Caramoan Massacre: Karapatan Bikol, VACC join call for justice

CAMARINES SURTwo organizations known for their crusades against crime have joined the clamor for justice in the massacre of four gold panners in Barangay Gata, Caramoan last Saturday.

The coffins of the victims of the Caramoan massacre before they were buried
Photo by Oscar Esmenda/Bicol Standard
In separate statements, Karapatan Bikol and Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) have slammed the brutal and senseless killing of the victims July Labiano, Redan Brondia, Salim Virtus and Renan Labiano.

Dante Jimenez, chairperson of VACC, said that their group is willing to provide volunteer lawyers for the families of the victims.

He said that he already called on NBI Director Virgilio Mendez who also assured him that NBI agents are now on the case.

Family, friends, and sympathizers of the Caramoan massacre victims hold placards denouncing the heinous killing in their town.
Photo by Oscar Esmenda/Bicol Standard
Jimenez promised that his organization will continuously monitor and give a weekly report on the progress of the investigation.

On the other hand, Karapatan Bicol sent BICOL STANDARD the following official statement:
Caramoan 4, Victims of State security forces are having a heyday inflicting state violence on hapless civilians.
Karapatan Bicol- strongly condemns the massacre of Julio Labiano, Rene Labiano, Salem Virtus, and Jessie Brondia, small scale miners in Caramoan, Camariness Sur who were mercilessly killed by Bantay Kalikasan Task Force of Camarines Sur.
The cold-blooded murder is another chilling case of political killing in Bicol. The poor victims eke out a living by engaging in small scale mining in their barangay. The perpetrators are members of the Civilian Security Unit (CSU) of the provincial government of Camarines Sur assigned to Task force Bantay Kalikasan. It is hard to dismiss that the killing is an isolated case and has nothing to do with the powers-that-be in Camarines Sur. Small scale mining is hot in the eyes of politicians in the province and of the military.
The perpetrators did not only snap out the lives of the poor and defenseless victims but sent their families to farther destitution. The massacre was intended to cause a shivering fear to those who may get the ire of those in power and to those who may knowingly or unknowingly stepped into the sphere of economic interest of the powerful ‘untouchables”.
Political killings continue with impunity. Perpetrators who are members of the State security forces are having a heyday inflicting state violence on hapless civilians. The victims of extrajudicial killings in Bicol now reach 46 under the watch of President Benigno S. Aquino III. The list is still growing as this government turned a deaf ear to the national and international calls to put an end to political killings, end impunity, bring the perpetuators to justice, and indemnify the victims of human rights violations.
Karapatan-Bicol demands an impartial, independent, and thorough investigation with due diligence on the case of the massacre of the four small scale miners of Caramoan and on all victims of extrajudicial killings and other form of human rights violations and bring the offenders to justice.
Karapatan-Bicol joins other groups in the call for the ouster of Benigno Simeon Aquino III for incompetence in protecting, upholding, defending and satisfying the comprehensive human rights of all Filipinos, for being ultra-subservient to US imperialism by unashamedly and unconscientiously implementing the US designed counter-insurgency program Oplan Bayanihan (OPB) that kills and maims Filipinos, uproot villages, subverts due process by filing trumped-up cases, and effect illegal arrests and detention.
Families and friends of the victims have earlier expressed their fear that they will not find justice, as the suspects are allegedly enjoying the protection of provincial officials of Camarines Sur.

Task Force Sagip Kalikasan is an agency of the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur.BICOLSTANDARD.COM

"Task Force Kalikasan Berdugo Layas sa Caramoan," says one placard held by a sympathizer
Photo by Oscar Esmenda/Bicol Standard

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