Church, rights groups condemn murder of lay minister red-tagged, listed as Red | Inquirer News

Church, rights groups condemn murder of lay minister red-tagged, listed as Red

/ 10:00 PM May 12, 2021

ILOILO CITY—Church and human rights groups are calling for justice for murdered lay minister in Negros Oriental province, who was first red-tagged and listed as among the targets of a group of murderers supporting the government’s counterinsurgency campaign.

Briccio “Brix” Nuevo Jr. was the latest victim among those on a list of residents of Guihulngan City who had been tagged by the anticommunist vigilante group “Kagubak” as supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, New People’s Army (NPA).

Kagubak stands for “Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista” (Concerned Guihulnganons against Communists).”


A motorcycle-riding gunman shot Nuevo last May 4 at the village of Poblacion in Guihulngan while he was at a vulcanizing shop, according to a report of the Negros Oriental police.


Most Rev. Rhee Timbang, Supreme Bishop of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI), said in a statement that Nuevo served as a lay minister in the IFI parish in Guihulngan.

“We, in the leadership of the IFI, could not find any suitable word which utterly expresses and describes our grief, sorrow and anger that another God-fearing and a peace-loving person has been subjected to persecution and violent death,” Timbang said.

“We could not think of any reason leading to his violent death, except that he was red-tagged,” Timbang said, pointing out that Nuevo was ninth on the list of Kagubak.

Timbang said the malicious red-tagging of Nuevo led to his murder similar to “religious persons, human rights defenders, and social activists that were subjected to summary killings.”

He said the red-tagging of activists open the victims “as easy targets for human rights abuse and attacks” and also blurs the distinction between armed rebels and “social activists and advocates for justice, peace and freedom like the church people.”

“The number of victimized human rights defenders, social activists and religious persons continues to rise,” said Timbang.


“We demand the Duterte government and his minions to stop this senseless practice of red-tagging and to resort to legal procedures if indeed there are competent and admissible pieces of evidence against the persons who were unduly accused,” the church leader said.

Aside from Nuevo, at least four others among 15 persons on the list of Kagubak had been murdered.

On Dec. 15, 2020, two gunmen murdered Dr. Mary Rose Sancelan and her husband Edwin, a year after Mary Rose was red-tagged.

Mary Rose was Guihulngan’s health officer and the head of the city’s COVID-19 pandemic response.

She was on top of the Kagubak list and was tagged as “Ka JB Regalado,” who was supposedly the spokesperson of the NPA’s Apolinario Gatmaitan Command.

Her murderers remained scot-free.

Lawyer Anthony Trinidad, who was gunned down on July 23, 2019, was also on the list. His murderers are scot-free.

Their murders were among those that have remained unsolved and no arrests have been made.

Guihulngan, 138 kilometers north of the provincial capital of Dumaguete City, has the most civilians murdered on Negros Island since January 2017, according to records of human rights groups.

More than 90 human rights defenders, activists, lawyers, farmers, teachers and church workers had been murdered in Negros since 2017, according to human rights group Karapatan in Negros.

At least 88 others were detained after they were arrested on what Karapatan alleged were trumped-up charges.

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Karapatan-Central Visayas condemned the murder of Nuevo claiming that it was part of a “senseless crackdown” on critics of President Rodrigo Duterte and activists amid the alleged failure of government to address the health crisis.

TAGS: Guihulngan, Human rights, Kagubas, murderers, murders, Regions

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