URGENT ALERT: Karapatan condemns the extrajudicial killing of Escalante City councilor and human rights worker Bernardino “Toto” Patigas, 72, today, April 22, 2019. He is the 48th Karapatan worker killed in the course of his human rights advocacy.
Tay Toto, as he is fondly called, was a human rights worker of the North Negros Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, a member organization of Karapatan-Negros chapter. He was also running for reelection as Sangguniang Panglungsod member.
At around 4:30pm today, Patigas was on his way home after campaigning with other fellow candidates. As he was driving his motorcycle along the highway to Brgy. Washington, Escalante City, Negros Occidental, he was shot twice in his leg and forehead.
Tay Toto was a survivor of the Escalante massacre of 20 farmers and farmworkers on September 20, 1985. He continued to support human rights advocacies especially the cause of the sakadas of Negros and joined fact finding missions in Negros after the dictator Marcos was ousted.
He received threats and harassment due to his human rights work. In 2017, trumped up complaints were filed against Patigas but these were dismissed due to lack of probable cause. In April 2018, Patigas’s name and picture, together with that of slain human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos and 60 other individuals and rights advocates, were included in a poster of alleged communist personalities.
As we condole with the family and friends of Tay Toto, as we cry with the loss of a good man and a diligent human rights worker, we pay tribute to his valuable contribution to the overall human rights advocacy in the Philippines. We vow to pursue the struggle for justice and realization of people’s rights amidst tyrants and fascists pervading the country.
Justice for Toto Patigas!
Justice for all victims of human rights violations!
For reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +639173162831
Roneo Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, +639997721233
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