13th militant leader killed in Negros: NFSW Organizer Shot Dead by Ski-masked Assassins

By Karl G. Ombion

BACOLOD City – In an isolated highway of Hacienda Emma, Barangay (village) Manapla town, more than 50 kms north of this city, two motorcycle-riding men in ski masks blocked and shot Sanito Bargamento at around 3:15 p.m. Friday.

Bargamento, a member of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), was driving his multicab pick-up with his wife and negotiating an isolated dirt road when blocked and shot by assassins.

The pick-up zigzagged for several meters until it stopped. The assassins followed and shot Bargamento in the head and then fled. Bargamento’s wife Estrella suffered bruises.

Chief Inspector Jose Labuyo of the Manapla police said that they could not say yet if the motive of the killing was political or personal.

NFSW secretary general Butch Lozande, on the other hand, linked the killing to the on-going “all out war of the Macapagal-Arroyo government against leftists and other progressive groups.”

“The government’s state security forces are our immediate suspects because they have been waging extra-judicial killings against militant organizations. They alone have the capability to do that, and Sanito Bargamento was a member of NFSW fighting for laborers’ rights and welfare,” said Lozande.

Recovered from the crime scene were two empty shells of .45 caliber pistol.

Since last year, 13 labor and peasant leaders in Negros had been killed, including Bargamento’s brother, Edwin, also an NFSW labor leader. He shot dead April 13, 2005, at his house in Manapla. His case remains unsolved. (Bulatlat.com)

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