Activist in Laguna land dispute killed inside his homeBy Maricar Cinco
Inquirer Southern Luzon
CAMP VICENTE LIM, Philippines—A leader of a group opposing the conversion of a former sugar estate was gunned down inside his home in Calamba City Laguna on Tuesday evening.
Pablito “Abling” Egildo, 61, the leader of the Kaisahan at Samahan ng mga Mamamayan sa Canlubang (Kasamaka), was shot dead by a lone gunman in Barangay (village) Canlubang at around 7:30 p.m.
“Tatay was taking his rest in our terrace when I heard several gunshots fired,” said Egildo’s eldest daughter, Giselle, 40.
She said she came from the back of their house and ran toward her father as soon as she heard the shots.
Giselle said she ran into the gunman who wore a ski mask to cover his face.
“Our eyes met as I tried to grab his mask off but he hit me with his gun in my shoulder,” she said in a phone interview.
She said the gunman left when she started screaming for help, but did not notice if the man escaped on any vehicle.
Egildo’s wife, Erlinda, was inside the house when the incident happened.
Calamba City police Chief Supt. Marvin Saro said they were still conducting a followup investigation, but mentioned Egildo’s involvement in a land dispute in Hacienda Yulo.
Hacienda Yulo is a 7,000-hectare sugar estate formerly owned by the Yulo clan before the property was sold to the Ayala Land Inc.
The Calamba Multi-Sectoral Council for Sustainable Development (Calambeno), an alliance of people’s organizations to which Kasamaka is a member, alleged that the land developer was forcing the Egildos and about 600 other families of the former sugar estate workers out of the property to give way for the construction of a shopping mall.
In its primer, Calambeno claimed the developer cut the power lines and water supply in the area three years ago and has threatened to demolish the residents’ homes.