I ask that the Australian Government seek information from the Filipino authorities on what progress is being been made in investigating the murder and bringing those responsible to justice.
Details of the Incident:
On 5 March 2012, at about 6.30pm in the evening, Hon. Jimmy M. Liguyon, Barangay Captain (The Barangay Captain is the executive head of the smallest unit of government in the Philippines) of Barangay Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon was shot dead inside his residence by Alde Salusad A.K.A. Butsoy using an Armalite rifle.
Jimmy Liguyon was a 37 year old Filipino, married with five children, from the Lumad-Matigsalog tribe. He was also a Chairperson of the Church Council of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Dao, San Fernando, Bukidnon.
Emelio Liguyon and Arser Liguyon brothers of the victim narrated that at about 5:30pm in the afternoon they went to the house of Barangay Captain Liguyon to lend money and rice for the family consumption as well as their supplies in doing billing to extract gold or other minerals to sustain their living.
Emelio and Arser further narrated that they were in conversation in the terrace of Jimmy’s house when Alde Salusad A.K.A Butsoy arrived accompanied with fifteen unidentified armed men in military fatigue uniform. Alde suddenly barged into to the house of the victim.
When Alde was about one meter away from Jimmy, he asked Jimmy about the presence of the military in the area. Jimmy replied that he did not notice the military in the area. Alde lamented that he was just clarifying in order for them not to encounter the military. Alde then ordered Jimmy to transfer to the opposite bench. Jimmy obeyed and stood up, Alde offered a shake hand. Facing each other, Alde shot Jimmy using his baby Armalite rifle killing him.
Emelio and Arser ran in separate directions for safety leaving Jimmy behind.
Statements by Witnesses:
Witnesses disclosed that they heard Alde saying “akong gipatay si kapitan tungod kay wala kini mipirma sa SANMATRIDA o wala mohatag og certification sa SANMATRIDA”. (I kill the barangay captain because he refuse to allow SANMATRIDA and did not sign SANMATRIDA's certification "to operate"). He also warned the people that whoever complains and fights back, he will also kill especially the siblings who were the reason that Capt. Liguyon did not sign the certification.
SANMATRIDA has its own private arm of which Alde Salusad is a member. SANMATRIDA the San Fernando Matigsalog, Tigwahanon, Manobo Tribal Datu Association, are claimants of 53,000 hectares of ancestral land in the 12 barangays of San Fernando Bukidnon including Barangay Dao. The main objective of SANMATRIDA is facilitating mining operation within the ancestral land.
It is further reported that there has been a history of harassment experienced by Jimmy Liguyon and other residents in the area, dating back to October 2011.
I am deeply concerned about the extra-judicial killings in the Philippines and hope that the Australian Government can pressure the Filipino authorities to thoroughly investigate this and other killings, and bring the perpetrators to justice as quickly as possible.
I want assurances also from the Philippines Government that it is doing all that it can to prevent extra-judicial killings in the country and to fulfill its promise to disband all private armies.