2. Who exactly are the victims of extra-judicial killings?

Jun. 03, 2006

The victims are civilians, unarmed, who had either pursued or supported political causes. Many are ordinary people.

Of the 601 victims of extrajudicial killings, 257 have been identified as activist leaders, members and supporters of cause-oriented groups. They belong to various peoples organizations and partylist groups who are struggling for genuine freedom and democracy. They are workers, farmers, lawyers, teachers, students, pastors, priests and even human rights advocates.

Human rights workers themselves are victims of extrajudicial killings. There have been 24 human rights advocates killed in the line of duty. One of them is Eden Marcellana, Karapatan-Southern Tagalog secretary general. She was abducted, along with her companions, on their way to a fact-finding mission on April 22, 2002. Her body was found a day after in Naujan, Mindoro Oriental. Signs of torture were apparent.

Another is Benjaline Hernandez, deputy secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region. She was killed on April 5, 2002 in Arakan Valley, North Cotabato due to indiscriminate firing.

Thirteen Church leaders and members have also been assassinated. Among them is Fr. William Tadena, of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente in Tarlac. He was shot dead on March 13, 2005. Fr. Tadena was a supporter of Hacienda Luisita workers. Another victim was Rev. Edison Lapuz, Conference Minister of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. He was shot inside his home in Brgy. Crossing, San Isidro, Leyte on May 12, 2005.

The rest of the victims have no known political affiliation but have been killed in the course of military operations such as in the cases of indiscriminate firing and massacres. These often occur in communities that are labeled as NPA supporters.

Due to massive military operations in the countryside, peasants are the usual victims of extra-judicial killings, torture, forced evacuation and looting. At least 200 peasants have been killed in the course of these operations.

There were at least 60 women killed, based on Karapatans list. Even more alarming is the number of children who had been victims 43, two of whom were unborn. Most of them were killed in massacres like Rey Corpin, 13 in the Kananga Massacre in Leyte. The Golloso siblings, Maylene, 13 and Raymund, 6 of Bgy. Recto, Bulan, Sorsogon were killed due to strafing. Elvin John Abilon, 5, son of an Anakpawis leader in San Marcelino, Zambales, died when armed men fired at their house.

Moreover, there were 59 workers who had been victims of extrajudicial killings. They were killed due to labor-related disputes. Eight of them were workers and supporters of the Hacienda Luisita including Ricardo Ramos, president of Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU) and Tirso Cruz. Another is Diosdado Fortuna, president of Nestle-Cabuyao labor union.

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