Neptali Morada, 40, a former Bayan Muna regional head in the Bicol region was shot dead in Naga City on 17 June 2019. He was on his way to the Camarines Sur Capitol Hall in Pili, where he worked as a staff of former Vice Governor Ato Peña, when unidentified gunmen attacked him in San Isidro village at 7:30 a.m. Neptali had also served as Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) campaign committee head.
In a statement, Senator Leila De Lima said, “The obvious questions must be asked: Who killed him and what was the motive? This transpired just days after two human rights workers were slain in Sorsogon, both in the same manner: organized and merciless.”
“It is not taxing to the imagination to realize that these killings already follow a pattern, and what is troubling is the seeming cold response of the authorities,” she further said.
De Lima recalled that when Malacañang issued Memorandum Order No. 32 in Nov. 2018 deploying more soldiers in Bicol region, Samar and Negros Island, the purported aim was to “suppress lawless violence and acts of terror.”
“And yet, how do we explain the fact that these regions now tend to host this surge in the killing of activists and HRDs (human rights defenders)?” she pointed out.
“This is so serious a matter that the government should be reminded that civil society and the international community are aware and vigilant,” she stressed.
De Lima said there are now more than 150 HRDs who were killed under the Duterte administration. The government, she said, is accountable for the lives of each of these HRDs.
She also said the killing of Morada is further proof that not only poor drug addicts and pushers are the target of the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.
De Lima said this shows that the government is also after Filipinos who stand firm and fight for human rights.
Source: Manila Bulletin / Inquirer