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Kuratong Baleleng

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Kuratong Baleleng
Founded 1986
Years active 1986 - 2008
Territory Philippines
Ethnicity Cebuano
Membership 40,000
Criminal activities Contract Killing, Prostitution, fraud, drug trafficking, extortion, weapon trafficking, armed robbery, kidnapping, human trafficking and illegal gambling[1]

Kuratong Baleleng is an organized crime syndicate in the Philippines that once was an anti-communist vigilante[2] group. They received nationwide attention due to their alleged end in a shootout with the Police in May 1995 in Quezon City.

History

The group was originally established by the Botanical Youth Club in 1986 to guard against the spread of communist guerrillas in Misamis Occidental, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur provinces. The first leader, chosen directly by the military, was Ongkoy Parojinog, who allegedly used the group both for its official purpose as well as to conduct illegal activities. Parojinog was later killed by Philippine soldiers. When the group disbanded in 1988, they continued to operate as an organized crime syndicate.

In early 2014, the film Sa Ngalan ng Ama, Ina, at mga Anak about Kuratong Baleleng, starring actor Robin Padilla, was released.[3] In April 2014, a long-time Kuratong Baleleng fugitive, Edgar Digamo, was shot and killed by police after Digamo started shooting at them in Lapu-Lapu, Philippines after hiding for 13 years.[4]

Mindanao mafia

At times other gangs used the name Kuratong Baleleng to cover their own activities. Eventually, the group splintered into multiple, smaller groups around the region. The groups are involved in a variety of illegal activities, including robbery, smuggling, kidnapping, murder, extortion, drugs and illegal gambling. The gang is rooted in the Christian Cebuano community, but has ties to Maguindanao guerillas, which led Muslim Maguindanao clans to become members of the Kuratong Baleleng. According to military intelligence, part of the group's strength is that it is protected by both local and national government officials.

1996 PACC Murder case

In 1996, 11 members of Kuratong Baleleng were killed by the forces of the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission, led by Panfilo Lacson. In 2003, the High Tribunal ordered the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to try Lacson and 33 other police officials. The trial court dismissed the criminal case, for lack of probable cause.[5] The special prosecuting team later asked the High Tribunal to remand the case to the trial court to present new evidence against Senator Lacson, inter alia. On May 2, 2008, the Supreme Court resolved to consider the appeal.

References

  1. ^ Muntarbhorn, Vitit (2013). Unity in Connectivity?: Evolving Human Rights Mechanisms in the ASEAN Region. Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 27. ISBN 9004236546. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  2. ^ Norman Dorsen, Nadine Strossen (1988). Lawyers under fire: attacks on human rights attorneys in the Philippines. Human Rights First. p. 24. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Dialogue with the showbiz Padillas". catanduanestribune.com. February 9, 2014. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Kuratong Baleleng member killed in gunfight with cops". tempo.com.ph. April 26, 2015. Retrieved August 6, 2015. 
  5. ^ "SC upholds dismissal of Lacson's Kuratong Baleleng case". gmanetwork.com. December 4, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2015.