Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima slams the senseless killing of a well-known activist who was reportedly organizing relief and feeding programs for poor communities in Iloilo, who are affected by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
De Lima made the statement after Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia, a regional coordinator for Bayan Muna Iloilo, was killed in Villa Arevalo District in Iloilo City last April 30. Reports claim that Porquia sustained nine gunshot wounds to the head and body, by still unidentified assassins.
“Maigting kong kinokondena ang brutal na pagpatay sa aktibistang si Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia. Isa na naman itong panibagong kaso ng karumal-dumal na karahasan at pag-abuso ng gobyerno sa panahong ito ng matinding krisis,” she said.
“Kasalanan ba ang maghatid ng ayuda sa mga maralita? Huwag nilang gawing dahilan ang krisis na ito para lalong maghasik ng lagim at karahasan sa mamamayan”, she added.
Family members and associates claim that Porquia was involved in relief aid distributions and feeding programs for poor communities in Iloilo City and other surrounding areas within the region.
Bayan Muna for Visayas also claims that the nefarious and grisly murder of Porquia is “part of the impunity in political killings aimed at terrorizing activists critical of the Duterte administration.”
De Lima noted that Porquia’s killing appears to be part of a pattern of attacks and intimidation against activist personalities and to those who express criticisms on the government’s dismal performance in addressing the COVID-19 outbreak.
“Ito ang napapala natin sa pagkunsinte at pananahimik pa rin ng marami sa isang diktador at utak-pulburang administrasyong ito,” De Lima, a lifelong human rights advocate, said.
“Mantakin nyo: Imbes na pang-unawa at pag-intindi sa kapwa, minanduhan pa ang mga pulis at sundalo na arestuhin o barilin agad ang mga lalabag sa ECQ rules at walang habas ang pagbabanta sa nagpapahayag ng hinaing sa gobyerno,” she added.
Last April 19, former Anakpawis representative Ariel Casilao and several others were arrested and detained in Norzagaray, Bulacan for alleged violations of Republic Act No. 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act; attempted inciting to sedition; and usurpation of authority, among others.
Casilao and his companions denied the charges and claims that they were just delivering relief goods to poor beneficiaries in the area. They were granted temporary freedom three days later, on April 22, after posting bail of PhP274,000.
Earlier on April 1, residents of Sitio San Roque in Quezon City were also apprehended after staging a protest because of the slow implementation of food and cash aid distribution by both national and local governments.
De Lima, who is detained because of her continued opposition against the Duterte administration’s corrupt and brutal policies, said that Mr. Duterte is using the attacks and intimidation to cover up for their failures in its response against the COVID-19 crisis.
“You blame the people for your incompetence and portray them as the cause of the spread of the deadly virus. The quick use of brute force and unnecessary measures by some ECQ enforcers is observably fueled by the same hate and intolerance you have there in Malacañang,” she said.
“Bago kayo magpakita ng bagsik, tiyakin ninyo na ang gobyerno mismo ay nakatutupad din sa obligasyon nito sa taumbayan,” she added. (30)