Philippine National Police chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar ordered an investigation into two activists from the Bicol region who were killed before President Rodrigo Duterte’s sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA) – they were shot while allegedly making protest graffiti.
Eleazar said he ordered the Internal Affairs Service (IAS) to speed up the probe.
“Inatasan ko na ang IAS sa pamumuno ni Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo na tutukan at pabilisin ang isinasagawang imbestigasyon upang bigyan ng linaw kung ano ba talaga ang nangyari dito,” he said.
(I already instructed the IAS led by Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo to focus on the incident and expedite the probe to clarify what really happened)
The PNP chief also ordered Police Regional Office 5 director Police Brigadier General Jonnel Estomo to place the involved cops under restrictive custody.
Activists Jemar Palero, 22, and Marlon Naperi, 38, were killed Monday after police saw them finishing “Duterte Ibagsak” graffiti on the Banao Bridge, according to a report by Defend Bicol Stop The Attacks Network, Monday night. This happened a few hours before Digong’s SONA.
Palero is a member of the Albay Farmers’ Organization (OMA), while Naperi is with the human rights group Albay People’s Organization (APO). They are both residents of Guinobatan, Albay.
Eleazar orders probe on 2 activists killed in Albay ‘shootout’
“The unarmed civilians are now being branded as ‘nanlaban’ by police forces, an old narrative of the police being used in tokhang operations,” said Defend Bicol Stop, The Attacks Network said.
“Defend Bicol Stop The Attacks Network condemns, in the strongest term, this brazen attack on human rights. Dissent may take on many form, but to kill innocent unarmed civilians in the dead of the night for painting the people’s call is purely fascist and brutal.”
Rights group Karapatan denounced the killing, saying that the incident is evidence of a “bloody state” of the nation under Duterte.
“Allegations of the ‘nanlaban’ narrative that the victims fought back and they possessed guns are not only ludicrously false,” Karapatan said.
“They are unbelievable tall tales because both unarmed activists and they surely do not bear arms while doing graffiti.”