Saturday, September 3, 2011

Speak up for your tukayo

Tukayo (variation: tokayo)
English Definition: (noun) namesake; person having the same first name as one's self

You share a name, now know his story.

I first saw the website as a Google ad on my blog, but since I can't click on my own ads, I wasn't able to visit it at that time. And then, while watching GMA News TV this morning, I saw the ad again and I finally visited the site.

The project is called "Tukayo Campaign Against Impunity" and their website is at When you go to the site, you'll see a listing of names. You can click on a name to know the story behind it. Or, you can enter your name and see if you share a name with anyone of them. I entered  my name and I got to know Atty. Froilan Siobal.

This is his story:

Atty. Froilan Siobal and his wife Erlinda were killed on November 19, 2006, at around ten in the morning along Siobal St., Barangay Inerangan, Alaminos City, Pangasinan. Husband and wife were in their vehicle when SPO1 Agapito "Pitong" Celino from the 106th Police Mobile Group, together with Ojing Olivarez, suddenly appeared and shot the victims. Erlinda attempted to get out of the vehicle, however, she stumbled and Celino killed her with two shots. Sworn statements from witnesses Reynaldo A. Dacon and Bernald A. Caballero corroborated the role of both Celino and Olivarez in the killing, as well as implicated Barangay Councilman Donald Sison and Edgar Parang. The eldest son of the Siobals, Francisco, further confirmed that the men seen by the witnesses had threatened his father. He further indentified Boyet Medrano, Bong Grate, Barangay Chairman Rico Aquino, Mading "Mading" Tobias, Daniel Luciano, Landong Losendo, and a certain "Taba", all residents of Barangay San Miguel, Bani, Pangasinan, as conspirators in his parents’ murder. Francisco supposes the motive for his parents’ killing was that his father was suspected of being one of the masterminds in the killing of Rommel Rolda, a native of Vigan, Ilocos Sur, residing at Barangay San Miguel, Bani, Pangasinan, who was shot to death on October 10, 2003. On 29 November 2006, a case of double murder was filed before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office, Alaminos City, Pangasinan, against suspects SPOT Agapito Celino, Ojing Olivarez, Barangay Councilman Edgar Parang and other John Does under ID No. AC-06-341. SPO1 Celino is being re-assigned from the 106th PMG to Pangasinan Police Provincial Office. He will be restricted inside the camp pending the disposition of an administrative case against him. (Emphasis mine)
His story was particularly unnerving for two reasons, aside from the fact that we share the same first name (and I share the same last name with one of the suspects, sadly). First, I used to work in Alaminos, Pangasinan during the past two years. I know the exact barangay where he was killed and I could have passed the same street where his life was taken - on broad daylight.

Two, the manner by which he was killed is particularly disturbing. That it happened during broad daylight is bad enough, but to know that it was committed by state elements that was supposed to protect us in the first place is simply outrageous and unacceptable. The primary suspect is a police officer and some of the conspirators are elected officials. You could almost feel their sense of impunity, their confidence that they could get away with this crime.

But he is just one of the many victims of alleged extralegal killings (ELKs). This site also covers victims of enforced disappearances (EDs) and acts of torture committed by state agents.

 Also from the said site:
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) of the Philippines documented 1,001 victims of alleged ELKs for the period covering 2001-2009. On the other hand, the civil society group, Karapatan, reported 1,188 victims of ELKs, 205 victims of EDs, and 1,028 incidents of torture, for the same period. These are among other forms of human rights violations targeting political activists and members of the media.
The numbers alone are disheartening, but for me, one victim alone of ELK is one too many. Though the group also mentioned that the numbers are going down under the current administration, there is still more to be done to fully address this problem.They have a petition for President Aquino to sign the National Human Rights Action Plan.

The National Human Rights Action Plan or NHRAP, is more than a piece of paper. When signed by the President, it will be a roadmap for all branches of government at all levels in protecting the civil and political rights of all citizens, including marginalized groups like women, children, the disabled, migrant workers and indigenous people. 

To borrow their slogan: Speak up. Right a wrong. It's up to us.

Please visit the site, learn about the victims and sign the petition.

Patuloy na umiibig sa Pilipinas,
At naniniwala sa galing ng Pilipino,

Froilan Grate | GreenMinds
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