Local News: Commemoration of Church Worker’s Death Slated
The Philippine Independent Church (PIC) and various rights and sectoral organizations including alliances are set to commemorate the second anniversary of multi-faceted church worker, the late Benjie Bayles, Thursday, June 14, this month. Bayles’death anniversary is the second year comme-moration.
The various sectors and human rights organization organized under Task Force Bayles, also recalled the continuing cases of human rights violations including the state’s travesty of justice in Negros Island, Fred Caña, the human rights alliance Karapatan-Negros, spokes-man said.
The PIC to which Bayles belonged was a lay church worker through Bishop Felomino Ang also issued a statement in commemoration of Bayles’ senseless death at the hands of soldiers.
The commemoration of Bayles’ death in fact, started from June 3-10 with a PIC parish level campaign all over Negros, radio guesting by Task Force Bayles, a press conference yesterday morning, while on Thursday, June 14, a mass will be conducted in the morning followed by a march starting at the Capitol Lagoon and later a march around the public plaza where a program is to be held.
Major guest during the rally will be Bayan Muna Congressman Neri Colmenares.
Human rights worker and defender Fred Caña during an interview with NNF recalled that on July 14, two years ago Bayles was killed by two motorcycle-riding men who were later certified as soldiers belonging to the 61st IB then assigned in farm Southern Negros. They were then intercepted in a police checkpoint manned by Kabankalan City policemen and who were detained. At first,the men assumed different names but weeks after, the army’s adjutant-General issued a certification saying they were, indeed, soldiers. They are now detained in the BJMP jail in Himamaylan City. A series of hearings have been conducted by the Himamaylan City RTC with one to be scheduled Thursday, July 26.
Two topranking army officers have been summoned by the court to attend the hearing in order for them to clarify questions,but each always made themselves scarce. That is the second issues attendant in the Bayles case and another issued linked with the extra-judicial killings here, the army has declared that the army has not supposedly committed any human rights violations, Karapatan-Negros’ Fred Caña said, of Col. Oscar Lactao’s claimed. Lactao is 303rd Brigade, CO.
On this score in fact, during former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s ascendancy 31 people were killed here, while during President Benigno Aquino III, assumption and stay in power so far, seven (7) people have been killed in extrajudicial killings.
Among the more heinous of the seven cases carried out by suspectedparamilitarymen and soldiers are the extra-judicial killings of a man carried out in Silay City during a dance who firedindiscriminately, while a social function was going on and the killing of Binubuhan Village leader Norberto Recado who helped evacuees from military operations in the village which is located in Guihulngan City in Negros Oriental. It is believed that another village councilwoman was also done by away with,but with the military saying she had committed suicide, Caña added.
Earlier, military reservist Romeo Baldevarona of the local Commission on Human Rights (CHR) had said no human rights violations were committed by the military in Negros Island, too.
Human rights defenders in the country had said, although the number of human rights violations had tapered of what the primary factor is that or should be the end of the culture of impunity and justice given to victims of HRVs.
Leaders of Task Force Bayles, The National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas- Negros (KMP-Negros), the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR-Negros), Bagong Alyansang-Negros (BAYAN-Negros) and the September 21 Movement, were present during the press conference.*