On the death anniversary of Fr. Pops Tentorio

Cases of environmentalists languishing in DOJ amidst ‘zero track record’
of Sec. De Lima in dispensing justice

Kalikasan PNE press release

16 October 2014

Environmental activists under the Kalikasan People’s Network for the
Environment (Kalikasan PNE) joined various groups in a picket at the
Department of Justice (DOJ) today, demanding Justice Secretary Leila De
Lima to “set her priorities straight by actually working on important
cases involving our environmental martyrs.”

“Sec. De Lima should stop with her bickering with big-name politicians
and other media grandstanding tactics as if to cover up the fact that
her track record in successful prosecutions are virtually zero. The DOJ
under De Lima saw the case of Palawan activist Dr. Gerry Ortega drag on
forever, the case on the Capion Massacre dismissed, and various other
cases involving environmentalists simply rotting away,” said Clemente
Bautista, national coordinator of Kalikasan PNE.

The group, together with the Task Force-Justice for Environmental
Defenders (TF-JED), a support network for environmental defenders
afflicted by human rights violations (HRVs), challenged De Lima to take
positive action on the following highlight cases:

· Dr. Gerry Ortega, a wildlife veterinarian and journalist in
Palawan murdered in 2011 as masterminded by the Reyes brothers, local
warlords of the province, for exposing corruption in the Malampaya funds
and for opposing large-scale mining in the province;

· The Capion Family—Juvy Capion and her children Pops and John
Capion—the wife and children of B’laan tribal warrior Capion in South
Cotabato actively opposing the Glencore-Xstrata large-scale mining
operation who was killed by military forces in 2012;

· Willem Geertman, a Dutch development worker and executive
director of the humanitarian group Alay Bayan Luson from the Central
Luzon region, who was murdered in 2012;

· Fr. Pops Tentorio, an Italian missionary and champion of
indigenous peoples in Mindanao who was killed by paramilitary troops in
2011;

· Leonard Co, a renowned botanist who was mistaken by military
troops in Leyte as a rebel soldier during a biodiversity mission and
killed by the military alongside his forest guides Sofronio Cortez and
Julius Borromeo.

“None of the perpetrators in these cases were ever jailed or prosecuted,
save for the Ortega case where the masterminds, the Reyes brothers, are
still in hiding. Two to three years after the perpetration of these
heinous crimes, De Lima and the DOJ has continued to perpetrate various
injustices to our fallen comrades in the environmental movement. No
wonder President Noynoy Aquino was hounded by protesters decrying his
administration’s dismal human rights track record anywhere he junketed
these past few months,” noted Bautista.

“Two out of these five highlight cases involve Anglo-Swiss mining giant
Glencore-Xstrata-SMI, which is trying its hardest to railroad Asia’s
biggest mining project through massive opposition by communities on the
ground through militarization. We are soon bringing our campaign for
justice to the people of SOCSKARGEN region afflicted by the
militarization of Glencore-Xstrata-SMI to London to expose the culture
of impunity perpetrated by the Aquino government in mining-affected
communities in the Philippines,” ended Bautista.

The group, together with United Kingdom-based support groups War on Want
and UNISON, earlier launched this year an online petition to stop the
Glencore-Xstrata-SMI mining project and to hold them accountable for all
its adverse social impacts including HRVs, hosted at
http://www.waronwant.org/stopthemine.#

Reference: Clemente Bautista, 0922 844 9787

Andy Whitmore (Whit)
Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks)
Coordinator
Finspace, 225-229 Seven Sisters Road, London, N4 2DA
Ph: +44 (0)775 439 5597
Email: comms@piplinks.org
Web: http://www.piplinks.org
Skype: mantissa88

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the
intelligent are full of doubt.” – Bertrand Russell