While De Lima was partying


WHERE is Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima?

One cannot help but see her, happy face smiling, waving the L sign in front of that crowd in Cebu. One cannot help but see her dancing the “Macarena,” enjoying the festivities of her birthday.

One cannot help but wonder where she is, why we have yet to hear her voice about the cases of Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos, and Bello Sinzo, all from Surigao de Sur. All dead in the hands of AFP units and its paramilitary group.

While Manila was partying
On August 30, 40 soldiers of the 36th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA), the 75th IBPA, and known members of the paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani Force/Marcos Bocales group, occupied the function hall and parts of the school grounds of ALCADEV in Sitio Han-ayan, Surigao del Sur.

ALCADEV or Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development is “an alternative learning system especially designed to provide secondary education to indigent indigenous youth—the Manobo, Banwaon, Higanon, Talaandig, and Mamanwa of Surigao del Norte and Sur and Agusan Norte and Sur.”

August 29 was the Foundation Day of ALCADEV, and visitors who had stayed behind saw the soldiers and members of the paramilitary group take over the school.

During the military and paramilitary encampment, the school’s faculty members and staff, as well as the community, were told they had two days to leave or they would be massacred. Their cellphones and cameras were confiscated. Community members were asked about the whereabouts of ALCADEV and TRIFPSS staff members and faculty.

On August 31, the community’s cooperative store was burned down by the paramilitary group. The soldiers fired indiscriminately at the community. Residents started to flee to nearby Km.16. By the afternoon, half of the soldiers in ALCADEV were seen leaving Han-ayan going in the direction of Km16. Twenty-five soldiers of the 75th IBPA and three to five members of the paramilitary group remained in the community.

The case of Emerito Samarca
Samarca was Executive Director of the ALCADEV. He was staff member when the institution began; he became Executive Director in 2012.

He also worked with SILDAP-SIDLAKAN, a Lumad support institution in Caraga from 1990-1998, and was part of the Unyon sa Mag-uuma sa Agusan del Norte (UMAN)-KMP in the 1980’s.

On August 31, as the residents of Han-ayan were leaving for KM.16, they saw Samarca tied around the neck, hands, and feet. He was brought inside one of the classrooms in the ALCADEV compound.

On September 1, his body was found in one of the classrooms in ALCADEV.

His throat was slit open, with a cut that ranged from ear to ear.

Samarca was 54 years old, married with four children.

He was a teacher, a community leader, a man who lived in the service of others.

He was a teacher.

The case of Campos, Sinzo, Itallo
In the early morning of September 1, soldiers started going house-to-house in KM.16, ordering residents to get out of their houses and proceed to the center of the community.

Dionel Campos, Bello Sinzo, and Belen Itallo were at the house of Josephine Pagalan.

Campos was Chairperson of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) or Persevering Struggle for the Next Generation. He is also the cousin of Jalandoni Campos, the Lumad leader who has been falsely charged with a criminal offense.

Sinzo is a member of MAPASU. Itallo was accused by the paramilitary group of being seen in the company of members of the New People’s Army. Crippled by polio since childhood, Itallo showed them her feet and told them of her difficulty with walking.

The armed men ordered Itallo to sit beside Campos. Community members were ordered to “drop.”

The paramilitary group shot Campos on the head, blowing off the back of his head.

Sinzo was shot dead.

Itallo ducked and kept her eyes closed during the shooting. She survived.

Some 20 armed men fired indiscriminately around Campos, Sinzo and Itallo.

The community members were witness to the killing.

Living in fear
While Manila was watching the INC rally take place. While DOJ Secretary de Lima celebrated her birthday at the DOJ office. While Interior Secretary Mar Roxas and the Liberal Party government focuses on their 2016 campaign.

While we stand in compassion with the Syrian refugees and migrants who are dying in transit to elsewhere in the world.

Right here, people live in fear of men in uniform, carrying guns, firing indiscriminately at the community, killing leaders and members of organizations and institutions like MAPASU and ALCADEV. These are institutions that actively defend Lumad ancestral lands against big business.

Today, 307 families or about 2,000 individuals have evacuated to Tandag City.

The community members brought with them the remains of Samarca, Campos and Sinzo.

They wait for assistance from the local government to act on this spate of killings.

We wait for this government, from the Department of Justice, to the Department of Interior, to the President himself, to speak on this violence against Filipinos, on Filipino land, by Filipino members of the military and paramilitary.

We wait and count the number of dead, and displaced, and disenfrachised, and disappeared, and tortured, and traumatized.

We wait and count the number of dead.

* * *

Data in this article paraphrased from human rights organization Karapatan’s Urgent Alert report on the incident dated 3 September 2015, received via email from Karapatan Secretary-General Cristina Palabay, 3 September.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Paglilinaw lang din po… ang akusayon ng mga miyembro ninyo na nawala at hinnostage..hindi ba yan krimen ayon sa batas…o turo ng reliheyon ninyo hindi ba yan kamalian?…Tsk.. tsk… nga kayo sa doktrina ninyo…kung marunong tayong makialam sa labas lalo na sa ating loob?..di ba turo din yan ng biblia?. ang block voting ay hindi ko mababasa saan mang kaitulo at versikulo ng biblia.. ang malinaw lang sa akin ang pagkamalaya ng tao…lalo na sa pagpili…at sana tama…Patawad po…

  2. Diyos ko po miss santiago…ginawa na ninyo scape goat ang katoliko…. pati si kristo dinamay niyo na ….nA HINDI NG AKAYO NANIWALA NA KRISTO AY DIYOS?…ngayon di Sec. De lima naman ang partying….Lord patawad!…baka madamay pa… pati christmas party at birthday party nito… kayo ang may partido at namumulitika kung tutuusin… dahil kayo ang may block voting… i review nga natin ang konstitusyon… ang eleksyon as isinagawa upang tayo’y pumili ng malaya ayon sa ating konsenya at kagustuhan.. pero kayo block voting…Akala ko ba ang eleksyon ay walang bayad?..tama ho ba?. at sa aking mababang kaisipan ang konstitusyon ay isa lang…ngayon! bakit may block voting kayo?. kayo bay may sariling konstitusyon?..at saang kapitulo at versikulo ba yan mababasa?…kung marapatin ang panginoon ay nagturo ng malaya..at ang tao ay may kalayaan sa pagpili ng mali at tama…kung sa eleksyon palang wala tayong kalayaan..ano pa kaya sa mga susunod na kabanata….at kung tayo ay nakapili at nagawa ng mali… ito ay may kosekwensya. kung ito naman ay tama ito’y hindi mamatay magpakailan pa man…ang nag akusa sa inyo ay kapwa ninyo iglesia…kaya nararapat lamang na inyong sagutin at respetuhin.. yun nga kung may respeto kayo ayon sa turo ninyo? at huwag idamay ang sinuman…saklaw kayo sa batas…at ang batas ay wala sanang penoprotektahan at pagkapantay-pantay.. bakit di kayo mag-imbestiga rin an tulungan ang pamahalaan?…hindi magkanlong sa kamalian..The Truth SHOULD Set us FREE….EKA NGA…

  3. The cause-oriented leaders and human right activists became government functionaries, joined politics and they morphed into new breed of corrupt trapos and ‘manhid’ bureaucrats. They won’t care about this heinous crime. The victims are just statistic numbers of unsolved crimes.

  4. There is a more than 40 year old insurgency war going on. How many victims have there been? According to them there were 10,000 victims of human rights violations during Marcos’ time alone, so today 30 years later there must be more, if those guys are to be believed. So what’s a few more? The point is war represents the total breakdown of morality, and the hypocrites who invoke morality all the time in war are those who use it merely as a cover or as a weapon, all part of the art of warfare. As far as the NPA vs Military is concerned, the military has more credibility for me than these fake leftists. I say fake because this insurgency is being run from the Netherlands which is a NATO member and a strong American ally. These NPAs are well known for using groups like these as fronts to hide their activities like recruiting, spying, preparing for ambush or assassination, kidnapping and hiding and recuperating from war wounds. I stand by the military as they are fighting for the flag. What are these Netherlands-led and financed insurgents fighting for, really?

    • Also you might want to read the article about the military killing civilians titled “While De Lima was partying” by KATRINA STUART SANTIAGO also on this site.

  5. what comes around comes around. baka may bigtime project dyan sa lugar nila, at malakas resistance nitong org nang mga ito. kasakiman nga naman nang tao, walang hangganan.

  6. With all the evidence of the evil doings of this government, why are you not calling for a People Power revolt?

    I have in comments like this!

  7. For people in power who claim to have fought the fight against militarism,
    we hear a howling silence ?!?!
    Where does the CHR(including the former CHR commisioner) come in ?!?!

  8. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.

    The people have let the corrupt take over the entire government, scandal after scandal and no one getting convicted of anything, most times charges are not even brought by the lapdogs running the Dept of Justice and the Ombudsman office.

    Stand by and allow these corrupt people to ruin the country and witness the result in silent protest for all the good that will do.