Lagman calls ‘Bato’ a Duterte apologist

By Mavic Conde


Albay Congressman Edcel Lagman criticized a fellow legislator for defending President Rodrigo Duterte’s “kill, kill, kill” order for security forces to exterminate communist rebels.


“Only the President’s apologists are vainly justifying his perilous statement,” Lagman said in a news release after Sen. Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa defended it as just “hyperbole”.


“There’s no place for disastrous “hyperbole” when the people’s human rights and civil liberties are at stake,” Lagman’s news release read.


According to Lagman, “Duterte’s deadly order resulted in the separate but simultaneous extrajudicial killing of nine crusading activists in Calabarzon who were not even combatants.”


On March 7, activists fighting for labor and human rights and climate justice among others were killed during the police-military raids in the region.


Among the fatalities were Michael “Greg” Dasigao, who was an advocate of housing rights in Rizal including for the 200 residents of Barangay San Isidro. In 2017, the latter were homeless and inhabited the unoccupied housing units in Rizal, according to a Rappler report. He was a member of San Isidro Kasiglahan, Kapatiran at Damayan para sa Kabuhayan, Katarungan at Kapayapaan (SIKKAD-K3), the legal organization that champions rights to housing access in Rizal and was red-tagged by the police and military.


The brutal raids were considered one of the deadliest day for activists under the Duterte administration that it was called “Bloody Sunday”.


The search warrants were issued by two Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) judges, including Manila RTC First Vice Executive Judge Jose Lorenzo Dela Rosa of Manila RTC Branch 4.


“Dela Rosa had also issued search warrants that were served against members of the indigenous organization Tumandok nga Mangunguma nga Nagapangapin sa Duta kag Kinabuhi (TUMANDUK) in Iloilo in December last year, where nine people also died,” according to an ABS-CBN report.