Case Study: Philippines State-Sponsored Mass Murder

When the State Endorses Murder

Case: Jericho P. Camitan & witness Erica Angel Navales Fernandez shot dead by alleged Duterte Death Squad (DDS) Vigilantes.

We Promised she’d never be forgotten – One Year later the investigation continues. Charges must be laid. It’s getting close.

There is a ‘Domino-Effect’ to state approved murder that has unpredictable boundaries. The complete erosion of morality in society is an instant reality. Fear and depression prevail. Extortion becomes a way of life. Weapons proliferate.

When the president of a country declares that it is ‘OK’ to murder a certain class of people, the culture of crime (murder is nevertheless a crime) permeates every aspect of society.
The community impact of state sponsored murder
Historians, philosophers and psychologists have literally tons of data to study. They help public policy planners make predictions.

Philippines authoritarian revolutionary Rodrigo Duterte did not listen to history. He ordered the public to kill a class of people: poor people who used ‘illegal drugs’ like marijuana and methyl-amphetamines. Widespread violence including rape, murder, extortion and coercion plus the weaponizing of the ghettos has been the result.

When you murder someone, it stays with you and all the people of your community. It is a ghost that haunts people of conscience. (Psychiatrists in general and at least one who has examined the man suggest that psychopaths with narcissistic traits like Rodrigo Duterte, do not have a conscience.) Your crime of murder impacts everyone you meet. It is in your eyes. Your life is full of fear. You will murder again to protect your secret. Your life is over.  It’s just a matter of time before you fall down.

Angel’s Photo by Reuters
Community impact of state sponsored murder
In this case, the deceased by murder are:

  • 21-year-old construction worker Jericho P. Camitan, and
  • 17-year-old girlfriend high school student Erica ‘Angel’ Navales Fernandez (DOB 09/28/1999 (‘Angel’ is pictured far right above and centred below.)

Facebook Photo

Theory of the Crime

The two were shot dead by two unidentified gunmen at Gumamela St. Barangay, Commonwealth, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines at or around 11:00 PM on October 25, 2016.

Jericho took five rounds.

Angel was hit by one bullet.

There were witnesses to the crime but as is the case with most witness identification there are conflicted descriptions. The trail is not cold however.

Duterte’s decree to all Filipinos that drug users should be shot and killed by average citizens was used as an excuse to murder this couple of young people. Unequivocally, these two were not guilty of drug-related crime. These kids were murdered for another reason and the impunity of drug-related murders given to all Filipinos by President Duterte was exploited.

According to local neighbours and relatives the motive for their murders was a quasi-love triangle. Jericho and Angel had been fighting. Angel accepted new romance with this boy:


She liked her new life for a short while and in that time, as the story goes, Jericho refused to even talk to Angel.

But something changed dramatically. She came back to Jericho and the reunion was faltering for a short period then solid.

She told the other boy she was done with him. He begged. She said “No!”.

The angry third-party when refused romance and sex by Erica Fernandez was also told that she would return to boyfriend/partner Jericho.

The third party may have himself or caused another person to put  Jericho’s name into the Barangay “narco-list”. Maybe they did the crime themselves but the modus operandi is identical to all the other thousands of (Duterte?) death-squad vigilante killings.

Everyone in the Philippines knows that since Duterte came to power,  a person can murder someone they do not like and then claim the victim as a drug addict.  Duterte guarantees impunity. Did that happen to Jericho? Angel was murdered as a witness?

Two men allegedly paid by Duterte’s drug war organization executed several names on the list that week, this based on witness descriptions, and as is so common with their methods of operation, they killed witnesses. In this case they killed Angel with a single bullet after putting five bullets into Jericho.

Jericho’s relatives and neighbours say that he had no involvement with drugs but the suspects nevertheless placed a “droga…” placard on Jericho’s dead body.  That’s another part of the death squad modus operandi. 

While we have seen no evidence to imply Jericho was a drug user, he certainly loved dance and rap.

Jericho in all recent appearances, was a rap music fan who hung out with young people who dressed and lived the music genre style when they were not hard at work on their construction jobs. His closest friends were members of a performing dance group.

We’ll never know what his defence would have been if he were ever accused of using drugs. He was not charged nor was he given a fair trial. There wasn’t even planted evidence. He was not inculpated in any manner of any wrongdoing.

That night in October 2016 a CCTV recording taken from a corner canteen shows Angel sitting beside Jericho. She leans into him, cheek to his shoulder, talking into his ear, long straight hair falling past the neckline of her white camisole.

It would end in just a few minutes. They would pay the bill. They would leave the canteen. They would round the bend, side by side, maybe hand in hand, and in the stretch of road between Santo Rosario and Riverside, the bullets would come – five for Jericho, one for Angel.

They were found along Gumamela Street. Jericho lay flush against one of the gates, his eyes open, one flowerpot broken beside his arm, two more in shards between his legs. His lips were stretched in a grimace, the teeth he had been so proud of in full display.

Three of the scene-of-the-crime operatives took hold of his arms and legs, dirt and pottery shearing off his body as they lifted him to the center of the road. They stripped him on the road. Dragged down the shorts, turned over the pockets, checked under the printed red and white briefs. They found a phone, some money, his watch and nothing more.

Angel was propped like a rag doll against a pile of rubbish. The press that arrived on-scene pegged her as a child – twelve years old maybe, or just turned thirteen. Her hair had fallen over her face. Blood blossomed over her white shirt, streaked out of her nose and down the side of her mouth.

A witness watching television from a second floor room said he heard gunshots. He said he ran to the window. He saw someone in a bonnet and a jacket toss down a sign over Jericho, saw the man run, turn the corner into Rosario Street. Witnesses along the road saw the man on foot leap into a motorcycle and said that the driver was barely able to hold them steady. They were nervous, said the witnesses.

An investigator crouched in front of Angel. A careful hand brushed her hair out of her face. The cops took pictures. Circled bullet casings with chalk. Unclasped the Hello Kitty watch from Angel’s wrist, picked up the Barbie doll that had flown from her back pocket – a gift, her sister said, to a younger sibling. Then they lifted her, laying her down at the center of the road beside Jericho.

Angel and Jericho - final journey together

Who Was Jericho?

It would help you understand this case if you read the extraordinary journalism of Rappler.  A two part series is more than enlightening. Part 1 ~ Part 2

Excerpt from

Newsbreak Voices: Jericho’s Angel

Jericho’s mother fell sick after he was born. She died when he was seven. His father Rommel sold the house and the whole family moved to Montalban. Rommel remarried eventually, so did Jericho’s brother and two older sisters.

Jericho came back to Riverside. He dropped out of sixth grade, moved in with his uncles, found work in construction, and lived with his grandmother on the second floor of Number 1225, right down the corner from the boys he called brothers.

The boys of Riverside will tell you many stories about Jericho Camitan. They will say he smiled wide and often, because he was proud of his perfect teeth and didn’t care he had bad breath even when they told him – and they did, often. They will say he would break into rap at any provocation; that he was cheery; that he smoked Marlboro menthols and that he could drink six beers in a row without blinking. They will tell you about Angel, because anyone who knew Jericho knew Angel too. They will tell you that all it took for Jericho to fall in love was for Angel to walk by.

She was thirteen when Jericho first saw her. He was sixteen, maybe seventeen. He was sitting with the boys out on the street with their beers and their bragging. He saw her, they said. That was all it took.

Her name was Erica Fernandez. She lived in a two-story shanty at the end of a narrow alley in Litex, one of seven children, her father a construction worker who lived on worksites and came home occasionally. Nobody remembers why she was called Angel, not even her own mother. Jericho called her labs – my love.

The boys say Jericho was proud when she became his girl. They say she would sit on his lap and he would tickle her and kiss her and she would kiss him back. He rented a small room and they lived together as husband and wife. Disapproval did not matter to them – particularly Angel, who would sit quiet while being lectured by her father, but would go her own sweet way when it suited her. Eventually it was understood that Jericho and Angel were together, and that it was the way it would be.
Read more: Part 1 ~ Part 2


Photos are clearly not preserved crime scene shots taken by Reuters Damir Sagolj, Ezra Acayan and Erik De Castro who may have altered the crime scene to take the photos.

Photo by Reuters

Photo by Reuters

Photo by Reuters – Apparently altered from the original crime scene.

Photo by Reuters – Child has been removed from the trash pile and placed in front of the sea-green door alongside her Barbie doll. Oddly there is no sign of Angel’s hello Kitty watch which was bagged by police at the scene but the doll is present. These photographs have caused considerable consternation and social media chatter over the integrity of the crime scene–there is apparently none. The trash heap is top right in this image whereas the original crime-scene shots (some by NY-Times) indicate that Angel was on top of the heap and clutching at a large piece of plastic at the time of her death.

Photo by Reuters – Angel’s Hello Kitty Watch and her Barbie Doll in a police evidence bag.

Angel’s Hello Kitty Watch and her Barbie Doll in a police evidence bag.

 

Duterte Orders The Killing of Drug Users

If you smoke a marijuana cigarette in the Philippines, you can be killed and the murderer will have impunity guaranteed by President Rodrigo Duterte. That’s what he says. Watch these videos.

 

Do it yourself if you have the gun

Share this page on

TwitterFacebook
Google+ Pin It