From InterAksyon (Jul 12): Peasant leader slain in Bicol tags Army - rights groups
The leader of a coconut farmers’ group in Albay was shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen Friday morning and, before he died, identified the attackers as soldiers, human rights organizations said.
Hustisya and Karapatan said Edgardo Lopez, 40, president of the provincial chapter of the Bicol Coconut Planters Association, was shot three times in front of a store in Barangay Mayon in Daraga town.
A statement from the group said before he died at a hospital, Lopez said: “Army an nagbadil sako (The Army shot me).”
Karapatan-Bicol spokesman Vince Casilihan said Lopez had been harassed by the military before his murder.
In April, troops of the 901st Infantry Brigade surrounded Lopez’s home because communist rebels were allegedly hiding out there. The troops also allegedly warned him against joining rallies and supporting the New People’s Army.
Karapatan-Bicol says the peasant leader is the 50th victim of extrajudicial killings in the region alone since President Benigno Aquino III assumed office in 2010, accounting for a quarter of the 204 murders recorded by Hustisya during this period.