By Ellson Quismorio
Bayan Muna Party-List Rep. Carlos Zarate strongly condemned on Monday the alleged assassination of another local leader connected with the progressive group.
Slain was Neptali Morada, former Bicol regional head of Bayan Muna, Zarate said. Morada was on his way to work at around 8 a.m. Monday when he was gunned down in San Isidro, Naga City.
“It appears that rabid attack dogs are now going all out to eliminate activists and progressives. But make no mistake, the long arm of people’s justice will eventually make these perpetrators pay for their actions,” said Zarate, who is a lawyer.
“This madness should stop. We are calling all freedom-loving people to stand up and condemn these vicious and ruthless attacks against activists and human rights defenders,” added the congressman, who is a member of the militant Makabayan Bloc in the House of Representatives.
Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares noted that Morada’s death came right after the killing of two human rights activists also in the Bicol region.
“This is a very dastardly and cowardly act, coming as it is on the heels of the twin-murder of human rights activists Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasala just the other day in Sorsogon City,” Colmenares said.
The Makabayan Bloc has been wary of such attacks under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
In fact, one of them, Anakpawis Party-List Rep. Ariel Casilao filed in the just-concluded 17th Congress multiple House Resolutions in connection with the attacks on his group’s leaders and members.
“We are being attacked non-stop, and obviously this is the handiwork of the Duterte government, via its counter-insurgency program Oplan Kapayapaan,” he said.
According to Casilao, the successive attacks were meant to undermine the efforts of progressive groups to win legislative seats during the May 13 midterm elections.
From seven members in the 17th Congress, Makabayan will only have six member-solons in the upcoming 18th Congress.