By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – A municipal councilor and Bayan Muna member was shot dead around 6:15 a.m. this morning by two unidentified men.
Fernando Baldomero was shot in front of his house in Estancia, Kalibo, Aklan while preparing to bring his son Philip to school. He suffered three gunshot wounds in the head, according to George Calaor, chairperson of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Aklan.
Baldomero, 61, is the provincial coordinator of Makabayan coalition and provincial chairperson of Bayan Muna and also a member of the board of directors of the Philippine Councilors League. He survived by his wife Christine and four children.
Calaor deemed that the murder is politically-motivated. “He is an icon of the progressive movement here in Aklan. It is also widely known that he was a member of the CPP [Communist Party of the Philippines] during the 70s,” Calaor said in a phone interview.
During the campaign period, on March 19, two unidentified men on board a motorcycle threw two grenades at the ancestral house of Baldomero in Sta. Cruz, Biga-a, Lezo, Aklan.
Calaor recalled that Baldomero was also slapped with arson and murder charges by the military sometime in 2004. “He was detained for three months but the charges have been dismissed due to lack of merit,” Calaor said.
Baldomero’s death is the first case of extrajudicial killing under the Aquino administration.
“It is reflective of the vague stance of Noynoy [Aquino] on counterinsurgency,” Calaor said, adding that progressive groups in Aklan have been branded as fronts of the CPP. The red tagging has been a distinct element in the counterinsurgency program of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“We demand an immediate and thorough investigation particularly on the involvement of military and military-backed death squads,” Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino said in a text message to Bulatlat.
Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said that the incident follows the announcement of the new three-year counter-insurgency plan by the newly installed Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ricardo David. “Neither Gen. David nor President Noynoy have called to stop the killings and to end the culture of impunity that still prevails,” Enriquez said.
“The lack of declaration from President Noynoy to stop the killings and impunity, coupled by Gen. David’s pronouncement of another deadline to end insurgency, and this new wave of political killings, signals that former president Gloria Arroyo’s counter-insurgency program, Oplan Bantay Laya, is still enforced under Mr. Aquino’s term and has not let up on targeting progressive individuals”, Enriquez said.
Enriquez said that more than the ban on ‘wang-wang’, Aquino must issue a categorical order to stop the culture of impunity and put to end the atrocities of Oplan Bantay Laya implemented by the AFP. (Bulatlat.com)