By RONALYN OLEA
MANILA – A leader of an urban poor group was shot dead by a lone gunman in San Roque village, Kadiwa, Navotas City, March 16.
Based on the initial accounts from the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap-Navotas (Kadamay-Navotas), Antonio ‘Nono’ Homo, 47, was staying at the house of neighbor Julie Manuel when, at around 8:40 p.m., a man peeked through the window and fired his 45 caliber pistol aiming at Homo’s head. The bullet pierced through the victim’s skull.
Homo’s companion immediately went out of the house but the gunman had already left.
(Photo Courtesy of Tudla Productions / bulatlat.com)
Homo served as the campaign officer of Nagkakaisang Samahan sa Kadiwa (Nasaka), an association of local residents who have been opposing the continuing demolition in the community since March 3. More than 466 families are being affected by the road widening project, the construction of an extension building of an elementary school and tenement housing projects of the Navotas City government. On February 29, a fire engulfed the community.
Arthur Cadungon, Kadamay-Navotas spokesman, said the killing of Homo is “likely related to the struggle for their rights to decent homes and livelihood.” He told Bulatlat.com that Manuel’s house is frequented by Nasaka leaders. In fact, Nasaka president Fernando Sevilla had just left the house a few minutes before the incident. Cadungon said it is possible that Sevilla was the main target of the killing.
Cadungon said the timing of the incident is suspect, noting that the murder happened on the eve of the hearing on the case filed by Nasaka against Navotas City Mayor John Ray Tiangco and the City Engineering Office at the Malabon Regional Trial Court regarding the series of demolitions.
‘What our poor people demand for are homes, jobs and justice and not bullets. If our enemies think that we will be pacified by the terror that they are sowing, they are wrong. We vow to intensify our protest against demolitions of our communities,” Cadungon said.
Kadamay-Navotas and Nasaka called on President Benigno S. Aquino III to conduct a swift investigation on the case and to prosecute the masterminds of the crime. “The national government must act immediately to serve justice for Ka Nono [Homo]. Aquino must take the lead in hunting down the perpetrators of this crime in the soonest possible time,” Cadungon said.
The groups also urged Aquino to stop all planned demolitions of urban poor communities in order to prevent similar incidents in the future.