Ideology no reason to torture, kill – Guingona
TANDAG CITY—A person should not be killed because of his ideological beliefs, Sen. Teofisto Guingona III said on Friday in his address at the Senate subcommittee on justice and human rights hearing here on the lumad killings.
“Whatever ideology those who were killed had, they should not have been tortured or killed. This should not be a reason to terrorize the whole community. That’s not right. That is not the way of the law,” Guingona said.
The senator was referring to the killing of Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development and Livelihood (Alcadev), and lumad leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Bello Sinzo in Diatagon, Lianga, Surigao del Sur, on Sept. 1.
Before killing Campos and Sinzo in front of some 200 residents who were herded to a basketball court, the suspected Magahat-Bagani paramilitary force accused the victims of being communist New People’s Army (NPA) sympathizers.
Samarca was found dead, his hand and feet bound and his throat slit. Samarca was head of Alcadev, which the suspects said was a training ground for the NPA.
The Alcadev staff and students denied the allegation, saying the school provided education relevant to the lumad communities.
The killings led to the evacuation of almost 3,000 people from the hinterland communities of Lianga and four neighboring towns.
At the hearing, several resource persons, who admitted they were lumad leaders and former NPA rebels, said the school was teaching antigovernment lessons to students.
But Sister Stella Matutina, a Benedictine nun based in Marihatag town, said Samarca, Campos and Sinzo were civilians.
“We want concrete action taken for the internally displaced people at the evacuation center,” Matutina said, adding that the evacuees wanted to go home because they were getting ill.
“We need your help, senators. We want immediate action,” the nun, addressing Guingona and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III, said.
Guingona said it was clear the evacuees will not return to their homes as long as the suspects—three of them identified as Loloy Tejero, Bobby Tejero and Margarito Layno—remained at large.
Pimentel, committee chair, said he joined the call of the local government officials “to disband these lawless armed groups immediately.”
“And to whom do we direct this call? The governor cannot do it. I cannot do it. Who are trained to do this? Who have been funded to do this? Who have been armed to do this? We directly call on the PNP (Philippine National Police) and AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines),” Pimentel said.
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