Rains and the Baguio chill failed to deter hundreds who took part in the gathering of rights advocates and protest rally to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the city on September 20.
The wife of Brandon Lee, an American journalist and activist, who survived an attempted assassination in Ifugao last August, the military is the one behind the attack.
AFP has the strongest motive. Years before the incident, Brandon and his colleagues were already in danger from frequent threats of the AFP. Threats directed against indigenous people’s rights defenders that continue their advocacy for the rights of the people of Ifugao.
Freelance videographer and photographer, John Joseph Buenaventura, sought the independent probe of the Commission on Human Rights Cordillera against members Philippine National Police for executing illegal search and invalid checkpoint, and other offenses committed against him on August 25 along Halsema Road in Tublay town. He hopes the body would also draw out the facts regarding the incidents to bare the effort of the police and government-ran media outfit to twist the facts regarding the incident.
Judge Mario Anacleto Bañez of RTC Branch 25 acquitted Rachel Mariano, a community health and human rights activist of murder and frustrated murder charges filed by the military after finding the evidence presented against her as insufficient and doubtful.
An organization of farmers red-tagged by the military is urging Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Singson to stand against the continued harassment and threats committed by soldiers from the 81st Infantry Battalion. This came after a dialogue facilitated by the governor failed to stop the military from intimidating leaders and members of the group, and forcing some to surrender and pledge support to their “peace and development program.”
Rebel leaders in the Cordillera said the government would fail with its plan to make the region as a model of the “whole of nation” approach in ending the communist armed revolution. They also called on guerilla units of the NPA to launch more offensives to counter Oplan Kapanatagan.
The family of journalist and rights activist Brandon Lee expressed worries about his safety and the impartiality of the ongoing investigation. They also voiced disbelief on the military’s denial of its involvement in the shooting nor its claim of having a “harmonious relationship” with the victim.
Barely a week after Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Singson facilitated a dialogue where leaders of Timpuyog ti Umili iti Karayan Buaya (People’s Unity in the Buaya River) told the military to stop visiting them, army personnel intruded in their meeting.
Church and peasant leaders told the military to stop harassing their members and tagging their organizations as communist-rebel fronts during a dialogue facilitated by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur.
In an interview in 2018, during the International Solidarity Mission in Ifugao, Bandon Lee made it clear that state agents and their minions are the only ones that have the motive to inflict harm to him and members of the Ifugao Peasant Movement. Meanwhile, the 5th Infantry Division and its 54th Infantry Division have recently made a statement calling the accusations of Brandon Lee’s colleagues on the military’s involvement in the shooting as “devoid of logic and factual basis”. Here is part of that interview.
New People Army rebels operating in Ifugao denied that the four individuals presented by the military as rebel returnees during the Independence Day commemoration in the province are their comrades, and called the incident a “desperate effort” of the military to present the rebel movement in the province as “weak” and “losing the support of the people.”