Malacañang yesterday decried efforts to pin the blame on the administration for the killing of human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos in Negros Occidental earlier this week.
Ramos, secretary-general of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers’ Negros Occidental chapter, was shot dead by motorcycle-riding men on Tuesday night. He, however, was declared dead on arrival upon being taken to the hospital after sustaining three gunshot wounds.
He was serving as the lawyer of the National Federation of Sugar Workers whose several members were gunned down in Sagay town of Negros Occidental last month.
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo, in a statement, said the Palace strongly condemns the “brutal slaying” of Ramos and that “any form of violence, other than legal, has no place in a civilized society.”
“Government authorities are now conducting a speedy and impartial investigation with respect to the incident and pertinent agencies will do all they can to ensure that the perpetrators of this detestable atrocity are brought to justice,” he said.
However, Panelo hit back at critics who pointed to the Duterte administration as the one responsible for the lawyer’s death.
“Putting the blame of the slaying on the government by a group or by a member of Congress not only is reckless, but it is also irresponsible and baseless as well. It will not reduce the sorrow of the bereaved family nor will it bring us closer to the attainment of justice,” Panelo stressed.
“It can only inflame the emotions of those outraged by the senseless death,” he added.
Following Ramos’ death, former Bayan Muna party-list representative and NUPL chairperson Neri Colmenares claimed the President’s tagging of human rights workers as communists resulted in the killing.
Other Left-leaning lawmakers, like Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, also pointed fingers at the Duterte government for the ambush on Ramos.
Panelo, brushed off the allegations and reiterated that President Rodrigo Duterte “will not allow any person or group of persons violate any law and get away with it.” “He will spare no one in his relentless drive against criminality pursuant to the constitutional directive for him to protect and serve the country’s citizenry,” Panelo stressed.