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Farmers’ Group: Hold police officers accountable for 2 activists murder

By Mavic Conde

Both Police Regional Office (PRO) 5 Regional Director BGen. Jonnel Estomo and Guinobatan, Albay police chief Maj. Joel Jarabejo should be held accountable for the recent killing of two activists in Guinobatan, Albay, a farmers’ group demanded.

According to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the two police officers should be immediately sacked over the heinous killing of farmer Jaymar Palero of the Organisasyon ng mga Magsasaka sa Albay (OMA), and human rights activist Marlon Naperi, who was a member of the Albay People’s Organization, an affiliate of Karapatan-Bicol.

Earlier, the two activists were reportedly killed by the police while painting graffiti at the Banao Bridge along Maharlika Highway in Guinobatan, a day before Duterte’s State of the Nation Address.

“We demand justice for Jemar Palero and Marlon Naperi. We want all those involved in the shooting and killing of Palero and Naperi be publicly identified,” the group said in a news release.

It added that “a full-scale independent investigation is also imperative. We cannot trust the words of the police. The activists were just painting graffiti.”

Meanwhile, KMP chairperson Danilo Ramos said in the news release that Estomo and Jarabejo were lying when they said the activists were armed and had a shootout with the police. “The “nanlaban” narrative has become a convenient alibi of trigger-happy police elements who have no qualms of shooting civilians,” he said.

The farmers’ group also said the police and military are emboldened by Duterte’s kill, kill, kill policy as part of] the reigning culture of impunity, adding: “The government’s Memorandum Order No. 32 also imposed in the Bicol region in 2018 has led to a series of state-sponsored killings and human rights violations. From 2016 to 2021, there were 223 victims of extrajudicial killings and six incidents of state forces-instigated massacres in the Bicol region.”

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