A YOUTH legislator on Tuesday sought a congressional probe into the new spate of killings of tribesmen or lumad, peasant leaders and activists allegedly by military agents.
In House Resolution 479, Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago voiced concern over the reported killings of involving lumad and peasant leaders, especially within the first 100 days of the Duterte administration.
Elago said the most recent case is the consecutive killing of lumad peasant leader Jimmy Saypan and lumad youth leader Joselito Pasaporte, both from Compostela Valley, who were supposedly slain by alleged elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
“The killings coincided with the ‘Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya,’ a caravan of different groups all over the country, from north to south, who came together in a unified call—to end plunder and AFP operations in their ancestral lands, to stop the fascist attacks against the Moro and indigenous peoples, to uphold national sovereignty and the people’s right to self-determination against US imperialism and to struggle for just and lasting peace,” Elago said.
Elago said Pasaporte, 28, a resident of Mabini, Compostela Valley, and a member of the environmental group Panalipdan Youth, was shot dead at 5:20 p.m. of October 13 by unidentified gunmen linked to the 46th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
Saypan, 48, leader of the farmers’ group Compostela Farmers Association, was shot by a motorcycle-riding gunman who is suspected to be a soldier of the Philippine Army’s 66th Infantry Battalion in New Visayas, Montevista, Compostela Valley last October 10. Saypan died the next day.
The human rights group Karapatan has recorded at least 16 cases of political killings, 16 frustrated killings, two cases of torture and nine cases of illegal arrest and detention since Duterte assumed office. Most of the victims of political killings were from the peasantry and national minority groups, she said.
“This new spate of lumad killings highlight the urgency of the call of the ‘Lakbayan ng Pambansang Minorya’ for an end to militarization and plunder of ancestral domains,” she stressed.
“It is the constitutional mandate of Congress to immediately exhaust all means to protect the victims and stop these suspected military agents from threatening their life and liberty. Congress should also immediately move and demand accountability on the part of the military for such undemocratic acts which constitute grave violations of human rights,” Elago said.