In the six years of the Duterte regime, a total of 442 politically-motivated EJKs happened under Duterte’s watch. This means that there is at least one victim of EJK per week in the six years of Duterte. The killings can be disaggregated as follows: 130 EJKs happened in Luzon; 119 happened in Visayas; and 193 happened in Mindanao.
In terms of organizational affiliation, a disproportionate number of victims were members of peasant organizations, often affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP). Among these victims were farm workers under the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), as well as church workers who were assisting farmers’ organizations in their advocacies, such as Fr. Marcelito “Tito” Paez of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP). Other church workers and religious were among those murdered throughout the five years.
Similar to the observation made by former United Nations Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston in 2006, the modus operandi of the killings under the Duterte administration also involved motorcycle-riding assassins, often wearing bonnets to conceal their identities.
Assailants sometimes used unmarked motorcycles and passed off their activities as isolated cases of common crimes. Nevertheless, the pattern in the killings is clear, and the targets are often activists, members or leaders of activist, progressive or mass organizations, trade unions, workers’ or peasant associations, women’s or youth groups, or cultural/artistic activist groups.
Only months into the pandemic, activists and organization leaders who were already victims of red-tagging and state intimidation prior the public health emergency such as Carlito Badion of urban poor group Kadamay, Randall Echanis of the KMP and Anakpawis Partylist, as well as Zara Alvarez, a human rights worker in Panay were soon assassinated.