Anakbayan outraged over five killings in two weeks of PNoy, demands drastic action
Youth group Anakbayan expressed its outrage today over what it termed a ‘killing spree’ against activists in the first two weeks of Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino’s presidency.
The latest victim is Josephine Estacio, an elementary school teacher and Alliance of Concerned Teachers member, was shot yesterday in front of her students in Balanga City, Bataan. Last Friday, two members of the ACT Teachers Partylist, Mark Francisco and Edgar Fernandez, were both killed in separate incidents in Masbate. Fernando Baldomero of Bayan Muna in Aklan, and Federico Pascual of Anakpawis in Nueva Ecija were killed on July 5 and July 9, respectively.
“Gloria Arroyo’s bloody legacy has apparently not ended under the new administration. Only one group has been clearly tagged by many human rights groups and advocates as the suspect, and it is safe to say that they are also the ones behind this latest abomination” said Anakbayan national vice-chairperson Anton Dulce.
Under Arroyo, more than 1,300 activists and member of left-leaning partylist groups have been slain in extra-judicial killings. In his report last 2007, United Nations special rapporteur for human rights Philip Alston said the Philippine military was the ‘#1 suspect’ with regards to the murders. A retired Army official, Jovito Palparan, was also tagged by two eyewitnesses as having taken part in the abduction of several activists in the Central Luzon region during his tour of duty as regional commander.
“All five victims have one thing in common: they belong to groups which the Armed Forces of the Philippines insists are linked with the underground NPA (New People’s Army). By linking them, the AFP is conditioning the public into accepting that the groups’ members are ‘valid targets’ for military operations, including assassination and abduction” he said.
In 2004, the AFP released a Powerpoint presentation entitled ‘Knowing the Enemy’. In the document, groups such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, and ACT were labeled ‘communist fronts’. Many of the 1,300+ activists murdered belonged to the first two groups.
Meanwhile, in its harshest statement yet, the youth group called Aquino “either an inutile or a coddler of human rights violators” for his lack of concrete action in stopping the ‘military’s killing spree’.
The group’s vice-chairperson said “We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: Aquino could have prevented all of this through strong messages to the military and decisive acts. He could’ve publicly denounced Oplan Bantay Laya in his inaugural speech and in his other public pronouncements. He could’ve publicly castigated the military top brass. He could’ve even had them sacked, just to show that no one, not even those in the AFP, are above the law.”
“But sadly, Noynoy has not done any of these” he said.
“He has even given the military carte blanche in saying that the latter could have anything in its ‘counter-insurgency operations’. We wonder, does that ‘anything’ include immunity from human rights violation charges?” added Dulce.