STA. LUCIA, Ilocos Sur – One farmer here pleads for President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to render justice on the death of his son in the hands of alleged state agents a year ago.
Rizalino Valdez said that it would be one year on October 7 when they petitioned the regional office of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to investigate the killing of his son, Elmer, but nothing happened so far.
The younger Valdez was killed Sept. 10 last year during the height of military operations in Conconig East village, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur.
“There has been no significant development on our petition to the CHR regional office. Hence, I request the President Aquino to order the immediate investigation to hasten the achievement of justice on the killing of my son Elmer one year ago,” a teary eyed Mr. Valdez said in an interview.
Mr. Valdez recalled the incident, saying that Elmer woke up early that day to gather bamboo from a nearby hill. Suddenly, Mr. Valdez and Elmer’s wife Elma heard gunshots. They saw soldiers, later identified as elements of the 50th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, in the area.
Elmer failed to come back home. Mr. Valdez and Elmer’s wife, with the help of the village officials, negotiated with the military and begged to look for Elmer in the area where he was taking bamboo. Their plea, however, fell on deaf ears.
Three days after, residents of Conconig East found Elmer’s body in an open area in Sapang village, Sta. Lucia. Elmer’s body, then in a stage of decomposition, was riddled with bullets, said a local councilor of Conconig East.
The autopsy report showed that Elmer had multiple gunshot injuries which also caused multiple fractures of the skull.
“The type of gunshot injuries could not be determined due to the advanced state of decomposition,” added the report conducted on Sept. 14, 2010 by Police Supt. Nerino B. Daciego, the medico legal officer of the PNP Regional Crime Laboratory Office.
Rod Tajon, secretary general of the Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA), lambasted the “turtle paced investigation” of the regional CHR on the murder of Elmer.
“In fact in July this year, the identified perpetrators from the 50th IB requested for ten days to file their counter affidavit,” Tajon said.
Tajon said Elmer is the second victim of extra-judicial killings (EJK) in Ilocos Sur under the Aquino administration.
“After one year of seeking justice for the death of Elmer, the president must order and ensure that the state machinery works for the achievement of justice (on Elmer’s case),” he added.
Meanwhile, in a phone call to the regional office of the CHR in San Fernando, La Union, a female staff said that the investigator of the case was out of their office attending sports-related activity. She added that she is not in a position to answer the questions from this reporter on the development of the investigation of the Valdez killing.