Village Chief Gunned Down in Bulacan

Posted 2:50 p.m., Dec. 13, 2006

A barangay (village) captain was gunned down by hooded and motorcycle-riding men in Malolos City, Bulacan at around 6:30 p.m. last night.

Based on reports reaching Bulatlat, Renato Estrella, 58, barangay captain of Atlag, Malolos City, was shot in the head at close range by one of the assailants in Sitio Buhangin. The assailants immediately fled from the scene.

Estrella was rushed to the Santos General Hospital in Malolos City, but was pronounced dead on arrival.

The killing of Estrella brought to 113 the number of those killed by alleged death squads in Central Luzon since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was catapulted to power through a popular uprising in 2001. Of these, 71 were perpetrated during the stint of retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, Jr. as commanding officer of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Division which is based in Ft. Ramon Magsaysay, Laur, Nueva Ecija.

Central Luzon is one of three regions named as “priority areas” in the govewrnment’s counter-“insurgency” drive. The others are Southern Tagalog and the Bicol Region.

In the last two days alone, four people – among them two labor leaders and a human rights lawyer – were killed in Southern Tagalog and the Bicol Region.

Initial reports from local police state that Estrella could have been the victim of a New People’s Army (NPA) “hit squad.” But Roman Polintan, chairman of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance)-Central Luzon, said in a statement sent to Bulatlat that Estrella had received several threats from the military because of his opposition to the deployment of government troops to his area. (

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