Thursday, December 01, 2005

Condemn political killings!

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THIS NOVEMBER, the shocking news about eight massacred farmers in Palo, Leyte and the weekly assassination of activists highlighted anew the alarming rate of military atrocities and political killings under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government. November 7, 13, 18, 19 and 21, these were the names of more victims: Mr. Jose Ducalang (Bayan Muna Coordinator- Ormoc City); Mr. Bienvenido Bajado (Council Member of Bayan Eastern Visayas and Council Member of Karapatan Eastern Samar); Mr. Ricardo Uy (Chairperson of Bayan Muna Sorsogon, President of Sorsogon Independent Media Reporters and member of Manindugan, a Sorsogon-based human rights alliance); Mr.
Errol Sending (member of Bayan Muna Pampanga and the urban poor group Kadamay); and Rommel Arcilla (a former activist and a worker of PELCO).

In the morning of November 29, we received news of the latest victim: Jose “Pepe” Manegdeg, shot dead around 10 pm of November 28 in Ilocos Sur.

Pepe’s involvements, as in the case of many victims of political killings under Arroyo, made him a target of the state’s policy of physically eliminating perceived enemies of the government: He was a Bayan Muna coordinator and lay member of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), a church-based peasant advocacy group. He also served as staff of the Research, Information, Documentation of the Clergy-Laity Formation Program (CLFP), an ecumenical network in the Cordillera, and as a co-worker of the Ecology Program of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. Pepe is known for his active role in anti-mining and anti-dam campaigns such as the Save the Abra River Movement (STARM). Pepe was also the Editor-in-Chief
of Kenosis, a publication that has projected peasant issues and struggles and a member of the Editorial Board of Writing on the Wall, a publication featuring local, national and international issues.

Pepe was a dedicated advocate of human rights especially for the farmers and indigenous peoples of the Cordillera. His gentle laugh and warm smile were enough to light up any day. His love of justice and of people engaged him in community organize organizing: empowering the poor to stand for their rights while fostering healthy relationships and a positive communal spirit.

Pepe’s co-workers could always trust that his verbal commitment was equivalent to a
task completed. At the same time, Pepe was an unwavering family man. He loved sharing stories about his two daughters Andrea and Dodo whom he adored. His love for his partner in life, Dom-An, was unquestionable.

We of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) echo the cries for justice of Dom-An, Andrea, Dodo and all the co-workers and friends of Pepe. We condemn the Arroyo government for killing another activist church worker. Arroyo and her army of assassins must be held accountable for stealing human lives just as she must be held accountable for stealing the elections and pushing the Filipino majority into deeper poverty.

November 2, at the funeral mass and burial of Ka Ricardo Ramos, the beloved leader of the Hacienda Luisita workers who was killed by suspected military forces on October 25, his family and co-workers cried out for justice and immediate end to the state’s policy of killing leaders and members of the progressive party list groups Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela Women’s Party, peasant and labor leaders, human rights defenders, churchpeople, lawyers and members of cause-oriented organizations. Today, we cry out again: STOP POLITICAL KILLINGS! JUSTICE FOR JOSE ‘PEPE’ MANEGDEG AND ALL VICTIMS OF STATE TERRORISM!

Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR)
29 November 2005

Reference: Fr. Jerry Sabado, OCarm
PCPR Spokesperson

Ms Amie Dural
PCPR Secretary General

Contact: 4107623


Case: Summary Execution

Name of Victim: JOSE ‘PEPE’ MANEGDEG III, 37 years old, male, married and a native of Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte. He is the regional coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Ilocos and Cordillera. He was also the former coordinator of the Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera (RECCORD).

His wife Florence Umaming Macagne and two (2) daughters survive him.

Place of Incident: along the national highway at Barangay Apatot, San Esteban, Ilocos Sur.

Date of Incident: November 28, 2005, at around 10:00 pm

Perpetrators: unidentified assassins believed to be members of the military

Accounts of the Incident:

Unidentified assassins shot dead at a little past 10 o’clock pm (November 28, 2005), JOSE ‘PEPE’ MANEGDEG III in Apatot, Ilocos Sur. Manegdeg is the coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Cordillera and Ilocos. He was also the former coordinator of the Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera Region (RECCORD) and currently an editorial staff of its publication Writing on the Wall.

He was a speaker-trainer of a Paralegal Training Seminar at the Ursa Major Resort in Apatot, Ilocos Sur. The Ilocos Human Rights Alliance (IHRA)- KARAPATAN sponsored the Training.

According to his co-trainees, he left the Training Seminar at about 10:00 pm and took a tricycle to the highway where he was to take a bus to Manila. He was to meet his wife who would be arriving from Hong Kong this afternoon.

Manegdeg alighted at the waiting shed in the highway. Suddenly, a van approached and a man from the van shot at Manegdeg. Gunshots were heard by the tricycle driver who was about to leave the area. Fearing for his life, he sped off, and returned to the resort and informed Manegdeg’s companions.

His colleagues at the resort immediately contacted the police and went to the scene of the killing. They found his body approximately 15 meters from the waiting shed. His bag, cell phone and other belongings were missing. A surface inspection of the body indicated twenty-two (22) bullet wounds from a .45 semi-automatic pistol.

Manegdeg was shot barely a year after the killing of Romy Sanchez who was also summarily executed March 9 this year at Kayang St., Baguio City.

His body is still in Sta. Maria undergoing autopsy. His family and friends will bring his remains to Baguio probably tonight at the Cathedral of the Resurrection (Episcopal Diocese of North Central Philippines, Magsaysay Ave.) for the wake.

In a similar incident in Abra at 9:00 a.m. today, unidentified men riding a motorcycle shot ALBERT TERREDANO, a volunteer staff of the Cordillera Indigenous Peoples’ Legal Center (DINTEG). He sustained two (2) gunshot wounds that pierced his lungs. Fortunately, he survived the shooting and is now confined in a hospital in Bangued.

Prepared by:
Beverly L. Longid
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA)

Press release

The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) holds the US-Arroyo Regime responsible for the killing of Jose ‘Pepe’ Manegdeg III. This is a clear move to silence the people’s opposition and critique to her regime.

She has unleashed her death squads to go on a killing rampage against the people by attacking members of legitimate peoples’ organizations.

Arroyo’s hands are tainted with the blood of her countless victims. This sham President has done nothing to bring the perpetrators to justice. In fact, she has encouraged the political killings by promoting rabid killers such as Gen. Jovito Palparan. She is legalizing repression and harassment by certifying the passage of an Anti-Terrorism Bill and issuing Executive Orders such as the Calibrated Pre-emptive Response.

With the escalation of political executions, there is no other recourse for the people but to seek redress and demand immediate justice from the Arroyo government. The killing of Pepe Manegdeg by Arroyo’s death squad is one grim reality and reason why we must not allow her to stay in power.


Beverly L. Longid
Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA)

(27 August 1968 - 28 November 2005)

1987-1994 Staff, Clergy-Laity Formation Program (CLFP)-Northern Luzon
1988-1992 Editor-in-Chief, Kenosis Ecumenical Publications (CLFP Publication)
1993-1997 Basic Christian Community-Community Organizing (BCC-CO)- Northern Luzon assigned to Cagayan Valley
1998 Staff, Regional Ecumenical Council in the Cordillera (RECCORD)
2000-2004 Regional Coordinator, RECCORD
2004-2005 Regional Coordinator, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP)-Cordillera and Ilocos
2005 Staff, Regional Development Center-Katinnulong dagiti Umili iti Amianan (RDC-KADUAMI)
Editorial Staff, Writing on the Wall (Official Publication of the Northern Luzon Forum for Church and Society)

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