Philippine Military admits that Human Rights Defender Bayles was killed by them

23 April 2013

Karl Ombion, writing for, reports that in a court hearing
on 18 April 2013 at RTC Branch 55, in Himamaylan City, Adjutant General
Alexis Gopico and Lt. Col Ricardo B Bayhon positively identified the two
suspects in the brutal murder of Philippine human rights defender
Benjamin Bayles as military enlisted men. Edre Olalia, legal counsel of
the victim’s family, and Secretary General of National Union of People’s
Lawyers (NUPL), confirmed this report. Bayles was murdered 14 June 2010
by two suspects who claimed to be Roger Bajon and Ronnie Caurino when
they were captured by Himamaylan police operatives hours after the
incident. Olalia said “the confirmation, positive identification and
specific personal pinpointing of the killers of activist Benjamen Bayles
by top army officials as enlisted personnel under their command is a
welcome development and a high point in making perpetrators of extra
judicial killings accountable.”

This is ultimately a product of public vigilance and pressure by human
rights defenders aided also by conscientious legal work, Olalia
stressed, but it remains to be seen if this leads to a deeper
investigation, determination of other guilty parties, including
possibly, superior officers. The accused who are lowly private first
class personnel maybe sacrificial dispensable small fry to stop the
investigation and let masterminds escape identification and
prosecution.”“As in other cases, like that of Jonas Burgos, extra
judicial killings and enforced disappearances and other rights
violations, there is no closure until there is full justice for the
victims,” Olalia concluded.