Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima lamented the government’s slow response, or lack thereof, over the series of attacks targeting employees of the Bureau of Customs (BOC).
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, extended her sympathies to the families of the victims, stressing that authorities should swiftly conduct a serious and impartial investigation on the said attacks, the most recent of which is the killing of an Information Technology (IT) operator of the BOC in Sta Ana, Manila.
“Nakikiramay po tayo sa mga naulilang pamilya at mahal sa buhay ng mga biktima; hangad po nating makamit nila ang hustisya at mapapanagot na ang mga salarin,” she said.
“Pero paano ba agarang malulutas ang mga kaso kung tatahi-tahimik lang dito ang gobyerno? Nang sinabing iimbestigahan ang mga naunang insidente mula Disyembre, anong resulta, umusad man lang ba sila? Para bang kung kailan may bagong biktima, saka lang pinapalalim ang pag-imbestiga,” she added.
Gil Cua Manlapaz, 47, was reportedly killed in an ambush in Sta. Ana, Manila last Feb. 18. Police account confirmed that the assailant, who rode a motorcycle, approached the victim and shot him in the head.
Witnesses told police three gunshots were heard. His relatives brought Manlapaz to the Sta. Ana Hospital but he was declared dead on arrival.
Manlapaz was the fourth employee of the bureau attacked since December last year, of which he was the second killed, record of BOC shows.
“Is this regime taking care of loose ends at the BOC, where they failed to stop the influx of illegal drugs and other smuggled products?” De Lima asked.
“A swift, serious and impartial investigation should be conducted as it is not normal that multiple personnel from one government agency are being targeted by seemingly uncatchable and unidentified hitmen,” she added.
The lady Senator from Bicol said it is important to identify mastermind behind the unabated killings happening in the country, which continue to run rampant even just few months short before Mr. Duterte’s term ends.
“Mga pinatutumbang empleyado ng Customs, mga nawawalang sabungero, libo-libong biktima ng War on Drugs. Kung hindi man lantarang kinukunsinte, ay tikom ang bibig ng rehimeng Duterte.
“Ilang buwan na lang sa termino ang administrasyong ito at siguradong marami pang mabibiktima kung hindi seryosong sisiyasatin ang mga brutal at karumal-dumal na karahasang ito,” she said.
“Kailangan tukuyin kung ito ba ay sindikato o baka naman mismong ang mga nasa kapangyarihan ang nasa likod nito,” she added. (30)