CHR: Accounts claim slain activists in Albay were unarmed, tortured
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is investigating the deaths of two activists who were killed by police officers in a “shootout” in Albay, and said it heard accounts that the activists were unarmed and that one of them had signs of torture.
Police earlier said victims Marlon Napire, 40, and Jaymar Palero, 22, fired when the police tried to stop them from spray-painting the message “Duterte Ibagsak” on a concrete railing in July 26, the day President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his final State of the Nation Address.
“CHR is interested in ferreting out the truth after there are accounts that the two victims were claimed to be unarmed during the incident and that one of the victims, Jaymar, was said to have signs of torture,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said in a statement on Friday.
De Guia said the CHR has been in touch with the chief of Guinobatan police, who has since been relieved from his post after the incident. She added that statements from the victims’ families have also been gathered.
Additionally, emergency cash assistance has been offered to facilitate the autopsy of the remains of Palero following allegations of torture, according to the commission.
“Continuous attacks and deaths of activists remain to be a cause of concern for CHR. These incidents have repercussions on the people’s exercise of freedom of expression, and the right to raise complaints and petition action from the government without fear of punishment or reprisals. Arbitrary killing is also a clear assault to a person’s right to life,” De Guia said.
The CHR then called on the government to move on its commitment to uphold the rights of people, including those who protest against the government. The commission noted that “dissent, after all, is part of a thriving democracy, which ought to be respected.”
“CHR echoes its call to put an end to these killings and the prevailing climate impunity. We must assert the rule of law at all times in protection of the rights of all people,” De Guia said. — Kenzie Kinsella, trainee
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.