Twelve years ago today, in the morning of July 31, 2006, news spread like wildfire that the family of Dr. Chandu Claver was ambushed by bonnet-clad men after dropping off their daughter in her school at the St. Toni’s College in Bulanao, Tabuk, Kalinga. They were immediately rushed to the hospital, but only Dr. Chandu and another daughter survived the incident. Alyce Claver, the Doctor’s spouse sadly expired hours after the fateful event. The Claver kin recount that Alyce then tried to shield Chandu and their daughter from the volley of bullets of the machine guns fired by the assassins towards the family vehicle.
Alyce and Chandu were known for their active involvement on social issues affecting the people not only in their hometown of Kalinga but in the whole of the Cordillera and the country. At the time of the incident, Dr. Chandu was the Chairperson of the Kalinga chapters of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA) and of Bayan Muna. Many were certain that the ambush targeted Dr. Chandu because of his boldness and critical stance against state policies and programs detrimental to many poor and marginalized sectors and communities.
This incident traumatized the Claver family especially the children, because of the shocking death of their mother and as threats to their father’s life persisted. This forced the family to seek asylum in Canada, where they now reside pointlessly uprooting them from their homeland.
This blatant act and other merciless manner of attacks and ruthless killings against political activists became prevalent during the reign of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo starting 2001 when she adopted in the country, the US crusade of “war on terror”. Ironically, commencing during this period, within the Cordillera Region and in the other part of the Philippines, the rule of terror abounded, leaving many families (children,siblings and parents) bereaved, aggrieved and psychologically broken.
Two months before the ambush, the gruesome extrajudicial killing of Markus Bangit of the CPA was witnessed by his 16 year old son as they were on their way to Baguio City from Kalinga.
Under Maj. General Jovito Palparan’s leadership in the AFP, GMA’s most trusted military ally, 1,190 were summarily executed and 205 were disappeared from among the ranks of political activists which included UP Diliman students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno. Until now many of their kin including Sherlyn and Karen’s still cry out for justice.
Like the case of Alyce Claver, 12 years after her death, justice has not yet been served. In fact the perpetrators are still on the loose, enjoying freedom including the mastermind of the crime, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo while the victims’ families and survivors continue to suffer in anguish.
Now, Arroyo has made a malevolent comeback as she succeeded in seizing back political ascendancy by the preposterous grab of the house speakership. After the drama of her incarceration a few years back because of plunder on the nation’s coffers, cases against her had been dismissed right after the ascension to power of now President Rodrigo Duterte.
Impunity persists under the Duterte Regime after he declared war against various sectors in Philippine society, the most chilling of which is his sham war on drugs. But GMA’s re-establishing herself into power make the state of affairs of the nation even more daunting because of her beastly record as number one violator of the human rights of political dissenters. If GMA succeeds, then the climate of impunity will further escalate.
Let us not allow GMA to triumph and re-establish herself into power!
We call on the ranks of the women and the public to stay vigilant and openly denounce the political dominance of the butcher, Gloria Arroyo.
Let us collectively act to end the reign of terror and impunity.
Justice for all victims of summary executions and disappearances under the administration of Pres. Gloria Arroyo!
Justice for Alyce Omengan Claver! # nordis.net