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SEEKING JUSTICE

Find our mother’s killers, kids of rights worker cry

/ 06:15 AM December 01, 2017

A man covers with tarpaulin the box containing the remains of human rights worker Elisa Badayos shortly after her body arrived in Cebu City on Thursday. —JUNJIE MENDOZA /CEBU DAILY NEWS

CEBU CITY—The children of slain human rights group member Elisa Badayos are appealing to authorities to help identify and arrest their mother’s killers.

“It’s not easy to lose a mother. All we want is justice for her,” said 41-year-old Jimmylisa Badayos, the eldest of Elisa’s four children.

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Elisa’s body arrived in Cebu City on Thursday, two days after she and another human rights worker were gunned down by two men on board a motorcycle in Barangay Nangka in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental province.

Elisa, coordinator of the human rights group Karapatan in Negros Oriental, will be laid to rest at Calamba cemetery here on Dec. 10.

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Jimmylisa raised the possibility that her mother was killed either by gunmen employed by a politician or soldiers.

But Col. Medel Aguilar, assistant chief of the Unified Command staff for Civil Military Operations of the military’s Central Command here, said the military was not behind the attack.

“I’m sure our soldiers had nothing to do with that crime. Before they make any accusation, they must present evidence to prove it. Let the police investigate the incident,” Aguilar told the Inquirer.

Elisa, 59, and Elioterio Moises, a member of Mantapi Ebwan Farmers Association in Bayawan City, were on board a habal-habal (motorcycle for hire) when they were shot by two men at 3:40 p.m. in Barangay Nangka on Tuesday. Carmen Matarlo, 22, Kabataan party-list Cebu coordinator, was wounded.

Elisa, wife of missing labor leader Jimmy Badayos, was hit in the head, while Moises had a bullet wound in the armpit.

The victims were on a fact-finding mission in Negros Oriental when the attack happened.

“My mother was defenseless,” Jimmylisa said.

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The Negros Oriental police formed a special investigation task group to investigate the killings. A land dispute was being eyed as among the motives in the attack.

“She (Elisa) was a familiar face in Bayawan and often coordinated with our police concerning their activities. She may have earned the ire of those involved in their activities,” said Senior Supt. Edwin Portento, Negros Oriental police director.

He said they were still gathering statements from witnesses and reviewing security camera footage to identify the gunmen.

Human rights groups have deplored the killings, which they said signaled the rising number of attacks on unarmed activists following President Duterte’s declaration ending peace negotiations with communist rebels. —WITH A REPORT FROM NESTOR P. BURGOS JR.

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TAGS: Elisa Badayos, Gunned Down, human rights group
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