Human Rights, Peasant Groups Accuse Philippine Soldiers As Behind Killing Of Old Man

July 10, 2007 at 1:37 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

COMPOSTELA VALLEY (Mindanao Examiner / 10 Jul) – Militant groups accused the Philippine military as behind the killing of a septuagenarian accused by soldiers as a member of the Maoist New People’s Army in Mindanao.

The human rights group, Karapatan, said two suspected soldiers barged in the house of peasant leader Alfonso Capiales, 72, in Nabunturan town’s Magsaysay village in Compostela Valley province and shot him several times.

Before he was killed, the military summoned Capiales, chairman of the Magsaysay Farmers Association and treasurer of the Nagkahiusang Maguuma sa Nabunturan, after accusing him as a rebel. The two groups also condemned the attack.

Capiales was also the provincial coordinator of the militant group Anakpawis, previously tagged by the military as an NPA front.

Karapatan has condemned the weekend killing.

“We hold the Arroyo government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines responsible for the killing of Capiales,” Kelly Delgado, the group’s spokesperson, said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

A U.S.-based human rights group recently accused the Philippine military of engaging in a “dirty war” in a campaign to silent political activists in the country.

In an 84-page report released late last month, the Human Rights Watch said Manila should aggressively prosecute members of the security forces responsible for hundreds of extrajudicial executions in recent years.

Filipino militant groups said more than 800 people had been kidnapped and murdered since President Gloria Arroyo rose to power in 2001. Most of the killings, they said, pointed to the military as the culprit.

The extra-judicial killings in the Philippines continue unabated despite the investigations of the United Nations and the independent Melo Commission. Both investigations point to soldiers as allegedly responsible to most of the murders, an accusation strongly denied by the Philippine military.

The United States Senate is also investigating the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines. Summary executions are also rampant in the southern cities of Zamboanga, Davao, Digos and Cebu in the central Philippines. (With a report from Juan Magtanggol)

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