An indictment as the first step to justice for Fernando Baldomero

By CONCHA ARANETA
NDFP Panay Island

Fernando Baldomero, Provincial Coordinator of MAKABAYAN for Aklan and elected Councilor of the Lezo Municipal Council, was gunned down by motorcycle-riding assailants as he was preparing to bring his child to school on 5 July 2010 in Kalibo, Aklan. This was the last of the long series of threats and harassments inflicted on him because of his unswerving commitment to the people's cause.

A few years before this, he was arrested and imprisoned based on trumped-up charges, which included alleged arson and participation in ambuscades of government troops in places far-away from his home and business. After months of imprisonment and trial, all cases were eventually dismissed due to the insufficiency of the evidence presented against him.

In the months leading to his assasination, he received a letter warning him to desist from his militant political activities. A grenade was thrown and exploded outside his home in Lezo. Two weeks prior to his death, the Army Hour program of the Civilian Relations Service of the 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) under Commanding General Vicente Porto and the 301st Brigade (301Bde) under Brigadier General Gerardo Layug finger-pointed Fernando Baldomero as "front- man of communist terrorists" and his organization as a "front organization of terrorists".

Aside from these, during the campaign leading to the May elections, progressive candidates and Party-Lists, including their campaigners and voters, were especially targeted for harassment and threats by units and elements of the reactionary Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) under the two commands above-mentioned. House-to-house campaigns by soldiers not to vote for progressive parties and candidates, removal of campaign posters as soon as they were posted, threat letters, surveillance, threats to sympathizers, and false accusations were dished out by armed forces elements.

Prosecutors of the people hold that these actuations of the 3ID and 301Bde of the Philippine Army, immediately before and in the years preceding the crime, are incriminating indications of motive and opportunity for Baldomero's assassination. They have set Baldomero up for the killing and blood is on their hands.

The public and even those in the reactionary military and police know that the state's security agents and their henchmen killed Baldomero. Only the Armed Forces' spokesperson has the gall to claim that Baldomero's killing was the result of a so-called purging among the rebel ranks. This squid tactic has been bandied about so often that nobody is buying the lie. In fact, such outright lie constitutes a cover-up, thus implicating the AFP as accessory to the crime after the fact.

In this regard, the people's democratic government in Panay has indicted the following for participation in the murder of Lezo Councilor Fernando Baldomero, having found prima facie evidence against them:

  1. Major General Vicente Porto, for inciting to murder in his command responsibity of the CRS unit that branded the victim as "front man for terrorists". In today's political atmosphere, such public accusations incite and give license, or serve as outright command, to all state security agents to murder with impunity the targeted political activists.

  2. Brigadier General Gerardo Layug, for inciting to murder for the same reason given above.

  3. The CRS elements directing the anti-Baldomero program for the same reasons.

The people's prosecutors and all revolutionary forces are continuing to investigate the incident to find those who committed the actual crime and their masterminds. An arrest order will be issued as soon as the evidence warrants a full indictment. While some may ridicule indictments by the people's court, and though arrest warrants may not be served for years, the long arm of revolutionary justice will catch up with the perpetrators like what happened to Leyne Leysa, killer-for-hire and hitman involved in the killing of Sonny Laporga, whose sentence was carried out after more than two decades.

The Aquino2 government has ordered an investigation primarily because the murder has become a media event even in international media outlets. He was embarrassed by the first extrajudicial killing that marks his presidency as no different from the Arroyo regime in this regard.

The Aquino2 regime is linked to the Arroyo regime by the bloodthirsty AFP and other security forces that it inherited and who continue its bloody tradition of extrajudicial killings and abductions in the pursuit of a "counter-insurgency program" that Aquino himself now directs. In fact, the assassination of Baldomero immediately followed the declaration of the regime's new plan to "decimate the insurgency in three years", and announced by President Aquino's own appointee, AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ricardo David himself.

The Aquino2 government may actually come to present or apprehend some fall guys or even some perpetrators but it will never push through to the masterminds nor reveal the actual reason why Baldomero was killed by his assassins. Doing so will amount to admitting the truth that the extrajudicial killings and other atrocities by the state are creations of the AFP and its Oplan Bantay Laya national security program. Justice for Fernando Baldomero, then, will only be fulfilled by bringing down the very state system that carries out these oppressive strategies.

And beyond Baldomero's demise, true justice can never be served without the victory for Baldomero's cause. Baldomero fought against the Marcos dictatorship for more than a decade by force of arms. He then fought for the downtrodden and the weak in the legal arena and even within the local government of the reactionary state for a decade and more. Baldomero lived and died for the cause of a truly democratic and truly free Philippines.

By making the leap toward the strategic stalemate in the people's war in five years, and eventually winning victory for the people's war, we will ensure that people like Baldomero will not have died in vain.

Justice for Baldomero, justice for the Filipino people!!

Fight till victory for Baldomero's dream of a free and truly democratic Philippines!

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