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KMU slams Aquino’s continued inaction despite Defense Sec’s admission of military involvement in killings

Hacienda Luisita president expert in assaulting farm workers – KMU

In the aftermath of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin’s admission that the murderers of Negros farm-worker Benjamin Bayles members of the military, KMU denounced the Aquino government for its continued inaction over the case.

In a Congress budget hearing on Oct. 7, Gazmin, together with AFP Spokesperson Jose Mabanta and other military officials, admitted that Pfc’s Rafael Cordova and Reygine Laus, who gunned down Bayles last June 14, belong to the Army’s 61st Infantry Batallion. The military has always denied before its involvement with the killing of the two, along with other cases of extra-judicial killings all over the nation.

Inaction is perpetration

“The Aquino administration will find it more difficult to find reasons for not acting on the case of Bayles, with his own cabinet member’s admission that Bayles’ murderers are military men. That is, unless Aquino wants to show that he is actually condoning the killings,” said KMU general secreatry Roger Soluta.

“His continued inaction on the cases of etra-judicial killings under the previous administration and on the continued killings under his administration show that our lives are still in peril under Aquino.”

Soluta cited reports of human rights alliance Karapatan that in just a hundred days, there were already 16 cases of murder, 10 frustrated murder, two missing, 28 illegal arrest, and 28 illegal detention,all politically-motivated, under Aquino.

Bayles, 44, was waiting for public transport in a waiting shed at Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City when the motorcycle-riding Cordova and Laus shot him. On April, 2010 or two months before the incident, army soldiers already encamped at Brgy. Buenavista.

Familiar with Haciendas

Bayles was an organizer of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, a member-federation of KMU, since 2002. He has been active in the struggle against landgrabbing and human rights abuses in Himamaylan City and the whole of  Negros province.

Bayles is the 11th NFSW member to be killed since 2001. Last year, more than 300 counts of criminal cases were filed by the military against 80 farm workers in Negros.

“Resistance among sugar workers is certainly not foreign to our president, as we remember how his family authorized a massacre in Hacienda Luisita. As long government leaders connive with landlords to perpetrate injustice among farm workers, resistance will persist in the vast haciendas of Tarlac, Negros, and the whole country,” Soluta warned. #

Reference Person: 
Roger Soluta, KMU general secretary
Contact information: 

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