Statement of the Commission on Human Rights condemning the series of killings against barangay officials across different localities in the country

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights condemning the series of killings against barangay officials across different localities in the country

The Commission on Human Rights vehemently condemns the recent killings of barangay officials across the country. This year has seen an increase in the number of incidents involving violence against barangay officials, which is alarming and necessitates an immediate investigation. These incidents have been endorsed to various CHR regional offices for further investigation and launching of a quick response operation (QRO) to assist with the investigation.

According to reports, on 06 March 2024, a barangay kagawad was stabbed to death in Legazpi City, Albay. The victim sustained multiple stab wounds throughout his body. The suspect is currently in the custody of the police.

Furthermore, unidentified armed men gunned down three neighbors on the same day in a remote area of Barangay Tudela sa Trento, Agusan del Sur. One of them was a former barangay captain.

Another case is a senior citizen who is also a barangay kagawad in Legazpi City, Albay. According to reports, the suspect broke into the victim’s home and stabbed him to death on the afternoon of 08 March 2024. The victim was rushed to the hospital and declared dead on arrival.

The most recent incident involves another barangay kagawad who was killed in an attack by motorcycle-riding men in Mamasapano, Maguindanao del Sur on 30 March 2024.

These incidents impede everyone’s democratic right to participate in a free and peaceful electoral process by instilling threats not only in the community, but also in local leaders seeking to serve their constituents.

These violent acts create a culture of fear and directly breach the most fundamental right of all– the right to life itself. As duty-bearers, we cannot allow citizens to become desensitized to attacks on those engaged in political activities. In pursuit of our mandate to promote and protect the right to life, liberty, and security, CHR will work closely with the relevant government agencies to ensure fairness, transparency, and impartiality in the investigations and prosecution of these cases.

The Commission is committed to protecting and safeguarding the rights of all sectors, including those who express an interest or are currently serving the community. We urge all stakeholders to work together to create a violent-free society that values democracy and respects equal political participation.

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