http://www.urgentappeals.net/support.php?ua=AHRC-UAC-030-2018

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-030-2018

MAY 18, 2018
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PHILIPPINES: Catholic priest allegedly killed for his advocacy in Cagayan

ISSUES: Killing; Human rights Defender
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Dear Friends,
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you about the killing of a priest in Cagayan. Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura was known for being an anti-mining advocate and supporting indigenous peoples. The unidentified perpetrators shot Fr. Mark after he finished celebrating a mass.
CASE NARRATIVE:

Based on the documentation by the Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights (KARAPATAN)
On 29 April 2018, 37-year-old Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura, a Catholic priest from the Diocese of Tuguegarao, was shot dead by unidentified assailants. Fr. Mark had just finished celebrating mass at a gymnasium in Brgy. Pena Weste, Gattaran, Cagayan, when he was gunned down. He was shot twice in front of children and choir members.
Fr. Mark heads the Migrants Desk of the Diocese of Tuguegarao. He was known for being an anti-mining advocate and supporting indigenous peoples in the area.
According to Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of KARAPATAN, “The scene with the lifeless body of Fr. Ventura on the floor, in front of the altar, with children having witnessed his cold-blooded murder, is indicative of a heinous, evil and wicked crime that highlights the cowardice of men in masks who thrive in the context of this fascist regime. The denial of people’s right to due process and blatant disregard for people’s lives is a trait consistent with the fascist character of this government and system.”
Though investigations are still ongoing, it is believed that Fr. Ventura might have been targeted because of his stance as an anti-mining advocate, and his work in indigenous communities. “After all, these are among the reasons why people such as Fr. Marcelito Paez and many others from the church sector were targeted,” Palabay added.
In December 2017, 71-year-old Fr. Marcelito Paez was gunned down after he helped facilitate the release of a political prisoner in Nueva Ecija.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the authorities listed below expressing your concern about the case.
The AHRC is writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
To support this case, please click here: http://www.urgentappeals.net/support.php?ua=AHRC-UAC-030-2018

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear ___________,
PHILIPPINES: Catholic priest allegedly killed for his advocacy in Cagayan
Name of victim:
Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura, 37-years-old. Catholic priest from the Diocese of Tuguegarao. Fr. Mark heads the Migrants Desk of the Diocese. He was known for being an anti-mining advocate and supporting indigenous peoples.
Names of alleged perpetrators: unidentified assailants

Date of incident: 29 April 2018

Place of incident: Brgy. Pena Weste, Gattaran, Cagayan
I am writing to voice my grave concern regarding the killing a Catholic priest.
On 29 April 2018, Fr. Mark Anthony Ventura was shot dead by unidentified assailants. Fr. Mark had just finished celebrating mass at a gymnasium in Brgy. Pena Weste, Gattaran, Cagayan, when he was gunned down. He was shot twice in front of children and choir members.
Fr. Mark heads the Migrants Desk of the Diocese of Tuguegarao. He was known for being an anti-mining advocate and supporting indigenous peoples in the area.
Last December 2017, 71-year-old Fr. Marcelito Paez was also gunned down after he helped facilitate the release of a political prisoner in Nueva Ecija.
I urge you to conduct an immediate and impartial investigation into the priest’s killing.
I trust that you will take appropriate action in this.

Yours Sincerely,
……………….
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Mr. Rodrigo Duterte
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace,
JP Laurel St., San Miguel
Manila, 1005
Philippines
Fax: (+632) 742-1641 / 929-3968
E-mail: op-proper@gov.ph

2. Mr. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary
Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila, 1004
Philippines
Fax: (+632) 521-1614
Email: communications@doj.gov.ph

3. Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., UP Complex, Commonwealth Avenue
Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: (+632) 929 0102
Email: chairgascon.chr@gmail.com
Thank you.
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)

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