Family of Slain Botanist Crying for Justice

MANILA – “We want justice for our son,” this was the short statement of Mrs. Emelina Co-Legaspi mother of Leonard Co. They even wrote to President Benigno S. Aquino III to help them achieve justice.

But according to Co’s brother-in-law Bobby Austria, as of Dec. 8, there has been no response from the Malacañang. “Even during my brother-in-law’s wake, no one, not even press secretary Edwin Lacierda sent their condolences,” Austria told Bulatlat in a separate interview.

For Austria, a person like Co was not ordinary. “He was a national treasure.” Asked about their reaction on Aquino’s silence on the case of one of the country’s finest man in science, Austria said, “Maybe what’s important to him is the power supply than the death of a national treasure.”

According to Austria’s source, the Leyte geothermal plant accounts for 27 percent of the country’s total electricity production. (

“Admit it or not, they need the military to secure the almost 200 hectares of the Energy Development Corporations (EDC),” said Austria. He said someone from the EDC told him that if there would be any disruption in the power supply from the Leyte plant, Luzon would be greatly affected.

He said there is no doubt that the military is responsible for the killing of Co and his two other companions. The EDC, he said, could not pin down the military because of security reasons.

Asked if they are losing hope in their quest for justice, he said no. “There are reasons why; first, Leonard is an important person in the field of science; two, the Chinese community is willing to help and support in this battle; three, there are two witnesses, unlike the late Ninoy Aquino’s case where there was no witness; and fourth, we are on the side of the truth in this case.

In the press conference, the fact finding team handed a copy of the report to the family and wife of Co. The family expressed their gratitude for the initiative of the independent fact finding team to seek out the truth to achieve justice for Co and his companions.

The Movement for Justice for Leonard Co and his companions was also launched in the press conference. The movement is comprised of supporters, family, friends and civil society groups. It aims to spearhead the campaign, monitor the developments in the case and pursue the issue until justice has been served and the perpetrators are held accountable. (By Anne Marxze D. Umil/

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