From the Visayan Daily Star (Aug 8, 2019): COLMENARES SAYS//NegOr killings ‘state sponsored’
Former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares insisted that the series of killings in Negros Oriental was “state-sponsored.”
Colmenares was in Negros Island yesterday for the prayer caravans initiated by the Catholic Church, Iglesia Filipina Independiente and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines at La Carlota City and San Carlos City in Negros Occidental, and Guihulngan City and Canlaon City in Negros Oriental. This is to call for an end to killings and for justice for the families.
The former lawmaker, who attended the prayer rallies in La Carlota and Canlaon, said he has the impression that families of the victims fear for their lives. “I can’t blame them because there’s no assurance from the government. That’s why there’s never-ending fear,” he said.
He said he hopes the killings will eventually stop and that justice will finally be attained by the families.
He also reiterated that the killings were state-sponsored, based on the pattern of evidence established by human rights lawyers.
“President Rodrigo Duterte and his government publicly vilified the victims or their organization before they were killed, showing motive and threat,” he said.
He also pointed out the brazenness in many of the crimes that were committed in broad daylight, in public places, and even near police stations. “This shows that the perpetrators were never afraid at all of being accosted by the police,” he added.
There is also lack of interest to seriously investigate or prosecute from the police, he said. “While trigger happy in prosecuting the opposition and activists, the government has not raised the same level of interest against the killers of activists and drug suspects,” he said.
At least 21 people including policemen, a lawyer, councillor, a barangay captain, former mayor and a 1-year-old boy were killed in Negros Oriental in 10 days, from July 18 to 28.