Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume III, Number 47 January 4 - 10, 2004 Quezon City, Philippines
season of giving to season of killing
holiday season became a season of grief for the families of Romy Malabanan,42,
and Susan Habac Aringo, 38, both members of militant party-list groups, after
they were killed by men believed to be members of the military.
terror in Southern Tagalog
general of the party-list Bayan Muna in Bay, Laguna, a province 50 kms south of
Manila, was shot dead on Dec. 23 right in front of his house.
His death brings to 38 the total number of Bayan Muna members killed since 2001. It also brings to 183 the total number of incidents of killing under the Arroyo administration, victimizing 271 individuals.
November 2003, a Municipal resolution calling for the removal of the military
detachment in Brgy. Tranka, was unanimously passed by the Municipal Council.
Malabanan was one of those who lobbied for the filing and approval of the
resolution. Townsfolk and
colleagues of Malabanan suspect that this could be one of the reasons why his
killers wanted him silenced.
members echoed this by saying that his death was due to his affiliations with
militant organizations in the area. Before serving as secretary general for
Bayan Muna, Malabanan chaired the provincial peasant organization Pagkakaisa
ng Ugnayan ng mga Magbubukid sa Laguna (PUMALAG ) and was a member
of the executive committee of another peasant organization, the Kalipunan ng
Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK).
He was also the executive assistant and close confidant of Bay Mayor
Aringo on the other
hand was a widow with five children. She
worked in the field to be able to send her children to school. She was also the
municipal coordinator of the Gabriela Women’s Party in Sorsogon.
Aringo was killed in
broad daylight on Dec. 7 by military men in Sitio Muladbukad, San Isidro
Castilla town this province.
She was on her way
to the fields when military men and paramilitary men shot her at the back.
They brought her to the town plaza where villagers milled around her and
saw her still alive. She was only brought to the hospital by two of her daughters
who saw her covered in her own blood. She
made it to the hospital alive but died due to terrible loss of blood.
said the military did not only take their mother’s life but also some of her
belongings. Aringo lost her cellphone, money amounting to P4,000 and a necklace.
Aringo was suspected
as a member of the NPA, a military ploy used to justify the killings of
activists and members of partylist organizations nationwide.
In another incident,
Melvin Jocson, a witness to the Eden Marcellana-Eddie Gumanoy double murder
case, was harassed by alleged military men from Dec. 25-27.
Jocson was with
Marcellana and Gumanoy conducting an investigation of human rights violations in
April last year when they were accosted by military men, leading to the deaths
of the two activists.
Jocson plays an
important role in the case against the killers because he positively identified Master
Sgt. Donald Caigas as the leader of the perpetrators.
of people’s organizations in Occidental Mindoro also reportedly suffered
military harassment during the commemoration of the 55th anniversary
of the Universal Declaration of Human rights on Dec. 10.
Around 50 soldiers
belonging to the 16th Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army (IBPA)
under the 204th Brigade led by a Col. Mesa hounded some 76 persons
participating in a forum at the town’s plaza. The military pierced the tires
of the protestors’ jeepney and tried to confiscate the group’s camera.
At around 9-10 p.m.
the same day, members of the peasant group Samakami found a grenade at the back
of their office. The peasants
immediately reported the incident to Mayor Gaudencio Espiritu and Col. Crusado
of the PNP but their report was attended to only the following day.
The human rights group Karapatan documented a total of 762 cases of harassments under the Arroyo administration which affected 25,381 individuals, 649 families and 21 communities. Bulatlat.com