VIDEOS | Ground zero for Mindanao HR struggle as community leaders silenced with guns
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Human rights violations through extrajudicial killings remain rampant in the country. Since July 2010, a month after President Benigno Aquino III's ascension to power, almost five people monthly or a total of 129 people nationwide have been killed allegedly by state agents without the benefit of a fair and full trial, according to human rights group Karapatan.
In Mindanao, 37 were summarily executed in 28 months from July 2010 to October 2012, based on Karapatan's record. Most of the victims of extrajudicial killings in the south were community leaders who were opposed to large-scale industrial projects in their areas such as mining, plam oil plantations, and the construction of dams that had displaced hundreds of families and changed their ways of life.
In the videos below, five women from Mindanao tell how their husbands, some accused of being members of the communist New People's Army (NPA), were allegedly killed by people linked to the military and state security forces.
'Tortured to death before being declared NPA commander'
Gina Batoy tells how her husband, 35-year-old Ramon Batoy, was killed by soldiers allegedly from the 57th and 38th Infantry Battalions of the Philippine Army and the 10th Special Forces Airborne, who forcibly entered their house in Barangay Kabalantian, Arakan, North Cotabato on October 20, 2011.
Ramon, a tenant-farmer of Antipas Vice Mayor Van Candungon and a supporter of Bantay Kalikasan of Mt. Sinaka, refused to allow the soldiers to come in because he told them they didn't have a search warrant.
The soldiers got angry and hit Ramon in the face with a butt of a rifle. Ramon fought back, unsheathed his bolo, and slit the neck of one of the soldiers.
Gina, who was then six months pregnant, was also attacked by the alleged soldiers, by shooting her and her children.
She and her two children were able to flee to the house of a relative nearby. But when they came back to their house, Ramon was no longer there.
She later on learned that Ramon was boarded on a carabao raft and taken to the center of Kabalantian where he was tortured to death with his naked body exposed to the sun.
Gina says the dead Ramon was then clothed with a soldier's uniform. A gun was also placed beside his remains before the soldiers allegedly declared him as Commander 'Dario' of the NPA.
'If we will see them all by themselves, we will skin them alive'
Mercy Dejos does not believe that NPA rebels were the ones who killed her husband, 50-year-old B’laan tribe chieftain Rudy, and 26-year-old son, Ruderick, on February 27, 2011.
She says Rudy and Ruderick were working at a farm in Barangay Zone 1, Sta. Cruz, Davao del Sur when they were tortured and killed around noon.
Rudy and Ruderick's remains bore gunshot and stab wounds. There were bruises on the victims' bodies and their hands and nails were also smashed.
Before their death, Rudy and Ruderick received threats allegedly from elements and agents of the Philippine Army, according to Mercy.
"If we will see them without companions, we will skin them alive," Mercy says quoting alleged statement by soldiers against her husband and son.
During the wake, Mercy said soldiers kept on coming back to their place. On the third day of the wake, the soldiers gave flowers for the dead, which Marcy refused to accept.
'My activist-husband was killed by his colleagues in the gov't'
Rosalie Cabal says her husband, 47-year-old Margarito Cabal, was killed in Kibawe, Bukidnon on May 9, 2012 by two unidentified men believed to be part of the state's security forces.
Margarito, a government employee, had just returned home from his work when the assailants riding on a red motorcyle without a plate repeatedly shot the victim.
Kibawe, along with 21 villages of Bukidnon and Cotabato, is the site of a planned Hydro-Electric Mega Dam – Pulangi V project of the First Bukidnon Electric Cooperative.
Residents fear that if allowed to operate, the Pulangi V Mega Dam would submerge 22 villages, in Bukidnon and Cotabato, including indigenous peoples’ land and small farms.
Tumaras village, where Margarito's family resides, could also be affected by the dam.
Margarito was known for his staunch opposition to the establishment of the Hydro-Electric Mega Dam – Pulangi V project, a position he shared with the Kibawe mayor whom he supported.
Margarito was also a member of Save Pulangi Alliance, a coalition of peoples in Bukidnon and Cotabato resisting the dam project.
Sometime in April 2012, Margarito told a colleague about an alleged police mobile suspected to be tailing him. At one time, policemen riding the vehicle directed their flashlight at Margarito's boarding house in Palma Village.
Three days before Margarito was killed, men on board a motorcycle were seen near the victim’s boarding house.
Margarito was suspected by state authorities of having connections with leftists because of his frequent trips to the hinterland villages of Kibawe, and places labelled as “red areas.”
Rosalies says that at the funeral parlor, she hugged her dead husband whose eyes and mouth were still open and shouted to him that, "Boy, it was your colleagues in the government who killed you!"
Village chief shot dead due to refusal to support pro-mining paramilitary group
Sharon Liguyon of San Fernando, Bukidnon says that before her husband Jimmy, a village chief, was killed in March 2012, the victim received threats from Alde Salusad, allegedly a member of a paramilitary group.
on March 5, Alde went to the house of the Liguyons and asked the village chief if there were oldiers in the area.
When Jimmy said there was none, Alde asked the village captain to stand up and seat on another chair. While Jimmy was seating on the other chair, Sharon says Alde shot her husband in the chest.
It was their daughter Cha-cha who witnessed the shooting and told her mother about it.
When Sharon went inside their house, she saw Alde still shooting Jimmy repeatedly.
A woman outside the Liguyons' house screamed at Alde and asked him why he killed Jimmy.
Alde allegedly said that he killed the village chief because he had refused to support the paramilitary group Sanmatrida, which had been pushing for the entry of large-scale mining operations in San Fernando.
Lumad leader vs palm oil plantation in Misamis Oriental gunned down by motorcycle-riding men
Daisy Paborada says her 47-year-old husband Gilbert Paborada, a member of the Higaonon tribe, was gunned down on October 3, 2012 in Puntod, Cagayan de Oro City by two motorcycle-riding men believed to be state agents.
Gilbert sustained five gunshot wounds in the head, abdomen, and hand and another two in the chest. He was dead on the spot.
The victim was chairman of of Pangalasag, the Lumad Organization in Opol, Misamis Oriental, campaining against the expansion of palm oil plantations in the area owned by the A. Brown Company, a U.S. corporation.
Daisy says she wants the government to give justice to the death of her husband. She says that so far, the government has done nothing to make the perpetrators pay for what they did to Gilbert.