Widow of slain Lumad leader in Bukidnon to bring case to Manila

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/19 April) – The widow of a tribal leader in San Fernando town, Bukidnon who was killed last month will go to Manila to bring the case to the attention of national government, the head of a Lumad organization said in a statement Thursday.

“Liguyon’s wife, Sharon, is joining this month other internally displaced persons from Mindanao to bring their case to Manila. She is to lobby to the national offices of government agencies such as the Commission on Human Rights and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to demand for justice for Jimmy Liguyon and to ensure the security of the 19 families who have evacuated after his death,” said Jomorito Guaynon, chair of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization.

Liguyon, president of the Lumad group Kasilo and barangay chair of Dao, was killed on March 5 allegedly by Aldy “Butsoy” Salusad, head of the paramilitary New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (Nipar).

Family members and supporters of Liguyon evacuated to the capitol grounds in Malaybalay City where they have put up tents owing to alleged threats from Salusad’s group.

On April 11, Vice Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri Jr. asked the evacuees to leave the capitol grounds and move to a place near the NCIP provincial office.

But Marlyn Gaguy, a leader of Kasilo, explained they have encamped at the capitol grounds to pressure government into acting on their problem.

“We won’t mind where we live as long as justice is rendered to the death of our barangay chair and we and other families that are being harassed by the paramilitary group are assured of safety,” she said in the vernacular.

Gaguy added they doubt their security in the site where Zubiri wanted them to transfer. She said that on April 12 they saw Joas Lekawan, who was reportedly with Salusad when he allegedly shot Liguyon, in front of their tents.

“Members of Nipar are free to monitor us even if we are at the capitol grounds, how much more if we move to the subdivision?” she said.

In an interview with dxDB sometime last month, Salusad admitted to having killed Liguyon, whom he accused of corruption and of being a New People’s Army supporter.

Emelio Liguyon however said his brother was killed for refusing to recognize the San Fernando Matigsalug Tribal Datus (Sanmatrida) and not endorsing its mining application. He alleged that Salusad warned the residents of Dao they would be killed too if they would not support Sanmatrida.

Salusad is a former NPA member. He surrendered in September 2010 and formed Nipar a few months after. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)