An indigenous man protesting against a palm oil company was shot dead

Source: 
ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME - http://www.humanrights.asia/news/urgent-appeals/AHRC-UAC-127-2014
Date of publication: 
10 September, 2014

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-127-2014

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PHILIPPINES: An indigenous man protesting against a palm oil company was shot dead by a manager of the company

ISSUES: Extrajudicial killing; Human rights defenders
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Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you that an indigenous man, protesting against a palm oil company, was shot dead by one of their managers. The victim was killed a month after he and his colleagues had retaken control of 4,000 hectares of their land. The company had refused to pay them back-rent of five years, eight months. No action was taken against the perpetrators by the local police on the pretext that the shooting was in self-defense.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on the documentation by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP))

On 9 August 2014, at 6:41am, Armando Campos, an agricultural land beneficiary under the government’s agrarian reform program, was shot dead on his way to their picket line in Purok 3, Barangay Bayugan Dos San Fransico, Agusan del Sur. He was an indigenous person belonging to the Manobo tribe. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

Mr. Campos was part of a protest against the Filipinas Palm-Oil Plantation Inc. (FPPI). The operation of this plantation allegedly resulted in incursions of the land. On July 11, 2014, Campos and other 937 beneficiaries and members of the Guthrie Estates Inc. Multipurpose Cooperative (NGEI-MPC) had retaken control of 4,000 hectares of their land because the FPPI refused to pay back-rent due them for five years, eight months.

According to Tito Mabras, a paralegal worker of NGEI-MPC, Campos was shot dead by Anecito Ortiz, one of the field managers for the FPPI. He was accompanied by Modesto Maltos, Jr., Arnold Goloran, Alger Labis and Robinson Gogo, village chieftain of Bayugan Dos. Campos was a member of the NGEI-MPC.

There were people who had witnessed the shooting, but they were too frightened to testify openly against the suspects. They had seen Ortiz, using a .45 caliber pistol, shoot Campos dead. Campos attempted to run away but Ortiz’ companions, Maltos, Goloran, and Labis, simultaneously opened fire at him using a carbine rifle and a shot gun.

Witnesses said it was Gogo, the village chieftain, who handed over his own pistol to Maltos and ordered him to shoot the victim. Campos was able to reach the highway in Purok 3, but fell to the ground bleeding profusely. The perpetrators followed him and shot him again to make sure he was dead. Other witnesses overheard the perpetrators to have said: “putlan nato ni ug ulo” (“Let us cut his head off”) as they were standing beside the victim’s dead body.

When the police came to investigate the crime scene, they immediately concluded that the incident was a matter of self-defense. They briefly detained Ortiz and his companions, but not Gogo. They were all later freed later from police custody without any charges being made. The police claimed they had to release the five men because they had not received any complaint against them.

The police also made it difficult for the victim’s family to access the police report and other investigative documents. Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) told them they must submit a formal request in writing, signed by their lawyer, before any documents can be released to them.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case.

The AHRC is also writing separate letters to the UN Special Rapporteurs on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and on the situation of human rights defenders seeking their urgent intervention in this case.

To support this appeal, please click here: http://www.urgentappeals.net/support.php?ua=AHRC-UAC-127-2014

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear …………….,

PHILIPPINES: An indigenous man, protesting against a palm oil company, was shot dead by a manager of the company

Name of killed victim: Armando Adlawan Campos, 42. He was an agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB), belonging to the Manobo tribe and a member of the NDC Guthrie Estates Inc. Multipurpose Cooperative (NGEI-MPC).
Alleged Perpetrators:
1. Anecito Ortiz, field manager of Filipinas Palm-Oil Plantation, Inc.
2. Modesto Maltos, Jr.
3. Arnold Goloran
4. Alger Labis
5. Robinson Gogo, village (barangay) chairperson in Bayugan Dos, San Fransico, Agusan del Sur.
Date of incident: 9 August 2014
Place of incident: Purok 3, Barangay Bayugan Dos, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur

I am writing to raise my grave concern regarding the killing of Armando Campos.

On 9 August 2014, at 6:41am, Armando Campos, an agricultural land beneficiary under the government’s agrarian reform program, was shot dead on his way to their picket line in Purok 3, Barangay Bayugan Dos San Fransico, Agusan del Sur. He was an indigenous person belonging to the Manobo tribe. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

He was part of a protest against the Filipinas Palm-Oil Plantation Inc., (FPPI). This plantation operation allegedly resulted in incursions of the land. On July 11, 2014, Campos and other 937 beneficiaries and members of Guthrie Estates Inc. Multipurpose Cooperative (NGEI-MPC) had retaken control of 4,000 hectares of their land. The FPPI refused to pay back-rent due them for five years, eight months.

According to Tito Mabras, a paralegal worker of NGEI-MPC, Campos was shot dead by Anecito Ortiz, one of the field managers for the FPPI. He was accompanied by Modesto Maltos, Jr., Arnold Goloran, Alger Labis and Robinson Gogo, village chieftain of Bayugan Dos. Campos was a member of the NGEI-MPC.

There were people who had witnessed the shooting, but they were too frightened to testify openly against the suspects. They had seen Ortiz, using a .45 caliber pistol, shoot Campos dead. Campos attempted to run away, but Ortiz’ companions, Maltos, Goloran, and Labis, simultaneously opened fire at him using a carbine rifle and a shot gun.

The witnesses said it was Gogo, village chieftain in Bayugan Dos, who handed over his own pistol to Maltos and ordered him to shoot the victim. Campos was able to reach the highway in Purok 3, but fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. The perpetrators followed him and shot him again to make sure he was dead. Other witnesses overheard the perpetrators to have said: “putlan nato ni ug ulo” (“Let us cut his head off”) as they were standing beside the victim’s dead body.

When the police came to the crime scene to investigate, they immediately concluded that the incident was a matter of self-defense. They briefly detained Ortiz and his companions, but not Gogo. They were all later freed from police custody without any charges being made. The police claimed they had to release the five men because they did not receive any complaint against them.

The police made it difficult for the victim’s family to access the police report and other investigative documents. Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) told them they must submit a formal written request, signed by their lawyer, before any documents can be released to them.

It is shocking, despite the severity of the allegations against the perpetrators, that the police did not take action against them. I urge you to initiate an investigation against the local policemen for a failure to act.

I understand that there are eye-witnesses to this shooting, but they are too frightened to come forward in public to testify. I therefore urge you to exhaust all means to reach these witnesses, ensuring that they are afforded adequate protection. The family of the victim must be afforded adequate security and protection, promptly, should they decide to prosecute the case.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in this matter.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Ms. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655 / 926 6188
E-mail: chair.rosales.chr [at] gmail [dot] com

3. Police Director Alan LM Purisima
Chief, Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax +632 7248763
Email: feedback [at] pnp [dot] gov [dot] ph

4. Ms. Leila de Lima
Secretary
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 521 1614
E-mail: soj [at] doj [dot] gov [dot] ph

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (ua [at] ahrc [dot] asia)