Press Release
January 20, 2010


The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) should hold the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Zamboanga del Sur accountable for the four political murders that happened in the city just within this month, Liberal Party President Senator Mar Roxas said.

"Hindi puwedeng may tumulad pa sa Maguindanao pagdating sa dami ng mga patayang pulitikal (We should not allow another spate of killings in the scale of the Maguindanao massacre to happen)," he stressed.

"Dapat panagutin ng DILG ang kapulisan sa Zamboanga del Sur kung bakit sunod-sunod ang mga patayang bumiktima sa mga lokal na empleyado doon. Dapat managot sila kung bakit wala pa ring nahuhuli sa mga mga pumaslang hanggang ngayon (DILG should hold the Zamboanga del Sur police to account on the frequent murders of local employees there. They should answer for why they have yet to arrest a single suspect in all these killings)," he said.

The senator reiterated his demand to DILG Sec. Ronaldo Puno to account for and give a thorough explanation to the public as to why he failed to stop the rising incidence of violence that has so far victimized opposition candidates and supporters.

"The government has to stop this violence. Secretary Puno's failure to do his job is a sure sign the Administration is not intent on protecting the May 10 vote. If candidates and poll volunteers are blatantly killed, how can voters feel secure? How can they freely and confidently exercise their right to vote in this environment of fear?" Roxas stressed.

He emphasized that if the DILG must reshuffle its local police directors, it should focus on areas where the local police are likely to be used for partisan political purposes.

The Liberal Party earlier decried the arbitrary replacement of local police directors in areas where the administration is perceived to be weak, such as LP strongholds Cavite, Alaminos City and Capiz.

"Ang mga provincial police director na dapat tamaan ng rigodon, yung mga overstaying na dahil may kapit sa itaas, yung mga talagang kumakampi sa mga lokal na pulitiko, yung mga nagpapagamit sa pulitika (The provincial police directors who should be affected by the rigodon are those who are already overstaying because of connections upstairs, those who obviously side with some local politicians, those allowing themselves to be used in partisan politics)," Roxas stressed.

"Hindi tayo papayag na magamit nang labag sa kanilang kalooban an gating kapulisan bilang 'private army' ng administrasyon at ng mga kaalyado nito (We will not let the administration and its allies use the police, against their will, as their 'private army')," he stressed.

This January, the following government employees have been murdered:

  • Rascal Afdal - casual employee of Labangan municipality. Murdered on January 4 along the National Highway at Dao, Pagadian City, by armed motorcycle riders in the presence of his wife and some civilians.

  • Rose Pajente - operations manager of National Food Authority in Zamboanga del sur. Killed in broad daylight on January 11 near a PNP checkpoint in the National Highway, Tiguma, Pagadian City.

  • Hadja Anira Abdulah Agcong - staff of Labangan municipality Vice Mayor Wilson Nandang (LP bet as mayor of the said municipality). Shot to death on January 16 in front of Gaisano mall and her ailing son.

  • Mohaliden Pacman "Steve" Tapodoc - LP candidate for councillor in Labangan municipality. Killed by two motorcycle-riding assailants near the Filipinista Church and the Pagadian City hall.

"Sa mga pumaslang sa kanila: hinding-hindi ninyo mapapatay ang pag-asa at pangarap ng lahat ng Pilipino para sa tunay na pagbabago (To those who killed them: you will never, never be able to kill the hope and dreams of all Filipinos for real, transformative change)," he said.

Roxas, running-mate of LP standard-bearer Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III, challenged the government to swiftly bring the murderers to justice and to escalate its efforts to eliminate electoral violence.

"Kandidato man ng Liberal, Nacionalista, Lakas-Kampi o iba pang partido, dapat pantay-pantay ang proteksyon (All candidates--whether from LP, NP, Lakas-Kampi or other parties--should be equally protected)," he added.

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