Uphold right to life - church, groups-A A +A
Thursday, October 3, 2013
This was the call of various church leaders and civil society groups as they issued statements condemning the series of the recent alleged summary killings in Cagayan de Oro City.
In an article published in Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Wednesday, City Councilor Roger Abaday noted that nearly 20 people were victims of summary execution.
Abaday said most of the victims were believed to be members of Batang Mindanao 29 (BM 29) gang who are mostly ex-convicts.
Reverend Christopher N. Ablon, Secretary-General of Karapatan–Northern Mindanao, said the victims were allegedly linked to illegal drugs, who were reported to be police assets and members of another gang, Batman 357, operating in the city.
Ablon said the gunmen were usually on-board motorcycles, and they used .9mm and .45 calibre pistols in the killings.
Right to life
“Killing is a grave violation to the right to life,” said Ermin Stan Pimentel, director of Kristohanong Katilingban sa Pagpakabana–Social Involvement Office (KKP-SIO) of Xavier University.
Pimentel said regardless of what the victims did to society they still have the right to life.
Carlbyrd Cabaraban of the Commission of Social Apostolate said if these were ex-convicts they should be given a chance to reform and become better members of the society.
“The present summary execution is a human rights violation specifically the right to life,” Ablon said after explaining that such violation degrades our society.
Pimentel added that everyone has the right to human dignity and self-worth and should not be summarily executed.
Culture of impunity
Ablon said there is a high military and police presence in the city but none of the perpetrators were arrested since January this year when the killings started.
“If this will continue it will compound the continuing culture of impunity,” said Ablon, believing that the perpetrators will find killing easy as the high number of police force in communities have seemingly failed to deter the murders.
Karapatan wondered why no arrest was ever made since the presence of the police and military are visible even in towns.
“We cannot let this prevail ... the killings do not solve criminality,” said Pimentel.
Pimentel said the impunity will only create a vicious cycle of criminality instead of stopping it.
Calls and resolutions
Director of the Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Cagayan de Oro Fr. Nathan Lerio said there should be a mechanism to maintain peace and order in Cagayan de Oro City.
Likewise, Karapatan calls for unity among the Kagay-anons and to become “observant to ensure and uphold human rights in the city.”
Lerio added there should be a parallel scheme to address these kinds of things (social issues) especially that the city is developing.
“The participation of the police and the community is needed to solve this problem,” said Pimentel after explaining the effectiveness of police and community collaboration.
Pimentel said the police need help from the community and vice-versa.
“Focus and massive investigation with the help of multi-sectoral organizations will help solve the problem,” Cabaraban said.
Lerio said the people should be vigilant against summary execution and all acts of impunities.
“There should be enough support to the police force so they can do their job well,” said Pimentel.
He also appealed to the perpetrators that if they have conscience they should surrender since they (perpetrators) themselves have families and loved ones.
“We should not take this sitting down. Cagayan de Oro should be a city where human dignity is respected and due process of law is exercised. Most of all, the people should be free to express and organize themselves free from fears and threats,” Ablon said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on October 03, 2013.