A farmer’s group in Bukidnon has condemned the killing of one of its members, Aniceto Lopez Jr., who was allegedly shot by a member of the Philippine Marines in Purok 3, Barangay Paitan on the afternoon of Monday, January 22 2018. Aniceto served as secretary-general of Kahugpungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Bukidnon (Kasama-Bukidnon) Quezon chapter and had also been a member of the local in Paitan for 12 years.
Jose Benemerito, secretary-general of Kasama-Bukidnon provincial chapter, told SunStar Cagayan de Oro that Lopez’s death is considered an extrajudicial killing . Benemerito said the imposition of martial law in Mindanao may have emboldened his alleged attacker. Benemerito also said President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to go after the mass leaders of militant groups and the tagging of the New People’s Army (NPA) as a terrorist group have encouraged the spate of killings among community organisers, human rights workers, and land defenders in the country. Lopez claimed that the alleged perpetrator had a grudge to settle after a sibling was supposedly executed by the NPA.
“Had the government pursued the peace talks with the NPA then whatever problem there could be with Lopez and his assailant could have been resolved through the GRP-NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) where complaints of violations from both the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the NPA can be lodged,” Benemerito said.