Bayan Muna chairman and Makabayan senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani condemned the killing of Bayan Muna leader and Escalante City Councilor Bernardino “Toto” Patigas who was murdered Monday afternoon, April 22.

“We condemn in the strongest degree the cowardly and cold-blooded assasination of Bayan Muna leader and Escalante City Councilor Bernardino “Toto” Patigas, who was murdered earlier this afternoon,” they said.

“This is a very dastardly act and justice must be served for Toto and other victims of human rights violations in Negros,” said Colmenares

“It seems that the Negros island has become the new experimental ground of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) and their paramilitary forces in conducting their harassment, mass arrest and murders as well as extra-judicial killings. It is like Mindoro during the time of the Butcher Palparan’s reign of terror,” said the Negrense former solon.

Meanwhile Rep. Zarate said that ‘Councilor Toto Patigas, was long vilified and red-tagged by the military as a communist and terrorist, just came from a campaign sortie when he was waylaid by two (2) gunmen while driving his motorcycle fronting the Escalante National High School at around 4:30 p.m.

Witnesses said he was first hit in the leg and, as he fell, the assasins finished him off with a headshot.

Councilor Toto Patigas, a staunch human rights defender, was a survivor of the infamous September 20, 1985 Escalante massacre, when the government forces opened fire on protesters staging a protest against the Marcos dictatorship. Twenty protesters were killed.

“The senseless and cowardly murder of Councilor Toto Patigas is the latest in the string of brutal assaults against members of Bayan Muna and other progressive groups in the run up to the May 13 elections. His brutal murder happened as state fascism is now running amuck in the Negros Island, including the Canlaon massacre of farmers last March 30,” added the Davao-based solon.

“As we grieve and rage on this untimely death of Kaubang Toto, we vow to persevere in working for a just and humane society for which he dedicated his life. Bayan Muna extends our deepest condolences to his family, constituents, colleagues and friends. We pay our highest tribute and clinched fist salute to Kaubang Toto even as we vow to seek justice for his death and for all the victims of state repression and tyranny,” said Rep.Zarate

“It is very sad and ironic that while he survived the Marcos dictatorship he was killed under another rising dictatorship under Duterte. Toto lived a full life helping the marginalized and the poor and we will honor his life continuing his work and working for justice for him and other victims of human rights violations,” ended Colmenares.###

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