Remains of 2 slain activists hastily buried in mislabeled graves

Emerito Pinza’s grave, hastily mislabeled as “Leo San Jose Dela Cruz.” (Photo courtesy of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog)

The human rights group stated that “no legal documents were processed to authenticate the identities of the two remains,” and that they were only positively identified as Pinza and Candor upon exhuming.

By JUSTIN UMALI
Bulatlat.com

SANTA ROSA, Laguna – The remains of two peasant activists, Emerito Pinza and Romy Candor, have been found, according to human rights group Karapatan Southern Tagalog.

According to Karapatan ST, the two were buried in the Calamba Municipal Cemetery, January 24. They were buried under the false names of ‘Leo San Jose Dela Cruz’ for Emerito Pinza and ‘Bipar’ for Romy Candor. The two were killed on January 19 by suspected elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Mobile Force Battalion 4A.

Police’s claim vs slain activists ‘lies and deceit’ – rights group

Karapatan ST stated that Pinza and Candor’s remains were brought by soldiers from Camp Vicente Lim to a nearby funeral home, January 21. The remains were then sent to the Calamba Municipal Cemetery, January 23, after festering open wounds necessitated a burial.

During this time, no family tried to claim the bodies, according to Karapatan ST. The group noted that this was counter to Calabarzon PRO4A’s claims that the remains were “returned to their families and were thankful for giving [Pinza and Candor] decent burials.”

Pinza and Candor’s remains were buried January 24. Alleged indigenous people claiming to be Pinza’s family came to see the burial, despite Maribel Pinza, Emerito’s wife, stating that she was not informed of her husband’s death.

Romy Candor’s grave, hastily mislabeled as “Bipar.” (Photo courtesy of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog)

The human rights group stated that “no legal documents were processed to authenticate the identities of the two remains,” and that they were only positively identified as Pinza and Candor upon exhumation.

‘Part of Parlade’s modus’

Karapatan ST was quick to point out that the results of their humanitarian team’s findings directly exposes the military and police’s “lies and deceit.” In a statement, they called out a Captain Venida from Camp Vicente Lim who insisted that no remains were ever brought inside the facility.

They also called out Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., who was appointed head of the Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last January 17.

The group described the military’s attempts to frustrate those trying to find the remains as “part of Parlade’s modus operandi to weave a rope of lies.”

“Although these tactics by the police and military aren’t new,” the statement read in Filipino, “it is still hard to believe that they would stoop this low in order to attack progressive people’s organizations.”

Farmer’s group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas also castigated Parlade. “In just a matter of days after being appointed as new Solcom commander, General Parlade wasted no time in terrorizing indigenous and peasant organizations in Southern Tagalog,” said Danilo Ramos, KMP National Chairperson.

Parlade is also a key person behind the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict, which has utilized state machineries to attack legal personalities and organizations under its counter-insurgency program. Pinza and Candor were members of Pinagkaisang Ugnayan ng mga Magsasaka sa Laguna.

“The military have already violated the right to life of hundreds of rural poor, now they violate even their right to a proper burial,” Ramos said. “Solcom is killing unarmed civilians and employing psy-war tactics against their relatives and friends; this is state terrorism.” ()

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