A village chief and a councilor was shot dead after meeting with soldiers from the 69th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. Their companion, another councilor, is in critical condition.
BY DABET CASTAÑEDA
Village chief Victorina Gomez with two councilors, Romeo Atienza and Rey Macabili were walking a few meters away from the barangay (village) multipurpose hall at Barangay Parian, Mexico, Pampanga (71 kms north of Manila), when three unidentified men wearing ski masks on board a motorcycle fired at them with high powered rifles.
Gomez and Atienza were killed instantly. Macabili is in critical condition, presently confined in a hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga.
The three just came from a dialogue with soldiers of the 69th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. They were asking the soldiers to vacate the multipurpose hall, which the latter has turned into a military detachment.
It was learned that the hall was a project of the party-list group Bayan Muna (People First) of which Gomez is a member.
Roman Polintan, chair of the Central Luzon chapter of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or Bayan (New Patriotic Alliance), said 19 of the 43 villages in Mexico have military detachments.
“We vehemently denounce this brutalities and point to Palparan as the mastermind,” Polintan said.
Major General Jovito Palparan is the head of the Army’s 7th Infantry Division (ID). The army division operates in six provinces in Central Luzon, plus Aurora and Pangasinan. Palaparan is being accused of military atrocities by human rights organizations in Mindoro island in Southern Tagalog and Eastern Visayas, his two previous assignments.
Two days before the incident, a member of the Alyansa ng mga Magbubukid sa Bulacan (Alliance of Peasants in Bulacan) or AMB, was murdered inside his home in Barangay Balaong, San Miguel, Bulacan (75 kms. north of Manila). Alfredo Mañaol Jr, 48, was the eldest son of AMB chair Alfredo Sr.
The regional chapter of the human rights group Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights) has documented 30 victims of killings and seven missing persons since September when Palparan was assigned to the 7th Infantry Division.
Jess Alcantara of Barangay Pinaod, San Ildefonso, Bulacan was shot dead at around 1:30 p.m. Dec. 16. Alcantara, a tricycle driver, was transporting a child in the same village when he was shot. Witnesses said his assailant, who tailed him, was on a motorcycle.
Witnesses also said that two weeks before the murder, men in civilian clothes went around the village asking about Alcantara’s whereabouts.
Alcantara was former Bayan Muna municipal coordinator in San Ildefonso and secretary general of the San Ildefonso Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association Federation. He was survived by his wife and four children.
Meanwhile, in Tarlac (125 kms north of Manila), Edwin Nuqui, 46, was tortured and abducted allegedly by soldiers last Monday, Dec. 12. The victim is a member of the party-list group Anakpawis (toiling masses).
He was last seen ferrying passengers on board his tricycle in Barangay Lubigan, San Jose town.
Witnesses said that about 3 p.m., they saw soldiers mauling Nuqui who was blindfolded.
He has been missing since.
Polintan said their group also holds President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo equally liable for the acts of violence against unarmed civilians.
“Her silence can only mean that these killings are a policy of her administration.,” he said. (Bulatlat.com)