|Subject: NCCP Statement on the Killing of Noli Capulong, Former NCCP Staff
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Date Posted: 04:21:28 06/01/06 Thu
Migrante International <> wrote:Date: Mon, 29 May 2006 17:15:01 +0800
From: Migrante International
Subject: Fwd: PEDV: NCCP Statement on the Killing of Noli Capulong,
Former NCCP Staff
Dear friends in the international community,
Our dear friend Noli Capulong, former NCCP staff, was killed last Saturday, May 27, 2006. We are very saddened by this tragic news for it is too close to home. I personnaly worked with Noli when we were both with the NCCP - Ecology and Environmental Protection Program. He was a very jolly person who loved life and was a very committed person.
These killings have to stop.
Please help us in our quest for justice for Noli and others before him. You can help us by:
1. Offering prayers in your churches for Noli and all victims of extra-judicial killings.
2. Circulating our statement and that of the UCCP (which are placed below this message).
3. Wrting letters of concern addressed to our governmet.
4. Asking your government to speak out against these killings.
These are just suggestions, you may come up with other ways to help us.
Thank you very much,
Mervin H. Toquero
Assistant Program Secretary
Faith, Witness and Service - NCCP
May 29, 2006
HIS BLOOD IS IN THEIR HANDS
At around 6.00 in the evening of May 27, 2006, NOEL NOLI CAPULONG was on his way home after visiting a "botica ng bayan" project of Bayan Muna. He never reached home. Motorcycle riding men pumped four bullets in his body in Barangay Parian, Calamba City, Laguna.
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) is grieved by this latest assault on church people and advocates of peace with justice.
Until his brutal death, Noli was Chairman of the Christian Witness and Service Committee of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Calamba City (UCCP-Calamba), Spokesperson of the Southern Tagalog Environmental Action Movement (STEAM) and Deputy Secretary General of Bayan Muna in Southern Tagalog. A former staff of the NCCP, Noli was an untiring worker of the International Affairs Desk and later on as Coordinator of the Ecology and Environmental Protection Program for Southern Luzon. He served as President of the United Church Men in his church and chaired the Christian Witness and Service Committee for the UCCP North East Southern Tagalog Conference at one time. He was instrumental in promoting ecumenical work and played a key role in the formation of the Southern Tagalog Regional Ecumenical Council. He was a member of the Kapatirang Simbahan para sa Bayan (KASIMBAYAN) and convenor of the Christian Movement for Good Government.
Noli epitomized what it meant to serve God by serving the people. As a passionate speaker, he used this God-given eloquence to expose and denounce consistently projects in Southern Tagalog that were detrimental to the people and destructive to the environment; if not symbols of mammon.
Even as the NCCP condoles with Noli's family, his wife Doyet and children, JR and Marilag, his congregation and the people he served, we condemn his murder in strongest terms. His assassination was carried out with such precision and follows the brazen pattern of the murder of other church workers before him.
To paraphrase the Commission on Human Rights, the blood of Noli and the other martyrs is in the hands of the Arroyo government. There can be no excuse for a government who cannot protect its citizens from the paragons of destruction. There is no place in this land for a government which claims adherence to democracy yet tacitly approves the killing of those who stand for principled and legitimate dissent, or worse, conveniently finds excuse by pointing a finger at someone else. Such is the behavior of a government that is oppressive, repressive and concerned only with its own political survival- an utter disgrace to the dignity of the people it claims to serve and an insult to democratic tenets.
We demand that for once, this government muster the political will to stop these killings, cause the investigation of this slaughter and bring the perpetrators to justice. In this light, we shall push for the creation of an independent body composed of people with known probity to probe into all these killings.
Noli Capulong is dead. But in his death he has passed on to many others a great tradition he held dearly. That tradition is the deep reverence for the dignity of human life and the integrity of creation. His death cannot be a blow. Nay, it is a spark that ignites more men and women to break forth into the swelling pilgrimage towards peace and justice.
The bells toll for yet another fallen prophet. Yet, blessed are they who bear witness to the truth for they indict the wicked and sow the seeds of genuine freedom.
MS. SHARON ROSE JOY RUIZ-DUREMDES
General Secretary - NCCP
The UCCP General Assembly, the highest decision-making body of the Church, has adopted a Resolution and Statement of Great Concern Regarding the Current Explosive Breakout in Human Rights Violations. Ironically, and tragically, the Resolution was submitted by the National Committee on Conflict Resolution Chair Attorney Emilio C. Capulong, Jr.; Atty Capulong is the older brother of the latest UCCP member slain, Mr. Noli Capulong. Only hours before Noli Capulong was gunned down in Calamba, Laguna around 6 pm on May 27, the 8th Quadrennial General Assembly adopted the Resolution of Great Concern by a resounding majority. We can hardly contain our grief and outrage for what is happening to our Church people.
In the last three weeks alone, we have had FOUR church workers and members slain by assassins, and TWO frustrated murders:
1. Rev. Jemias Tinambacan, 49 years old, Pastor of UCCP Calaran, Calamba, Misamis Occidental, gunned down on May 9, 2006 at 5:30 pm. He was driving in a private van with the wife Rev. Malou Tinambacan. Four armed assailants, riding two motorcycles, suddenly shot to death Rev. Jemias Tinambacan. The car crashed and Rev. Malou Tinambacan heard them say "Buhi pa ang Baye" (the woman is still alive), she scrambled to the floor beside her husband's dead body and heard three more shots fired in her direction. She has identified one assailant as a certain Mamay Guimalan. Rev. Malou Tinambacan sustained injuries but has survived the assassination attempt. Rev. Jemias Tinambacan was an active member of Kapatirang Simbahan para sa Bayan (Kasimbayan), Promotion of Church People's Response (PCPR), Gloria Step Down Movement-Misamis Occidental, Provincial Chairman of Bayan Muna-Misamis Occidental, and Executive Director of Mission for Indigenous People and Self-Reliance People's Assistance.
2. Mr. Jose Doton, 62 year old, Member of UCCP San Nicolas, Pangasinan, gunned down around 10:30am on May 16, 2006 . Jose and his brother, Cancio Doton (also a UCCP member), were riding their motorcycle when a second motorcycle with two men sped up behind them firing three shots; the assassins' motorcycle fired twice more as they overtook the Doton brothers' motorcycle. When the Doton motorcycle had fallen on the road, one of the assassins alighted from their motorcycle, shot Jose in the head at close range, jumped back on the waiting bike and sped off. Cancio Doton survived the incident with two bullet wounds (one probably hitting him after piercing through Jose). Mr. Jose Doton was Secretary General of Bayan Muna-Pagasinan and President of Tignayan dagiti Mannalon A Mangwayawaya (TIMMAWA).
3. Pastor Andy Pawikan, 30 years old, Licenciate Pastor of UCCP Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, forcibly taken, tortured and believed killed around 4pm when a gunshot was heard, on May 21, 2006. His body was recovered at 8am the following morning. Pastor Andy was on his way home from Sunday Worship with his wife, children and other women. He was forcibly taken away by the 48th Infantry Battalion-AFP. It is alleged that the motivation of the 48th Infantry was to extract information on a recent encounter of the AFP and the NPA; insurgents were alleged to have hidden somewhere near the area. Two other persons are also still missing (both were companions of Pastor Andy Pawikan in resolving the "Kaingin" issue against possible landowners). PNP-San Jose City reported a legitimate encounter as the cause of Pastor Pawikan's death; the absurdity of this claim is not only backed by eye-witness but the reality that Pastor Pawikan was killed in his "Barong Tagalog." Furthermore, the municipality of Pantabangan refused the UCCP-Fact Finding Team entrance to the area.
4. Mr. Noel (Noli) Capulong, 51 years old, Member of UCCP Calamba, Laguna and Chairperson of the Christian Witness and Service of UCCP Northeast Southern Tagalog Conference, gunned down around 6pm, May 27, 2006 . Noli Capulong left a meeting with a Barangay Captain at Barangay Paraian, Calamba, to attend a prayer meeting for his ill siblings. He was driving a private jeep. He was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle wearing bonnets. He sustained four gunshot wounds and was declared dead on arrival when taken to a hospital only 50 meters away. Mr. Noli Capulong was Deputy Secretary General of Bayan Muna TK, regional staff of Bagong Alianza Makabayan, and spokesperson for the Southern Tagalog Environmental Advocacy Movement (STEAM).
We are aghast that these killings are happening with such obvious connection and direction. We must speak the truth and name them appropriately as assassinations/extra-judicial killings. Many of our members strongly believe that these killings are being perpetrated by elements of the Philippine National Police and/or Armed Forces of the Philippines. Regardless, we call on President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to address this undeniable pattern and put an end to these crimes. The fabric of our society is being torn apart by these immoral acts against the civilians of our beloved country, and our Church is in mourning for our murdered workers and members. The United Church of Christ in the Philippines will not stop proclaiming good news for the poor, sight for the blind, justice for the hungry, freedom for the captives and liberation for the oppressed. We will continue to work for justice. These martyrs strongly serve as testament of our resolve for a world of peace based on justice. We pray that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, the whole of her administration, and all of the people of the Philippines will restore the dignity of all human life and uphold civil liberties. These extra-judicial killings must be stopped!
Reference: Bishop Elmer M. Bolocon
May 29, 2006
Digos, Davao del Sur
RESOLUTION AND STATEMENT
of Great Concern ReGARDING the
Current Explosive Breakout In
Human Rights ViolationS
WHEREAS, reports have lately piled up about the increasing number of militants who had been liquidated under circumstances that seemingly point to the military as responsible. A number of church members and leaders of the UCCP, perceived by the government to be activists or left-leaning, have been among the victims.
WHEREAS, in the face of these awful depredations, government authorities have not made any serious and painstaking investigation. Passivity and silence, evasions and denials, distortions and prevarications, characterize the stale responses of the establishment, including those coming from the Office of no less than the Commander-in-Chief.
WHEREAS, it behooves the present government, which is supposed to uphold the ways of justice, the imperatives of due process, and the tenets of Christian decency and morality, including the military leadership, under the command and direction of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to resolutely and uncompromisingly ferret out from our midst these thugs and assassins who now reign havoc on the lives and basic rights of those of our people who are afflicted, and to immediately stop the violent and wanton onslaughts.
WHEREAS, as a church body charged with the prophetic role and mission for its people, the United Church of Christ in the Philippines is thereby called upon to denounce this continuing viciousness and iniquity, and to proceed to render comfort and support to the victims.
WHEREFORE, it is hereby RESOLVED by the delegates of the General Assembly of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in plenary session ?
a) to strongly decry and denounce the ongoing unmitigated killings of militants and activists in our society, and hereby call upon the military leadership, especially the Commander-in-Chief, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, to immediately cause the stopping of these extra-judicial executions, and to employ all means to bring to justice, without delay, all those responsible in the commission of the crimes;
b) to urge all the local churches to organize and mobilize so as to address effectively this particular upsurge in human rights violations; and
c) to encourage and support lawyer-members of the Church, in all the jurisdictions, with regard to their need and desire to formally organize and be presently linked together on a nationwide basis, with the assistance of friends and partners of the Church, for the purpose of defending, under our laws and democratic system, those of our church members, and others in the community, who are victims of gross and flagrant violations of human rights.
Adopted by the 8th Quadrennial General Assembly in Session, May 27, 2006, Digos City, Davao Del Sur.
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