A LOCAL LEADER of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) at Hacienda Medina in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, was gunned down by two unidentified assailants on a motorcycle in Barangay Rizal Wednesday morning, June 27.
Killed was Julius Broce Barellano, 35, of the said village. He was a chairperson of Hacienda Medina Farmworkers Association-NFSW.
He was also a former correspondent of Aksyon Radyo Bacolod and had worked with Radyo Bandera Sweet FM.
Chief Inspector Anthony Grande, deputy chief of San Carlos City Police Station, said Barellano and his partner just arrived home around 8:20 a.m. when the victim was shot by one of the perpetrators.
Barellano was able to run towards the back of their house but the gunman chased after him.
The unidentified assailant fired at him again at close range. The perpetrators then fled.
His partner was unharmed after she was able to go inside their house when the incident happened.
Grande said the couple was probably followed by the assailants on their way home, but only targeted Barellano.
Barellano was rushed to a hospital, where he later died, due to eight gunshot wounds.
Police recovered from the scene 10 fired bullets, four live ammunition, and a slug of .45 caliber pistol.
Grande said they have yet to establish the motive but they are looking at all possible angles like land dispute and personal conflict.
Police also have no lead yet on the identities of the perpetrators.
Grande said they are still gathering information from Barellano’s family if he has threats.
Meanwhile, progressive groups in Negros Occidental like Karapatan Negros and NFSW condemned the killing of Barellano.
According to Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) secretary-general John Milton Lozande, Barellano is the third NFSW local leader reportedly killed during the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Last year, Flora Jemola, chairperson of NFSW-Sagay was stabbed to death while Alexander Ceballos, regional council member of NFSW, was also killed in Salvador Benedicto town.
UMA and NFSW called on all local chapters to intensify campaigns against killings and other human rights violations perpetrated by landlords and state mercenaries, as they hold the Duterte regime accountable for its gruesome policies of propagating injustice and impunity.