First activist murdered under new Phillipine leader

Manila (ANTARA News/AFP) - Gunmen killed an activist in the Philippines on Monday, police said, the first suspected politically motivated murder under the watch of President Benigno Aquino`s new government.

Village council member Fernando Baldomero, an area coordinator for the leftist Bayan Muna (Nation First) group was shot in the head and neck as he was taking his children to school in the central island of Panay, police added.

"He is the first activist killed in five days into the new Aquino administration," Bayan Muna said in a statement.

The militant group held the military responsible for the murder, linking it to the killings of other leftists in recent years.

"Mr Aquino must send a clear message to state security forces that these killings have to end and perpetrators will be prosecuted, heads must roll in the armed forces," Bayan Muna said.

Last week, Aquino`s newly-appointed Justice Secretary Leila de Lima vowed to put an end to the extra-judicial killings that have been widely criticised by other governments and human rights groups.

Local rights group Karapatan has said over 900 activists who were critical of government, including students and labour leaders, have been killed in the past nine years.

The assassinations are normally carried out by gunmen on motorcycles.

In its annual report on human rights worldwide in March, the US State Department cited such killings in the Philippines during the tenure of then-president Gloria Arroyo.
It mentioned "arbitrary, unlawful, and extrajudicial killings by elements of the security services and political killings, including killings of journalists, by a variety of actors".

In 2007, the UN`s special rapporteur on extra-judicial killings, Philip Alston, and a Philippine government fact finding mission blamed the military for many of the extra-judicial killings. The military has consistently denied the accusations.

Source : http://antaranews.com/en/news/1278321442/first-activist-murdered-under-new-phillipine-leader

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