Month: March 2005

Before the coffin bearing the remains of Tarlac City Councilor Abel Ladera, the ninth Hacienda Luisita martyr, was buried, it was opened for his family and barriomates one last time. It took however almost an hour before the people could finish their goodbye: young ones took pictures of him with their cellular phones; the older ones patted the coffin, with whispers of “Salamat po, salamat po” (thank you, thank you) while a woman asked with a break in her voice, “Bakit ka nila pinatay, wala na kaming kasama.” (Why did they kill you, we no longer have someone to help us.)

From his humble beginnings as a sugar worker, City Councilor Abelardo R. Ladera emerged as one of the few successful local political figures who openly stood against the Cojuangco-Aquino dynasty in Tarlac. Ladera was gunned down at high noon of March 3 making him Tarlac’s first local official assassinated in the post-dictator era.