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ABANTE TO PNP: CATCH MURDERERS, END BLOODSHED

A House leader has called on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and law enforcement agencies to act on the unabated wave of killings in the country, and stressed that failure to solve these murders would embolden criminals to continue gunning down helpless targets.

In a privilege speech, Deputy Speaker Benny Abante Jr. said that the recent murder of Conservative Baptist Association of the Philippines (CBAP) Region 8 Chairman Rev. Dioscoro “Jet” Tan, Jr.––barely a week after the ambush-slay of Calbayog Mayor Ronaldo Aquino in the same province––underscored how these killings had become commonplace in the country.

“Elected officials. Members of the Bar. Community organizers. Men of the cloth. The circumstances surrounding their deaths may differ, but they all shared a similar fate: their lives were cut short in a hail of bullets.”

“What makes this incident more painful and tragic, Mr. Speaker, is that the murder of Pastor Jet is not an isolated incident. Just over a week before he was slain, Calbayog City Mayor Ronaldo Aquino was ambushed and killed,” lamented the Manila 6th District Representative.

In addition to these, Abante said “just a month before the death of Pastor Jet, Mia Mascariñas-Green, a lawyer for the NGO Environmental Legal Assistance Center (ELAC), was ambushed while driving her three young children in Tagbilaran City, Bohol. And, earlier this month, nine activists were killed in what is now referred to as Bloody Sunday.”

“Elected officials. Members of the Bar. Community organizers. Men of the cloth. The circumstances surrounding their deaths may differ, but they all shared a similar fate: their lives were cut short in a hail of bullets,” said the solon.

“Ito po ang tanong ko sa ating lahat dito: ganito na ba ka mura ang buhay sa ating bayan? Is this how cheap life is in our country?”

A visibly frustrated Abante quoted the last line of the police report describing the Discoro murder, which narrated that the killer had gotten away from the scene of the crime after the shooting, before he asked “is this what we have come to expect when our kababayan are brutally murdered in our streets?”

“We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, Mr. Speaker. We must continue to speak for those violently silenced by death, and we must continue to demand justice for all of them. They deserve no less.”

“I stand here today on behalf of Pastor Jet and all those whose lives have been violently cut short to demand justice and to urge our law enforcement officials to take action. Those responsible must be held accountable for their crimes, because if these killers remain free and unpunished, more and more criminals will be emboldened to follow in their bloody footsteps,” explained the lawmaker.

Abante said that members of the House “must stand up and say that the bloodshed must end. Abogado. Alkalde.  Aktibista. Pulis. Pastor. Maghihintay pa ba tayo na masama ang ‘Congressman’ sa listahan na ito? Maghihintay pa ba tayo na mabiktima ang ating mga kaibigan, kamag-anak, o katrabaho?”

“We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, Mr. Speaker. We must continue to speak for those violently silenced by death, and we must continue to demand justice for all of them. They deserve no less.”

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