Violence against activists denounced by Roque; says blaming state forces for killings ‘unfounded’

Malacañang has denounced any violence against activists but insisted the allegations linking government  forces to the recent murders are "unfounded."

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.(CAMILLE ANTE / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque Jr.

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque maintained that the investigation into the deaths of rights activists Randall Echanis and Zara Alvarez is ongoing, adding it was prudent to wait for the results of the probe.

"We denounce any form of violence perpetuated against citizens, including activists. We are a nation of laws; and violence has no place in any civilized society," he said.

"Blaming state forces as the people behind these murders is unfounded as investigation on the killings of Randall Enchanis and Zara Alvarez is now underway. Let us wait for the formal report from the authorities,'" he said.

Alvarez, a paralegal for rights group Karapatan, was shot dead in Bacolod City last Monday. A former political prisoner, the 39-year-old Alvarez, previously served as campaign and education director of the group.

READ MORE: Human rights activist killed in Bacolod City

Echanis, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, was killed at a rented house in Quezon City on August 5.

READ MORE: NDFP peace consultant Randy Echanis killed in QC

Karapatan has called for justice for the killings of Alvarez and Echanis. The group claimed that the killings were "part of an orchestrated murderous rampage to silence dissent, with human rights defenders as targets and fair game."