Activists get death threats, state forces deny accusations

By Glazyl Y. Masculino


BACOLOD City – Ten activists in Negros Occidental were alarmed after they received death threats via text message early this week.

They accused state forces of having a hand in the alleged threats.

Karapatan-Negros Island uploaded a screenshot of the text message on Facebook, showing a list of names that included:

-Iver of Bacolod, who is believed to be Iver Larit of Kadamay-Negros;

-Butch of Bacolod or John “Butch” Lozande of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW);

-Erning of Bacolod, who has been identified as Ereneo Longinos of Bayan Negros;

-Clarissa of Bacolod or Clarizza Singson, secretary-general of Karapatan-Negros;

-Christian of Bacolod, believed to be Christian Tuayon, former secretary-general of Bayan-Negros;

-Epi of Negros or Felibe Gelle of September 21 Movement;

-Darel of Kabankalan believed to be Dharyll Albanez, also of September 21 Movement;

– and Roque of Bacolod, believed to be Rolando Rillo of NFSW.

The threats came just days following the death of nine activists and the arrest of six others in Calabarzon over the weekend.

In a statement, Karapatan Negros Island, said that the names of these individuals who are members of various progressive groups in the province were listed as next targets of what they called the “Kill Kill Kill” program.

Also in the list were Alias Tatay “Ogie” and his wife, and Berting here.

The group believed that these threats came from the state forces, which they claimed to be behind the alleged red-tagging, vilifications and harassments against leaders and members of activist organizations.

In response, Colonel Michael Samson, deputy commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde), denied the allegation against the military, saying they were not behind the messages received by the activists.

Samson, however, said the names stated via text message matched with the revelations they received from former members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who have surrendered to the government forces.

Samson said they were already informed by former rebels that releasing such information is one of the insurgents’ modus operandi to sow misunderstanding and place the blame on them if something happens to the activists.

With his response, Samson said that he already expects that activists will call it mere propaganda.

Meanwhile, Police Lieutenant Abegael Donasco, information officer of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), also denied the accusation linking the Philippine National Police (PNP) behind the threat to the activists, saying they do not have proof or substantial evidence to show that the state forces were behind it.

“Hindi kami nagpopromote ng killings, we, the police and Army are here to defend the people,” she added.

Donasco said they will investigate the list to determine who’s behind it.