Press Statement

02 July 2009

The premier human rights alliance in Central Visayas (CV) lashed out at Negros Oriental police chief Augusto Marquez for making “incredulous excuses” for his “inefficiency and ineptitude” in arresting the assassins of peasant leader Fermin Lorico, Sr.

KARAPATAN-CV was reacting to threats made by Marquez that he would file charges against KARAPATAN and peasant group KAUGMAON for allegedly not producing witnesses to the crime.

KARAPATAN-CV retorted that “Marquez has reached the depths of callousness in gunning after Lorico’s family and colleagues even while they are still grieving over the brazen murder of Tatay Fermin”.

It added that “Marquez is just playing dumb in his latest antic in order to pass the blame to others for his failures at arresting the suspects.”

“It is condemnable that instead of running after the assassins, Marquez is training his guns at us.  It is despicable that instead of investigating the 302nd Infantry Brigade, he seems to be clearing them of any culpability way ahead of any probe and then shifting the burden on Lorico’s family and colleagues”, said Dennis Abarrientos, Secretary-General of KARAPATAN-Central Visayas.

“I hope Marquez is not afraid to confront Col. Yano and his soldiers of the allegations by Lorico’s family.  I pray that Marquez does not cower from his responsibilities.  Otherwise, it is he who should be charged with obstruction of justice by his boss Nerez, or worse, accused of being involved in the crime”, Abarrientos said.

The group has asked the Congressional Committee on Human rights to conduct an on-site inquiry on Lorico’s assassination fearing another whitewash by local ‘militarist’ investigators.

Lorico has just attended an anti-CHACHA rally when he was shot by motorcycle-riding men in broad daylight just 400 meters from the Taclobo PNP outpost in Dumaguete City on June 10, 2009.

He was the 7th victim of political killings in Negros Oriental this year alone. ###


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