KMU leader shot dead in Laguna

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    BY VICTOR REYES and ASHZEL HACHERO

    A LEADER of the Kilusang Mayo Uno was shot and killed by unidentified men in Calamba City, Laguna on Sunday night, police reported yesterday.

    CALABARZON regional police spokesperson Maj. Marry Anne Crester Torres identified the victim as Dandy Miguel, 30, a factory worker and a resident of Barangay Majada Labas, Calamba City.

    Miguel was the vice chairman of Pamantik Kilusang Mayo Uno and the president of the Lakas ng Nagkakaisang Manggagawa ng Fuji-Electric Olalia KMU.

    He was slain less than a month after nine activists were killed and six others arrested in separate police operations in CALABARZON.

    Citing the result of initial investigation, Torres said Miguel was driving his motorcycle when he was shot by unidentified suspects on Kapayapaan road Asia 1 in Barangay Canlubang at around 8:45 p.m. The suspects fled.

    Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said the DOH will conduct a preliminary assessment on the killing of Miguel before the AO 35 task force can probe the case.

    The task force was created under Administrative Order No. 35 issued in 2013 to investigate politically-motivated killings in the country and human rights violations. It is led by the DOJ with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, the PNP, National Bureau of Investigation and the Armed Forces as members.

    “Like what we did in the CALABARZON deaths, we’ll do a preliminary assessment first. If there’s any indication that Miguel’s death had something to do with his being a labor leader, the AO 35 committee will include his case for investigation,” Guevarra said.

    The Commission on Human Rights decried the killing of Miguel, with CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia saying: “As we have repeatedly asked, the escalating situation of violence and harassment against union leaders and activists calls for urgent action and tangible measures.

    “We call on all concerned agencies – including Congress, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor and Employment – to give preferential attention to this prevalent disregard to the right to life, security, and rule of law,” added de Guia.

    She also appealed to the government “to reflect on the sacredness of life and concretely demonstrate commitment to uphold and protect the dignity and right to life of all.

    “Justice must be delivered to the victims,” De Guia, referring to Miguel and other union leaders who have also been killed. “Violence in communities must be reduced, if not eliminated at all,” she added.

    Guevarra said the task force’s committee meeting last week for the inventory of cases, including extrajudicial killings, was “postponed due to a rash of COVID-19 cases in the DOJ.”

    “We will do the update after the meeting in April,” he said, adding the preliminary assessment on Miguel’s killing would proceed despite the high number of COVID cases in the DOJ.

    “Yes. Fair chances within the week,” Guevarra added.

    As of last week, there were 45 active COVID cases in the DOJ.