Murder of Archbishop's brother blamed on government forces

Archbishop Ferdnando Capalla

Retired Philippines Archbishop Fernando Capalla has condemned the killing of his brother Romeo Capalla, an ex-rebel, and demanded the investigation of this and other killings being blamed on government forces, reports NCR Online.

Capalla, who once headed the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, used the occasion of his brother’s funeral Mass to condemn the 'heinous and unconscionable' crime. He was preaching in Leon, Iloilo, province where the Cappallas are from, some 450 km southeast of Manila.

The retired Archbishop of Davao, southern Philippines, demanded 'justice for my brother, Romy, and for many other victims like him.' His brother had been unarmed when he was attacked, the Archbishop noted.

Hundreds of leftist activists, journalists, environmentalists and clergy have been killed by alleged members of the security forces since 2001. Human rights organizations in the country reported that from the start of President Benigno Aquino’s term in 2010 to late 2013 alone, they recorded around 114 cases of extrajudicial killings.

Romeo Capalla, 65, was shot in the head in front of the public market of Oton, Iloilo, on March 15 as he helped his mother-in-law get into his vehicle. He was a former rebel with the Communist New People’s Army. In 2005, he was arrested on what he claimed to be trumped up charges of arson, which the court eventually dismissed.

When he was killed, he was directing the Panay Fair Trade Centre (PFTC), which helps small farmers and sugar traders. He was also a member of the association of ex-detainees who fought against the unlawful detention and arrest of people.

The Communist Party of the Philippines in the region blames government forces for his killing. In a statement posted on its website it noted that two PFTC sugar mills in Janiuay Town were burned simultaneously with Romeo Capalla’s shooting.

FULL STORY Bishop demands probe of killings at brother's funeral (NCR Online)

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