KARAPATAN BACKS CONGRESS PROBE OF KILLING OF ANTI-CHACHA LEADER

Press Statementjustice4fermin2

15 June 2009

The premier human rights alliance in Central Visayas (CV) welcomes assistance of the House of Representatives in investigating the assassination of an anti-ChaCha leader in Dumaguette City last Wednesday (10 June, 2009).

KARAPATAN-CV also vowed to cooperate with the Congressional Committee on Human Rights whom it has earlier asked to intervene in the swift resolution of the “brazen murder” of Fermin Lorico, 52, chairperson of provincial peasant alliance KAUGMAON.

The committee, chaired by Rep. Lorenzo Tañada, III, tackled KARAPATAN’s communiqué this morning (15 June 2009) and come out with positive response.

KARAPATAN asked last Friday the said committee to conduct an on-site inquiry on Lorico’s assassination fearing another whitewash by local ‘militarist’ investigators.

In its communiqué-complaint, KARAPATAN alleged that “Lorico was assassinated in cold blood by three suspected agents of the 79th Infantry Battalion-302nd Infantry Brigade headed by Lt.Col. Bernard Neri and Col. Ceasar Yano, who have been vilifying him as destabilizer, terrorist, and NPA leader.”

The group continued, “The brazenness of the murderous act is appalling by the mere fact that he (Lorico) was assassinated in broad daylight, in a populated city, and just 700 meters from the Taclobo PNP Station right after attending an anti-CHACHA rally that he helped organize.”

“The motive is undeniable as it is clearly entwined with the government’s campaign of terror to suppress dissent through the AFPs Oplan BANTAY LAYA.

In preparation for an on-site Congressional Inquiry, KARAPATAN will initiate preliminary probe on the previous cases of harassment by AFP/PNP against Lorico. ###

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