reign of terror
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NARITA, Japan – I was on my way to Chicago, Illinois when I got a PM (private message) in my Facebook page that my cousin’s husband was gunned down because he refused to give up his dream to become a councilor in Matnog, Sorsogon, Philippines.

Seven bullets fired from a .45 pistol were pumped by two men into the body of UNA candidate Cayetano “Onoy” G. Oro, Jr.. The killing took place in front of the house of Barangay Captain Nelson Gacis in Pawa, Matnog at about 6:20 p.m. last April 25.

I felt guilty because I was in Matnog a few days before the shooting. But I forgot to ask Onoy’s uncle, retired Matnog policeman Nonoy M. Garra, that I would like to talk to Onoy.

Onoy’s death followed the broad daylight shooting of Onoy’s uncle, retired policeman Virgilio “Bilyong” Garra, who was shot and killed after losing his election bid as Matnog councilor in the 2013 elections.
Like Onoy’s death, Bilyong death was attributed to the “people’s justice” said to be promoted by the New People’s Army (NPA).

In other words, Onoy’s death will be an unsolved crime — a perfect crime with the killers never be brought to justice – like that of Bilyong’s.

Will murders with impunity stop if Mayor Rodrigo Duterte becomes president?

It remains to be seen.

I am not a big fan of Mayor Duterte. I am leaning on voting for the Gobyernong may Puso team, but if Duterte wins and makes good his threat to pulverize criminals, like the killers of Onoy and Bilyong, I might warm up to Duterte’s Death Squad (DDS).

Like Hitler’s SS (Schutzstaffel) or Marcos’ Metrocom Intelligence and Security Group (MISG) or Metrocom Strike Force (MSF), who could not shoot straight, President Duterte’s Death Squad (DDS) could give the killers of Onoy and Bilyong a day in court before DDS take matters into its hand.

These killers should hope and pray that Mayor Duterte does not become president.

The NPA had already claimed responsibility for the killing of Bilyong because they alleged Bilyong was pushing drugs. But the NPA’s brand of justice is spotty. If the hierarchy of the NPA leaders investigated the case of Bilyong before killing him, they would have learned that their intelligence information was flawed.

Bilyong could not have sold drugs because he did not even have money to buy medicine to cure his big boil in his neck.

The Sorsogon Philippine National Police cannot go after the NPAs even after the NPAs claimed responsibility for the killing of Bilyong because the PNP said the relatives of Bilyong refused to file a complaint. Can you believe the alibi of the PNP? Who of the relatives in their right mind would file a complaint against the NPA when the PNP could not even provide protection to my relatives?

When there is dead body, a good police agency can motu proprio (on his own impulse) conduct a criminal investigation even if there is no complainant. The dead body is considered “evidence,” a “smoking gun.”

Why wait for the scared complainant to come forward when the government under the Constitutional doctrine of “parens patriae” can extend protection to the victims of crime by prosecuting the criminals?

I’ve been prodding the relatives of Bilyong to sue the NPA but my relatives were hesitant to do so because they feared they would be the next victims.

True enough, their fear and apprehension unfolded before their very eyes when Onoy was killed and the killing was attributed again to the usual suspects – the NPAs.

But Onoy was not even a suspected drug pusher nor a common criminal. Onoy just wanted to make his dream as an elected municipal councilor come true.

Where is the outrage of the community?

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Joseph is a former reporter of the Manila Bulletin, former president of the Rizal-Metro Manila Reporters Association and former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Press Club of the Philippines. A prolific reporter, Lariosa writes a column and news stories for the Filipino Star News and other Filipino community newspapers in the US as well as for GMA News and the Manila Bulletin.


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