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Duterte denies gov’t behind killing of rights lawyer

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By Genalyn Kabiling

President Duterte has rejected allegations that the government was behind the killing of human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos in Negros Occidental.

The President instead hit back at the communist rebel group for forcibly occupying lands and killing people in the process.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte graces the concluding ceremonies of the 44th Philippine Business Conference and Expo (PBC&E) at the Manila Hotel in the City of Manila on October 18, 2018. (PCOO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte   (PCOO/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“Kami pa ang pagbibintangan ang gobyerno. What the f*cking sh*t? Why would I kill a lawyer? Napaka-small time ko naman,” Duterte said during the agrarian reform program in Boracay island Thursday night.

“Why would I assassinate him? For what? Whether you have a lawyer or not, you cannot occupy somebody else’s land by force and intimidation. I will not allow it. That’s anarchy,” he said.

Ramos, founding member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), was shot dead by motorcycle-riding assailants in Kabankalan, Negros Occidental last Tuesday. Some lawmakers have condemned the killing of Ramos and decried the alleged worsening culture of impunity under the Duterte administration.

Ramos was one of the lawyers who helped the families of nine farmers killed at a sugar plantation in Sagay, Negros Occidental last month.

The President meantime renewed his warning to communists against forcibly occupying lands and other properties. Duterte said he has authorized law enforcers to shoot the trespassers if they resist violently.

“Kaya ‘pag pumasok kayo, my orders to the police and the military, evict them. Evict them out physically and if they choose to fight, kill them,” he said.

He said the communists cannot just act like “gangsters” by taking over properties and threatening other people.

“Of course, the communists would never conquer us. They cannot overwhelm this government. But certainly, it will not stop trouble,” he said.

He claimed that communist group enticed farmers to illegally occupy the land in an attempt to claim ownership “but in the process killing people and including yung abogado nila.”
upy and threaten — you hostage people,” he said.

“Kaya iyong federation, ‘yung mga farmers doon na original ‘yung mga tenant, may mga amo sila, 50, 100 years ago. Eh ibigay sa kanila because there was this donation. Anak ka ng — nung nalaman ng komunista, sumali rin sila at nakipag — gusto nila ang kanilang land reform,” he said.

“Ke tenant ka o hindi, papasok sila then they will invite others to join the fray But in the process killing people and including ‘yung abogado nila,” he added.

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