[Statement] Filipinas Palmoil Plantations, Inc.(ludes): corporate violence vs. farmer-beneficiaries; a murderer for a manager; a budget for “blood money” -PAHRA

Filipinas Palmoil Plantations, Inc.(ludes): corporate violence vs. farmer-beneficiaries;
a murderer for a manager; a budget for “blood money”
August 11, 2014

The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA) strongly condemns the merciless killing of a Manobo, Armando Campos y Adlawan, in Brgy. Ebro, San Francisco, Agusan del Sur.

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Reportedly, on the early morning of August 9, 2014, Anecito Ortiz and two other armed men were in a service-pick up of the Filipinas Palmoil Plantations, Inc. (FPPI). Anecito Ortiz is a manager of said company, while the two others were recognized as one with an alias “Junie Maltos” and the other as Arnold Guloran. They were within an area occupied by farmer-beneficiaries asserting their right to retrieve back their CARP-covered lands after the company reneged the agreed rentals for five years as stipulated in the contract signed in March 7, 1990 with the addendum also signed last January 30, 1998. Earlier, these same farmer-beneficiaries were harassed by armed men, among whom were supposedly FPPI security guards from the agency Commando and members of the Special Citizen Active Auxiliary (SCAA).

Upon the arrival of Armando Campos y Adlawan, a Manobo, Ortiz shot Campos in the face. Nonetheless, Campos was still able to turn back and run towards the National Highway. Despite the presence of witnesses, the three armed men pursued and kept on shooting the wounded Armando until the latter died.

The alleged executioners of Campos had the gall to “surrender” themselves to the San Francisco Police, Agusan del Sur and gave their “self-defense” version of the incident. The police, without immediately doing their own objective investigation, set the trio free. The supposed to be designated Station Human Rights Officer had no report apart from the later Scene of the Crime Organization (SOCO) team findings. The father of Armando was said to have been denied a copy of the SOCO report on a legal technical need for a lawyer to request. It is also reported by the father that the local police even tried to persuade him to execute an affidavit of desistance with the assurance that the suspected trio would defray the funeral expenses.

The Filipinas Palmoil Plantations, Inc. speedily dispatched their lawyer to offer “blood money” to the family of Armando. In exchange, a “waiver” was obtained for the sum of Php 150,000.

The Provincial Agrarian Reform Office (PARO), the Municipal Agrarian Reform Office (MARO), the Filipinas Palmoil Plantations, Inc. (FPPI), the Commando Security Guards and the local Police have synced their actions against the farmer-beneficiaries belonging to the NDC Gutherie Estates Inc. Multipurpose Cooperative (NGEI-MPC). These institutions blocked the NGEI-MPC members to justly reclaim their right to their CARP-ed lands and the human rights directly related and dependent on land, such as the right to food. In fact, the said parties committed violations of commission (e.g., the distribution of the CARP lands when the contract was breached) and omission (e.g., the lack of due diligence in immediately investigating the killing and the unverified acceptance of the police of the Ortiz’ version) at different times.

All these actions create an atmosphere that could lead to the impunity not only of the merciless killing of Armando Campos y Adlawan, but of other killings and human rights violations. This will abet the viral spread of the law of force rather than the force of law.

The paying off of the Campos family for the killing of their son, Armando, is nothing more than “blood money” to signal that impunity can go on as there is a company budget for any action that protects its greedy interests.

Further delay in justly resolving the killing of Armando and the distribution of the CARP lands by PARO and MARO to the farmer-beneficiaries of NGEI-MPC would only stoke their just anger.

The silence of the local government in the actions of its police could be an implicit acknowledgement of the undue influence of the Filipino-Indonesian joint palm oil venture in the implementation of the rule of law.

Unless the perpetrators of the killing of Armando Campos are brought to justice despite the FPPI’s budget for “blood money”, the local police will erode the credibility of the PNP national efforts in its rights-based policing.

The PNP Police Chief Superintendent of the Supervisory Office for Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA) should determinedly help bring to justice the involved arrogant security guards of the agency Commando in shooting without pity an innocent and unarmed civilian , including revoking their licenses and inspect all the guns and permit of the said security agency.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) should investigate with extraordinary due diligence or form an independent investigative team before Armando’s death becomes another statistic in unsolved killings.

The impunity perpetrated by FPPI is an added example why there is urgent need to campaign for an international binding treaty to hold corporations accountable for human rights violations.


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