By Joey Natividad
CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region (BicolToday.com/21-Mar-2013) – Human rights group on Tuesday expressed dismay over the unsolved killing of student leader Cris Hugo 7 (seven) years ago in Legaspi City, reminding the tragic incident that wasted the student’s life in 2006, as the nation mourns over the recent suicide of student Kristel Tejada in Manila, and over reports of President Aquino’s visit in this city for the Liberal Party rally on Thursday, March 21.
The strong statement by the human rights activists regarding Hugo’s unsolved killing was made to remind the public as President Aquino is scheduled to visit the City of Naga on Thursday for the Liberal Party rally where he will endorse his party senatorial candidates. The campaign is part of his provincial sorties in propping up his Senatorial slate and local party bets.
Cris Hugo was the 85th of the 205 victims of extra-judicial killings in the Bicol Region during the time of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Karapatan lamented that the slaying of Hugo by a gunman, 7 years ago was still unsolved, and that the suspect was a military man. Hugo had been involved in several protest actions with other youth activists in Albay, and that he had been one of the victims in the wave of alleged “systematic killings” launched by right-wing death squads on dissidents under the then Arroyo Administration, beginning 2004- 2010.
The “death campaign” that time had sparked an international justice inquiry that led into the creation of the Melo Commission which investigated the mysterious killing of civilians and known anti-Arroyo leaders and activists. Some members of the media had also fallen as victims to the death squads.
Cris, age 20, was a student leader at Bicol University College of Arts and Letters (BUCAL), in Legaspi City, Albay . He was regional coordinator and national council member of the League of Filipino Students (LFS). He was also the newly elected Grand Chancellor of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO Fraternity) chapter at BU that time.
“Culture of impunity still continues, 7 years have passed. Justice seems illusive for all the victims of Human rights violation under the (then) Arroyo Regime,” Vince Casilihan, Bicol spokesperson of Karapatan informed Bicol Today.com.
“Desperation to quell growing protests, we hold the Arroyo and Aquino administration criminally and politically liable for the killing of Hugo and the continuous attacks against our youth leaders,” he said.
Karapatan believes President Aquino continues to shed the blood of young patriotic leaders whose only ‘faults’ are that they continue to be steadfast and vigilant in upholding civil liberties, and calling for social change despite continuous tyranny and repression perpetuated by this administration.
Casilihan said that while leftist leaders and organizations are seemingly the primary targets of the government’s crackdown, ordinary civilians remain the most vulnerable victims, specially the youth.
“We are calling for the Aquino Administration for immediate action, but it seems a dream for us human rights workers, no one is held accountable from GMA’s victims until now. Cris Hugo is no other than Kristel Tejada, both whom government holds accountability on their early deaths.[BicolToday.com]