Justice on Canvas
by Xavier Alvaran
April 25, 2012, Wednesday – Karapatan-ST, in coordination with Artists’ Arrest, and other human rights groups, showed their sentiments in line with the commemoration of the 9th death anniversary of comrades Eden Marcellana and Eddie Gumanoy through an art exhibit set up just along the entrance of the crowded Redemptorist Church in Baclaran. In April 22, 2003, the two aforementioned human rights activists, following a Karapatan-ST-led Quick Response Team (QRT) investigation about reported extra-judicial killings in Mindoro Oriental, were brutally slayed supposedly by military proponents headed by Gen. Jovito Palparan and were believed to be holding evidences of oppression by the said general. After nine years and mere three days and several court studies, the case still had not been resolved, thus the continuous call for justice remained at hand.
Independent artists from various institutions showcased their artworks, depicting not only the stories of Ka Eden and Ka Eddie but the general picture of injustice in the country as well, as a form of informing the public about the pending case. The event organizers originally planned to hold a mass for the two but failed to acquire permission from the church so they opted to establish an art exhibit instead, which went well as the displayed paintings and other artworks attracted Baclaran parishioners and passersby. Aside from the art contributions, two bulletins were raised to show photographs of Ka Eden and Ka Eddie about their struggle for the rights of peasants and workers, and articles from different newspapers tracking the progress of their case. The art exhibit remains open for viewers until evening in lieu of hopes to reach greater audience.
A week ago, protesters from Karapatan-ST and peasant group KASAMA-TK rallied along Padre Faura to call the attention of the current Department of Justice (DOJ) administration into reopening the case of the slain human rights workers. A dialogue between the said groups and DOJ ensued while protests continued outside the building. Undersecretary Francisco Baraan III proposed a one-week rereading of the case on their part as they claimed no knowledge of it.
The art exhibit acts as a reminder to the public while its organizers await the anticipated decision of the government on Friday.
Photos by Thrianne Gellido and Xavier Alvaran