By Ellson Quismorio
A Makabayan solon is up in arms over two alleged cases of extra-judicial killings–one involving a 15-year-old lumad student in Mindanao–just as the Philippines pulled out from the International Criminal Court or ICC.
Anakpawis Party-List Rep. Ariel Casilao identified the fatalities as Jerome Pangadas, a student of Salugpungan lumad school in Talaingod, Davao del Norte; and Larry Suganob, a peasant activist-member of Pinagbuklod in San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan. The victims were killed on March 15 and 18, respectively.
“We demand justice for the victims and hold the Duterte government primary responsible. We urge the people to resist state terror and uphold human rights, democracy and justice,” Casilao said in a statement Tuesday.
According to the militant solon, the very reason why the Duterte administration left the ICC was because “it is guilty of murdering its own constituents, particularly the marginalized sectors who are demanding overdue social and economic reforms in the country.”
Casilao bared that as per an urgent alert issued by the Save Our Schools Network, Pangadas, 15, was killed by a member of a Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU), which is an irregular auxiliary force of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Meanwhile, peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) alleged that Suganob was slain by elements of the 48th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army while they were operating in his village in Barangay San Isidro. He was also a member of Anakpawis Party-List in Bulacan.
It can be recalled that the Philippines withdrew from the Rome Statute that created the ICC back in May 2018. The country’s exit from the ICC formally took effect last March 17, a date sandwiched by the killings.
KMP said the number of peasant victims of EJKs under the current administration have now reached at least 184. This figure includes nine children, 23 elderly persons and 27 peasant women.
Casilao argued that these cases were neither isolated nor sporadic events, but resulted from the execution of government policies such as counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan, martial law in Mindanao, and Memorandum Circular No. 32.
“Crimes against humanity are characterized by its systematic killing of the civilian population and other abuses. All government actions motivate the crimes. Its total isolation from the people and international community is certain in the near future,” Casilao said.