On the assassination of Rep. Rodel Batocabe

Statement of Sen. Francis Pangilinan on the assassination of Rep. Rodel Batocabe

Rest in peace, Representative Rodel. He was my contemporary at the UP College of Law in the late 80s. We may not have been on the same side of the political fence but his violent death in what appears to have been perpetrated by hired assassins should be roundly condemned.

The daily killings was touted by the Duterte administration as the solution to our country’s ills, that the more killed in the drug war, the better. For every kill, reward money was given by the government. Impunity and police abuse became the order of business. Pretty soon, the killings and in all likelihood the offer of reward money quickly went beyond the drug war to include priests, lawyers, local politicians, journalists, and even businessmen. For the right price any killing can be arranged, so it seems. As the days go by more and more are beginning to realise that the daily killings is not the solution but is in fact part of the problem.

Rest in peace Rep. Rodel. While we cry out for justice and demand that our law enforcers go after the killers and the mastermind, one cannot help raise the question as to who will be next in this growing list of daily killings now reaching tens of thousands.

We urge the Comelec to clamp down on election-related violence early on lest the situation spiral out of control into a blood drenched May 2019 national and local elections.

The solution I am afraid lies not so much in the hands of this Administration (that sees nothing wrong with public statements that incite or encourage more killings) but in the hands, in the acts, and the spoken words of more and more ordinary citizens from all walks of life saying we will not sit still and we will speak up against these killings.

Fight for the rule of law. Fight for swift justice. End the killings!