By INA ALLECO R. SILVERIO
MANILA — The office of a regional office of Bayan Muna party-list in sitio Bukhasan, Cawayan village, Catarman, Northern Samar was reportedly strafed, July 11 at around 10 p.m. by two unidentified men.
Youth and student activists
Andrew Sudario, 28, Elsa Marno, 17, Jonas Herreras, 18, Ernesto Bantilo, 27, and Jun-Jun Morillo 17 were all inside the office when it was strafed. They are members of Karapatan-Katungod Northern Samar, the League of Filipino Students and Anakbayan.
In a fact sheet sent to Bulatlat.com, Sudario wrote that he was reading while the others were either asleep or watching television when Sudario heard the loud voices of two men outside. He looked out and saw that the men were riding a motorcycle, which they then parked infront of the office. Suddenly, he heard shots. He initially thought that the motorcycle’s wheels blew, but understanding quickly dawned on him when he saw the shattered glass of the office windows.
Sudario immediately called to the others to examine the damage. They found the bullet casing from a .45 caliber pistol on the floor just inside the house.
In a statement, Bayan Muna’s two representatives in Congress expressed outrage against the strafing. Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares put the blame for the attack and what he said was the increasing number of human rights violations, including the recent spate of extrajudicial killings, on President Benigno Aquino III’s failure to dismantle the death squads “and the infrastructure of impunity that has plagued the country for years.”
Bayan Muna is a progressive party list group critical of the Aquino administration.
“The Aquino administration is doing nothing to the increasing cases of human rights violations against political activists and human rights advocates. In the last few weeks alone, there have been the cold-blooded murders of Bayan Muna members Romualdo Palispis in Aurora and Wilhelm Geertman, and the the arrest of Makabayan coordinator Agnes Mesina in Tuguegarao City. There were also a series of burglaries in the offices of progressive groups,” Colmenares pointed out.
Colmenares said that what made these developments more alarming is that they all happened within a span of two weeks. “There appears to be a concerted effort now to attack the progressive movement especially that the 2013 election is fast approaching,” he said.
So far, based on the reckoning of the human rights group Karapatan, there have been at least 96 victims of extrajudicial killings in the country under the Aquino administration.
“We are urging the Aquino administration to conduct an immediate and serious investigation on these attacks before the situation reaches the proportions it did during the time of ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Colmenares said.