By Reynard Magtoto
Rodolfo Tagalog Sr., father of peasant brutally killed in Milagros, Masbate filed a complaint against the Government of the Philippines (GRP) at the GRP-NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee in Quezon City earlier today.
“Justice, I am here for justice. We have done nothing wrong, so why are we treated this way? I will continue to demand for justice – justice for me and justice for my son,” said Rodolfo Sr.
Rodolfo Sr.’s son, Rodolfo Jr., was killed by composite elements of the 2nd Infantry Battalion – Philippine Army (IBPA) and 9th Infantry Division last April 15, 2017. During the encounter, Rodolfo Sr. was gathering coconuts, when a bullet grazed his arm and he fell from the tree. Despite his injury, he crawled to a bushy area to hide. Unable to move because of the pain, he stayed in the same spot for 8 days until a child chanced upon him and helped him.
In a fact sheet submitted by Karapatan-Bicol based on the affidavit executed by Myrna Capillan, wife of Rodolfo Jr., her husband was in the river, bathing their horse in the morning of April 15. At around 5:30 to 7am, an encounter between the military and the New People’s Army (NPA) ensued.
Witnesses attest that Rodolfo Jr. was abducted by soldiers of the 2nd IBPA and 9th ID. He has not been heard of for three days, until his family received a call from local authorities that three bodies are for retrieval from a military camp in Sitio Tulay, Milagros.
According to Capillan, soldiers first showed photographs of the three bodies for her to positively identify Rodolfo Jr. She confirmed that it was indeed her husband and described the state of her husband’s body as: “his right cheeks were missing, his eyes were bloody and he had gunshot wounds.” Myrna added that Rodolfo Jr. was no longer wearing his shirt so rope marks, wounds, and bruises were visible on his bare skin.
“Nothing can fully describe the pain of a parent after learning that this is what his child has gone through,”said Rodolfo Sr. He only learned of his son’s death eight days after the incident.
“Three months after the incident and Tatay Rodolfo Sr. is still in pain – both in the literal and figurative sense. Filing the case against the GRP is one platform for victims and kin to expose the threads of State repression in the countryside and how it is affecting them. This is a clear violation of the Comprehensive Agreement of the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), and this is not an isolated case. This has been happening, and is gradually worsening after Duterte’s all-out-war, the US-instigated counterinsurgency program, and the recent martial law declaration,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Jigs Clamor.
More than a year after Duterte became president, Karapatan has already documented 68 victims of political killings, majority of which are peasants. Clamor underscored that such violations against people’s civil and political rights have become all too rampant because of State policies that enables such abuses. (BaretangBikolnon.com)
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