Maco, Compostela Valley province, Philippines

submitted on Thu, 01/23/2014 - 14:15

UA Case: Extrajudicial killing


Male, 41, married with three children ages 16, 14 and 12
Self-employed mechanic and driver
Resident of Maco town, Compostela Valley province
Council member, Indug Kautawan, Maco chapter of Barug Katawhan (People Rise Up! a group of typhoon “Pablo” survivors in Maco)
Member, Kabalikat Civicom – Maragusan Chapter
Place of Incident: Near the victim’s house in Elizalde village, Maco, Compostela Valley

Date of Incident: 3 January 2014

Alleged Perpetrator(s): Two unidentified men believed to be members of the 71st Infantry Battalion Philippine Army on board a motorcycle.

Account of the Incident:

On January 3, 2014, Marcelo Monterona was fixing his multicab vehicle. At around 11 a.m., he went to Km. 11 on-board his motorcycle to borrow a sparkplug ring from his friend Edgardo Sedillo, a bakery owner. Sedillo’s bakery is about 600 meters from Monterona’s residence. While waiting for Sedillo, Monterona noticed seven army soldiers in uniform at a neighbourhood store across the street. Right after Monterona got the sparkplug ring, he returned to his house to continue fixing the multicab.

At around 12:00 noon, Monterona tested the multicab on the road in front of his house. He was some 13 meters from his house when two unidentified men, aboard an XRM motorcycle, stopped near the driver’s seat of the multicab. Witnesses said the gunman went straight to the driver’s seat and shot Monterona with a .45 caliber pistol, hitting him on the left side of his mouth. He tried to crawl out of the vehicle through the passenger’s side. But the gunman got on the vehicle through the driver’s side door and shot Monterona several times more before speeding away.

Monterona fell out of the vehicle and was rushed to a hospital in Tagum City by his wife and son. Sedillo, who was grazed by a stray bullet in the stomach, was also brought to the hospital.

Monterona was pronounced Dead On Arrival (DOA). Sedillo, who sustained minor injuries, was discharged of the hospital on the same day. From the hospital, Monterona’s remains were brought back to their residence in Purok 1, Sitio Waterfall, Barangay Elizalde, Municipality of Maco.

The following day, on January 4, the Philippine National Police of Mawab arrived at the funeral parlor and examined the remains of Monterona. PO1 Haidan Ajiji said Monterona sustained six gunshot wounds.

Also on the same day, a Quick Response Team (QRT) from Davao City led by Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region arrived to gather additional data on Monterona’s death.

The team recovered a tooth at the driver’s seat; the right wind shield of the multicab was hit and broken. The right door of the multicab also had two holes from gunshot and a splinter at the passenger’s seat. The day before, Monterona’s relatives recovered three empty shells and two slugs of .45 caliber pistols near the vehicle.

The witnesses said the motorcycle driver was medium-built, and with moustache. The gunman was skinny. He wore a yellow bullcap, yellow-green jacket, and black trekking short pants. His face was covered with handkerchief. The motorcycle had no nameplate. Also, neighbors noticed two men at a nearby store, whom they assumed were “spotters” or look-out.

Monterona was an active Council member of Indug Kautawan. He actively participated in national and local campaigns against the large-scale and open-pit mining operations of the Apex Mining Company . Last year, he and other victims of the typhoon Pablo/Bopha barricaded the gates of the mining company in Maco, paralyzing its operations. The protesters cited the mining company’s accountability for increasing the vulnerability of the people in Maco, when the typhoon hit their communities, as a result of its destructive mining operations. As a result of the protest, Apex agreed to indemnify the victims with PhP3.6 million, 300 sacks of rice, and to rehabilitate local infrastructure and the damaged communities.

Monterona also campaigned for the pull-out of 71st Infantry Battalion from the communities, criticized the military’s aerial bombings in the area, and demanded justice for the slain Pedro Tinga, also a member of Indug Kautawan, and other human rights abuses by the military. On December 16-18, 2013, during their barricade and lobbying at the Provincial Capitol of Compostela Valley in Nabunturan, he caught a military agent taking pictures of the protesters. ###




Chairperson, secretary of peasant organization ambushed by unidentified assailants in Valencia town, Bukidnon province

 02/11/2014 - 15:02

Case: Extrajudicial killing and frustrated extrajudicial killing

- 41, male, married with 4 children
- Chairperson of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma (Kasama or Association of Farmers)-Vintar Chapter, Valencia City

NERMIE LAPATIS (Frustrated killing, survived with injuries)
- 41, female, married, member of the Higaonon indigenous people’s tribe
- Secretary of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma (Kasama) – Vintar, Valencia City Chapter

Place of Incident: Juanilla Village, Poblacion, Valencia City, Bukidnon province
Date of Incident: 05 February 2014

Alleged Perpetrator(s):
Two unidentified men aboard a motorcycle, believed to be members of State security forces

Account of the Incident:
In the morning of February 5, 2014, Julieto Lauron was driving a motorcycle with Nermie Lapatis. They were on their way to the village of Hindangon, Valencia City when two unidentified men on a red motorcycle overtook them, blocked their way and immediately shot Lauron and Lapatis.

Lauron who was hit on his neck, chest and stomach immediately died, while Lapatis was hit in her right knee. The assailants quickly escaped.

A few days earlier, Lauron was elected chairperson of the local chapter of Kasama among farmers at Vintar village. The assembly was also attended by Lapatis and several other officials of Kasama-Valencia. In the said assembly, two unidentified men were reportedly seen taking pictures of participants.

As of writing, Lapatis is confined at a hospital in Valencia City and is scheduled for a knee operation.

Lapatis and her family had moved in to Valencia City from Magkalungay village in San Fernando town, Bukidnon because of threats against her life. She was an organizer among indigenous peoples in Bukidnon. She actively campaigned against the entry of large-scale mining companies in the town. Her pro-people activities earned the ire of the military and paramilitary groups. She reported several incidents of harassments from the paramilitary group New Indigenous People’s Army for Reform (NIPAR); and the 8th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army.

In Valencia, Lapatis continued her work helping several farmers in the different villages as secretary of Kasama – Valencia City chapter.

In October 2012, Kasama-Valencia and Kasama-Bukidnon launched a successful campaign for the increase of daily wages of farm workers – from the daily wage of PhP125 per day to PhP150 to 200.




Peasant leader abducted, remains missing in Isabela province, Philippines
03/12/2014 - 12:00
Case: Enforced disappearance

Romulo Dela CruzVictim/s: ROMULO DELA CRUZ, 42 years old

Farmer and resident of Barangay Matusalem, municipality of Roxas, Isabela
Member of Agbiag Matusalem Association-Roxas Isabela (AMA-RI), an association of residents of Matusalem village, Roxas town. AMA-RI is a member organization of Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon iti (Dagami), an alliance of peasant organizations in Cagayan Valley
Place of Incident: Nueva Era village, San Manuel municipality, Isabela province

Date of Incident: February 28, 2014

Alleged Perpetrator(s): Unidentified men who claimed to be agents of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI)

Account of the Incident:

On February 28, 2014, Romulo Dela Cruz attended the wedding of his son, Romy, in a mass wedding ceremony in Roxas town, At around 11:30 a.m., Dela Cruz boarded his motorcycle and made his way back to his village in Barangay Matusalem, Roxas, together with with Julie Danga, one of the wedding sponsors. The newlyweds, aboard another motorcycle, were behind them.

When they reached Brgy. Nueva Era in San Manuel town, a gray van without a plate number blocked their path. A man, whose face was covered with a handkerchief, alighted from the van and pulled the handlebar of Dela Cruz’s motorcycle sideways. Dela Cruz and his passenger fell to the ground. The man grabbed Dela Cruz by the neck and pointed a small gun to his head.

Danga asked the men what they wanted. The man told her he is a member of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). Dela Cruz appealed not to hurt his companions, saying he will go with them voluntarily. Danga cried and shouted for help.

The man pushed Dela Cruz inside the van. Six other men, with long firearms, were inside the van. The van quickly drove towards the national highway.

Romy and his relatives, with the assistance of AMA-RI members, immediately reported the abduction of Romulo dela Cruz to the San Manuel police station. The police inspected the site of the incident and declared that the case is outside their jurisdiction.

The police also took the statements of Danga and Romy. During Romy’s interview, the police asked about his father’s work with Dagami. A police again told Romy the case is not within their jurisdiction simply because Dagami, allegedly, has “several rival organizations.”

Romulo Dela Cruz is an active member of peasant group Agbiag-Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon iti Isabela (Agbiag-Dagami). He is known to have opposed land grabbers in Roxas town.

As of writing, Romulo Dela Cruz’s whereabouts is still unknown.

UA Date: March 12, 2014



Call for justice for the victims of killing and arbitrary arrest in the Bicol region, Philippines
03/10/2014 - 10:58

Dear friends,

Please join us in our call for justice for the victims of killing and arbitrary arrest in the Bicol region.

Assassination of rights defender and his son in Albay province

At around 8:00 p.m. of February 26, 2014, Rosaldo Rayteran was driving home to Matara village after plying his jeepney route from Polangui town. With him was his 18-year-old son, Rasty.

When they reached Barangay (village) San Pascual, two masked men onboard a motorcycle blocked their path and began shooting at them. Rosaldo and Rasty were immediately killed.

Prior to the incident, Rosaldo received threats on his life as coordinator of Albay People’s Organization, a human rights organization On December 10, 2013, he was a speaker at a program sponsored by Kadena Bicolandia in Matacon, Polangui to commemorate human rights day.

Coconut worker killed, another arrested and detained in Sorsogon City

Bryan Gallega (L) and Henry Orbena (R)On January 30, 2014, cousins Henry Orbina and Bryan Gallega were waiting for a jeepney in Brgy. Cabid-an, Sorsogon City, when a police from a nearby outpost approached them and asked them where they work. The two replied that they were workers at a coconut factory. After a few minutes, eight men walked towards them. Gallega saw two of the men pulled out their guns. Fearing for their lives, Gallega and Orbina ran away.

Gallega went inside a house, which belonged to the owner of a nearby gas station, upon hearing gunshots. Gallega heard Orbina say he was hit, so he went outside the house to help Orbina. He flagged down a truck to take them to the hospital, but the truck driver did not stop. Gunshots were fired again. Gallega could not carry his cousin back to the house, so he was forced to leave Orbina behind.

When the firing stopped, a number of policemen entered the house where Gallega was. The police took the names of the people inside the house, including that of the owner, his wife and his employees. They arrested Gallega and took his bag.


According to witnesses, Gallega was brought to the Philippine National Police (PNP) precinct in Brgy. Cabid-an, Sorsogon, while Orbina’s remains were brought to a funeral parlor.

On the evening of January 31, Gallega was taken from his police detention cell, supposedly for a ballistic examination. Gallega heard one policeman say, “Patayin na iyan.” (He should be killed.) His head was covered with a black cloth bag. In panic, Gallega screamed for help and tried to run back inside the precinct. The police immediately removed the cloth bag from his head.

The police charged Gallega with illegal possesion of firearms and explosives.

On February 17, 2014, Sorsogon City Prosecutor Alma Zacarias dismissed the charges stipulating that the search conducted was unlawful, and that the alleged evidence used against Gallega was inadmissible. The Prosecutor added that Gallega’s “alleged admission that he had a handgun could not be taken against him because his right under custodial investigation, particularly the right to counsel, was violated.” The order for Gallega’s release was issued.


Farmers’ group, woman rights defender threatened in Aurora province, Central Luzon, Philippines
02/11/2014 - 14:11

Case: Threat, harassment and intimidation, surveillance


- Community organizer and coordinator of Samahang Magbubukid na Kababaihan (Samaka or Association of Women Farmers), and Panlalawigang Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Aurora (Pamana or Alliance of Peasants in the Aurora Province)

At least 42 households and residents of Sitio Ilaya, Barangay Zabali, Baler, Aurora

Staff members of Pamana

Places of Incident:
- Sitio Ilaya, Barangay Zabali, Baler, Aurora
- The Pamana office located in Maria Aurora town, Aurora

Dates of Incident: January 16 and 17, 2014

Alleged Perpetrator(s):
Two unidentified men believed to be the State intelligence agents; and, at least 15 elements of the 56th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army.

Account of the Incident:

On the evening of January 16, 2014, members of the Philippine Army surrounded the house of peasant organizer Rosemarie Rojas.

According to Rojas’s neighbors, at least 15 members of the 56th Infantry Battalion arrived in their community past 11:00 p.m. The soldiers surrounded Rojas’s house, as some soldiers were lying face-down on the grassy lot across the street, their guns trained at the house. A number of soldiers entered Rojas’s yard, peeked through the windows and through the small gaps on the walls.

The soldiers also entered the courtyards of several other houses nearby.

Residents said the soldiers left at around 2:00 a.m. of January 17, 2014. Rojas, who was sleeping alone on the second floor of her house, only found out about the incident in the morning of January 17, when her neighbors told her. She immediately reported to the village officials.

Also, on January 17, at past 11:00 a.m., two unidentified men believed to be State intelligence agents were seen conducting surveillance on the Pamana office in the town of Maria Aurora. A staff of Pamana noticed a tricycle parked near the office with two male passengers, one inside the tricycle’s cab, while the other was seated behind the driver. The Pamana staff member saw the man behind the driver taking photos of the office.

Then the men saw the Pamana staff, the tricycle driver sped away.

Rojas is a community organizer of Pamana, focused on the women’s sector. She works with the Samaka in the municipality of Baler, province of Aurora. Samaka, with Gabriela Women’s Partylist, is setting up community-based pharmacies for women and children’s basic health needs in select villages. Samaka was, at the time, also preparing for a medical mission.

Pamana actively participates in the campaign to oppose the Aurora Development Master Plan and Aurora Pacific Economic Zone and Freeport Act of 2010 (APECO). The said project aims to transform the Casiguran town and Aurora province into a commercial and industrial district and eco-tourism zones. The APECO project is spearheaded by the Angara family through the former senator Edgardo Angara and Juan Edgardo Angara a member of the House of Representatives in Congress.

The APECO project, which resulted to massive land-grabbing and displacement of Dumagat and Alta tribes, is widely opposed by the people of Aurora, primarily by the farmers, fisherfolks and indigenous peoples.

Pamana is also involved in the campaign seeking justice for the killing of Romualdo Palispis, member of Bayan Muna and Justice and Peace Action Group of Aurora, and Wilhelm Geertman, a Dutch national who were killed on June 30 and July 3, 2012 respectively. Geertman spent almost 40 years in the Philippines as development worker. He was executive director of Alay Bayan-Luson, Inc.,

Recommended Action:

Send letters, emails or fax messages calling for:

The immediate formation of an independent fact-finding and investigation team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local government, and the Commission on Human Rights that will look into the surveillance and threat, harassment and intimidation of rights defender Rosemarie Rojas and Panlalawigang Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid ng Aurora (Pamana or Alliance of Peasants in the Aurora Province).

An end to the policy and practice of labelling and targeting of human rights defenders as “members of front organizations of the communists” and “enemies of the state.”

The Philippine government to withdraw its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan, which victimizes innocent and unarmed civilians.
The Philippine government to be reminded that it is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, thus it is bound to observe all of these instruments’ provisions.