Clearly, Kelly Delgado, secretary general of Karapatan-Southern Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and their agents were behind the killing of the 45-year old Pojas, spokesperson of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and secretary general of the Farmers Association of Davao City (FADC).
The military, Delgado said, is grappling in desperation to succeed in their anti-insurgency campaign plan and their anticipation for failure has been fueling their insanity to kill members and leaders of organizations which they have deliberately branded as front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA).
The same desperation of the military, Delgado said, has taken its toll on the lumads of the hinterlands of Compostela Valley Province who have fallen victims of human rights abuses perpetrated by the military as they pursue members of the NPA.
Delgado said that recently, the military–particularly Maj. Medel Aguilar–have again labeled KMU, Karapatan, and other militant groups as organizations working for the communist movement. This, Delgado said, became a prelude to the attack on Pojas.
For who would have the motive, Delgado said, to kill Pojas but the military and the administration of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who had been the consistently the object of bitter derision and criticism of Pojas and his group. Before he was shot of motorcycle-riding gunmen, Pojas publicly assailed the military's massive anti-insurgency campaign in the hinterlands of Compostela Valley Province that only resulted in the displacement of the a number of families of lumad. He has also lambasted the military's involvement in the death of Bagobo-K'lata leader Datu Dominador Diarog of Manuel Guianga.
"Who else but the military and their agents who have been obviously shaken and irritated by the constant criticisms of Pojas and his group," said Delgado adding that the killing of Pojas falls under the government's counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya.
With the implementation of the program, militant organizations have been deliberately tagged as fronts of CPP-NPA, something that was followed by spate of killing of leaders and members of the organizations. Former military General Jovito Palparan became openly expressing his disgust over militant organizations and leaders and later became infamous for sponsoring the deaths of activists.
Police authorities said they are closely looking at the possibility that the killing of Pojas has something to do with his being a staunch critic of the government as he was a leader of a farmers group known for its strong opposition against oppressive agricultural policies.
"We hold the military and the fascist Arroyo government for the death of Pojas and many other activists who have been victims of the state-sponsored extrajudicial killings. And as we do this, we will relentlessly hound this government with protests actions until they pay for it…" Delgado said.
Karapatan records show at least 904 victims of extrajudicial killings all over the country, 105 of them members and leaders of KMP since 2001.
Delgado said that members and leaders of KMP have always been the target of the attacks and intimidations. He cited the experience of Antonio Flores and Amancio Carmelo, both peasant leaders in Southern Mindanao, who were attacked but fortunately escaped the bloodthirsty hands of the military.
But three other leaders of the group were as unfortunate as Pojas. Delgado identified them as Renato Pacaide of Davao del Sur and Alvin Placencia and Alfonso Capiales of Compostela Valley Province.
KELLY M. DELGADO,