Glendyhl Malabanan, Karapatan-ST secretary general, said farmer Guillermo Castillo is the 65th victim of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Only three days after the commemoration of the 63rd International Human Rights Day, another farmer was gunned down in Mamburao, Occidental Mindoro.
On Dec. 13 at around 6:30 p.m, Guillermo Castillo, 46, was shot dead in front of his wife by unidentified men wearing bonnets. The assailants went inside the victim’s home in sitio Tuguilan, barangay Tayamaan, Mamburao town.
According to Karapatan-Southern Tagalog, the killing was preceded by surveillance operations conducted by suspected elements of the 80th Infantry Batallion of Philippine Army against the victim.
Glendyhl Malabanan, Karapatan-ST secretary general, said Guillermo is the 65th victim of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration.
“Political killings did not stop at the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Under the Aquino administration, killings continue through its counterinsurgency program Oplan Bayanihan,” Malabanan said.
Guillermo, a member of the local peasant group, is a brother of Ely Castillo, one of the 43 health workers arrested in February 2010 in Morong, Rizal. Ely is one of the two detainees of the Morong 43 who have remained in prison due to other criminal charges filed against them. The illegal possession of firearms and explosives filed against the Morong 43 was dismissed in December last year, prompting the release of most of the detainees.
According to the yearend report of Karapatan, Southern Tagalog has the second highest incidents of extrajudicial killings under the Aquino administration. Guillermo is the 15th victim of extrajudicial killing from the region. Bicol registered the highest with 20 victims. The two regions are among the priority areas in the government’s counterinsurgency operations.
Malabanan said other human rights violations continue. According to Karapatan’s yearend report, from July 2010 to October this year, there are nine victims of enforced disappearances, 51 victims of torture, more than 6,000 victims of violent demolitions, more than 5,000 victims of indiscriminate firing, among others.
Meanwhile, XL Fuentes, spokesman of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan)-Southern Tagalog, said “Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan is no different from Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya.”
“The Castillo brothers are victims of political repression of the two administrations. Killings and detention and other forms of state violence are the means used by the present administration to silence progressive individuals critical of government policies,” Fuentes said.