Claver Ambushers’ Faces Sketched as Outrage Mounts vs Killings

Various sectors in the Cordillera continue to join the nationwide outcry against the series of political killings, for which they hold government security forces responsible.

By Northern Dispatch
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BAGUIO CITY – Police released on Wednesday cartographic sketches of two men who witnesses say served as triggerman and lookout respectively in the July 31 ambush of the Claver family in Tabuk, Kalinga.

Task Force Bulanao, created by the Philippine National Police to probe the ambush that killed Alyce Claver, wife of Doctor Chandu Claver who was himself seriously wounded, included descriptions showing the lookout as “clean-cut and good-looking” while the triggerman had a “stocky build.”

The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) welcomed the development but reiterated that former Kalinga Supt. Pedro Ramos had prior knowledge of the ambush. Ramos has been relieved by PNP Director General Oscar Calderon and is reportedly now detailed in Region 3,

“At the least, he should be held culpable for gross negligence as the person-in-command in Kalinga when the ambush happened,” said CHRA vice-chair Beverly Longid in a press statement. “Accounts have it that minutes after the ambush, no less than Supt. Ramos called off an ongoing hot pursuit against the vehicles carrying the suspected assailants,” she added.

Longid said CHRA hopes that similar task forces should also produce results to solve the other 744 killings.

Widening outrage vs killings

Various sectors in the Cordillera continue to join the nationwide outcry against the series of political killings, for which they hold government security forces responsible.

More victims’ relatives, as well as personalities from various tribes and institutions are issuing and signing statements that call on the government to muster political will and sincerity to put an end to the said killings.

One such statement, That the Mountains May Chant the Truth, was issued by concerned Cordillera citizens on Aug. 5 in reaction to the Claver ambush. Circulated during Alyce’s wake in Tabuk and posted at several Internet sites (including the Nordis website), it has gathered around 350 authenticated signatures from individuals both the Philippines and abroad.

The statement condemned the ambush of the Clavers and the earlier killing of Rafael Markus Bangit, another Kalinga indigenous activist, earlier on June 8. “The assault of unarmed civilians in public places is a manifestation of a rotten social order. It can only be motivated by a desire to perpetuate fear, subservience and maintain a state of repression,” the statement said.

The printed statement continues to gather more signatures, estimated at about 500 more, as it circulates in the various schools, churches, and offices in the Cordillera provinces, here in Baguio, in Metro Manila, and overseas.

In British Columbia, Canada, families and friends of Alyce Claver and Markus Bangit will be offering a special “Tribute to the Martyred Heroes of the Cordillera in the Philippines” on Sunday, Sept. 3. The tribute dinner program, to be held at Lady of Lourdes Parish, is organized by the local B.C. BIBAK and the B.C. Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines.

Abductions condemned

Meanwhile, the University Council of the University of the Philippines-Baguio joined the rest of the UP system in condemning the nationwide abductions and killings of activists, journalists and other government critics.

In a statement sent to NORDIS, the University Council cited the Bangit and Claver killings in the Cordillera, and the June 26 abduction of UP Diliman students Sharelyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno and their farmer companion allegedly by soldiers of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division commanded by Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan.

The statement, released by Wilfredo Alangui, UP Baguio associate professor and a member of the University Council, also demanded justice for all victims of disappearances and summary executions under the administration of Pres. Gloria Arroyo.

The Council serves as UP Baguio’s highest policy-making body, with representatives from the administration, faculty and staff, and studentry. Arthur L. Allad-iw / Posted by (

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