March 5, 2010
Davao City — Eight Thousand farmers, lumad, urban poor, teachers, women and youth flocked from Freedom Park to Rizal Park today (March 5) to demand justice for the murder of Rebelyn Pitao and all victims of political killings.
Rebelyn, daughter of known NPA commander, Leoncio ‘Ka Parago’ Pitao, was abducted, raped and brutally murdered March 5 last year by suspected intelligence agents belonging to the 10th Infantry Division of the AFP.
The protest rally led by KARAPATAN, Hustisya and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN-SMR) expressed outrage over the inutility of Task Force Rebelyn formed by the Davao City Police Office last year to investigate the gruesome murder.
“Like the more than one thousand cases of political killings in the country, justice remains elusive to the families of the victims because we strongly believe that the Arroyo administration and its military men thru the framework of its Oplan Bantay Laya are behind the killings,” said Kelly Delgado, Secretary General of KARAPATAN-SMR.
Delgado added, “The false charges, harassment and other crimes perpetrated against activists, their families and innocent civilians are even more rising and we see no hope with this government.”
The mother of Rebelyn, Evangeline Pitao expressed that her quest for justice for her daughter extends to all families of victims of human rights abuses.
She recalled some sleepless nights reminiscing the memories with her daughter whom she described as “meek, caring and compassionate daughter.”
Pitao now serves as the spokesperson of Hustisya in Southern Mindanao.
Pitao welcomed the recently approved Resolution of the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Davao City which recognized their plight and upheld the International Humanitarian Law–a law that respects the rights of noncombatants during armed conflict, including the families of known revolutionary leaders like Ka Parago.
“We commend the Sangguniang Panglungsod of Davao City for upholding the human rights thru this resolution, and respects the rights of the victims of human rights abuses. This is not only for my daughter but also for all freedom and human rights defenders,” said Evangeline.
A vigil for Rebelyn was also held yesterday night at Bankerohan. The event was attended by two thousand contingents where activist solons and Nacionalista-Makabayan senatoriable candidates Ka Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza both expressed condemnation and demand justice for Rebelyn’s murder.
Both Ocampo and Maza are authors of the Anti-Torture Law.
In a protest rally in Rizal Park, Rebelyn Pitao’s father, NPA commander Leoncio “Ka Parago Pitao, in a phone patch urged the military not to harm the civilians. He said “ dili hilabtan ang mga sibilyan, kung gusto nila naa ra mi diri sa bukid, dili lang nila hilabtan ang mga sibilyan”.
Ka Parago added “ Kinahanglan ihatag ang rebolusyunaryong hustisya sa tanang biktima”.
The phone patch was applauded by thousands of rallyists who were shouting “HUSTISYA alang sa tanang biktima! Hustisya kang Rebelyn Pitao.
Kelly Delgado, Secretary general KARAPATAN-SMR