Peasant Activist Gunned Down in Isabela

By RONALYN V. OLEA
Bulatlat.com

MANILA – A 61-year old peasant activist was shot dead by two men on board a motorcycle, March 9 in San Roque village, San Mateo, Isabela, human rights group Karapatan said.

Bonifacio Labasan, an active member of Danggayan Dagiti Mannalon iti Cagayan Valley (Dagami)-Isabela chapter, rode his motorcycle at around 10:30 a.m. that day to go to a relative’s house in Victoria village. His daughter, Lanie Labasan-Miguel, went with him.

While on the road, father and daughter noticed that two men riding in tandem on a Kawasaki Bajaj motorcycle with no plate number were tailing them. When they reached San Roque village, the two men flagged them down and ordered them to stop. Bonifacio did not stop and the men overtook their motorcycle, forcing them to stop.

One of the men, described by Lanie as tall and fair-skinned, approached Bonifacio and ordered him to come with them. Bonifacio, not dismounting from his motorcycle, refused and asked the men why they were taking him. The tall man pulled an object from his waist, covered with a handkerchief, and pointed it at Bonifacio. Lanie saw that the man was pointing a gun at his father and pleaded with him to not to hurt her father. The man shot Bonifacio on his right side. When Bonifacio fell, the man moved closer and shot Bonifacio again in the head. The two men immediately left after the incident.

Based on Bulatlat.com’s monitoring, Labasan is among the 43 victims of extrajudicial killings under the administration of President Benigno S. Aquino III. Karapatan has raised the alarm, saying that there is one victim of extrajudicial killing per week.

After the shooting, Lanie began shouting for help. It took almost an hour before two policemen arrived at the scene. The police interviewed Lanie and brought her back home.

A day before the incident, Bonifacio told Lanie that he felt that he was being watched.

Bonifacio was active in Dagami’s campaign against the bio-ethanol project in Isabela which displaced thousands of farmers in the province. The proposal to construct a bio-ethanol plant is being supported by the provincial government. ()

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