MIGRANTE Ontario Youth

Advancing the rights and welfare of Filipino youth

Migrante Ontario Youth statement on the abduction, torture and murder of Rebelyn Pitao

Posted by anakbayantoronto on March 15, 2009

Migrante Youth Statement
March 8, 2009

ABDUCTION, TORTURE AND MURDER OF REBELYN PITAO

Rebelyn Pitao, 20 years old, teacher at St. Peter College, Toril, Davao City.  Abducted March 4, 2009.  Dead body found with tape and torture marks, March 5, 2009.

Rebelyn Pitao, 20 years old, teacher at St. Peter College, Toril, Davao City. Abducted, tortured and murdered March 4, 2009.

Migrante Youth, member organization of Migrante Ontario, strongly condemns the grotesque killing of Rebelyn Pitao, 20, a teacher in Davao City, Philippines and daughter of Leoncio Pitao, a commander of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Rebelyn was abducted by suspected military agents near her family home in Davao City , while she was on her way home from school around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 4.  The next day her underwear clad body was found floating in an irrigation ditch in Davao del Norte with signs of torture.  Her body sustained blunt force injuries to her face, rope marks on her neck, five stab wounds to her body which pierced her lungs and liver, and lacerations on her genitals.

This latest human rights violation by the Arroyo regime is in direct violation of International Humanitarian Law and clearly shows the government’s unwillingness to distinguish between civilians and combatants in their U.S.-backed “war on terror” against the NPA. Since Arroyo took power in 2001 close to 1000 extra-judicial killings have claimed the lives of journalists, clergy, union leaders, students and other civilians who have been critical of the government, while roughly 200 individuals have been subjected to enforced disappearance.

The abductions of youth leaders Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeño on June 26, 2006 are still fresh in our minds.  Sherlyn was a member of the youth organization ANAKBAYAN and was pregnant, while Karen was with the League of Filipino Students and one month shy of celebrating her 23rd birthday at the time of their abduction.

We hold the de facto president of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines , Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo responsible for this heinous violation of Rebelyn Pitao’s right to life, and that of the many others.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston, issued a report in 2008 linking the extrajudicial execution of activists to the government’s counterinsurgency operations.

We urge our fellow youth to join us in the international campaign to stop the political killings, abductions and other human rights violations in the Philippines.

For more information:  Diwa Marcelino – migranteON.youth@gmail.com,(416) 809-3492

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