Ludenio Monzons Killing: A Chronicle of a Death Foretold?

Jun. 14, 2009

Davao Today

BOSTON, DAVAO ORIENTAL – – – Ludenio Monzon, the latest victim of extrajudicial killing in Southern Mindanao, knew his days were numbered even days before he was killed. Like most of the activists killed before him, he received warnings and death threats. He was labeled a New Peoples Army sympathizer.

At the evacuation site in Mati, Davao Oriental, Monzon told the media how the military operations displaced hundreds of Boston residents in the first quarter of 2008.( photo by Barry Ohaylan)

Monzon was driving a motorcycle at around 4:30 pm on April 29, when at the junction of the roads to Boston and Cateel in Davao Oriental, gunmen opened fire at him and sped away towards Cateel. The province of Davao Oriental is around 165 kilometers from Davao City. Monzon was with a companion, Angelito Artiza, when the incident happened.

On March 24, Monzon filed a police blotter at the Boston police station on the threats to his life. He believed those who were after him were intelligence men of the Philippine Army.

In an interview with the Radio Mindanao Network- DXDC Davao in March, Monzonhis voice almost breakingalso talked about an intelligence report which had bothered his family.

He did not elaborate what was in the intelligence report. He only said that it was a false accusation and he branded the intelligence authorities as liars.

Monzon also filed a case at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the region in October 2008, where he accused the military for grave threats and harassments.

He told the CHR that the military men surrounded his house, pointed guns at his family members and tagged him as an NPA supporter. Monzon also said the military accused him of helping bury an NPA rebel who died in an encounter.

Human rights advocates believe that the best way to stop the spate of extrajudicial killings in the country is to punish the perpetrators. But most of the cases of extrajudicial killings in the country remain unsolved.

Human rights advocates wanted authorities to look beyond the fact that Monzon was killed by ski-mask wearing men on motorcycle.

They (investigating authorities) should look into the fact that Monzon was once vilified by the military, said Erlin Balinton, a volunteer of human rights group Karapatan who documented the circumstances of Monzons death. He had a case filed with the Commission on Human Rights in October last year about how the military harassed him. They should look into his activities when he was still alive, if only to establish who could possibly have the motive to take his life.

Monzon’s wake.(contributed photo by Karapatan Southern Mindanao)

Balinton said that Karapatan has yet to find out about what police actions were being done in Boston.

Monzons daughter, who was at the scene of the crime, was asking why there was no uniformed police in sight when it happened. Empty shells could no longer be found where her father died, Balinton said.

The place of the incident was about a kilometer away from a military detachment. It was also around 600 meters away from the Boston police station.

Artiza said they were on their way to invite people to join them on the May 1 labor day rally in Davao when they were accosted at the junction. Artiza and Monzon were members of the Negkahiusa Koy Mag-uuma To Boston, a Mandaya term for united farmers of Boston, an affiliate of the Alyansa ng Mag-uuma sa Sidlakang Dabaw (Almasid). Almasid was in the Order of Battle List of the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army (PA) recently discovered and leaked to the media.

Monzon was a critic of the foreign-owned Omega Gold Company, operating a gold mining project in the village.

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