Re-electionist Senator Leila M. de Lima called for a swift and serious investigation into the shooting incident that left at least five people injured during an activity of presidential candidate Leody de Guzman’s team with Lumad farmers in Bukidnon last April 19.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said she hopes for the immediate recovery of all those who were injured.
“I strongly condemn the recent attack by a paramilitary group on Ka Leody and his team and members of the Manobo tribe. We pray for the safety of his team, the IP community, and the recovery of those who were injured. Kailangang imbestigahan agad ito at parusahan ang may kagagawan,” she said in a Tweet.
The Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) confirmed that several gunshots were fired against the camp of De Guzman when they visited the ancestral land of the Manobo tribe in Quezon, Bukidnon.
De Guzman said that he and the senatorial bets were safe but farmers group organizer Nanie Abela, who was right beside him, and a leader of the Manobo-Pulangiyon tribe were grazed by bullets. Reports confirmed that three more others were hurt.
Reportedly, the protest action by the Manobo-Pulangiyon IP community was against the alleged land grabbing of their ancestral land.
According to De Guzman’s camp, the IP community claims to have been forced to leave their ancestral domain of about 900 hectares by a large corporation linked to the incumbent mayor of Quezon.
The lady Senator from Bicol said such incident should not be ignored not only to ensure accountability, but to avoid more violence.
“Kapag pinagkikibit-balikat lang ang mga ganitong krimen, lalong lumalakas ang loob ng mga nasa likod ng karahasang ito. Panahon man ng eleksyon o hindi, walang puwang para mamayagpag ang dahas at pananakot. Laging dapat manaig ang pananagutan, kaayusan at hustisya,” said De Lima. (30)