Village official found dead after ‘visit’ by soldiers – rights group



Barangay Councilor Eddie Berania, 58, was found dead hours after elements of 22nd Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Philippine Army (PA) visited him in barangay San Juan Daan, Bulan, Sorsogon, February 25, according to Karapatan Sorsogon report.

Eddie’s family told Karapatan Sorsogon that they found the victim around 7:00 in the morning already dead inside his hut located in his farm. Eddie allegedly committed suicide.

Before the incident, Karapatan Sorsogon explained that Eddie’s family witnessed when a certain Ronnie ‘Tatang’ Albao went to talk to Eddie with the elements of the 22nd IB PA on the same day, February 25 around 6:00 in the morning.

“After the conversation, they saw this group left but Eddie was still standing on his farm,” Karapatan Sorsogon stated in its report.

Defend Bicol Stop the Attacks Network (Defend Bicol) and Karapatan Sorsogon strongly condemned the non-stop intimidation and threats by the soldiers to the victim.

“Eddie’s daughter believed it was suicide, triggered by the non-stop threats against his father. Eddie often tells his family why the soldiers are harassing him despite being a barangay official and he knows nothing about the allegations and what the soldiers are looking for in the area,” said Karapatan Sorsogon.

According to the rights group in the province, the threats to Eddie’s life started in 2022, led by Tatang Albao, a civilian and resident of the neighboring barangay, Brgy. Beguin, Bulan.

“Tatang Albao is also a farmer who was forced to surrender to the AFP and now serves as an accomplice in military operations. The military was forcing Eddie to surrender as an NPA even though he is a civilian and actively serves the barangay as an officer,” the rights group added.

Eddie is the head of the Barangay’s Peace and Order Committee and it is also his second term as barangay councilor. He is also an active member of Manghod Organization, a Civil Society Organization (CSO) in Bulan municipality based in Brgy. San Juan Daan.

Defend Bicol and Karapatan Sorsogon also expressed their condolences to the bereaved family of the victim especially to his wife Luz Gonzales and their seven children.

“Just like the courage shown by the Filipinos during EDSA Uno, Eddie stood up for his rights as a civilian until his death,” the progressive groups stated.

The headquarters of the 22nd IB is based in Brgy. Calomagon, Bulan which is around 16 kilometers away from Eddie’s barangay. Since Feb. 6, 2024 until now, there are approximately 12 soldiers who are stationed in the barangay halls of Brgy. San Juan Daan and Brgy. Beguin, according to Karapatan Sorsogon.

“This new incident in the Bicol region clearly shows that Marcos Jr. administration is not after genuine peace in the country. The peace and order head of the barangay was completely silenced by his soldiers so that they could freely sow terror and threats to other residents in the area,” Karapatan Sorsogon expressed.

Defend Bicol insists on resuming the peace talks in order to address the roots of the armed conflict. Reposted by (

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