Gabriela: Is Palparan behind Billanes killing?

Mar. 22, 2009


Gabriela partylist Representative Luzviminda Ilagan raised the possibility that retired army General Jovito Palparan, who earned the moniker The Butcher among the activists in Southern Tagalog, could be behind the killing of anti-mining activist Eliezer Billanes in Koronadal, South Cotabato last week.

Is General Jovito Palparan involved in the latest extrajudicial killing in South Cotabato? she asked in a statement sent to Davao Today.

She said that Palparan, who sits as security adviser of the Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines Inc. in Tampakan, had been invited in the area for an orientation with the Task Force Kitaco, a paramilitary group created by the 10th ID in areas of Kiblawan, Tampakan and Columbio (Kitaco), where the Xstrata mining operates. Ilagan said the Task Force has been funded by Xstrata.

Billanes, chair of anti-mining group Soccsksargends Agenda, was gunned down on March 9 before 5 p.m. near the Koronadal City public market. The group, which stands for South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos City, Davao del Sur — Alliance for Genuine Development, has been actively campaigning for a stop of mining operation in the area.

He had been known to oppose mining, Ilagan said, referring to Billanes. No one has the motive to silence him but those whose interests had been threatened.

She said that Palparan and the 10th Infantry Division led by Major General Reynaldo Mapagu, who created the Task Force Kitaco, were responsible for the killing of Billanes.

Ilagan said that Mindanao, a site of big mining projects of big foreign companies, might soon become the next field of extrajudicial killings if someone like Palparan stamps his mark on the island.

The motive behind Billanes’ death is indisputable, she said. He was killed in the midst of his organization’s struggle to oppose the Tampakan Copper-Gold mining project of Xstrata-SMI.

But Mapagu said the 10th ID had nothing to do with the killing. We will not benefit from it at all, Mapagu said. It will only make our organization look bad. It will also make the situation worse. (

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