Verdict on Bayles EJK victory against state fascism, yet cries for justice still resound all-over Negros Island

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The revolutionary movement in Negros Island regarded the decision of the Bacolod Regional Trial Court (BRTC) on the murder of activist Benjamin Bayles by state forces as a win against state fascism, although many familes of victims of political killings alongside thousands of victims of human rights violations (HRV) in Negros and the entire country continue to demand justice.

In a verdict dated March 31, 2022, Acting Presiding Judge Ana Celeste Bernad found then soldiers of the 61st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, Rafael Cordova alias Roger Bajon and Reygine Laus alias Ronnie Caurino, guilty of the murder of Bayles in June 14, 2010 and sentenced them to suffer the penalty of reclusion perpetua and ordered payment of P300,00 for indemnity and damages.

National Democratic Front (NDF) – Negros spokesperson Ka Bayani Obrero welcomed the verdict as a motivation for the anti-fascist movement to press on until justice is achieved for all HRV victims since the Martial Law period of dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. up to the present strongman rule of Duterte while stepping up the fight to end tyranny and state terror.

Human-rights groups have documented state perpetrated killings through the regimes since Marcos Sr where more than 3,000 were murdered under the late dictator’s rule; 1,064 fell to summary executions during Cory Aquino’s presidency; 218 summary executions and 144 were victims of massacres under the Ramos regime; there were 1,206 political killings in Gloria Arroyo’s nine-year rule; and 334 victims of extrajudicial killings under the BS Aquino regime.

Meanwhile, under the Duterte regime, 427 cases of political killings (as of December 2021) have been documented excluding the almost 30,000 victims of the regime’s so-called “war on drugs.”

“Of the 427 extrajudicial killings, 121 occurred in Negros Island and a majority of which were farmers and activists killed and massacred after the implementation of Memorandum Order 32 on November 2018,” Obrero noted.

According to him the gruesome massacre of the Sagay 9, the merciless Oplan Sauron 1 and 2 and Oplan Branstark in Negros Oriental and the killing of peasant leaders, activists and human rights defenders such as Alexander Ceballos, Atty. Ben Ramos, Bernardino “Toto” Patigas and Zara Alvarez remain wanting of justice.

Obrero said the resounding call for justice will not end until the status quo of class oppression and exploitation persists, adding that Duterte’s obsession of crushing the New People’s Army (NPA) before his term ends have alarmingly targetted civilians to further sow fear

Based on reports received by NDF-Negros, in Central Negros alone since the start of 2022, there are already more than 30 cases of HRVs affecting at least 300 victims. The recent abduction of urban poor community organizer Iver Larit has heightened the already seething unrest in Negros that is known as a social volcano.

“Reports continue to come in from other areas in the island and the HRV figures are worrying,” Obrero said. “However, contrary to the tyrant’s intent of destroying the revolutionary movement, revolutionary ranks are swelling. More are encouraged to engage in armed struggle, or at the very least, find their courage to resist Duterte’s reign of terror.”

In celebration of the 49th founding anniversary of the NDF on Sunday, April 24, Ka Bayani Obrero called on the revolutionary forces, the Negrosanons, and peace-loving individuals and groups in the island to further expand the people’s movement to end Duterte’s strongman rule and resist any move that may prevent him and his cohorts from answering their multiple high crimes.

“Like the murderers of Benjie Bayles, all perpetrators of human rights abuses through the years must be brought to justice. This path maybe a difficult one but the people’s democratic revolution will persevere until genuine justice and social change is achieved,” Obrero concluded.###

Verdict on Bayles EJK victory against state fascism, yet cries for justice still resound all-over Negros Island
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