Salute to our defenders of justice

By: Atty. Gloria Estenzo Ramos November 25,2018 - 08:43 PM


Danny Tejamo was the chairperson of Bugsay Mangingisda, an organization of fisherfolk opposed to the illegal encroachment by commercial fishers in the municipal waters, which is also part of Tañon Strait Protected Seascape. He was active in the series of discussions among Tañon Strait artisanal fisheries to form a federation. He did not live to see his dream of Tañon Strait Fisherfolk Federation to be a reality. On October 6, he was mercilessly gunned down in La Libertad, Negros Oriental, while with his wife. He was shot at close range.

On the same day, Jaime de los Santos, another fisherfolk leader, chairperson of Pamalakaya-Guihulngan Chapter, suffered the same unjust fate in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental, and died.

On November 6, Ben Ramos, a lawyer pro bono for the marginalized farmers, environmental advocates, and other sectors, was executed by unidentified murderers in Negros Occidental. He was a founding member of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), who defended to his last breath the vulnerable human rights victims. According to NUPL, Ben was the 34th lawyer killed under the present administration.
On November 20, a compassionate “Doctor to the Barrios” who would shell out personal money (or borrow) to pay for the medicine of his patients, Dr. Avelex Amor, was assassinated also in Guihulngan, Negros Oriental.

We were privileged to meet him and his parents, Boots and Alex Amor and sister, Apol, when we were fighting against the 2007 offshore drilling in Tañon Strait, through our dear friend and cetacean expert, Dr. Lem Aragones.

According to the UP Medicine Student Council’s post on Facebook, “Dr. Amor is the fourth physician to have died in this administration with Dr. Dreyfuss Perlas, a physician under the Doctor to the Barrios Program of the DOH, Dr. Shahid Sinolinding, an ophthalmologist, and Dr. George Repique, provincial health officer of Cavite and an alumnus of the UP College of Medicine. Up until now, justice for the former 3 doctors has not been served.”

Non-government organizations and institutions and the party list members in Congress have assailed the killings of the fisherfolk leaders, with the latter filing a resolution with the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the death of Tejamo and de Los Santos.

The NUPL and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines are among the many who strongly condemned the killing of Ramos.
Alex Amor, spoke of his son’s death, “Despite the threats, he chose to serve and die for the people. It was a worthy death.”

All four had one thing in common – their steadfast and unquestionable love for our underserved – who are almost always the victims of injustice. They cast away the threats they received, choosing to focus on their work championing the poor and the marginalized.

Let us move our local and national authorities into action so that justice be given to them and their families.

We salute our courageous and committed defenders and their families!

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