Justice for Lordei Hina
Last February 1, Lordei Camille Anjuli Hina, a 20 year-old Political Science senior and a student leader in the University of the Philippines (UP) – Diliman, was attacked inside the University Student Council (USC) office at around 230 in the afternoon.
Hina was stabbed several times in the head using an ice pick which pierced through her temples. She was found lying unconscious on a pool of blood about an hour after she was attacked. She was immediately rushed to the hospital, was critical and in a coma for several days. Doctors said possibility of brain injury was high because of the wounds she sustained.
Guards and the campus police arrested one of the perpetrators identified as Dan Mar Vicencio, 38 years old. According to reports, Vicencio, together with two other companions, one identified as Dante Santos, went to the USC office, in Vinzons Hall UP Diliman and pretended to ask questions regarding booth lease in the UP Fair. Vicencio was later caught by the guards fleeing the building with Hina’s and her companion’s belongings which included laptops and cell phones.
Hina was no ordinary student. She was secretary-general of the Center for Nationalist Studies (CNS), and an organizer for the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP). She played a key role in the nationwide strike against budget cuts in UP and social services last year.
According to CNS, Hina is committed to organizing students and youth not just in campuses, but also in urban poor communities in struggles for basic rights and genuine social change:
As a member of the Center for Nationalist Studies (CNS) and a student-leader, Lordei dedicated her life to defending the democratic rights of the Filipino people– students’ right to free and quality education; genuine agrarian reform for Filipino peasants; and just, living wages for workers– to ensure that every Filipino is able to live a life of dignity.
STAND-UP, UP KILOS NA, Congress of Teachers for Nationalism and Democracy, the Office of the Student Regent and many other groups organized support and solidarity activities for Hina. The groups called for justice for Hina and called for the arrest of other assailants. They condemned the downgrading of the charge the fiscal approved for the perpetrators.
They also said the issue is “beyond security” and that addressing the issue should not compromise the “public character” of the country’s premier state tertiary institution. The groups also pointed out that due to the budget cuts approved by the Aquino administration for UP, a measure which the UP community stood fervently against last year, campus’ security personnel have been reduced.
No ordinary crime
After careful evaluation and analysis of circumstances before, during and after the incident, however, there is reason to believe that what happened to Hina was politically motivated and not just an ordinary crime.
The fact that Hina was attacked in the USC office, a known place where student leaders and activists gather, as she was about to attend an important meeting is telling. Important information regarding her activities were also kept in the laptop and cell phones which the assailant stole.
A day after the attempted murder of Lordei, a former student leader and known cultural activist Ekis Gimenez of Sining na Naglilingkod sa Bayan (Sinagbayan) was also attacked on his way home. He suffered a skull fracture and had to undergo surgery in the head.
A few weeks before, three UP students were also harassed and assaulted by miltary men in Porac, Pampanga as they were conducting field work.
Portraying political assasinations as criminal acts is not new. Bishop Alberto Ramento of the Aglipayan Church, a human rights advocate and staunch supporter of the Hacienda Luisita strike was stabbed several-dozen times while he was sleeping in his Tarlac residence in October 2006, after the Luisita massacre. The police tried to cover up the political killing by saying that it was a “gang-related” incident.
Many older activists also noted that the same method was used in the ‘80s under the president Cory Aquino’s “Total War” and “Low Intensity Conflict.”
Many groups note the Aquino government’s covert method in dealing with dissent under Oplan Bayanihan. The new military plan focuses on psy-ops and propaganda using “people-centered” approach, “civic-military” and “non-combat” operations. The recent attacks and military activities have “psy-ops” written all over them.
Incidentally, fake statements have also been consistently released to media to confuse the public, sow intrigue and maliciously malign the progressive movement. The Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) recently disowned a statement which was run in major newspapers saying it in support of the current administration’s quest for “justice” and that it believes that there is a wind of justice prevailing under the administration.
While it is sabotaging the peace efforts, the government and the military have also consistently been trying to paint a picture that the progressive and revolutionary movements have “surrendered” and have “reintegrated” to the Aquino goverment. Among these, the fake rumors that Jose Ma. Sison is coming back to the Philippines to join Aquino’s cabinet.
The UP community, the youth and students, and the Filipino people must be ever critical and vigilant amidst these moves. Let us not fall for state propaganda, terror and repression. We must strengthen our resolve to fight for the people’s democratic rights and boldly advance the peoples’ movement for genuine social change.
Justice for Lordei Hina!
Help raise funds for Lordei Hina’s hospitalization and recovery: The USC UP Diliman, Office of the Student Regent, University of the Philippines and Center for Nationalist Studies (CNS) are calling for financial help for Lordei Hina. For donations, please contact USC Finance Committee Head Aman Melad (09177507529) or deposit cash donations: UP Diliman University Student Council PNB Account no.: 393989700021.