THE Defend Negros # Stop the Attacks Network has dared the Philippine National Police (PNP) to condemn the killing of human rights lawyer Anthony Trinidad in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental. Earlier, the PNP condemned the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels for killing four of their men in an ambush.
Before he was killed by two unidentified gunmen, lawyer Trinidad was vilified and red-tagged since 2018 with other persons by the anti-communist group Kawsa Guihulngan Batok Kumunista (Kaguba).
Trinidad used to handle the cases of siblings Emilia, Maricris, and Rene Quirante way back in 2007–2008 and other legal cases of peasants up to the present. Emilia was the municipal chairperson of Kaugmaon, a peasant organization affiliated with the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP of Peasant Movement of the Philippines), while her brother Rene was the chairperson of the local chapter of Anakpawis partylist. Later, Rene also became a victim of extrajudicial killing.
Like during the dreaded Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations (Sempo) launched by the PNP and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Guihulngan and later in Canlaon and other nearby places from December last year to March this year, Emilia was arrested via a search warrant presented by the police and a .45 caliber pistol was planted by the police when she was accosted.
Of course, we cannot expect the PNP to condemn Trinidad’s killing nor to investigate the Kaguba for this dastardly act as both are partners in crime in attacking progressive people’s organizations like Kaugmaon and NFSW and human rights defenders. As of now, 71 have been killed among their ranks. It escalated after President Duterte issued Memorandum Order 32 in Negros Island and in two other areas.
It is up to independent human rights organizations in and outside the country to seek justice for Trinidad.