DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 March) – The activist brother of Davao’s Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla was gunned down at the public market in Oton, Iloilo at around 6:30 p.m. on Saturday.
In a press statement, the human rights group Karapatan said Romeo Capalla, 65, chair of the Board of Directors and manager of the Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), received two bullets to the head and was declared dead upon arrival at the Western Visayas Medical Center.
Karapatan said the slain Capalla was the “11th victim of extrajudicial killing in the last two and a half months, starting in January 2014” and the 180th victim of extrajudicial killings since President Aquino assumed the post on June 30, 2010.
The human rights group documented 169 victims of EJKs from July 2010 to December 2013 and 11 as of 2014.
In its press statement, Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay called on civil libertarians and human rights defenders in the country and in the international community to demand from the Aquino administration to “take concrete steps to stop the spate of killings.”
The slain Capalla “was at the market to assist his mother-in-law when the gunmen shot him; hitting the right side of his head, near the temple. His left eye popped because of the bullet,” Karapatan said.
The PFTC, which the slain Capalla chaired, is a member organization of the International Federation of Alternative Trade. It exports certified organic muscovado sugar and banana chips.
He was a member of Samahan ng mga Ex-detainee Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA).
Karapatan said Romy Capalla was arrested on August 3, 2005 “on trumped up charges of arson.”
It added that his co-accused, Aklan councilor Fernando Baldomero, became the first victim of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino administration.
“Even after the dismissal of the false charges against him, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police did not stop harassing and tagging Capalla as commander of the New People’s Army. He was included in the order of battle list of the 3rd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in 2004,” Karapatan said.