On January 5, 2017, around 4pm, Venie Diamante, 43, a T’boli and municipal tribal chieftain, was brutally killed by an unnamed assailant on board a motorcycle while on his way home from Koronadal City.
Diamante was already near his residence in Sitio Lambusong, Brgy. Puti, Norala, South Cotabato, when the gunman continuously fired at him; he sustained eight (8) gunshot wounds. He was left on the side of the road, when a couple found him while on their way to the market. Diamante’s remains were brought to funeral parlour in Sentro Nola.
On the morning of the next day, January 6, 2017, the regional police arrived to investigate the incident. Residents from the community attested that Diamante was a good person and a respected tribal leader. The police then showed a petition to survey the area which is part of the T’boli ancestral domain, a move that Diamante had strongly advocated against.
In 2010, a village resolution was passed to conduct the said land surveying, without the knowledge of Lumad residents in the community. On January 12, 2012, when the aforementioned resolution was made known, Diamante and four (4) other datu (tribal chief) filed a petition at the office of the tribal council against plans to conduct the said land surveying of the T’boli ancestral domain. The said barangay resolution, Resolution No. 3, series of 2010, would allow the setting up of a subdivision in the area shared by Lumad and Christian settlers. Captain Honorio Villa was suspected of having passed the resolution to cause divisions between the Christian settlers and the Lumad to eventually pave the way for the entry of palm oil plantations in the area.