On the evening of the same day that Veronico Delamente was assassinated, around 8pm, Alexander Ceballos, 54, regional council member and district area coordinator of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) was gunned down by two unnamed assailants near his house in Purok Tangke, Brgy. Pandanon Silos, Murcia, Negros Occidental. Ceballos was rushed to the Sanitarium Hospital in Bacolod City but was declared dead-on-arrival.
Ceballos and his family has long been the target of threats and intimidation by the Dela Cruz clan, a political clan who controls the town of Salvador Benedicto for more than 20 years. Ceballos’ involvement in organising and mobilising farmers to uphold and defend their rights have earned him the ire of the Dela Cruz family. In fact, on July 17, 2015, Alexander Ceballos’ son, Ariel Ceballos, survived an ambush when armed gunmen indiscriminately fired at the vehicle they were in. His fellow farmers suspected that Alexander was the original target.
More recently, in a dialogue between the farmers, the provincial office of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), and the Dela Cruz family represented by Nehemias Dela Cruz Jr., the latter openly threatened Alexander and Ariel Ceballos with charges to be filed in court and vowed to retrieve all the lands already distributed to the farmers from the Dela Cruz clan.
On January 28, 2017, Quilina Ceballos, wife of Alexander Ceballos, received a death threat via text message. The message stated: ‘You, your companions, and your two children’s place in the cemetery is ready.’ Quilina Ceballos received the threats while still in mourning for her husband’s death.