Families and friends of Benjamin Bayles and members of the activist organizations KARAPATAN and BAYAN hold protest action on October 25, 2012 in front of the Hall of Justice in Himamaylan City as the court hears the testimonies of a witness officially sent by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the continuing trial of Bayles Murder Case.
After two years, the Philippine Army finally admitted in court that the two accused in Bayles Murder Case are members of the 61st Infantry Battalion and revealed their real names and identity and that the accused have been using pseudonyms / aliases.
Col. Alexis Gopico, Adjutant General of the Philippine Army pinpointed to accuse Roger Bajon as Private First Class Rafael Cordova and accuse Ronnie Caurino as Private First Class Reygine Laus. They were members of the 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company of 61st Infantry Battalion formerly based in Sitio Barasbarasan, Brgy. Manlucahoc, Sipalay City and were discharged from service since May 2011 with the alleged involvement in Bayles Murder Case as the reason.
Karapatan today derided Pres. Aquino’s statement that extrajudicial killings is not his government’s policy, as he called on senatorial candidate, Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, to help in solving the killings by looking for evidences and filing cases.
“The problem with the Aquino government is when it can no longer justify the existence of human rights violations and when its pro-human rights posturing is exposed as a sham, it turns the table around and puts the burden of proof on the victims and those who advocate and defend human rights. Ano naman ang silbi ng ganitong gobyerno? ” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
“Mr. President, you should think before you speak, because the responsibility of exacting justice is in your hands. In the first place, the burden of solving the cases of extrajudicial killings and serving justice to the victims is with the Aquino government, especially because majority, if not all of the killings, involve the armed and paramilitary forces headed by Aquino. But since he failed to even lift a finger to solve these cases, the relatives of human rights victims and Karapatan have taken it upon ourselves to initiate the filing of cases in Court,” she added.
Karapatan today said it is pleased with the decision of the Commission on Election to disqualify Bantay partylist, a known anti-left partylist that was represented in Congress by “The Butcher”, Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., who is now charged in court for kidnapping and serious illegal detention of the two missing UP students, Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan.” Bantay partylist’s number one nominee at present is Evangeline Palparan, wife of the fugitive general.
“We welcome COMELEC’s decision because Bantay partylist did nothing in Congress but to bark at the progressive members of Congress and those it calls as leftist organizations. It does not represent the marginalized. On the contrary, Bantay did nothing but to justify the armed forces’ rampage against leaders of organizations of the marginalized farmers, workers, indigenous peoples, women and youth and communities where these organizations exist,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Bantay, Palabay said, “represents the government’s counterinsurgency program, primarily implemented by the Armed Forces of the Philippines and is directed against the poor who struggles against poverty, oppression and exploitation.”
“It was a massacre and not an encounter,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan belying claims of Lt. Col. Alexis Bravo, head of the 27th IB of the Philippine Army that a Blaan woman, Juvy Capion, 27, and her two sons, John Capion, 8, and Pop Capion,13 were killed in a gunfight.
Initial reports that reached the Karapatan national office indicated that on October 17, Juvy Capion and her two sons went to their farm and spent the night in Fayahlob, Sitio Datal-Ayong, Bgy. Danlag, Tampakan, South Cotabato because they did not finish their day’s work. The following day, On October 18, at around 6 a.m., the three were still inside the hut when element of the 27th IB arrived and sprayed bullets on the hut, killing Juvy Capion and her two sons.
“There was no gunfight between the military and Juvy’s husband Daguil as the military claimed,” said Palabay. The military said that Danguil Capion, a B’laan tribal leader, has taken up arms against the entry a mining corporation in the area, the Xstrata- Sagittarius Mines, Inc (SMI).
On the approval of the Anti-Disappearance bill
Karapatan appreciates the approval of the Anti-Disappearance bill by a bicameral committee of the Senate and the House of Representatives, as it challenged the Noynoy Aquino government to immediately end its practice of enforced disappearance among activists and suspected members of the revolutionary movement.
Karapatan has documented 12 victims of enforced disappearance since Noynoy Aquino became President, and in the course of the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan.
“The law will remain a meaningless compilation of words, unless the Aquino government goes after, and swiftly punish the perpetrators of this heinous crime, mostly members of its own armed forces,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Karapatan cited the Anti-Torture law which was passed in 2009, “but has not prevented the use of torture among political prisoners during detention; and against activists and those suspected to be members or sympathizers of armed revolutionary groups during combat operations in the rural areas.”
Recently, a security guard, Rolly Panesa, was illegally arrested, tortured and detained because he was mistaken for a certain Benjamin Mendoza, whom the military claims as the secretary of the Community Party of the Philippines in Southern Luzon. Panesa was severely beaten during interrogation in Camp Vicente Lim in Laguna that even officials at the Special Intensive Care Area-Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (SICA-BJMP) refused custody unless they were given a medical certificate.
After a year since Fr. Pops Tentorio’s killing
“It has been a year after the extrajudicial killing of Fr. Fausto Tentorio, and the real masterminds and perpetrators of this heinous offense have not been rendered justice. Karapatan attributes this grave injustice to the persistent denial and stonewalling of the Aquino administration in holding the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and its paramilitary groups accountable,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Yesterday, at the United Nations Human Rights Committee 106th session in Geneva, Switzerland, the head of Philippine government delegation and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the murder of Fr. Tentorio has not been validated as an extrajudicial killing.
“Such act of the Aquino administration indicates its refusal to go after its own people, the paramilitary group Bagani which, is under the command of the AFP. Thus, as in almost all cases of human rights violations, the perpetrators run around freely, terrorize many more and do it with impunity,” she said.
Karapatan said that in April 2012, a new witness to the killing of Fr. Tentorio came out, prompting the members of the Justice for Fr. Fausto Tentorio Movement and the Pontifical Institute of Foreign Missions (PIME) to file charges against Jan Corbala and four others of the Bagani paramilitary group, also known as Alamara. Corbala is known in Arakan, North Cotabato as “Commander Iring (cat).” The Bagani paramilitary group is the military’s version of the CAFGU (Civilian Armed Force Geographical Unity) among the indigenous peoples in Mindanao.
Prior to this, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) has not included the above-mentioned members of Bagani among the respondents in the case, despite information that the said paramilitary group threatened and harassed Fr. Tentorio. Then Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse Robredo publicly denied the existence of the said Bagani force and refused to investigate them.
Rolly Panesa's case typifies Aquino govt's human rights violations
Rolly Panesa, a security guard of the Megaforce Security, was arrested on October 5 by joint elements of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, led by Southern Luzon Commander Maj. General Alan Luga, and the Philippine National Police. Panesa was mistaken for “Benjamin Mendoza”, whom the military alleged as a high-ranking official of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) with a bounty of P5.6M.
Panesa recalled that he was interrogated, tortured and forced to admit that he was “Benjamin Mendoza.” Every time he stood by his real identity, he would get a beating. According to his interrogators, a mole on Panesa’s nape proves that he is “Benjamin Mendoza.”
“Panesa’s case illustrates the Aquino government’s blatant and continuing violation of the Anti-Torture Act and Republic Act 7438 on the rights of arrested or detained persons, among other rights violations. He was wrongfully accused and heaped with fabricated charges based on a mistaken identity. Panesa was subjected to repeated interrogation and beatings, and denied of his right to counsel and immediate and appropriate medical treatment, for the hefty sum of P5.6M, and in pursuance of Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan,” said Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan.
Complaints on the violation of CARHRIHL submitted to the Joint Monitoring Committee of the GPH and the NDFPSubmitted on Wed, 10/17/2012 - 08:00
Today, October 17, families who have lost their kin to the civil war between the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) will be filing complaints on the violations of the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). The cases regarding the incident in Tineg, Abra last October 10, 2011 and the cases of the incident in San Narciso, Quezon last June 30, 2012 will be filed at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Government of the Philippines (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
The complaints submitted expressed the desecration of the remains of the 8 and 11 members of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Tineg and San Narciso, Quezon respectively. The appropriate collection of the remains was not also ensured depriving the slain NPAs the right to decent burial. The complaints also stated strong indications of inhumane treatment and that most of those who died during the two separate incidents were not given quarter or were not spared their lives especially those who, at the time of the encounter, were already in no position to defend themselves (hors de combat).
Named as perpetrators of the CARHRIHL violations in the Tineg, Abra incident are Lt. Jeson Capoquian of the 41st IBPA who led the assault and all the other unidentified troops attached to the 41st IBPA of the 503rd Brigade, Col. Noel Baluyan – commanding officer of the 41st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army and Col. Eliseo Posadas – commanding officer of the 503rd Brigade. The perpetrators in the San Narciso, Quezon incident are troops under the 74th IBPA based in Mulanay, Quezon.