April 30, 2015
(PHILIPPINES) Death of a human rights defender, Elisa Tulid, exacts a huge toll on physical and mental health conditions of victim’s family
ISSUES: Right to an Effective Remedy, Access to Justice
The Medical Action Group (MAG) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding provision of prompt, immediate and effective medical care to the relatives of Elisa L. Tulid, who was a victim of extrajudicial killing due to her human rights work as a human rights defender and a member of Samahan ng Magsasakasa Barangay Tala at Camflora (Organization of farmers in Barangay Tala and Camflora), in San Andres, Quezon.
Description of the case:
Elisa Lascoña Tulid, a human rights defender and agrarian reform beneficiary, was a leader of the farmers’ group, Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, was killed on October 19, 2013 at around 2:00PM, at Sitio Kumbenyo, Barangay Tala, San Andres, Quezon.
Based on documentation by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), Ms. Tulid was walking along with her husband and her four-year-old daughter when she was shot point-blank by a man who was identified as Mr. Rannie Bugnot, suspected trustee of Mr. Edwin Ausa, an alleged land grabber in the area.Ms. Tulid who suffered gunshot wounds in the nape, mouth, left eye and left thigh, was pronounced dead on the spot. Her husband and daughter both managed to run away. Her husband rushed to a nearby military camp in Barangay Tala to seek help and report the incident. The military called the police and requested their assistance. The police arrested Mr. Bugnot on the same day at his house in San Andres, Quezon and charged him later for murder.
As of this writing, suspect Mr. Bugnot is in detention at Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) Gumaca District Jail, Quezon. The case is pending before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 62 in Gumaca, Quezon.
There is a persistent agrarian conflict in Bondoc Peninsula where San Andres, Quezon is located, where almost 80 percent of households depend on subsistence farming mainly banana and coconut mono cropping as well as fishing.
Mr. Domingo Reyes, one of the main landholders in Bondoc Peninsula currently owns 12,000-16,000 hectares of land in three municipalities. Farmers have been in a 60-40 contract with the Reyes, with 60%of total harvest going to Reyes, while the 40% goes to the tenants, who also have to cover the production expenses.
In 2004, farmers and tenants finally petitioned the governmentfor coverage under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP). The farmers working on Reyes’ lands started boycotting the 60-40 agreement share after they learned from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that portion of the lands claimed by Reyes are declared public and certified timberland. Ms. Tulid was one of the leaders of the Samahan ng Magsasaka sa Barangay Tala at Camflora, and at the forefront of the fight to claim the lands declared as public.
It has been alleged by some testimonies that Mr. Edwin Ausa and Mr. Rannie Bugnot are supporters of Mr. Reyes’ clan and have been trying to instill fear in the communities to prevent them from claiming their land rights.
Physical and mental health condition of relatives
Ms. Elisa Tulid (deceased) and Mr. Danny Boy Tulid (widower), 45-year old, have 4 children, the oldest is 19 years old, the other three children are 17, 9 and 5 years old. The children are residing with the relative of the victim away from the ongoing land conflict in Brgy. Tala, San Andres, Quezon, to keep them safe.
As of March 2015, MAG provides medical and psychosocial support to the relatives of Elisa Tulid.
After Ms. Tulid’s death on 29 October 2013, Mr. Tulid’s family noted that, he was “tulala” or “staring into space”, such that he would just be quiet and uncommunicative. Mr. Tulid also developed poor sleep, such that his daughter would talk to him at night to help comfort him. On such talks, she would notice her father crying easily. She also noted him to have poor appetite and appeared to have low energy. Mr. Tulid would also express hopelessness and fear that the people behind suspect Rannie Bugnot might kill him.
During interview, Mr. Tulid also admitted that immediately after his wife’s death he had severely poor attention span and concentration (“gulong gulo ang isip”), such that he could not understand what other people were saying to him. He also developed palpitations and trembling almost every day, occurring throughout the day. He claimed these have decreased in intensity and would not occur for most times of the day, as opposed to about 2-3 months after his wife’s death, but still be easily triggered by thoughts or memories of her wife’s violent death.
Although, Mr. Tulid claimed he had improved a lot since her wife’s death, asked to quantify the occurrence of these symptoms at the time of the interview, he still mentioned 4-5 times a week, but not throughout the day. He also developed difficulty in sleeping and was still having them at the time of interview. Mr. Tulid would also constantly think why such things i.e. wife’s death and things concerning their piece of land, happened to him when these things should not be happening to him (“bakit nangyari? Walang kinalaman”), particularly since the harassment continues.
Although at the time of interview, Mr. Tulid claimed to be in good health, his claims of improvement in his psychological health were countered though by his daughter. Being the head of the family, he tried to exude the appearance of being in control of his emotions as per advised by his relatives, as his children needed him to be strong psychologically at a very fragile stage, when his youngest daughter Belinda (not her real name) became uncommunicative and quiet after witnessing her mother’s death. Mr. Tulid’s oldest daughter, Clarita (not her real name), after her mother’s death, decided dropping out of school and got married untimely.
Please write to the authorities in Philippines, urging them to:
§ Take measures to minimize the inconvenience to relatives of Ms. Tulid, protect against unlawful interference with their privacy as appropriate and ensure their safety from intimidation and retaliation, as well as that of their families and witnesses, before, during and after judicial, administrative, or other proceedings that affect the interests of victim; and
§ Ensure provision of adequate medical treatment and just compensation to relatives of Ms. Tulid.
PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:
1. Hon. Benigno C. Aquino III
Republic of the Philippines
Malacañang Palace, JP Laurel St. San Miguel, Manila, Philippines 1005
Tel: +632 735-62-0 / 564-14-51 to 80
Fax: +632 736-10-10
2. Police Director General
Chief, Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel: + 632 726-43-61 / +632 436-68-76
Fax: +632 724-87-63 / +632 723-04-01
3. Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue, U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines
Tel: +632 928-56-55, +632 926-61-88
Fax: +632 929-01-02
4. Secretary Manuel A. Roxas II
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)
Quezon City, Philippines, 1100
Tel: +632 925-00-30, +632 925-03-31
Fax: +632 925-03-32
5. Secretary Leila M. De Lima
Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street, Ermita, Manila, Philippines 1000
Tel: +632 523-84-81
6. Secretary Janette P. Loreto-Garin
Department of Health (DOH)
San Lazaro Compound, Tayuman, Sta. Cruz, Manila, Philippines 1003
Tel: +632 651-78-00
Fax: +632 711-67-44
7. Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Juliano-Soliman
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)
Batasan Hills, Quezon City, Philippines 1126
Trunk Lines: +632-931-81-01 Local: 300, 301, 302, 303
Twitter Account: @dinkysunflower