Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ka Ayik Casilao and Makabayan lawmakers file House Resolution No. 2429 on PNP-AFP SEMPO in Negros Oriental Leading to Extra-Judicial Killings and Arrests

House Resolution 2429 filed by Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel "Ka Ayik" Casilao on PNP-AFP SEMPO in Negros Oriental Leading to Extra-Judicial Killings and ArrestsHouse Resolution 2429 filed by Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel "Ka Ayik" Casilao on PNP-AFP SEMPO in Negros Oriental Leading to Extra-Judicial Killings and Arrests

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City, Metro Manila

SEVENTEENTH CONGRESS
Third Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION NO. 2429

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INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES
ARIEL B. CASILAO
CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE, EMMI A. DE JESUS, ANTONIO L. TINIO,
ARLENE D. BROSAS, FRANCE L. CASTRO, SARAH JANE I. ELAGO
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RESOLUTION
DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS
TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION,
ON THE SYNCHRONIZED ENHANCED MANAGING POLICE OPERATIONS (SEMPO) CONDUCTED ON DECEMBER 27, 2018 BY THE COMBINED ELEMENTS OF THE PHILIPPINE NATIONAL POLICE – SPECIAL ACTION FORCE (PNP-SAF) REGIONAL OFFICE 7 AND THE 94TH INFANTRY BATTALION OF THE PHILIPPINE ARMY THAT RESULTED IN THE KILLING OF SIX INDIVIDUALS AND ARRESTS OF 27, MOSTLY MEMBERS OF VARIOUS PROGRESSIVE ORGANIZATIONS IN GUIHULNGAN CITY AND TOWNS OF MABINAY AND STA. CATALINA, NEGROS ORIENTAL PROVINCE

WHEREAS, on December 27, 2018, elements of the Philippine National Police Region 7 and the 94th Infantry Battalion under the 302nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army conducted a “Synchronized Enhanced Managing Police Operations” (SEMPO) which combed Guihulngan City and towns of Mabinay, and Sta. Catalina in Negros Oriental province. According to the Philippine National Police Regional Office – 7 (PRO7), the operations were conducted to serve the 97 search warrants issued by Negros Oriental Regional Trial Court Judge Soliver Peras mainly based on Republic Act 10591 or Comprehensive Law on Firearms and Ammunitions;

WHEREAS, according to peasant group, Kahugpungan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmay nga Mag-uuma sa Oriental Negros (KAUGMA-ON, provincial chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas for Negros Oriental) and Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the SEMPO led to the killing of six victims, namely:

• Jesus ‘DonDon’ Isugan, resident of Brgy. Buenavista and member of Guihulngan Habal-habal United Operators and Drivers Association (GHUODA-PISTON), whose body was put inside a sack, but police operatives showed a warrant of arrest named for a certain, “Tomas Isugan,” also, son of Delia Isugan, peasant organizer of KAUGMA-ON;
• Reneboy Fat, resident of Brgy. Hilaitan and member of GHUODA-PISTON;
• Demetrio Fat and Jun Cubul, peasant organizers from Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City;
• Jaime Revilla, of Guihulngan City and a community organizer; and
• Constancio Languita, resident of Sta. Catalina town;

WHEREAS, the report of PNP Region 7 alleged that the six fought it out with the law enforcers and that their dead bodies were found lying near various unlicensed firearms, which the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) alleged as “tokhang-like” crackdown against activists in the province;

WHEREAS, also arrested were:

• Delia Isugan, organizer of KAUGMA-ON and her husband Dominador of Brgy. Buenavista, Guihulngan City;
• Maximo Tamban of Sitio Ilaya, Brgy. Hilaitan, Guihulngan City, lay minister in Diocese of San Carlos, but the warrant of arrest used was named for a certain “Maximo Marco;”
• Glencel Alangilan of Brgy. Nagsaha, Guihulngan City;
• Lendy Abraham, village chief of Brgy. Tacpao, Guihulngan City;
• Melbourne Bustamante, village chief of Brgy. Trinidad, Guihulngan City;
• Erlinda Abraham, village chief of Brgy. Tacpao, Guihulngan City;
• Nonoy Trosa, village councilor of Brgy. Nagbinlod, Sta. Catalina town;
• Rene Cańete, member of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW);
• Margie Vailoces and five other residents of barangays Luyang and Talingting in Mabinay town;

WHEREAS, KAUGMA-ON stressed that victims were usually coerced to admit ownership of planted firearms and explosives evidences;

WHEREAS, it is worth noting that most of the victims, killed and arrested, particularly the abovenamed individuals, are members and organizers of various peasant and activist organizations, and civilian officials in the province;

WHEREAS, on January 3, 2019, a fact-finding mission was conducted by the Save Guihulngan Movement, Karapatan – Central Visayas human rights group and KAUGMA-ON, noted of several excesses committed by the SEMPO operatives. Among the excesses are:

• on December 28, 2018, the SEMPO operatives barged into the Kalabaklabakan Mountain Clinic in Barangay Trinidad, Guihulngan City;
• on December 29, 2018, they forcibly entered and searched the house of Marilu Alangilan in Brgy. Buenavista, Guihulngan City, a leader of the local small fishers organization. They alleged to have found subversive documents and firearms inside her house;

WHEREAS, in view of the organizational affiliation of those arrested and the manner of the arrests, KAUGMA-ON and Karapatan – Central Visayas human rights group asserted that the SEMPO was more than running after loose firearms in Negros Oriental. That it was actually an ‘extreme crackdown’ on peasants and activists organizations in the province which for years now have been waging a sustained struggle for land owing to the intensifying land problem, poverty and hunger in Negros island, particularly in areas under the shadow of the hacienda system;

WHEREAS, KAUGMA-ON and Karapatan – Central Visayas noted that the SEMPO was conducted after the Malacanang issuance of Memorandum Order No. 32 in November 2018 which ordered the deployment of more troops in Negros Island, Samar provinces and Bikol to ostensibly “suppress lawless” violence in those areas;

WHEREAS, it also came on the heels of the Sagay Massacre on October 20, 2018 in Hacienda Nene, Barangay Bulanon, Sagay, Negros Occidental where seven farm workers, including four women and two minors, were killed in a treacherous nightime attack;

WHEREAS, in the aftermath of the Sagay Massacre, it surfaced in the press that the military and police, in pursuance of their counter-insurgency oplan, have tagged legitimate farmers organizations in Negros island as “communist fronts” and targetted them for military interdiction;

WHEREAS, Karapatan – Central Visayas noted that before the December 27 SEMPO operation, the AFP circulated fake news in Central Negros, claiming that an encounter had taken place between elements of the NPA and AFP in which the AFP had allegedly seized 50 firearms from the NPA. The AFP used this incident to justify their presence in the hinterlands of Guihulngan City and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental and Isabela and Magallon towns in Negros Occidental;

WHEREAS, the SEMPO, as it was conducted in the three towns of Negros Oriental, has serious implications on the lives, safety and human rights of the people of Negros and, by extension, the whole country as it showed a rampaging military that used suppressing lawless violence as cover for indiscriminate killing and arrests of individuals who are members of legitimate organizations and advancing social reforms for the welfare of marginalized sectors;

WHEREAS, as of this writing, the SEMPO is continuing its sweep of the island, descending down to the central and southern part of Negros, without any guarantees to the basic rights of the civilian population, against “tokhang-like” killings, illegal arrests and searches, and other forms of abuses;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Human Rights to conduct an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the SEMPO conducted on December 27, 2018 by elements of the PNP and AFP that resulted in the killing of six individuals and of 27, mostly members of various progressive organizations in Guihulngan City and towns of Mabinay and Sta. Catalina, Negros Oriental province.

Adopted,

REP. ARIEL B. CASILAO
ANAKPAWIS Party-list

REP.CARLOS ISAGANI T. ZARATE
BAYAN MUNA Party-list

REP. EMMI A. DE JESUS
GABRIELA Women’s Party

REP. ANTONIO L. TINIO
ACT Teachers Party-list

REP. ARLENE D. BROSAS
GABRIELA Women’s Party

REP. FRANCE L. CASTRO
ACT Teachers Party-list

REP. SARAH JANE I. ELAGO
KABATAAN Party-list

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