Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
A local activist leader was gunned down at Sta. Maria Street, Eroreco Subdivision in Barangay Mandalagan, at about 7 pm Monday night. Zara Reboton Alvarez, 39, of Cadiz City, an advocacy officer of the Negros Island Health Integrated Program for Community Development and a member of Karapatan, was on her way home to her boarding house in the private subdivision when she was gunned down in cold blood and left to die amid a heavy downpour.
Alvarez was arrested and detained for almost two years for a murder charge but was acquitted on March 4 this year due to lack of evidence. She had also been included among the 656 people the Department of Justice wanted tagged as terrorists in 2018. That list was eventually pared down to 8 people.
With this latest brazen murder, it would seem that streets of Bacolod and Negros Island are no longer safe. Too many people who have been linked to either the drug trade, or as terrorists by virtue of activism have been executed without being given the right to defend themselves in court in recent months and there is no indication from the authorities that the killings will end anytime soon.
Without knowing how many more names are on hit lists or handwritten matrices, anyone is a potential victim. The recent killings are an indication that anyone can be shot dead by death squads who operate outside the bounds of the justice system, using their own rules of evidence, and literally get away with murder.
Our police are seemingly unable or uninterested in apprehending or arresting any of these killers so the only thing innocents can do at this time is hope and pray their names have not been inserted into kill lists or they are not around any of the targets for liquidation once the shooting starts.
Until the killers who seem to be free to do as they please these days and the masterminds behind these increasingly brazen murders of people are brought to justice, it will be difficult people to feel truly safe and protected by our government. We can only hope and pray that the people responsible for restoring this trust are indeed doing everything in their power to ensure that these killings are stopped.*