SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Reference: Rupert Estanislao, chair
The San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP) is dismayed and disgusted by the recent pronouncements by Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza of the 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) over the recent assassination of Bayan Muna organizer and Barug Katawhan leader Christina Morales Jose.
“The utterly baseless and disgusting accusations by Paniza is nothing new when it comes to the bankrupt tactics of the AFP,” said SF CHRP chair Rupert Estanislao. “The death of Jose has all of the makeup of the typical terror campaigns by the AFP and their armed militias against the communities they are occupying through the terroristic counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan.”
At a press conference on March 7th, Paniza stated that the New People’s Army (NPA) was likely behind her killing because of her supposed “close ties” to the AFP’s 67th Infantry Battalion (IB) which had been doing “disaster relief operations” in her area. He also denied that they had been “red-tagging” her and other fellow Barug Katawhan leaders stating that, “[T]hey are the ones’ tagging themselves in terms of their actions. If they are not members or supporters of the communist, then let the people know.”
“The statements of Paniza are absolutely absurd,” decried Estanislao. “His words are the markings of either a completely inept and disconnected officer of the AFP or are the markings of a despicable liar who is too lazy to even skillfully put together plausible lies.”
“Far from ‘being close’ to the 67th IB, Jose was openly critical of the way they were targeting her community and handling the victims of typhoon Pablo,” continued Estanislao. “On top of that, despite their denials, the AFP had repeatedly demonized Jose by claiming she was either a member of, or supporter of, the NPA, and tried many times to frustrate her efforts in organizing the victims of typhoon Pablo in seeking to rebuild their lives and to be given the relief and aid that was rightfully theirs.”
Based on initial reports from a “quick reaction team” sent by local human rights organizers of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region, Jose was extremely outspoken against the actions of the 67th IB because of their refusal to give out the proper 10 kilos of rice per household in her village of Binondo. The 67th IB tagged the whole village as “supporters of the NPA” and only gave each household half of the emergency relief that was supposed to be allocated to them.
“Not only was Jose tagged as a NPA supporter by the 67th IB, she herself held a press conference in Davao city not just a few days before she was murdered exposing the food-blockade and harassment of herself and her village by the 67th IB,” explained Estanislao. “Witnesses also attested to the fact that she, and others in her group, were being shadowed by known members of the AFP during her press conference and also during a heated discussion at a barangay council meeting in where she was arguing against the deplorable tactics and red-tagging being done by the 67th IB. This is a far cry from a ‘close relationship’ with the AFP that Paniza is claiming.”
“All of the evidence points to the AFP as being the perpetrators of her assassination, not the NPA,” said Estanislao. “Blaming outside forces, such as the NPA, for doing the dirty work of the AFP is nothing new. This has been a tried and true tactic of the AFP when implementing Oplan Bayanihan: red-tag community activists as NPA, harass and spy on them, assassinate them, and then claim there is no red-tagging and assassination campaign by the AFP and blame the killing on someone else.”
With Jose being at least the 2nd victim of a politically motivated killing within a ten day time span, SF CHRP is calling on the Aquino regime and the AFP to cease and desist with its demonization, red-tagging, and targeting of community activists, leaders, and concerned citizens. No amount of lies and fabricated evidence can conceal the truth that the AFP is unleashing a campaign of terror against the Filipino people on behalf of president Noynoy Aquino. SF CHRP is calling on the Aquino regime to stop with its practice of letting the military to run free in its campaign of terror, and to bring those responsible for the more than 135 extrajudicial killings to justice and to end the counterinsurgency campaign Oplan Bayanihan.