“I asked why they killed him, and they denied it. But I saw it with my own two eyes, they shot my husband,”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – The wife of slain Tumandok leader painfully narrated how she witnessed soldiers and policemen kill her husband Roy Giganto.
In an online press conference Jan. 5, Analyn said that they were sleeping when combined forces of the police and military forcibly entered their house at around 4 a.m. Three men went to their room, one grabbed her, and the other two grabbed Roy.
“Roy asked what was happening and he was told that he had a case. Roy then told them he would come with them,” she recalled.
Everyone in the household, except Roy, was forced to go outside the house.
“I heard someone said ‘Roy is stubborn.’ I pushed myself inside the house because they were closing the door, and then I saw them shoot Roy,” Analyn said in mix of Taglog and Bisaya.
Analyn’s statement contradicts the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) claims that those who were killed were rebels who fought back when search warrants for illegal possession of firearms, ammunition and explosives were served to them.
Eight others were killed in a joint police and military operations on Dec. 30, 2020. Roy was the chairperson of indigenous peoples group TUMANDUK and a barangay councilor of Lahug, Tapaz, Capiz.
Analyn added that a woman pointed a gun at her as she continued with her pleas. “She told me I am noisy and I told her that if she were in my position, she would do the same,” she said.
It was 10:00 a.m. when Roy was taken out of the house. Analyn and her 16-year old daughter pleaded to see the body of her husband but they were not allowed.
“I asked why they killed him, and they denied it. But I saw it with my own two eyes, they shot my husband,” she said.
Analyn also said that her husband never kept arms and explosives in their house. She asserted that those that were allegedly found in their house were planted.
A good man
“My husband is a good man,” Analyn said, adding that Roy remained steadfast in their fight for their right to ancestral domain and against the construction of the Jalaur mega dam project.
Read: ‘We will not be wiped out by dams’
She said her husband was a leader of the Tumandok tribe for several years. People often ask for his help if they have any problems, big or small, said Analyn.
Joanna Cariño, co-chairperson of Sandugo condemned the killing and demanded that perpetrators be held accountable.
“Tumanduk is a legitimate organization fighting for their right to their ancestral land and self-determination, against Jalaur mega dam and militarization of their communities. They are not terrorists, they are civilian organizations who are concerned for the people’s well being,” Cariño said.
Cariño lamented that state forces do not distinguish civilians from armed guerrillas, which, she said, is a violation of international humanitarian law.
Meanwhile, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay questioned the police’s presumption of regularity. “Why is it that the police are presumed to be doing regular stuff under their guidelines? There are many witnesses here [December 30 incident],” she said.
She also slammed government witness Jeffry Celiz’s red-tagging of the members of TUMANDUK organization.
“You have said it yourself that there are things you are saying that will not stand in court as evidence that’s why you resort to questionable serach warrants and planting of evidence,” Palabay said, referring to Celiz and state security forces.
Palabay encouraged the victims to file complaints with the Commission on Human Rights and other independent and international bodies like the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights and the UN Special Procedures particularly to the Special Rapporteurs on extrajudical killings and indigenous peoples.
“This is one option that they can seek redress and justice,” she said.