6 years after Hernandez murder, justice remains elusive

Today (April 5, Saturday) is her 6th death anniversary.

Kelly Delgado of the Karapatan Southern Mindanao, a human rights group based in Davao City, said "prospect of justice for Hernandez' death is still dark and  depressing".

Of the more than 10 suspects charged in court for the murder of Hernandez and three others, only Army Master Sergeant Antonio Torilla and Edgardo Anarna of the Army's 12th Special Forces were arrested, while the rest continued to be off the hook, he said.

Hernandez, before her death, used to work with Karapatan as deputy secretary-general.
 
The family of Hernandez had requested the court to transfer the jurisdiction of the trial from Kidapawan City to Davao City to protect the witness and the rights workers from threats and harassment.

Hernandez' family filed the murder case before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 17 in Kidapawan City against the suspects

The Karapatan and the Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights were slated to hold on Friday a picket-rally along the streets of San Pedro in Davao City. In the afternoon, they would conduct poetry reading at the Ateneo de Davao University Thibault Hall, with an art dedication to Hernandez and three other slain victims

A noon Catholic mass at the Ateneo de Davao University Chapel would be offered for Hernandez "and other fallen martyrs" and this would be followed by an ecumenical prayer at the Davao Memorial Park at 6:00 pm.

Hernandez, along with human rights workers Cristanto Amora, Vivian Andrade, and Labaon Sinunday, were shot dead on April 5, 2002 while doing research at Sitio Bukatol, Barangay Kinawayan in Arakan, a hinterland in North Cotabato

Members of the Citizens Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) and the 7th Battalion and 12th Special Forces Company of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were tagged as behind the killing when they conducted a raid in the remote village.

Hernandez, also former vice-president for Mindanao of the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP), was doing a documentation of the killing in  2001 of three farmers who were members of the Arakan Peasant Progressive  Organization (APPO) when the incident happened.

In his medico-legal report, Dr. Reynaldo Romero of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), said that Hernandez's skull had been crushed, and that her mouth, jaw and teeth were disfigured by an exiting bullet. She also had a gunshot wound on her right breast neck, chest and hand, bruises on her body and burn marks on her chest. (MindaNews)

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