House HR committee to probe slain Lumad advocate couple in Compostela

Mar. 20, 2017

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives has filed a resolution to probe the killing of a farmer-couple Leonila and Ramon Pesadilla by unidentified gun men on March 2, this year.

House Resolution No. 983 seeks to investigate the motive behind the killings of the Pesadilla. The resolution was filed by Makabayan bloc  members,  Anakpawis Rep. Ariel B. Casilao, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani T. Zarate.

Also included were Gabriela Reps. Emmi A. De Jesus, Arlene D. Brosas, ACT Rep. Antonio L. Tinio, France L. Castro, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Jane I. Elago. The resolution was filed earlier this month.

The killing of the Pesadilla couple was witnessed by a lone child who happened to the couple’s 5-year-old grandchild.

“Leonila sustained five gunshot wounds: one in the head, shoulder, breast, neck and at the her heart while Ramon sustained six gunshot wounds: one on his face, two on his neck, two on his chest and on his shoulder,” the resolution reads, citing a report from human rights group Karapatan – Southern Mindanao Region.

The Pesadilla couple was a member of Compostela Farmers Association and known in their local community as a Lumad advocate.   The couple, in fact, donated a land for the Lumad school Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center (STTICLC) at Spur Dos, Barangay Ngan, according to  the Save Our School.

Both of them were also engaged in opposing the entry of Agusan Petroleum and Mineral Corporation, a large-scale mining company in Compostella Valley province.

According to a local peasant group CFA, Leonila Pesadilla was a led the opposition of the entry of mining in Sitio Spur Dos, Barangay Ngan in Compostela town.

Barangan Ngan is one of the areas in Compostella Valley province covered by the Agusan Petroleum and Mineral Corporation’s exploration permits by the Mines and Geosciences Bureau of the Department of Environment and National Resources.

The mine’s permit also covers the villages of Nursery, Bango, Pulang Lupa, Mambusao and Kantigbaw, all located in Brgy, Ngan including the 2, 400 hectares that span the boundary of Compostela New Bataan which is another exploration permit issued by the environment agency’s MGB.

Makabayn bloc blamed the killing of the Pesadilla couple to the government’s counter-insurgency plan Oplan Kapayapaan.

“The Oplan Kapayapaan, a counter-insurgency program of the Philippine government, farmer-members of CFA became usual targets of various human rights violations perpetrated by elements of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and para-military groups hired by the mining company,” the bloc said in a statement on Monday. (

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