Justice for Rafael Markus Bangit!

CHRA to Aquino government: End Impunity, Deliver Justice for Victims of State Terrorism! June 8, 2006 - Rafael Markus “Makoy” Bangit of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) and Bayan Muna in Kalinga was brutally gunned down by State security forces. Makoy was taking his eldest son, Ralph Banna Bangit, to Baguio City for college enrollment that day. During the bus stop over in Echague, Isabela, Makoy was fatally shot by unidentified gun men when he was boarding the bus. His son was a few feet away from him during this incident. Gloria Casuga, Principal of Quezon National High School in Isabela, called for help but she was killed too by the same men. Makoy is a victim of extrajudicial killing– one among the more than a thousand victims of extrajudicial killings as a result of the vicious policy Oplan Bantay Laya under former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Investigations of the case conducted by government institutions have not resulted to arrests. Six years have passed and justice continues to be elusive for the victims of human rights violations. The culture of impunity still reigns. Prior to his death, Makoy was subjected to intense surveillance. His organizations, Cordillera Peoples Alliance and Bayan Muna were tagged by the Armed Forces of the Philippines as sectoral fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). The political vilification is part of the State’s attempt to legitimize the attacks on legal people’s organizations. This same pattern was seen in almost all of the cases of extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations as noted in the report by United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Prof. Philip Alston as a result of his visit to the country in 2007. Six years have passed since the death of Makoy yet the killings of members and leaders of people’s organizations and indigenous peoples critical of State policies continue. This is underthe Aquino administration and under the National Internal Security Policy Oplan Bayanihan. During the second cycle of the UPR last May 29, Beverly Longid, Katribu National President, said that “despite the silence on the situation and rights of indigenous peoples in the Philippines … we strongly urge the members of the UN to reconsider our concerns and recommendations concerning the … militarization and vilification of indigenous communities, organizations and leaders that leads to extrajudicial killings, threats, harassment, intimidation and bombings or military operations in indigenous communities.” France, Ireland, United States, and the Holy See were among the 23 countries that expressed concern about extrajudicial killings and the human rights situation in the country. The CHRA has been calling for the Aquino administration since its assumption in 2010 to take drastic measures to bring to justice military elements involve in various cases of human rights violations here in the region. Until now, his administration is yet to tackle these matters. June 8 will always be remembered for it was on this day that another martyr’s blood drenched the lands of the Cordillera wrought with resolute struggles against State terrorism. The martyrdom of Makoy, and several others, fuels the people’s struggle to this day. As Makoy once said: “Until our right to self-determination is not recognized, the struggle will not end. Even if it means the sacrifice of our lives to achieve freedom, then so be it!” ### For reference: Jude Baggo Secretary General Hotline: 0918 919 9007

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