Press Release
February 6, 2010


The Commission on Human Rights has started parallel investigations into the series of attacks or killings of Liberal Party members and supporters in Zamboanga del Sur as the LP decried anew the killing of two more of its supporters in politically-motivated incidents in Ilocos Sur and in Butuan City.

The latest cases bring to a total of 8 the number of LP supporters killed in attacks suspected to be related to the coming May 10 elections.

Addressing the LP's concerns over the attacks on its supporters, CHR Chairperson Leila De Lima formally informed LP President Senator Mar Roxas that the CHR sub-office in Pagadian City "is now conducting an independent parallel investigation" into the murders of LP's local leaders Rascal Afdal, Hadja Hamira Adbullah Agcong and Motalliden Pacman "Steve" Tapodoc.

De Lima said the CHR probe is separate from the investigation being conducted by police authorities in the city. Roxas has earlier requested the CHR to "provide assistance in the investigation and monitoring" of the countryside killings of LP candidates in the local level.

"The Commission has taken cognizance of the matter since January 18, 2010, when our attention was called thereto by the group of the incumbent Vice Mayor of Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur," De Lima said in her letter to Roxas dated February 1.

Initial CHR findings showed the 48-year old Afdal was shot dead by 2 unidentified motorcycle-riding assailants in the morning of January 4 while riding a tricycle driven by his son. Afdal is a known local leader of Vice Mayor Kitty Nandang, who is LP's candidate for municipal mayor of Labangan.

Agcong, also a supporter of Nandang, was shot thrice in her chest by still an unidentified gunman in front of her sick son a few moments after alighting from her vehicle in front of the Gaisano mall at Rizal Avenue in Pagadian City late evening on January 16. She was planning to buy medicine for her son when assassinated.

Tapodoc, LP candidate for municipal councilor of Labangan, was murdered in the following morning of January 17 near the Philippine Independent Church behind the city hall of Pagadian City. He was shot several times by two unidentified men, each aboard a motorcycle.

"Our (Pagadian City) sub-office has been tasked to monitor the situation in the area," De Lima told Roxas, yet revealing the CHR Pagadian City office is now looking into the reported killing of a certain Toto Tagana, another supporter of Nandang.

As this developed, the LP received reports of two more supporters being killed in separate incidents in Ilocos Sur and Butuan City.

Cecilio Tolentino, the LP candidate for Magsingal councilor in Ilocos Sur, was shot dead by still unknown assailants on the afternoon of January 28 in front of his house. Tolentino was a former mayor of Magsingal.

Also, volunteer Roldan P. Curalde of the Mabuting Pilipino Movement (MPM) for Noynoy/Mar was reported killed in Butuan City last January 28, the first MPM local political leader killed in Mindanao. He was reportedly aboard his own motorcyle when he was gunned down by two unidentified men along Langihan Road in Upper Doongan, Butuan City.

The LP leadership, in condoling with the families of the party's martyrs, vowed to keep no stone unturned in its quest for justice for the slain LP supporters and leaders.

The LP took to task Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno for failing to solve the killings and expressed concern that the lack of resolution to the killings and the continuing violence could be part of a violent scheme to stop the opposition's much-expected victory in the coming elections.

Tolentino and Curalde are the 7th and 8th LP supporters who have been slain in killings related to the May 10 national and local elections.

Aside from Tapodoc, Agcong, Afdal, Tolentino and Curalde, others who have been murdered in separate attacks by unidentified gunmen were Rose Pajente - operations manager of National Food Authority in Zamboanga del sur and a known LP supporter; Bong Dizon, coordinator of the Noynoy Aquino for President Movement in Mexico, Pampanga; and Atty. Connie Brizuela, an LP volunteer who was among the 57 slain victims in the so-called Maguindanao massacre.

News Latest News Feed