MANILA - Vice President Leni Robredo expressed concern over the killing of Los Baños, Laguna Mayor Caesar Perez inside the municipal hall compound, saying that these kinds of crimes seem to have become normal nowadays.
In her weekly program "BISErbisyong Leni," Robredo asked why security seemed to have been lax in the municipal hall area.
"Dapat secure na lugar, kasi iyon iyong bahay ng pamahalaan doon. Eh iyong reports, 1 kilometer away iyong police station, so ang tanong ko lang, bakit mangyayari iyong ganito?" she said.
(It should be a secure place, since it is the seat of government. Reports also said the police station is just a kilometer away, but why is this happening?)
She also noted that Perez was not the first government official to suffer the same fate.
"Pero iyong mas nakakatakot diyan, kasi hindi siya first time eh. Nasa loob ng ospital, binabaril. Parang napaka-brazen na. Nasa loob ng korte, nababaril. ‘Di ba? Sino pa ba iyong ligtas? Iyong mayor, ganiyan iyong nangyayari sa kaniya. Parang nano-normalize, nano-normalize iyong patayan," Robredo added.
(But what's scarier is that this is not the first time this happened. Even those inside the hospital are being shot. It's becoming too brazen. Those inside courts, they get shot. Who's safe? The mayor, that's what happened to him. It's like it's getting normalized, killing is being normalized.)
Robredo also questioned why these kinds of crimes happen repeatedly, mentioning the death of former Tanauan City, Batangas Mayor Antonio Halili in a similar incident.
"So iyong tanong ko lang, bakit hinahayaang mangyari? Tapos iyong mga nangyari, may napanagot na ba? May napanagot na ba? Kasi mahirap, mahirap na ganito. Mahirap na ganito, kasi kapag nangyayari iyong ganito na walang napapanagot, kasalanan ng pamahalaan na hindi niya kaya protektahan iyong kaniyang mga mamamayan," she said.
(So my question is, why are we letting this happen? And after all that happened, did anyone get punished? Did anyone get punished? This is difficult, because when things like this happen and no one gets punished, then it is the fault of the government that it cannot protect its citizens.)
"So ako, mas natatakot ako, mas natatakot ako sa impunity as a whole, na parang napakanormal na lang na mabalitaan natin na may mayor na pinatay, may judge na pinatay, may abogadong pinatay, may mediaman na pinatay. Alam mo iyon? Bakit ganoon? Bakit natin hinahayaan na ganoon? Sino ba iyong may responsibility na hanapin iyong perpetrators? Kasi sila iyong accountable diyan. Sila iyong accountable na mayroong mabigyan ng katarungan, para na lang sa katahimikan hindi lang ng pamilya pero iyong mga taong pinaninilbihan ng mga namamatay na ganito," Robredo added.
(Me, I get more scared of impunity as a whole, it now seems normal to hear that a mayor was killed, a judge was killed, a lawyer was killed, a mediaman was killed, you know? But why? Why are we letting it happen? Who are the ones responsible in looking for the perpetrators? Because they are the ones accountable. They are the ones accountable in giving justice, not only for the family of the victims, but also to their constituents.)
Last Thursday, Perez just got back from a spa in Brgy. Baybayin when unidentified gunmen shot him at the back of his head at the town hall building around 8:40 p.m.
The gunmen later fled the scene.
The mayor was rushed to the hospital, where he was declared dead by the attending doctor around 9:25 p.m.
The Department of Justice has ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to conduct a probe and case buildup on the incident.