Press Release
July 9, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the extra-judicial killings of innocent civilians should be laid at the doorsteps of Malacañang as he voiced outrage over the murder of another political activist.

Pimentel condemned the gunslaying of agrarian reform employee Paquito Hanopoy-Diaz, regional chairman of the Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) in Eastern Visayas Thursday (July 6).

Its a terrible sign of the times that even people in government who advocate good government are gunned down by hit squads with impunity, he said.

The killing of innocent civilians who are non-combatants must be laid at the door of the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Who else is to blame for the rotten law and order system that prevails in the country if not President and the law enforcement agencies of the government?

Diaz is the third member of COURAGE to be killed by masked motorcycle-riding gunmen.

He was shot at close range near his house on Esperas Street, Magallanes district in Tacloban City. He was waiting for a friend when two unidentified men aboard a Yamaha motorcycle sped by. The unidentified assassin who was riding at the back of the motorcycle fired at Diaz with two bullets from a caliber .45 pistol.

Diaz, a municipal of agrarian reform officer had been with the Department of Agrarian Reform for about 20 years although he went absent without leave before his death.

Pimentel urged law enforcement enforcement authorities to conduct an impartial investigation of his death in the light of the claim of COURAGE national president Ferdinand Gaite that Diaz was in the order of battle list of the military in Tacloban-Leyte area.

Some suspect that the extra-judicial killings are the handiwork of the so-called Lost Commands connected with the government. True or not, it is the obligation of the government to run these hit squads down, identify them, arrest and punish them, the minority leader said.

If the government is unable to do so, then it is time that President and all those who are unable to protect the lives of our citizens must be decent enough to get out of public office so that they may be replaced by those who can.

News Latest News Feed