KARAPATAN condemns killing of elderly human rights advocate,

Teodoro “Ka Todoy” Escanilla of Sorsogon

 

Barcelona, Sorsogon

 

August 20,  2015

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


PRESS STATEMENT
August 20, 2015

KARAPATAN condemns killing of elderly human rights advocate, Teodoro “Ka Todoy” Escanilla of Sorsogon

We call all people of civilized societies to condemn the killing of human rights advocate TeodoroEscanilla of Sorsogon Province, Philippines.

Teodoro “Todoy” Escanilla was the spokesperson of human rights watch group, KARAPATAN-Sorsogon.

Midnight of Wednesday, August 19, 2015, Teodoro Escanilla was shot dead by a gunman who barged into his house and shot him dead. The assailant fled, and at this time when we are calling all people of civilized societies, the assassin would be reporting to his superiors for his successful mission.

We condemn this act of wasting the life of a dedicated human rights advocate as one of the heinous crimescommitted against civilized society, an act of grave injustice, of human rights abuse on a person who had championed the campaign on respect for human rights in his community.

Escanilla, “Ka Todoy” among his fellow colleagues, was an old man at 63 years old, and even in his twilight years, he anchored a radio program, “PamanangLahi” over Radio DZMS for 10 years.

Despite of old age taking a toll on him, Ka Todoy refused to retire because he had believed that human rights advocacy must be a continuing crusade, specifically in internal conflict areas.

 

Over his radio program, “Pamanang Lahi”,Ka Todoy lambasted the military over reports of rising cases of human rights abuses committed on helpless civilians caught in the ongoing internal conflict in Sorsogon Province. He was warned several times that the military has placed him in the “hit list” for liquidation.

Despite of the warnings, Ka Todoy continued his advocacy for human rights, but on that fateful Wednesday midnight of August 19, an assailant deprived Ka Todoy his right to life.

A few agonizing minutes of gasping for that precious breathe of life, Ka Todoy slumped dead inside his humble house at Tagdon village, Barcelona town.

Several months before Ka Todoy’s murder, Sorsogon Province, including neighboring Masbate island-Province, were the main targets of brutal State military campaigns to end insurgency in the southern part of Luzon Island. The on-going State campaigns have inflicted rising costs on human lives – innocent civilians being killed or injured by State troops – rural folk branded as “rebels and supporters”.

The State justice system became blind to these atrocities, and the State judiciary repeatedly refuses to acknowledge that such barbaric and inhuman acts are being committed by State troops on its citizens.

Top State officials, including President Aquino and his cabinet, have refused to listen on reports of human rights abuses committed by the Armed Forces.

To counter the blind eyes and deaf ears of the Aquino Administration, the international human rights community and the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights (UNCHR) have set up a common stand calling for the Philippine Government’s attention on the piling up of human rights abuses committed by the military on civilians. 

We are calling justice for Ka Todoy Escanilla !

We are calling the State to arrest the suspect, the conspirators and their superiors who ordered the killing of Ka Todoy!

We are demanding justice on thousands of civilians who had been maimed or killed by State-sanctioned violence!

JUSTICE FOR TEODORO ‘KA TODOY’ ESCANILLA !
 


'Many more Ka Tudoys will spring for
KARAPATAN 'Many more Ka Todoy will spring forth from the masses', reaction to killing of human rights leader in Sorsogon

By BicolToday.com News Team

SORSOGON CITY – A human rights leader in Sorsogon Province was liquidated by several gunmen inside his home midnight of Wednesday of August 19, and his killing and other similar incidents of human rights violations have elevated to worse level of crimes against humanity.

This is what human rights advocates have feared after the State last year launched military campaigns against insurgents in Sorsogon and Masbate, the two priority provinces of the Bicol Region targeted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Oplan Bayanihan anti-insurgency program.

Even human rights advocates, who are monitoring human rights situation in the two provinces, are not spared by these State-sanctioned military atrocities.

On midnight of Wednesday, six (6) men riding in tandem in three motorcycles barged into Teodoro “Ka Tudoy’ Escanilla’s and shot him dead. (See news break …… )

He sustained multiple gunshot wounds in different parts of his body. The assailants fled after the incident.

Ka Tudoy was the spokesperson of human rights watch group, KARAPATAN-Sorsogon and anchorperson of human rights advocacy radio program, Pamana ng Lahi, over Radio DZMS for 10 years.

He was getting old, but he refused to retire from his human rights advocacy, believing that “human rights advocacy is a continuing crusade in internal conflict areas.”

His only weapons are the microphone, his convincing style in public speaking and undying commitment to serve his fellow man. But, his life was ended by guns.

Human rights colleagues of Ka Tudoy reacted in grief: “Killing a defenseless and an unarmed man, done through treachery and premeditation, is an unspeakable crime. Killing a man who championed the cause of human rights is a crime against humanity.”

“The perpetrators of this killing are as bestial and demonic as their deed which could only be found in military camps and garrisons of a police and Hitlerian state that has no regard to the sanctity of life and respect for the human rights of the people,” KARAPATAN-Sorsogon said in anger, as the group recalls the determination of old man Ka Tudoy as spokesperson when briefing the media.

KARAPATAN- Sorsogon continued: “Ka Tudoy was an old man at 63, but even in his twilight years, he anchored a radio program, “Pamana Ng Lahi”, over Radio DZMS for 10 years.”

“Despite his advanced years, he refused to retire because he believed that human rights advocacy is a continuing crusade especially in internal conflict areas,” a group member said.

“Many more Ka Tudoys will spring forth from the ranks of the oppressed masses despite of his killing,” said a human rights colleague.

According to his co-workers, Ka Tudoy, over his radio program, minced no words in denouncing and exposing human rights abuses committed by the military on helpless civilians in the course of their counter-insurgency operations.

Sympathetic people warned him several times that he was in the military “hit list”.

But these threats did not deter or slacken him in pursuit of his advocacy until that mournful night of August 19.

Ka Tudoy’s murder happened at this time when Masbate and Sorsogon are priority provinces of the counter-insurgency campaign, Oplan Bayanihan, of the Aquino regime in the Bicol Region.

These military campaigns have exacted untold sufferings and grief among innocent civilians and rural folk branded by the military as “rebels”, incidents that were documented by KARAPATAN.

Worse, people’s organizations and their members are labeled as “legal fronts” of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

Thus, they are subjected to vicious and violent attacks by state security forces with impunity.

To confound the matter, the Philippine justice system refuses to acknowledge that military barbarism and atrocity exist, and the killing of civilians is a normal or regular thing in the conduct of military operations.
Top government officials led by President Aquino, turn a deaf ear on loud cries of human rights abuses despite calls by international human rights organizations and the United Nations Commissioner on Human Rights (UNCHR) to look into the increasing human rights abuses in the Philippines.

“We also call on all people to condemn in the strongest term possible this senseless and cold-blooded killing which has no place in a society if it calls itself civilized and democratic,” KARAPATAN-Sorsogon lamented. [BicolToday.com]

- See more at: http://bicoltoday.com/2015/08/21/many-more-ka-tudoys-will-spring-forth-from-the-masses-reaction-to-killing-of-human-rights-leader-in-sorsogon/#sthash.onkxNFIm.dpuf

 

Teodoro Escanilla, Radio anchorman and spokersperson
of human rights group Karapatan in Sorsogon province. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO


Secret AFP ‘dirty war’ paying hired killers bared in Escanilla assassination probe

By BicolToday.com News Team

SORSOGON CITY – Sometime in November 2014, An Army officer offered a detained civilian, under torture, a gun and money of PhP 50,000. to kill human rights activist Teodoro “Ka Tudoy” Escanilla. The detainee refused and, later went to Manila out of fear for his life after his release.

This revelation now exposed the secret “dirty war tactic” used by the State in offering civilians money as bounty to kill “quality targets”, the victims mostly dissenters and members of cause-oriented groups and militant organizations. The money comes from public funds.

Elements of the “peace and development team” (PDT) of the 31st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA), previously based in Brgy. San Antonio, Barcelona, Sorsogon, are the main suspects in the killing Wednesday midnight of “Ka Tudoy” Escanilla, spokesperson of KARAPATAN-Sorsogon, and radio anchorperson of a human rights advocacy program.

This came up after human rights probers of non-government organizations have dug up information regarding the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Escanilla.
This fact was deduced from a sworn statement by a resident of the said barangay whose name was intentionally withheld for his safety.

According to the affiant of the sworn statement, the Army PDT of the 31st IBPA arrived in their barangay in October 2014. The Army PDT had engaged in population survey and interrogation of select residents whom they suspected of either being members, supporters or sympathizers of the New People’s Army (NPA).


The affiant was one of the residents “invited” for questioning by a certain Army trooper Alex Buenaobra, whom he presumed to be the leader of the Army PDT.
Army trooper Buenaobra interrogated him inside the barangay hall of San Antonio on November 22, 2014.

In the course of this interrogation, Buenaobra offered the affiant a calibre .45 pistol and the sum of Php50,000.00 to kill Tudoy or Teodoro Escanilla. He refused to do the bidding of Buenaobra.

The said affiant was released after suffering long hours of mental and physical torture. He went to Manila for fear for his life and his family’s, and came back on February 21, 2015 when the Army PDT left their place.

According to a fact-finding human rights team led by Karapatan-Sorsogon, there is no lingering doubt about the killers of Ka Tudoy.

Only the 31st IBPA, based in Rangas, Juban, Sorsogon, have the motive and orientation (Oplan Bayanihan), weaponry, logistics and training to execute the operation to kill Ka Tudoy.

The 31st IBPA, like all other state security units, have gained notorious expertise through the years in implementing operations in accordance with the counter-insurgency guidelines and dirty war manuals of the US military.

The war manual expressly encourages “mercilessly killing defenseless, legal and legally protected activists and innocent civilians in the name of national security which considers all opposition to government policies as enemies of the state.”

Many civilians, branded by the military as “rebels” had been killed by unknown gunmen in Sorsogon during intensive military operations inside conflict-torn areas.

The pattern of extra-judicial killings is similar to other killings that had been
happening in other provinces. [BicolToday.com]

- See more at: http://bicoltoday.com/2015/08/23/secret-afp-dirty-war-paying-hired-killers-bared-in-escanilla-assassination-probe/#sthash.YgJFZiav.dpuf

 

 
   


AlterMidya Statement
21 August 2015

AlterMidya denounces killings of journalists in Sorsogon, Davao

We in the AlterMidya, a national network of independent and progressive media outfits are alarmed over the killing of two media practitioners in Sorsogon and Davao in the last two days. We condemn the continuing culture of impunity and violence in the country and demand justice for the two victims.

Teodoro Escanilla, 63, was gunned down by unidentified men on August 19 inside his house in Tagdon Village, Barcelona, Sorsogon. Escanilla, a spokesperson of human rights group Karapatan, anchored a radio program ‘Pamanang Lahi’ over local radio station DZMS for 10 years. According to Karapatan, Escanilla criticized the military for the rising human rights abuses in Sorsogon over his radio program.

In Tagum, Davao, unidentified gunmen also shot dead Gregorio Ybañez, president of the Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club (DNPRC) on August 18 outside his home. Ybañez was the publisher of the weekly newspaper Kabuhayan News Services in Tagum City. He was also a radio blocktimer in Gold FM, a local radio station. His program “Isumbong Mo Kay Ben” (Tell it to Ben) reportedly tackled issues related to the ongoing conflict in the local electric cooperative where he served as director.

The assassination of Escanilla and Ybañez brings the number of media killings to 29 under the Aquino administration and 149 since 1986. Their deaths are a grim reminder of the Aquino administration’s evident sanction to the climate of impunity and injustice in the country.

The state should be held accountable for the deaths of Escanilla and Ybañez and of all other victims of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. AlterMidya joins human rights advocates and media organizations in seeking justice for Escanilla and Ybañez. We demand the immediate arrest of the masterminds and perpetrators of the killings. We call for an end to the escalating culture of impunity and the continuing attacks against the right to freedom of expression.#

 



KARAPATAN Sorsogon
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights

PRESS STATEMENT
August 22, 2015

Elements of the “peace and development team” (PDT) of the 31st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA), previously based in Brgy. San Antonio, Barcelona, Sorsogon, are the main suspects in the killing of Teodoro “Ka Tudoy” Escanilla, Spokesperson of KARAPATAN-Sorsogon. This fact was deduced from a sworn statement by a resident of the said barangay whose name was intentionally withheld for his safety.

According to the affiant of the sworn statement, the PDT of the 31st IBPA arrived in their barangay in October 2014. The said PDT engaged in population survey and interrogation of select residents whom they suspected of either being members, supporters or sympathizers of the New People’s Army (NPA). He was one of the residents “invited” for questioning by a certain Alex Buenaobra, whom he presumed to be the leader of the PDT. Buenaobra interrogated him inside the barangay hall of San Antonio on November 22, 2014.

In the course of this interrogation, Buenaobra offered to give the affiant a calibre .45 pistol and the sum of Php50,000.00 to kill Tudoy or Teodoro Escanilla. He refused to do the bidding of Buenaobra. The said affiant was released after suffering long hours of mental and physical torture. He went to Manila for fear for his life and his family’s, and came back on February 21, 2015 when the PDT left their place.

There is no lingering doubt about the killers of Ka Tudoy. Only the 31st IBPA, based in Rangas, Juban, Sorsogon, have the motive and orientation (Oplan Bayanihan), weaponry, logistics and training to execute the operation to kill Ka Tudoy. The 31st IBPA, like all other state security units, have gained notorious expertise through the years in implementing operations in accordance with the counter-insurgency guidelines and dirty war manuals of the US military, i.e., mercilessly killing defenceless, legal and legally protected activists and innocent civilians in the name of national security which considers all opposition to government policies protecting foreign and feudal interests in the Philippines as enemies of the state.

JUSTICE FOR TEODORO ESCANILLA!
JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF EXTRA-JUDICIAL KILLINGS!
JUSTICE FOR ALL VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION!
 

   



Ka Todoy singing Bayan Ko
Click here for video
 


News Release
22 August 2015

“Impunity at its peak in Aquino govt’s remaining days” – Hustisya

“Impunity is at its peak in the Aquino administration’s remaining days, leaving a horrible legacy of killing human rights defenders while babysitting criminals.”

These were the words of Ernan Baldomero, vice-chairperson of rights group Hustisya, as they condemned two consecutive killings on August 18 and 19, in the provinces of North Cotabato and Sorsogon.

In the morning of August 18, Joel Gulmatico, 58, and chair of the Arakan Peasant Progressive Organization (APPO), was shot dead while driving a motorcycle on his way to Barangay Naje in Arakan, North Cotabato. Gulmatico was a former member of the barangay (village) council in the said barangay for three terms. He ran for village chair in 2013 but lost.

According to rights groups, Gulmatico was an opponent to the presence of the Peace and Development Program (PDOP) in Barangay Naje. The PDOP is part of the AFP’s Oplan Bayanihan.

“Not another one in Arakan! We demand justice for Gulmatico, as well as for Fr. Fausto Tentorio and farmer Ramon Batoy. Justice remains elusive, and the people in Arakan have all the reasons to demand the pull-out of troops in their communitiees. Who else has the motive to silence the likes of Gulmatico?” said Baldomero.

On October 2011, Italian missionary Tentorio was killed by alleged members of the paramilitary group Bagani. Three days after his murder, Batoy was killed when soldiers belonging to the 57th Infantry Battalion attacked their community in an alleged raid to arrest the priest’s killers.

“As it turned out, it is the military that is coddling the perpetrators. By allowing the existence of paramilitary groups, Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan continues to sow fear in the communities, despite the use of terms such as ‘peace and development.’ They continue the same policy of repression as implemented by previous governments. We join the call to dismantle paramilitary groups and to pull out military troops in communities,” Baldomero added.

Hustisya also expressed indignation with the killing of Teodoro “Todoy” Escanilla, spokesperson of a provincial chapter of Karapatan in Sorsogon, who was killed inside his house on the midnight of August 19.

“We are indignant at Ka Todoy’s murder, at a time when plunderers and human rights violators like Juan Ponce Enrile and Jovito Palparan are pampered by the Aquino government to the core. The killings of Gulmatico and Escanilla deserve justice,” said Baldomero.

Karapatan has documented 262 victims of extrajudicial killings since Aquino assumed office. ###

Reference: Ernan Baldomero, Hustisya vice chairperson, 0939-2315464
 

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