ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION — URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-020-2014
June 3, 2014
[RE: AHRC-UAC-036-2014: PHILIPPINES : One farmer killed, three others wounded after they were shot for harvesting crops they cultivated on disputed land]
PHILIPPINES : Security guards who shot a farmer dead and wounded others not arrested four months on
ISSUES: Extrajudicial killings, Human rights defenders
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) express its deep concern that a security guard who shot dead a farmer has not been arrested despite being identified. The incident occurred four months ago. The victim was with other farmers who were harvesting crops on a disputed land they were cultivating when they were prevented entry, and shot at, by the security guards of the landlord.
UPDATED INFORMATION: (Based on the documentation by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines -TFDP-)
In our appeal on 20 March 2014 (AHRC-UAC-036-2014), we mentioned that Arman Lumibao Padino, (34), was killed instantly after he was shot in the head by a security guard of a landlord. A fellow farmer, Noel Umali, was struck in the buttocks as he was escaping when the guards were shooting at them on 12 January 2014.
Arman and Noel were together with Bet Baltazar and his wife, Meng Baltazar, all are members of Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores (ANIBAN), when they were prevented from entering a disputed land in Porac, Pampanga. The farmers were to harvest the crops they cultivated.
The shooting happened soon after Antonio Tolentino, the head of the village; and Oricolo Padino, brother of Arman; Rex Lapid, Ronald de Jesus and Virgillio Padino, went to the area after the farmers sought their assistance. Under the law, the head of the village has a mandate to ensure order in the community.
However, when they arrived, while village head Tolentino, was talking to the security guards asking them as to why they were preventing the farmers entry, one of them, identified as Larry Sabado, pointed his gun at him. Another security guard, Felizardo Clark, the head of the “roving guards”, shot Arman Padino in the head.
An extract of his sworn statement on January 20, 2014, Ronald de Jesus (at paras 4 to 6) stated that (unofficial translation from Filipino):
That, when Sabado and Barangay Captain Tolentino were talking, I have witnessed that Sabado pointed his gun at Barangay Captain Tolentino. That, at this point, the other security guards, about ten of them, also pointed their guns at all of us;
That, at this point, I have witnessed Felizardo Clark, head of the “roving guards”, shot at Arman Padino, making him to fall to the ground…;
That, I have also witnessed that when Sabado shot Barangay Captain Tolentino, his gun did not fire despite him repeatedly pulling the trigger. His gun jammed..
Another farmer, Noel Umali, affirmed de Jesus testimony and had clearly identified Felizardo Clark as the one who had shot Arman Padino to his head (at paras 11 to 14). Umali was also hit to his buttocks when other guards shot him as he was escaping (unofficial translation from Filipino):
That, I was shocked and frightened at what I have witnessed when Arman Padino fell to the ground after he was shot by security guard Felizardo Clark;
That, after they shot Arman Padino, another security guard attached to the Triple L standing to my left, also shot me;
That, I was hit at the upper left of my buttocks;
That, I fell to the ground…
On the same day, the incident was reported to the Porac Police Station. However, the police neither mentioned the names of the culprits in the police report nor they have arrested the security guards involved. It was only on May 7, 2014, that the police conducted its investigation after the AHRC sent appeal letters to its headquarters. Here, they summoned the victim’s wife, Analyn Padino.
On January 21, Atty. Jasmin Navarro-Regino, CHR Regional III director, had endorsed the complaints of the victims and their families to Ms. Leila De Lima, secretary of the Department of Justice (DoJ), due to “…uncertainty with the current flow of investigation of the case, since a case against the suspected Security Guards have yet to be filed with the Prosecutor’s Office by the Police”.
In response to the CHR’s endorsement, on March 5, 2014, Mr. Claro Arellano, DoJ prosecutor general, wrote to Analyn Padino, telling her: “We are allowing your case to be filed here (DoJ). But, if you are so minded, please coordinate first with (chief of our Docket Section)”. The DoJ is yet to resolve whether or not there is a ‘probable cause’ to file the case in court.
On April 23, 2014, the TFDP made a follow up at the Police office in Porac, Pampanga. Speaking to PO3 Saugo Sab-it, investigator of the case, he explains that the police did not investigate because: “the family only reported three (3) days after the incident. He was able to get the affidavits of the witnesses (copy of the Police spot report, progress report and affidavits of witnesses hereto attached).”
PO3 Sab-it also added that the Padino’s wife, Analyn, had also informed them they would file the complaint directly to the DOJ. It appears that despite having been reported, no investigation was conducted, and the police also did not arrest of the perpetrators soon after it happened despite being identified by witnesses.
In the police report, they also did not indicate the names of the security guards involved in the shooting, notably Felizardo Clark, who was identified by the witnesses and other victims as the person who shot Arman Padino in the head.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (firstname.lastname@example.org)