Makabayan bloc asks House to probe killing of Escalante City councilor
MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc has filed a resolution asking the House of Representatives to investigate the killing of Councilor Bernardino “Toto” Patigas Sr. of Escalante City in Negros Occidental.
According to Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, Patigas — the party-list’s city coordinator in Escalante — was assassinated due to his political beliefs.
“Si Tatay Toto ay isa sa latest na biktima ng pamamaslang, pandadahas dahil sa kanyang paniniwala, sa kanyang human rights advocacy, sa pagtutulak niya sa interes ng mga pesante at sakada sa Negros,” Zarate claimed on Wednesday, after filing the resolution.
“Ngayong umaga na-file ng Makabayan bloc ang House Resolution No. 2545 para kondenahin ang pagpaslang kay Escalante City Councilor Toto Patigas Sr., na siya ring dating Secretary-General ng Northern Negros Human Rights Alliance at city coordinator ng Bayan Muna since 2010,” he added.
Last April 23, Patigas, 72, was shot dead by unknown assailants along a highway in Barangay Washington. Prior to his death, Patigas was campaigning for reelection as city councilor.
Police have yet to establish the motive for the killing.
Zarate confirmed statements of Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay that Patigas had received death threats. However, he said that Patigas continued with his human rights work amid these warnings.
“Matagal na siyang nakatanggap ng death threats, bagamat seryoso niya itong kinonsidera, hindi ito nagpahinto sa kanyang human rights advocacies lalo na ngayon na ang Negros ay nasa isang estado ng impunity na ang daming minasaker, at maraming magsasaka ang nilalabag ang karapatang pantao,” Zarate explained.
“Ang resolution na ito ay hindi lang pagkondena, kung hindi pananawagan din ng hustisya sa pamamaslang kay Councilor Patigas at sa lahat ng biktima ng extra-judicial killings at paglabag sa karapatang pantao,” he added.
Last March 30, also in the Negros island, 14 individuals — most of which were supposedly farmers — were killed in police and military operations against loose firearms. Progressive groups however dismissed the operation as nothing but an attack against farmer organizations in the area. /je
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