DAVAO CITY – The assailant behind the death of an anti-mining activist in Compostela Valley could be motivated by personal grudges, without yet considering the 60-year-old’s vocal opposition towards large scale mining in Mindanao, a police report said on Saturday, January 30.
“Our investigation merely focus on the angle of past personal grudges for said victim according to the neighbors had a lending business (in) Gumayan, Kingking, Pantukan, Compostela Valley Province and had a previous record of past conflict (with) one of her debtors,” a report prepared by the Pantukan Municipal Police Station read.
The report, signed by Police Chief Inspector Gilbert T. Papa, also said that the shooting incident that lead to the death of Teresita Navacilla was done “without evident premeditation.”
Navacilla, one of the convenors of anti-large scale mining group Save Pantukan Movement, was shot by a gunman on January 27 and died three days later.
The 60-year-old was also a small scale miner and the purok chairman of Gumayan in Barangay Kingking Pantukan.
If proven to be killed in her line of duty as an anti-mining activist, Navacilla would become the 54th victim of extra judicial killings in Southern Mindanao since President Aquino assumed office in 2010, according to Hanimay Suazo, secretary general of Karapatan.
Suazo believes the attack was an attempt to silence Navacilla for her opposition against the entry of Nationwide Development Corporation and St. Augustine Gold and Copper Limited.
But with this development, activists worry of a whitewash.
According to Suazo, despite of a public knowledge of Navacilla’s involvement in anti-mining movements, the report failed to mention such activities.
“Corporations are desperate to pave the road for their unopposed operations, and the military feels the same, in their bid to neutralize people’s organizations that are condemning their unjust operations against civilian communities,” Suazo said.
Reacting to the issue, Major General Rafael Valencia, commander of the 10th Infantry Division said that statements by Karapatan-SMR are “trump-up allegations and propaganda against the AFP to derail the efforts and initiatives of 10ID in bringing peace and development in Davao region.”
“The legal staff of the command is studying the possibility of taking legal actions against these groups who are destroying the good image and reputation of the officers and soldiers of 10th Infantry Division,” said Valencia.
Meanwhile, Suazo in a separate statement said the attacks against activists “may rise to become a weekly statistics, given the nearing end of President Benigno Aquino’s term.” (davaotoday.com)