Wife of murdered Negros peasant leader files complaint with CHR

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Karapatan counsel Maria Sol Taule (left to right) accompanies Maria Lou Alangilan and Lorena Tecson (back to camera) file their complaints at the CHR. (photo courtesy of Karapatan)

MANILA, Philippines — The wife of a murdered activist fisherman from Negros Oriental and a peasant leader filed complaints before the Commission on Human Rights on Thursday, December 7, over his death as well as their harassment by suspected state security agents.

Lorena Tecson’s husband Alberto, 45, chairman of the Guihulngan City chapter of the fisherfolk organization Pamalakaya and the Nagkahiusang Mag-uuma ug Mangingisda sa Bulado, was killed in his home in Barangay Bulado, Guihulngan City on July 24 by suspected troops of the 79th Infantry Battalion.

A day before his murder, troops of the battalion had been looking for Alberto, who they accused of helping transport New People’s Army guerrillas. The claims were denied not only by Tecson and his family but by other Bulado residents as well.

Tecson and Maria Lou Alangilan of the peasant group Kahugpongan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmay nga Mag-uuma were assisted in filing their complaints by human rights organization Karapatan, including its legal counsel Maria Sol Taule.

“This is part of our pursuit for justice and accountability. We have reason to believe that the killing of Tecson is state-perpetrated, and we are filing these complaints to prompt and exhort the CHR to investigate,” Taule said in a statement.

Three times in August, unidentified motorcycle riding men openly parked and hung out in front of Alangilan’s home in Barangay Buenavista. Then in September and October, she learned that she had been accused of membership in the NPA by a social media account.

Tecson, on the other hand, had refused an order to present herself at the Guihulngan police station.

The two women originally filed complaints before the CHR Region 7 but, according to Karapatan, “there has been no action … as of this writing.”

“We have been exhausting all available mechanism to seek redress and protection for the victims and their kin, although we make it clear that these measures do not necessarily work,” Taule said. “Our emphasis remains in encouraging victims and their kin to become human rights defenders themselves. At the end of the day, the killing of an activist, the illegal arrest of civilians, and the forcible displacement of communities, among other violations, are stark, concrete proof of the state’s fascism and the justness of the victims’ resistance.”