Killing of Ka Nognog

I do not know Sotero Llamas, after all he was from Luzon. But having gone underground in the late ’70s and ’80s, I find it rather unfortunate that he would be shot in cold blood, presumably by armed men identified with the government. Llamas, or Ka Nognog, was killed in Albay last May 29.

Llamas was among the top communist leaders who chose to go above-ground after their arrest. He was captured in 1995, became consultant of the peace talks, helped form the party list group Bayan Muna then run for governor under a faction of the Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino but lost.

That he would die above-ground is the tragedy there. He is one of the almost a hundred militant leaders killed since Gloria Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001. What this means is that the democratic space widened by the 1986 Edsa people power uprising is fast closing and that the country is well on its way again to fascist rule—albeit a hidden one.

The political killings are worrisome because these are being paralleled by the shooting to death of journalists and, in Cebu, the vigilante-style killings of suspected criminals. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel said it well: the danger is when summary executions become rampant and, worse, becomes part of state policy.

The regime of then dictator Ferdinand Marcos was described as the Years of Living Dangerously. It looks like we are moving in that direction, not only with the killings but also with the recent warrantless arrests. I just hope the situation won’t worsen, though.

–May 30, 2006

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