Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima offered her prayers for the full and speedy recuperation of known opponent of the Kaliwa Dam Project and Infanta Mayor Filipina Grace America, who was recently hurt in an ambush in Quezon Province last Feb. 27.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said the Philippine National Police (PNP) should urgently investigate the incident, which she called a matter of grave importance.
“First and foremost, I pray for the speedy recovery of Mayor America. I also pray that this incident does not shake her resolve to fight the good fight for the indigenous peoples of Infanta, Quezon and the biodiversity of the Sierra Madre.
“I hope that her will to resist this project is further strengthened as she continues to challenge the prevailing status quo in her municipality. May her courage and bravery to forge ahead in spite of the odds serve as an inspiration to human rights defenders and environmental advocates all over the country,” she said.
She added, “I call on the PNP to urgently investigate this matter of grave importance. It is a known fact that the activities of human rights defenders have suffered under this present regime.”
According to the police, America was on her way home from church when her black SUV was waylaid by still unidentified gunmen. She sustained gunshot wounds in different parts of her body and was rushed to a nearby hospital.
Police reportedly disclosed that they recovered seven spent shells, though they have yet to determine the motive behind the attack.
De Lima noted that this marks the second incident related to the Kaliwa Dam in a matter of weeks as the onerous and controversial project continues to rack up media mileage for all the wrong reasons.
Earlier this month, several groups had sounded the alarm on the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System (MWSS) for the supposed railroading and manipulation of Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) processes as required by law, to be obtained prior to the dam’s construction.
“Ilang insidente pa ba ang kailangang maganap bago ito bigyang pansin ng ating pamahalaan? Ilang buhay pa ba ang hahayaan nilang manganganib para sa kontrobersyal at kaduda-dudang proyektong ito?” she asked.
De Lima said it is high time that the PNP reasserts its independence and integrity as an institution by ensuring that the rule of law always prevails.
“Isa muli itong hamon sa PNP para muling maipakita sa sambayanang Pilipino na ang kapakanan at kaligtasan ng mamamayan pa rin ang tangi nilang pinagsisilbihan. Nawa’y huwag na kayong kukurap. Managot ang dapat managot. At panagutin ang dapat panagutin,” she said. (30)