BAGUIO CITY (Nov. 22) — Human rights advocates are outraged that the Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) of the Armed forces of the Philippines (AFP) for spreading lies as it openly accuses activists as the masterminds behind the killings of their colleagues.
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) Vice-chairperson Beverly Longid said that the NOLCOM statement is a desperate move of the AFP to cover what is apparently its own atrocities. She said it only proves the insincerity of the AFP to bring to justice identified soldiers and military agents involved in the murder of political activists all over the country.
“These (NOLCOM statement) are blatant lies. We cannot speak for the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA (New People’s Army) and NDFP but we can definitely speak for Albert (Terredaño), Pepe (Manegdeg) and Josephine (Perez) whose names and reputation are now being tarnished by the twisted propaganda of the AFP under their commander-in-chief Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (GMA),” Longid stressed.
Longid iterated that Menegdeg was murdered allegedly by AFP death squads on November 28, 2005 in San Esteban, Ilocos Sur and Terredaño was killed by gunmen aboard a motorcycle in Abra the following day. She further said that the double-murder of Manegdeg and Terredaño is part of the Arroyo administration’s neutralization of the left under its Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL).
“Who would benefit from their (Manegdeg, Terredaño) death? Certainly not their colleagues and definitely not their friends and family,” Longid said. She added that colleagues, friends and families of murdered political activists are also victims because they have lost their loved ones.
Longid further denounced NOLCOM’s claim that Menegdeg, Terredaño and Perez are members of the CPP-NPA. She clarified that Menegdeg was the coordinator of the Rural Missionaries Program in the Ilocos and Cordillera regions while Terredaño was a convener of the Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), chair of the Department of Agrarian Reform Employees Union and a volunteer of the Cordillera Indigenous Law Center (Dinteg).
Karapatan reports that 93 of 786 victims of political killings are indigenous peoples (IP), 33 are from the Cordillera.
NOLCOM issued a statement last week entitled “The truth behind the so-called political killings”, which came out in several national dailies. The said report alleged that political killings victimizing activists is part of the purging of the CPP-NPA and NDFP. It further implicated Josephine Perez as the mastermind in the killing of Manegdeg. # Kimberlie N. Quitasol for NORDIS