DOJ mulls probe of activist’s gunslaying

August 18, 2020

JUSTICE Secretary Menardo Guevarra yesterday hinted that the AO35 (Administrative Order) Task Force on Extra Legal Killings may look into the killing Monday night of activist and paralegal Zara Alvarez in Bacolod City. 

“We may consider her case for special investigation under AO 35 after some fact-checking,” Guevarra said.

The AO 35 task force is a special unit of the Justice Department that is looking into politically-motivated killings or extrajudicial killings (EJKs) of people fighting for causes.

An unidentified gunmen shot and killed Alvarez, 39, on her way home in Eroreco village, Bacolod City.

Alvarez — Karapatan’s paralegal and research and advocacy officer of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program —  was among the red-tagged activists in Negros Island. 

Human rights groups condemned her killing and called for a speedy investigation.  

Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas chairperson Danilo Ramos noted that Alvarez was murdered while progressive groups are still mourning the death of peasant leader Randy Echanis.

”Just a few hours after Ka Randy’s remains have been laid to rest, another activist’s life is snatched,” Ramos said. 

Echanis and his companion Louie Tagapia were killed inside the former’s rented home in Quezon City last week. 

Echanis, 72, was a member of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace panel on agrarian reforms and the deputy secretary general of militant peasant organization Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP).