Justice for murdered revolutionaries
Pedro Codaste (Ka Gonyong), 72, was convalescing when he was abducted, tortured and killed by 4th ID soldiers. Since August 2021, he has been detached from a unit of the New People’s Army (NPA) and has been living in a house in Bukidnon to recover. He was abducted along with Ka Sandro between January 19 and January 21. The military made it appear that the two were killed during an encounter on January 21 in Barangay Halagay, Impasug-Ong, Bukidnon. No such encounter took place in the area on that day.
The killing of Ka Gonyong is the latest incident in the Duterte regime’s long list of crimes of murdering peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and revolutionary leaders.
Duterte ordered the military and police to carry out liquidation operations and “take no prisoners” against peace consultants and revolutionary leaders, starting 2020.
From 2019, at least 20 were brutallly killed by armed elements of the fascist regime. Victims include Julius Giron (Ka Nars), Jorge Madlos (Ka Oris), Menandro Villaneuva (Ka Bok), Antonio Cabanatan (Ka Manlimbasog), Randall Echanis, Eugenia Magpantay (Ka Fiel) and Agaton Topacio (Ka Boy), Florenda Yap (Ka Osang). Mario Caraig (Ka Jethro), Dennis Rodinas (Ka Mayen), Leonido Nabong (Ka Charo), Randy Malayao, Alvin Luque (Ka Joaquin), Reynaldo Bocala (Ka Minoy), Fr. Rustico Tan, Kerima Tariman (Ka Ella), Sandra Reyes (Ka Kaye) and Jhon Niebres Peñaranda (Ka Parts Bagani). Majority of these killings were perpetrated in 2020 and 2021.
All of the victims were killed in cold-blood. Many were abducted or illegally arrested and tortured before being killed. Others were shot during “raid operations” in houses where they were staying. Other victims of liquidation were captured in battle and rendered hors de combat before being executed.
Most of these crimes were brazenly carried out by uniform soldiers and policemen. To cover up the crime, state forces make it appear that the victims were killed in encounters. Military and police officers peddle lies that the victims fought back and died in battle. Some of the victims were killed by state agents. There has been no thorough investigation into any of these cases and cadavers have not been autopsied to determine the actual circumstances of the victims’ death. In many cases, the AFP and PNP deliberately denied family access to lawyers and information.
Among the 20 victims recorded by Ang Bayan, 12 were aged 60 years old and had no capacity to fight back. Others were recovering from illnesses.
Violation of CARHRIHL, JASIG and laws of war
The killing of NDFP peace consultants violates the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) which guarantees the rights and safety of individuals involved in peace negotiations. It also violates the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) which ensures the rights and humane treatment of those not taking part in the armed conflict.
This includes protection of their “life, dignity, human rights, political beliefs and their moral and physical integrity.” Likewise, “all persons deprived of their liberty for reasons related to the armed conflict shall be treated humanely,” and “should be considered for safe release on humanitarian or other reasonable grounds.”
Laws on the armed conflict also uphold the rights of persons hors de combat. The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols strictly prohibit “torture, assaults upon personal dignity” of persons hors de combat. In combat situations, the injured or sick should be spared and given medical aid by enemy forces who take custody of them.
The US-Duterte’s relentless campaign of killing revolutionaries is part of its perverted belief that it could crush the revolution by killing revolutionaries. Contrary to this aim, the spilling of blood of revolutionaries only strengthens the people’s determination to advance the struggle for justice and social change.