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2 activists, 1 media man killed in 3 hours

by Pesante-USA/AJLPP Tuesday, Aug. 01, 2006 at 12:30 PM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90026

THE latest wave of activist and media killings on Monday hit three regions, including Metro Manila, within a span of three hours, claiming three lives. The first killing happened about 6 a.m. at a bus terminal in Zone 2, Bulan town in Sorsogon, where Rei Mon Guran, a 21-year-old 2nd-year political science student was gunned down. Guran was the local spokesman for the League of Filipino Students and a student of Aquinas University of Legazpi City. In the Cordillera region, the Bayanmuna Kalinga chapter chairman, Dr. Constancio Claver, and his wife Alice Claver, a coordinator for the same group, were ambushed about 7 a.m. Monday by heavily armed men in a black Delica van. The attack killed Claver’s wife, who died while undergoing treatment at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital. She suffered bullet wounds in the head and neck. In Metro Manila Tanod tabloid photojournalist Vic Melendres was gunned down about 8:45 a.m. near his home inside the Gozun Compound in Letre, Malabon, while on his way to work.

2 activists, 1 media man killed in 3 hours

By Jeannette I. Andrade, Reporter

THE latest wave of activist and media killings on Monday hit three regions, including Metro Manila, within a span of three hours, claiming three lives.

The rash of deaths placed the Philippine National Police in a quandary over how to deal with the killings, although the National Police chief, Director General Oscar Calderon, promised to deploy “specialized” cops to speed up the investigation into the liquidations.

Calderon said that specially trained police investigators will be fielded in parts of the country to help in the probes being conducted by the police regional offices and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group units.

The first killing happened about 6 a.m. at a bus terminal in Zone 2, Bulan town in Sorsogon, where Rei Mon Guran, a 21-year-old 2nd-year political science student was gunned down. Guran was the local spokesman for the League of Filipino Students and a student of Aquinas University of Legazpi City.

Reports revealed that Guran had been waiting for a bus to take him to school when he was shot by two men riding tandem on a motorcycle. He died on arrival at the Sorsogon Doctor’s Hospital from two gunshot wounds in the head and two others in the body and arm.

In the Cordillera region, the Bayanmuna Kalinga chapter chairman, Dr. Constancio Claver, and his wife Alice Claver, a coordinator for the same group, were ambushed about 7 a.m. Monday by heavily armed men in a black Delica van. The attack killed Claver’s wife, who died while undergoing treatment at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital. She suffered bullet wounds in the head and neck.

CAR Police Regional Office Director Raul Gonzales said the Claver couple were riding a black Pajero (CNV-806) with their seven-year-old daughter when the shooting happened.

They were cruising along the national highway in Barangay Bulanao, Tabuk town, Kalinga, in front of the Saint Toni’s College to take their daughter to school after having just ferried their other child to school. Their path was blocked by the killers aboard the van.

They then shot up the Pajero using Armalite rifles and handguns before speeding away. The seven-year-old girl suffered a graze wound on the side of the head and Claver sustained gunshot wounds in the chest, stomach and left arm, but his condition has stabilized.

Gonzales told The Manila Times that he has formed a task force to be led by Senior Supt. Roberto Damian for the immediate arrest of the killers.

He said the police are looking at all angles in the case to determine the motive for the attack and have obtained the testimonies of witnesses to the ambush.

In Metro Manila Tanod tabloid photojournalist Vic Melendres was gunned down about 8:45 a.m. near his home inside the Gozun Compound in Letre, Malabon, while on his way to work.

The Northern Police District (NPD) director, Chief Supt. Leopoldo Bataoil, said that Melendres was shot twice in the left side of the chest and was killed instantly by two men armed with .38-caliber revolvers and clad in black jackets. Two other men acted as lookouts.

Bataoil said that Melendres is a cousin of Saksi photo journalist Alberto Orsolino, who suffered a similar fate on May 16.

He created a task force, to be led by the NPD Deputy Director for Operations, Senior Supt. Constante Azares, to look into the possible link of the Melendres killing to Orsolino’s murder.

Melendrez’s murder brings to 83 the number of Filipino journalists killed in extrajudicial executions.

Bayan Muna said 27 of its members were killed this year.

The rash of killings has alarmed the Catholic Church and human-rights groups including Amnesty International. AI had called on Mrs. Arroyo to take action to stop the murders.

Bayan Muna has accused the military of masterminding the deaths of activists, a charge the Armed Forces denied.

Bayan Muna has been tagged as being a front organization for the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

The lawyers’ group, Counsel for the Defense of Liberties, has also reported that 10 judges and 15 lawyers have been killed since 2001.
--With Manny Ugalde, Correspondent
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