(MANILA BULLETIN) Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri and 14 other senators strongly condemned the recent spate of killings and attacks against government officials through Senate Resolution No. 517.
The resolution was sparked by the assassination of Negros Oriental Governor Roel Degamo by armed assailants last Saturday.
In Senate Resolution 517 introduced today, Monday, March 6, the senators also urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) and other law enforcement agencies to undertake the necessary steps in ensuring the safety of all “to address the rampant violence and killings, including the prompt, impartial, and efficient investigation and prosecution of cases.”
Aside from Zubiri, the other senators are Joel Villanueva, Loren Legarda, Joseph Victor G. Ejercito, Maria Lourdes Nancy S. Binay, Grace Poe, Raffy T. Tulfo, Juan Edgardo ‘’Sonny’’ M. Angara, Ronald “Bato” Dela Rosa, Ramon ‘’Bong’’ Revilla, Jr., Francis “Tol” N. Tolentino, Sherwin Gatchalian, Jose ‘’Jinggoy’’ Ejercito Estrada, Mark A. Villar, and Christopher Lawrence “Bong” T. Go.
There are also calls for law enforcement agencies to try to identify the mastermind or masterminds because foot soldiers just do not go out of their way to hurt people.
Degamo of Negros Oriental was shot dead on March 4, 2023, about 9:30 a.m., by men wearing pixelized uniforms and armed with long firearms at his home in Pamplona, Negros Oriental, where the governor was attending to beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program.
During the ambush, eight (8) individuals were not spared and were also killed.
The resolution noted that In a span of 15 days from February 17 to March 4, 2023, at least three more local executives were injured or killed in ambushes, most of which were carried out outside of the victims’ jurisdiction where PNP or Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) presence is perceived to be weak by the assailants.
This led Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel III to issue a statement that ‘’our society now is too violent and too corrupt.’’
“This means that respect for human life has lessened at the same time that respect for the law has also,” he said.
Pimentel emphasized that it is time to revisit a lot of things from human rights education to law enforcement and detective work all the way to our overall policy on guns.
“Too many loose firearms around and too many firearms in the hands of loose cannons. Our criminal laws will only have deterrent effect if the people see that they are enforced fairly and effectively. Crimes, in short, must be solved primarily by effective law enforcement. And the right people be charged in court (and hopefully be convicted based on good convincing evidence,” he stressed.
Asked of these series of attacks on government officials, particularly the Degamo incident, is a challeng to the Marcos administration, Pimentel replied: “Yes.”
“Kasi Sanga-sanga na yan (yes, they are interrelated) but we have to take the first step, which is to establish or re-establish the credibility of our law enforcers, principally the PNP, by solving crimes, one by one, and solve “all of them”, as humanly possible,” he said.
According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the suspects escaped using three vehicles identified as a Mitsubishi Pajero with plate number NQZ 735, a green Isuzu pickup with plate number GRY 162, and a black Mitsubishi Montero with plate number YAP 163.
The resolution also noted that Lanao del Sur Governor Mamintal Adiong Jr. was shot at and wounded in Maguing, Lanao del Sur last February 17, 2023, which resulted to the death of four of his security personnel, including three police officers.
At present, the PNP has formally filed charges against three suspects at the Marawi City Regional Trial Court.
Last February 19, 2023, Aparri, Cagayan Vice Mayor Rommel Alameda and five other persons travelling with him were killed in a highway ambush in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya at around 8:45 a.m.
Datu Montawal, Maguindanao Mayor Ohto Montawal was injured in an ambush along Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City last February 22, 2023, sustaining a gunshot wound on his hip and left arm.
It also said that former local executives were not spared and were attacked in 2022.
Former Dolores, Quezon Vice Mayor Danilo Amat was ambushed while he was driving in San Pablo City, Laguna on July 22, 2022.
Former Lamitan City, Basilan Mayor Rose Furigay and two (2) others were killed on July 24, 2022, at the Ateneo de Manila University before the conduct of a graduation ceremony.
Former Lobo, Batangas Vice Mayor Romeo Sulit was attacked and killed while he was delivering a speech at a birthday party on August 12, 2022.
Former Dipaculao, Aurora Vice Mayor Narciso Amansec and two (2) others were ambushed while traveling last October 3, 2022.