Extrajudicial killings during Arroyo term now 903 – Karapatan

abs-cbnnews.com

A total of 903 cases of extrajudicial killings have been reported since President Arroyo assumed office, the human rights group Karapatan said on Tuesday.

Of the total, Karapatan said three regions had the most number of extrajudicial killings–Southern Tagalog at 163, followed by Central Luzon at 137, and Bicol Region, 127. Majority of the victims were reportedlt peasants (419) and indigenous people (85) while the partylist group Bayan Muna and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) have the most numbers of alleged victims placed at 132 and 104 respectively.

According to the group’s quarterly update of facts and figures contained in the KARAPATAN Monitor which covered human rights violations from January to March 2008, 13 cases of arbitrary executions have been reported for 2008.

Karapatan said the year 2008 opened with the killing of Tildo Rebamonte and Ronald Sendrijas who were killed in separate incidents on January 16 and 17 and the disappearance of Flaviano Arante in Negros Oriental on January 25.

In Rebamonte’s case, the group said that around 20 policemen came to his house in Barangay Pasig, Claveria in Masbate in the morning of January 12. The policemen allegedly ransacked his house, handcuffed him and took him to a ranch allegedly owned by Claveria Mayor Eduardo Andueza. Police claimed that Rebamonte was killed by rebels in an encounter in Barangay Nabasagan four days later.

Sendrijas, meanwhile, was allegedly shot twice on the nape while buying medicine from a pharmacy along Gallares Street in Tagbiliran City.

Before the killing, Sendrijas, a former political detainee and a member of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensiyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA) and an environmental activist in Bohol, reportedly turned down offers of the military to work for them.

On the other hand, the human rights group said that there are 193 cases of enforced or involuntary disappearance reported from January 21, 2001 to March 31, 2008 with Central Luzon having the most number of cases at 62 followed by Southern Tagalog, 28 and Eastern Visayas, 24.

Arante, a council member of a municipal peasant group Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma sa Sta. Catalina (United Farmers of Sta. Catalina) in Negros Oriental, was reportedly the first on the list of victims of enforced disappearance in 2008.

He was allegedlt forcibly taken from his home in front of his pleading wife by elements of the Bravo Company of the 61st Infantry Battalion. The soldiers also reportedly searched through their belongings without their consent. Two weeks later, Maj. Nathaniel Villasor, Civil Military Officer of the 303rd Infantry Brigade during a radio interview reportedly announced that Arante is in the custody of the 61st IB. However, Arante’s whereabouts remains undisclosed prompting his family to file a petition for a writ of amparo last February.

Karapatan, in its report, said victims of enforced disappearance were mostly peasants (116) and workers (16). In terms of sectoral or multi-sectoral organizations, it said Bayan Muna had the highest number victims of enforced disappearance at 13, followed by KMP at 11 and 10 consultants/staff of the National Democratic Front.

Also reported in the first quarter of 2008 are two cases of alleged extrajudicial killings in Eastern Visayas and eight cases of alleged enforced disappearances in Eastern Visayas (3), Central Luzon (2) and CARAGA (3).

Aside from extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearance, Karapatan said the Arroyo administration has also violated several civil and political rights of the people from January to March 31, 2008 which included frustrated killing, abduction, torture, illegal arrest, illegal detention, physical assault, physical injuries, threat/harassment/intimidation and illegal search and seizure

The group also alleged that the Arroyo administration used forcible evacuation/displacement, use of schools, medical, religious and other public places for military purposes; and endangerment of civilians, hamletting, violation to children’s right to protection or safety by the state or its agents, food and other economic blockade, forced/faked surrender and indiscriminate firing.

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