September 24, 2021

Bicol Express News

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Albay cops gun down 2 activists while painting protest slogans before SONA

Contributed photo

Patrol policemen in Guinobatan, Albay gunned down two persons who were painting protest slogans on a bridge hours before President Rodrigo Duterte’s SONA Address.

Police said the two victims allegedly fought the policemen in car patrol who chanced upon them, but human rights group said the killings were murder.

Killed were Jemar Palero, 22, from Organisasyon ng mga Magsasaka sa Albay (OMA), and Marlon Naperi, 38, from human rights group Albay People’s Organization (APO).

The two were killed by police forces after being seen conducting Operation Pinta (OP) at Banao Bridge, with the unfinished protest art stating “DUTERTE IBAGS”.

Both were residents of Guinobatan, Albay.

The unarmed civilians were branded as “nanlaban” by policemen, an old narrative of the police being used in its anti-drug “tokhang” operations.

The two guns allegedly used by the victims were planted, according to rights group.

Defend Bicol Stop The Attacks Network condemned the brazen attack on human rights.

During preparation for protest activities, the painting of protest slogans and graffiti is part of peaceful dissent, an art expressing protest messages.

Among law enforcers, these graffiti’s are form of vandalism which penalized the violator with light offenses, bailable, and fine.

“They don’t deserve to be killed by State forces,” said the group.

“Dissent may take on many forms, but to kill innocent unarmed civilians in the dead of the night for painting the people’s call is purely fascist and brutal,” said the group.

“On Duterte’s last SONA, the blood of 2 Albayanos drenched the Banao Bridge, contrary to his claim that he loves the Bicolano people,” the group said.