The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has obtained further details that an activist who was murdered on May 1, 2012 for opposing illegal mining operation in Salcedo, Eastern Samar, knew of the plan that he and two others would be killed. The victim, Francisco Canayong; and his colleagues, Antonio Norte and Carolyn Borja, had themselves “heard with our own ears” that they would all be killed.
CASE DETAILS: (Based on the information provided by Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and the Workers’ Assistance centre Inc. (WAC))
As it is widely reported, Francisco “Mano Ansing” Canayong, (64), was stabbed to death on May 1, 2012 at 2:40pm along the national road in Naparaan, Salcedo, Eastern Samar. His body was seen lying face down about ten meters away from the motorcycle he was driving. He suffered stab wounds; two to his back and one to left chest. It was reported that he could have been dragged towards a nearby forest before he was killed as seen by the traces along the road.
Prior to Canayong’s death, on March 19, 2012 he and two others, Antonio Norte, a member of the village council; and Carolyn Borja, a development worker, made a detailed testimony identifying the persons who had planned to kill them and for what reason. The extract of their joint testimony is below;
“2. That, we are known who support the campaign against illegal mining in the municipality of Salcedo and in the Province of Eastern Samar,
3. That, our endeavors to support the government’s thrust towards economic enhancement through sustainable livelihood programme and agricultural development particularly food security and the protection of our environment from being and continued abused by illegal mining activities and in exercising our constitutional rights our lives and all of our family members are in great danger
4. That, on 17 March 2012, around 9:00 o’clock in the morning while waiting the short tree planting programme held in our Brgy. Plaza to be finish, Terso Lopido alyas “Baggie” a resident of Brgy. Napara-an Salcedo, Eastern Samar and employee and field operation trustee of Atty. Emelio S. Teng, president of Terrestrial Mining Corp and Elaxander Ecija Basijan, a resident of Poblacion Salcedo, Eastern Samar and security guard of terrestrial mining stockyard located at the port of Brgy. Carapdapan having a dialogue with Brgy. Chair Alfredo O. Macatimpag, Ernesto O. Pagad mining contractor in the shed house in front of Wenefredo M. Duran residence Brgy. Carapdapan,
5. That, we heard with our own ears, that they are talking about mining and even mentioning our names and the associations. Terso Lopido in his loud voice says that if the mining operation will be stop we must leave our home and never show up because he will kill us all,
6. That, Terso Lopido, further says that if we interfere their incoming chromite ore shipment he will enter each of our house and kill us all,
7. That, Terso Lopido, further says that Antonio M. Norte has no gratitude after he was given support on the last election Antonio Norte lead the barricading group on the March 2011 loading and he is only waiting a good timing for Antonio M. Norte,
8. That, Terso Lopido, further says that is why he killed Jerry Barsana of Brgy. Caga-ut because the later tried to stop him on the hauling of their chromite ore from site their stockyard,
9. That, Terso Lopido, further says that he always carry his.45 caliber pistol and he will never hesitate to kill whoever tried to stop their mining operation for he will never be in prison only money is enough for his family victim,
10. That, Brgy. Chair Alfredo O. Macatimag says the mining operation will never be disclosed its situation and status if not Engr. Almasco arrived in the Barangay because nobody knows and have no capacity whether the mining operation is legal or illegal”
Prior to the murder, threats
On March 14 and 15, 2011, Canayong, president of Barangay Integrated Upland Farmers Association of Salcedo (BIUFAS) at the time of his death; and members of his group and community barricaded a bridge in Barangay Carapdapan to stop the transport of Chromite ore by Terrestrial Mining Corporation heading for china. Canayong was also a member of the Carapdapan Land Owners Association (CLOA).
As a result, Canayong, Borja and three officers of their group were charged with civil damages at the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 139 in Makati City.
In September 2011, Canayong, Borja, Estanislao Catimon, Arturo Lacasa, Engr. Gil Lamasco and other leaders and members of their group, filed an administrative complaint against the Local government Unit (LGU) at the Office of the Ombudsman for failing to intervene and of stopping the illegal mining operation.
Canayong, as a community and sectoral leader, led the people’s organisation in actively supporting and advocating for peace and development particularly for protection of the environment. He was active in the local campaign against the illegal mining operation, not only in the municipality of Salcedo, but also in other parts of Eastern Samar. He was offered bribes to stop his advocacy, but rejected the offers.
Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below requesting them to conduct an investigation into Canayong’s murder and to ensure that his two other colleagues, Antonio Norte and Carolyn Borja, are given adequate protection.
The AHRC has also written letters to the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders and on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions for their appropriate intervention in this case.
Re: PHILIPPINES: Murdered mining activist knew he and two others would be killed
Name of the victim killed:
Francisco “Mano Ansing” Canayong (64) of Barangay (village) Carapdapan, Salcedo, Eastern Samar. He was murdered on May 1, 2012
Names of victims threatened:
1. Antonio M. Norte, village council member of Barangay Carapdapan, Salcedo, Eastern Samar
2. Carolyn R. Borja, president of Carapdapan Movement for Development Association (CAMADA INC.).
The threats on Norte and Borja were explained in detail in their Joint Affidavit (testimony) executed on March 19, 2012 in Guiuan, Eastern Samar.
Place of incident: Barangay Carapdapan, Salcedo, Eastern Samar
Name of person who made the threat: Terso Lopido “Baggie”, field operation trustee working for works for Atty. Emelio Teng, president of Terrestrial Mining Corp.
I am shocked to learn that Francisco Canayong, a local villager who strongly opposed the operation of illegal mining in his community, was murdered after executing a detailed testimony about a plan that he and two others, Antonio Norte and Carolyn Borja, would be killed if the mining operation would be stopped in the community.
Canayong was stabbed to death on May 1, 2012 at 2:40pm in Salcedo, Eastern Samar. His body was seen lying face down about ten meters away from the motorcycle he was driving. He suffered stab wounds; two to his back and one to his left chest. It was reported that he could have been dragged going to a nearby forest before he was killed as shown in the traces on the ground.
Prior to Canayong’s death, I am fully aware that he and his two other colleagues, Norte and Borja, had already executed a detailed testimony dated March 19, 2012 that there had been plan that they would all be killed.
In their testimony, the three victims heard Terso Lopido “Baggie”, field operation trustee, had quoted what he had said from what they heard: “in his loud voice says that if the mining operation will be stop we must leave our home and never show up because he will kill us all.” Lopido works for Atty. Emelio Teng, president of Terrestrial Mining Corp.
The three further said that: “he always carry his.45 caliber pistol and he will never hesitate to kill whoever tried to stop their mining operation for he will never be in prison only money is enough for his family victim.”
However, despite their revealing testimony, I am not aware of any security and protection having been offered or made available to any of them. In fact, after they executed their detailed statement, Canayong’s murder was evidence that there was no protection of any sort at all. And even after Canayong’s murder, I am not aware of any intervention from local authorities, particularly the police, neither to adequately investigate Canayong’s murder nor to secure the safety of Norte and Borja.
In fact, the threats on Borja persisted. On May 23, 2012 at about 11pm, shots were fired at her house in Barangay Carapdapan, Salcedo, Eastern Samar. After the shooting, she saw two motorcycles outside with persons wearing helmets riding on them. Due to fear, they had to hurriedly leave their home for safety. Canayong’s murder and the risk that Borja had to endure due to absence of adequate protection are condemnable.
I trust that you take immediate action on this matter.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Benigno Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201/ 564 1451 to 80
2. Loretta Ann Rosales
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Fax: +63 2 929 0102
Tel: +63 2 928 5655/ 926 6188
3. director general Nicanor Bartolome
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp general Rafael Crame
Fax: +63 2724 8763
Tel: +63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
4. Leila de Lima
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
Fax: +63 2 521 1614