President Duterte, not only police-military operatives, liable for deaths of 9 activists

President Duterte, not only the police and military personnel, should be held accountable over the deaths of nine persons who were killed during the operations in Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Batangas last Sunday, March 7.

Those killed in the police-military operations were suspected of having links to the communist rebels in the four provinces.

In a statement, the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) said the joint police-military operations “come on the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent speech calling on the military to ‘kill’ and ‘finish off’ rebels.”

“The series of attacks and the relentless red-tagging of human rights defenders and activists both by President Duterte and his sycophants clearly show the real targets of his ‘kill’ order,” the PILC said.

“President Duterte and the police and military have shown no qualms targeting and killing unarmed civilians especially those who are critical of his administration,” it lamented.

It said that aside from those killed, six activists were arrested during the raids.

“Among those arrested is paralegal and human rights worker Nimfa Lanzanas. Nanay Nimfa, mother of political detainee Edward Lanzanas, assists families of political detainees,” it said.

“The coordinated operations were carried out while we are still in shock over the attempt on the life of our colleague Atty. Angelo Karlo Guillen on March 3, 2021,” it added.

Guillen, who is one of the counsels of the petitioners asking the Supreme Court (SC) to declare as unconstitutional the Anti-Terrorism Act, was stabbed by two unidentified assailants in Iloilo City.

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) had said that Guillen handles “pro bono cases for the poor and the marginalized and is vocal against abuse and oppression.”