1. Is there a national trend or pattern in the killing of activists under the Arroyo regime?

Jun. 03, 2006

Yes. It is now beyond question that there is indeed a trend in the killing of activists. There have been 607 victims of extrajudicial killings documented by Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Human Rights from January 2001 to May 30, 2006.

From January to May of this year alone, 75 have already been killed. There are also 25 victims of enforced disappearance.

Extrajudicial killings are politically-motivated killings perpetrated by state agents without the sanction of any law or court. This will include summary executions, assassinations, deaths due to strafing or indiscriminate firing and massacre. Summary execution is used when the victim is held passive before being killed (i.e. abducted then found dead). Assassination is used when the victim is killed at once. Massacre is the term used when there are three or more dead.

The killings do not happen in one area or region alone. A total of 136 victims of extrajudicial killings in Southern Tagalog region have been documented by human rights groups from 2001 to May 19, 2006.

From 2005 to May of this year alone, Karapatan-Central Luzon documented 98 victims of extrajudicial killings and involuntary disappearances. Twenty-three have been killed this year.

In the Bicol region, there were 71 victims of extrajudicial killings from January 2001 to December 2005. For the first five months of this year, five activist leaders have been killed. Sotero Llamas, former high-ranking leader of the New Peoples Army (NPA) was also assassinated on May 29.

From 2002 to May 2006, the Southern Mindanao region has recorded 67 victims.

Fifty-three have been killed in the Eastern Visayas region. The highest death toll was registered in 2005 with 36 victims of extrajudicial killings.

These regions, except for the Eastern Visayas, are listed as priority areas in the AFPs Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), an internal security plan of the government. The OBL aims to destroy the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) alleged political infrastructure and its alleged legal fronts. Under the said military campaign, the AFP targets the leaders and members of legal organizations.

(Next: Who exactly are the victims of extra-judicial killings?)

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