By EARL O. CONDEZA
MACO, Compostela Valley – Jay-jay, 12, saw a man pulling a gun against her father Marcelo Monterona last January 3. Her instinct was to throw a stone against her dad’s attacker, but as fear overwhelmed her, she scampered to get home.
It was an emotional Jayjay who talked to Davao Today at the wake of Monterona. Her mother, Teresita, remembered seeing Marcelo driving off their multicab jeepney after fixing it.
“Then we heard an explosion. At first, we thought it was merely a firecracker but the explosions were actually shots, several shots. We went out to check and we saw his bloody body,” Teresita, in tears, told Davao Today.
Colleagues at Hugpong sa mga Mag uuma sa Walog Kompostela (Humawak), a farmers organization, believed the military singled out Monterona for his role in the anti-mining and human rights campaign in the area.
Humawak spokesperson Renante Mantos said Monterona was killed by members of the 71st Infantry Batallion of the Philippine Army, the same Army unit to whom human rights advocates tagged as the unit responsible for killing Tinga, a 57-year old Mansaka tribal leader in Barangay Malamodao, in an operation last Dec 6.
Mantos said that Monterona called for the pull-out of 71st IB following Tinga’s death.
Monterona was also part of the negotiating panel of Indug Kautawan (People Uprise), a Pablo-survivors group which fought the indemnification of P3.6 million and 300 sacks of rice by the APEX Mining.
“Monterona was a good person. He did not have enemies in the community who could have the motive for killing him,”Mantos added.
Junjun one of Monterona’s children, called on the local government and the police to act, conduct speedy probe and arrest the perpetrators.
Mantos slammed the local police for ignoring the incident and not acting immediately. (Davaotoday.com)