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Sorsogon rights advocate killing, victims of Aquino Palparan-style “dirty war”

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines

Press Release
August 22, 2015

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people in condemning the killing last August 19 of Teodoro Escanilla in his home in Barangay Tagdon, Barcelona, Sorsogon.

At midnight last Wednesday, at least six men riding in tandem in three motorcycles barged into Escanilla’s home and shot him several times. The assailants fled after carrying out the killing.

Escanilla, 63, served as spokesperson of human rights group Karapatan in Sorsogon. He was also a local radio broadcaster serving as anchor for the 10-year old program “Pamana ng Lahi” which tackled human rights and people’s issues over Radyo DZMS.

“In behalf of all revolutionary forces, the CPP extends its sympathies to Ka Tugoy’s family, and to all his friends and colleagues in the human rights community and the national democratic mass movement.”

“Escanilla was as ardent defender of human rights and critic of the military over human rights abuses commited against civilians under its Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression,” said the CPP.

“The killing of Escanilla marks the intensification of the US-Aquino regime’sdirty war with heightening attacks against civilians and activists,” pointed out the CPP. “It draws attention to the worsening state of human rights under the Aquino regime, especially in the increasing number of extrajudicial killings in the Bicol region, particularly in the provinces of Sorsogon and Masbate.”

“Being a defender of human rights, Escanilla’s assassination is doubly despicable and intensifies the Filipino people’s hatred of the Aquino regime and the AFP,” said the CPP.

“The killing of Escanilla show’s Palparan-style dirty war is alive and actively being carried out by the US-Aquino regime,” said the CPP. “We recall how AFP henchmen under General Palparan’s command carried out the abduction and killing of human rights advocate Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy in Mindoro in 2003.”

“It will come as no surprise if General Palparan continues to give advise to the AFP while he is ‘detained’ inside the Philippine Army’s Fort Bonifacio,” said the CPP. “Current top leaders of the AFP were once students of General Palparan.”

Based on reports of Karapatan, as of March 2015, there have been at least 238 cases of extrajudicial killings involving state agents, 54 of which were perpetrated in the Bicol region. Just last August 2, soldiers killed Ariel and Allan Bartulay in San Jacinto, Masbate. The following day, soldiers massacred four commuter motorcycle drivers Gary Bisnar, Adam Fajardo, Joebert Badilla and Rogelio Abelida Jr. in Cawayan, Masbate.

Escanilla’s killing also highlights the continuing rise in the number of media practitioners killed under the Aquino regime. Two days earlier, Gregorio Ybañez, president of the Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club, and publisher of local newspaper Kabuhayan News Services, was gunned in Tagum City. Media organizations said if shown to have been killed because of his work in media, Ybañez could be the 28th journalist killed since 2010.