Priest, pastor shot dead in separate incidents in Luzon; massacre of 8 Lumad reported in Mindanao

“We condemn in the strongest terms the killing of Fr. Marcelito Paez and Pastor Lovelito Quinones, in separate incidents in Nueva Ecija and Oriental Mindoro, respectively, and the recently reported December 3 massacre of indigenous peoples in South Cotabato. Indeed, this fascist and terrorist regime has turned the entire country into a killing field, which renders nobody safe. Priests, doctors, lawyers, students, human rights defenders, peasant and indigenous communities, and urban poor communities are open targets by the State’s security forces, emboldened and reassured by their commander-in-chief,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the recent spate of killings in Luzon and Mindanao.

On December 3, 2017, Pastor Lovelito Quiñones, 57, a pastor of Kings Glory Ministry, a resident of Sitio Anapla, Brgy. Don Pedro, Mansalay, was shot by elements of the Regional Mobile Group (RMG) in Sitio Anapla, Brgy. Din Pedro, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro. According to the victim's family, at around 8-8:30pm, Quinones was on his motorcycle, on his way home, when he was shot. He was already five minutes from his residence when he was shot in the chest. The pastor died instantly. Kin of the victim attested that elements of the RMG even planted a .45 caliber near Quinones' body. The victim was subjected to a paraffin test, which yielded a negative result.

The 4th Infantry Division alleged there was an encounter in the area. As of 3pm yesterday, the 203rd brigade released another statement insisting that the pastor was a member of the NPA. Quinones' family and congregation belied the military's claims. A 13 year old was also grazed by a bullet in his home in Sitio Anapla during the said incident. In a statement today, Army’s 2nd Infantry Division commander again claimed that Quinones was an NPA member.

In Mindanao, on the same day, December 3, 2017, composite elements of the 27th IBPA and the marines massacred a group of T’boli and Dulangan Manobo in Sitio Datal Bong Langon, Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato. The said indigenous peoples were occupying the area landgrabbed by the Consunjis, used by the corporation as a coffee plantation; the said land area is part of the Dulangan Manobo and T’boli ancestral domain. The Consunjis have long been operating in the ancestral domains of different indigenous communities in the region. According to initial reports from Karapatan- SOCKSARGENDS, killed were Victor Danyan, Victor Danyan Jr., Artemio Danyan, Pato Celardo, Samuel Angkoy, To Diamante, Bobot Lagase, and Mateng Bantal. Also reported wounded were Luben Laod and Teteng Laod.

On December 4, at around 8pm,Fr. Marcelito “Tito” Paez, former parish priest in Guimba and currently coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Central Luzon, was shot while driving his vehicle at San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. Earlier that day, Fr. Tito assisted in facilitating the release of political prisoner Rommel Tucay who was detained at the BJMP jail in Cabanatuan. At 10:45pm last night, Karapatan received confirmation that Fr. Tito passed away at the San Leonardo Hospital.

Karapatan said that “this is the chilling effect of the Duterte regime’s fascist policies and pronouncements, one on top of the other. We condemn Duterte and his fellow bloodthirsty cohorts in the military, police and cabinet, including his national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr., for masterminding these policies, foremost this regime’s counterinsurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, which has instigated these attacks. These brutes are seemingly inspired by Palparan and his style of killing, the pattern and manner of the killings distinctly akin to the violations during the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administrations, but Duterte and his team of bloodthirsty beasts are setting a new threshold for State terror.”

“In five days, we are set to commemorate the International Human Rights Day, yet the events leading to December 10 show the real situation of human rights on the ground. In two days, a total of ten (10) people were already killed by the government forces in roughly 48 hours, while two more are injured. We call on everyone to condemn these attacks and defeat this fascist regime. Duterte, national security adviser Esperon, DND chief Lorenzana, and state agents should all be made to account for the instigators of State terrorism,” Palabay concluded.