Casiano Abing is the sixth activist killed since President Benigno S. Aquino III assumed power. Human rights lawyer Katrina Castillo deems the killing a result of the extension of counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya.
RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA — Days after the formal announcement of the military of the extension of the counterinsurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), another activist was killed in Eastern Samar, August 25.
Casiano Abing, 56, a member of Bayan Muna was shot dead by an unidentified lone gunman in his house at barangay 5, Poblacion, Balangiga, Eastern Samar.
Based on the urgent action alert sent by Karapatan, at around 7 p.m., a man knocked on
Abing’s house and asked for him. The house help called Abing who went to check who his visitor was. A few minutes later, gunshots were heard. Abing’s wife and five children rushed to him and found him wounded but alive. Abing was still able to tell his family that he saw his assailant but he did not look familiar to him. The assailant immediately fled after the shooting.
Abing was rushed to the Alvino M.Duran Memorial Hospital but the hospital lacks the facilities to treat him so he was transferred to St. Paul’s Hospital in Tacloban City, which is about an hour and a half away from Balangiga. He arrived there at around 10 p.m. where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
The victim suffered five gunshot wounds, one of which hit his liver.
Abing is the sixth activist killed since President Benigno S. Aquino III assumed power.
Lawyer Katrina Castillo, head of documentation and legal services of the Katungod-SB, local chapter of Karapatan, deemed that the killing is politically-motivated.
Castillo told Bulatlat in a phone interview that Casiano had been active campaigning for Bayan Muna and senatorial candidates Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza during the last elections. “His killing is still in connection with the government’s campaign to neutralize progressive organizations and party list groups,” Castillo said.
“The pattern is there – surveillance and casing,” Castillo added, noting that Abing’s co-employees at the Regional Trial Court in Balangiga reported suspicious looking men asking about Abing’s whereabouts. The victim worked as a sheriff to the local court.
Castillo, who herself was threatened several times by the military, called for justice for Abing and the 120 other victims of extrajudicial killings in the Eastern Visayas region under the Arroyo government.
The human rights lawyer also urged the Aquino administration to junk the Oplan Bantay Laya 2 which she said provides license to the perpetrators to kill leaders and members of people’s organizations. (Bulatlat.com)