Beheaded councilman victim of systematic death campaign, says human rights group

Guinobatan, Albay. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Guinobatan, Albay. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

By Joey Natividad
Special Correspondent

LEGASPI CITY ( – The brutal slay of a village councilman in Guinobatan, this province, was allegedly commited by state security forces to assassinate the victim “under a deceptive ploy of having been killed in a crossfire in an imagined encounter between Army soldiers and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.”

This was the statement by human rights group, KARAPATAN, after concluding its own fact-finding investigation.

Councilman Ely Oguis of Cabaloaon village, Guinobatan town, dead and beheaded, was found by residents early morning of November 12, this year.

That early morning, residents heard several automatic gunfires that was fired by government soldiers for at least one minute near the area where the beheaded body of Councilman Oguis was discovered later. The gunfires were made to appear that “an encounter between Army soldiers and rebels occurred near the area where the dead councilman was found.”

KARAPATAN spokesman Vince Casilihan. informed that the killing of Oguis was part of a systematic campaign allegedly done by state forces to eliminate leaders of progressive organizations.

The human rights group said Oguis was a member of Albay People’s Organization, a peasant human rights group that is actively campaigning against militarization of mountain villages and launching protests againsts forms of abuses committed by government soldiers.

“Oguis was already target of harassment before, and that on August 21, last year, he sought the help of KARAPATAN after he was harassed by the military several times, and that he was being coerced to admit that he had links with the rebels.” said Casilihan.

The rights group identified the government’s 2nd Infantry Batallion which has jurisdiction over the area where the councilman was found dead as “responsible for the murder”.

KARAPATAN has been documenting and investigation cases of human rights abuses, mostly committed by state forces, for legal action and presentation before the international community of human rights advocates and organizations.

The Philippines has already acquired a negative rating before the international community for the increasing number of human rights violations and abuses committed by state security forces in its campaign to end the 40-year old internal conflict.[]

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