ANAKBAYAN Cordillera condemns the police brutality leading to the death of Stephen Galidan, a 2nd Year student of Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC). We also call on the Kankana-ey community and the Cordillera youth to be vigilant in this issue to ensure that justice will be served.
Government authorities, particularly agents of Philippine National Police (PNP) are paid through the taxes of Filipino people to ensure peace and security in their local areas. However, when such authorities turn criminals and civilian tax-payers became their victims, the government should be alarmed and must appropriately act on this. The government and its related authorities must uphold justice even if it includes prosecuting members and/or officers of its agencies such as the policemen who are responsible for the death of Stephen Galidan.
Galidan’s family and friends believe that he was mauled by five agents of PNP resulting to his death. Based on police reports, he was arrested for being disruptive and a curfew violator. Even during this arrest, he, together with his companions were already reportedly maltreated by the said policemen. This is contrary to the lame excuse of the PNP that Galidan jumped off the police car that resulted to his death which the family and friends believe to be a foul-play.
Clearly, this is another case of human rights abuse perpetrated by government authorities even to the youth. Even if Galidan committed violations as what the policemen claimed, this does not justify the brutal actions he suffered from the said policemen. Torture, force or violence against a person under investigation is a clear violation of Article III, section 12, paragraph 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution. With this, the said authorities should be prosecuted and punished as mandated by section 14 of the Anti-Torture Act of 2009.
While we welcome the immediate suspension of the accused from their duty, we felt from their statements in the news articles released that the PNP seemed to be supporting the accused policemen by highlighting the latter’s accounts while investigation is still ongoing.
We also demand the government to take an eye on the culture of impunity, the manner on which state authorities take the law in their own hands but not being accountable for it. Furthermore, this incident must trigger the government to also look at the human rights abuse cases, particularly those committed by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Galidan’s death is not an isolated case of human rights violations by men in uniform as this is rampant in the Cordillera. It can be remembered that last September, members of 41st Infantry Battalion also tortured and massacred two civilians during one of their military operations in Lacub Abra. Recently, AFP filed a court case against another student of MPSPC, wrongfully accusing her as member of the New Peoples Army. As if this is just a joke for the AFP, they never showed their faces during hearings as the victim remains in jail while case hearing continues. These cases are in addition to the massacre of the Ligiw family, also in Abra, and the extra-judicial killing of William Bugatti in Ifugao this year. Until now, their family, relatives and their communities are still seeking justice on these violations committed by the AFP.
The Cordilleran Youth must be vigilant and act so that Galidan’s case will not be ignored and covered-up by the government authorities.
Justice for Stephen Galidan and other victims of human rights violations!
End Police Brutality! End Impunity!
KING CRIS PULMANO
Mobile #- 09061800157
Anakbayan Regional Office- #30 Upper P. Burgos, Baguio City