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HR 653 Inquiry Leonardo Co Death

HR 653 Inquiry Leonardo Co Death

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Anakpawis HR 653 calling for inquiry on the death of top plant taxonomist and ethobotanist Leonardo Co
Anakpawis HR 653 calling for inquiry on the death of top plant taxonomist and ethobotanist Leonardo Co

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Published by: anakpawispartylist on Nov 18, 2010
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11/18/2010

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Republic of the Philippines HOUSE OF REPRESENTATTVES QuezonCity FIFTEENTH CONGRESS First Regular Session
HOUSE RESOLUTION NO.

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953

INTRODUCED BY ANAKPAWIS PARTY.LIST REPRESENTATTVE RAFAEL V. MARIANO

RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO CONDUCT AN INQUIRY, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE KILLING OF THE COUNTRY'S FOREMOST PLANT TAXONOMIST AND ETHNOBOTANIST LEONARDO L, CO AND HrS TWO (21 COMPANTONS ALLDGEDLY By ELEMENTS OF THE MILITARY

WHEREAS' the countr5r's foremost specialist in plant taxonomy and ethnobotany, Leonard L. co and his two (2) companions, sofronio G. Cortez, a forest guard of Energi Development Corporation (EDC)-Environmental Management Division, and Julius Borromeo, a member of the Tongonan Farmers Association (Tofa) were ki11edon November 15, 2010 in an alleged "crossfire" during an encounter between the military and communist rebels in a forested area in Kananga, Leyte. (17 Nouember 2010, Philippine Dailg Inquirer); IVHEREAS, the demise of Co is a big loss for the country since we have only a few taxonomists in the country. Co was the president of the Philippine Native Plants conservation society, and served as a museum researcher at the University of the Philippines Institute of Biolory (IB). He was the de facto curator of the Jose Vera Santos Herbarium: WHEREAS, Co was also known in the Cordilleras for his work in helping communities systematize the knowledge of traditional healers about medicinal plants for their own primary health care. As a staff member of the community Health, EducaLion, Services and Training in the cordillera Administrative Region (Chestcore) based in Baguio City since 1981, Co had helped list L22 medicinal plants in the region with their scientific and common names; WHEREAS, h 1989, Co published the book, "Common Medicinal Plants in the Cordillera Region: A Trainor's Manual for community-Based Health Programs,' in collaboration with community Health, Education, Services and Training in the Cordillera Administrative Region (Chestcore). The book was primarily designed to help communities tap their traditional medicinal plants to treat some common diseases without relying too much on prescription drugs, which are not readily available. He also authored "The Forest Trees of Palanan, Philippines: A study in population Ecolory";

IryHEREAS, according to Manuel paete, resident manager of Energr Development corporation (EDc), co was serving as biodiver"ityiorrrltant of Lopez-owned Energr Development corp. (EDCiand *., study on tree biodiversity il the area, gathering specimen "orri.r"ti"g-. seedrings of endangered trees with a five-member team of civilian"s *rtan he was shot. Borromeo and Balute served as his guides. (Ibid); trrHEREAS-, according to Insp. Jedor camacho, Kana,ga police chief, Army soldiers belonging to the tgttr tntantry Batlarion (IB) reported to the police that they had encountered unidentilied armed men in Barangay Lim_ ao in Kananga. (Ibid); WHEREAS, it^ reported that Lt. col. Federico T\rtaan, -*.1 commanding officer of the 19th IB, in a phone interview said that the alleged crossfire was a legitimate military op"ratiorr. (Ibid); WHEREAS, the two (2) other companions of co, policarpio Barute, a member of rongonan Farmers Association (Tofa), and Roniflo Gibe, a contractual forester with Enerry Development corporation,s lnoctl corporate social responsibility department, survived the crossflre. (Ibid); urHEREAs, Balute averred that the shooting started in upper Mahiao, Barangay Lim-ao, and added that he did noi-i;;;.""po"airrg volley of gunfire from any direction that could indicate * orgo;-g battre between Army soldiers and New people,s Army (NpA). (1g Nouember 2010, Philippine D aily Inquirer); WHEREAS, in a press conference, T\rtaan admitted that one of tl.e soldiers fired the first shot because they were at a vantage point. (rZ Nouember 2010, philippine Dailg Inquirer); WHERD'AS, !h" family of co expressed doubts that he had died in a crossfire or that a clash between soldiers and rebels had taken place. Based on the death certificate, co d.ied from three (3) bullet wounds at his back; WHEREAS, reports quoting Darwin Flores, co,s brother-in-law, states that he was informed that there was an existing security protocol between EDC and the local military; WHEREAS' according to Kalikasan-people,s Network for the Environment, there are thirty-six (36) environmentalists killed in the country since 2OOI.It further stated that soldiers and militiamen were behind most of the killings. (Ibid); UIHEREAS' based on ttre Rures of war and Internationar Humanitarian Law, the Armed Forces of the philippines (AFp) should have first ensured the safety and protection of civilians in tne armed'conflict: and WHEREAS' serious doubts has been raised.over the legitimacy of the military operation. The circumstances of the demise of co and his companions is perceived as a case of mistaken identity. A thorough inquiry is imperative to determine whether or not there have been violations of the

Articles of War, International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and other related laws on the part of the Armed Forces of the philippines (AFp). Now' THEREFORE'

RESOwEDT the Committee HumanRightsconductan inquiry,in that on
aid of legislation, on the kifling of the country's foremost plant taxonomist and ethnobotanist Leonardo L. co and his two {2) companions allegedly by elements of the militarv. Adopted,

BE IT

RESOLVED As

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HEREBY

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