Anti-Mining Activist Shot Dead

View Death by Democracy in a larger map

Another anti-mining activist was shot dead around 4:30 p.m. today, environmental group Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment reported.

Eliezer “Boy” Billanes, chairman of Socssargends Alliance for Genuine Developmet (Socssargends AGENDA), was killed by still unidentified men.

Billanes’ group leads the opposition to the Tampakan Copper-Gold project in South Cotabato of the Xstrata, one the biggest mining companies in the world.

Read the rest on Also see the detailed factsheet from Philippine Indigenous Peoples Links.

Rebelyn: rebel leader's daughter dead at 20

View Death by Democracy in a larger map

She would have celebrated her 21st birthday on March 20 but teacher Rebelyn Maasin Pitao now lies inside a white casket at the Palermo chapel, Cosmopolitan Funeral Homes here, her long-sleeved white lace blouse and yellow skirt hiding the torture marks and stab wounds from an ice pick, but not enough to hide markings on her left wrist.

The “evil, vicious men from the military intelligence group,” her mother Evangeline says, “abducted, tortured, raped and stabbed to death” Ivy, Rebelyn’s nickname.

“Two stab wounds here, above the breast, one of which hit the lung; two under the breast, one of which hit the liver, another one here… five stab wounds from an ice pick.. markings from a three-centimeter rope around her neck… eyes blindfolded using a packing tape, apparently hit by a blunt object,” Evangeline says in Cebuano, describing how “grabe ka-brutal” (very brutal) the “evil, vicious men from the military intelligence group” were to her daughter.

Originally posted on, now archived on

Death Squads Terrorize Davao


(Fr. Shay's columns are published in The Manila Times, in publications in Ireland, the UK, Hong Kong, and on-line.) 

The men in black rode their motor cycles up to the corner of the  Davao City market, people fled in all directions, they calmly walked  up to the two sleeping street boys, then drew big revolvers and shot  them dead at point blank range. Young brains and blood were  splattered on the pavement yet this horrific murder would not be  repudiated by Mayor Rodrigo Duterte who denies any involvement. He  told the media recently, "If you are doing an illegal activity in my  city, if you are a criminal or part of a syndicate that preys on the  innocent people of this city, for as long as I am the Mayor, you are  a legitimate target of assassination."

Not even the so called "war on terror" cannot justify the violation  of human rights and the abandonment of the principles that protect the fundamental dignity of the person and their inalienable rights to  justice. A panel of eminent international jurists and distinguished  legal experts led by the former Irish President Mary Robinson spent the past three years studying the practices and methods by which the leading democracies waged a counter-terrorism war and reached such a conclusion.

In a 199 page report, they have clearly stated that the methods used  are counter-productive, and they had seriously damaged and undermined respect for human rights around the world. "The United States, one of the world's leading democracies, has adopted measures to counter  terrorism that are inconsistent with established principles of international humanitarian law and human rights law," the report said.

The international panel of eminent jurists, that includes supreme court judges, U.N. human rights experts and law professors, said in effect, that the use of abduction, torture, detention without trial, and assassination are to be repudiated. We urge every head of state to repudiate such violations.

The Philippines is known for its admiration and mimicry for American everything, especially military techniques and weapons, and is a major recipient of US sponsored counter-terrorism training. Hundreds of officers and men have been to the United States for training. The  assassination of hundreds of Filipino social activists journalists and even pastors in recent years is ample evidence that the respect for human rights in the Philippines is at an all time low.

Perhaps no other place has such a sordid reputation for assassination  than Davao City, in Mindanao. Hoteliers wonder why tourists are not flocking to its tourist attractions considering the death squad is supposed to make it safe. No one is safe without the strict implementation of the rule of law. It has taken ten years of death-squad activity and graveyards full of bodies to get the  attention of the Philippine Commission on Human Rights (PCHR). Now, under the new leadership of Commissioner Leila De Lima, the ten-year killing spree will be investigated by a public inquiry slated for the last week of March this year. They have reached a "glaring and  alarming" proportion, she said. While the assassination of suspects is widespread in the Philippines, Davao has the highest number of victims, 814 according to media reports. This February 2009, there has been 33 killings alone done by the Davao Death Squad.

Street children and youth have been singled out and 73 of them have been stabbed or shot to death on the street, some in a shocking open manner, the killers acting brutally with total confidence and impunity. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte himself rides around on a big motor  bike but says thats no evidence of his involvement despite his statements allegedly approving the killings as widely reported in the media.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Mayor Duterte last February 15, 2009 saying that all the 814 people deserved to die because they were smeared with criminality. "What I want is to instill fear...if it will send the wrong signals what wrong did I commit? The problem  comes if we get the wrong people", Duterte told journalists. If the suspect showed the slightest sign of resistance, he would order the police to "shoot you and aim for your head" to make sure that you are dead.

Visit for more related articles.