Two members of
paramilitary group charged with murder of Lumad student
October 29, 2018
QUEZON CITY – In a
resolution, the Department of Justice found probable cause to charge
Ben Salangani and Joven Salangani, members of paramilitary group
Alamara, for the murder of 19-year old Lumad Obello Bay-ao, a
student of the alternative school Salugpongan Ta’Tanu Igkanogon
Community Learning Center (STTICLC).
Bay-ao’s parents through
their legals counsels from the National Union of Peoples Lawyers
received a copy of the resolution dated May 21, 2018 only yesterday.
Bay-ao was killed on
September 5, 2017 in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. He and his family
were among the more than 200 Lumad residents in the community who
fleed in July 2017 due to threats of the Alamara members and
military operations of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The
evacuees returned to their community in August 2017.
The Alamara is among the paramilitaries or force multipliers
accredited by the Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU)
under the command of the 60th Infantry Battalion- Philippine Army.
“The arrest of Ben and Joven Salangani is long overdue. Their
coddlers in the 60th IBPA and the Eastern Mindanao Command should
not only surrender them. They should also be charged for their
complicity in the killing of Bay-ao and their military operations in
Talaingod which led to this dastardly crime,” said Karapatan
Secretary General Cristina Palabay.
“Obello Bay-ao is among the many victims of extrajudicial killings
in the Philippines that happened while martial law is imposed in
Mindanao by President Rodrigo Duterte. Many military and
paramilitary men are still on loose sowing terror in peasant and
Lumad communities. Many are yet to be prosecuted due to the climate
of impunity that exists,” Palabay added.
Before he was killed, Bay-ao joined the protest caravan called
Lakbayan ng mga Pambansang Minorya in Manila on August 2017. Through
his dying declaration to one of the witnesses, Bay-ao was able to
identify Ben and Joven Salangani as those who shot him. Witnesses
also identified the two as among those who shot Bay-ao.
“The culpability of paramilitaries such as the Alamara in the
killing of Bay-ao affirms that the AFP and its adjuncts are into the
business of murdering civilians. This has been the case in the
massacre in Lianga, Surigao del Sur in September 2015. This is once
again apparent in the massacre of the nine peasants in Sagay, Negros
Occidental by the Special Civilian Auxiliary Army of the Armed
Forces of the Philippines and mercenary private armies of
landlords,” she said.
“We stand with the family, friends, fellow students and community of
Obello Bay-ao and of all those killed by State forces under the
Duterte regime in their continuing quest for justice. We reiterate
our call for the disbandment of paramilitary groups and for the
Duterte regime to end its attacks against the Filipino people,”