Karapatan condemns brutal killing of Bayan Muna – Iloilo City coordinator

Human rights watchdog Karapatan strongly condemned the assassination of Bayan Muna – Iloilo City coordinator Jose Reynaldo “Jory” Porquia at 5 a.m. earlier today, April 30, in his coffee shop at Brgy. Sto. Niño, Arevalo District, Iloilo City by four masked men suspected to be State agents. Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said that “it is simply wretched that this campaign of State terror and violence continues even in the middle of a global pandemic.”

“Jory and Bayan Muna were leading relief initiatives and education campaigns on the COVID-19 pandemic in the poor communities of Iloilo City gravely affected by the crisis and it is deplorable that, amid this pandemic, the bloodthirsty mercenaries of the fascist State are relentlessly harassing, threatening, and killing activists conducting humanitarian work,” Palabay continued.

A week before the incident, Porquia and Bayan Muna were harassed and blocked by elements of the Iloilo City police and their relief operations were vilified with lies that the food being distributed were supposedly contaminated. Witnesses to the crime scene of Porquia’s murder reported hearing several gunshots and seeing unidentified masked men.

Since December 2018, Porquia’s picture, together with the pictures of other activists and lawyers in Panay, were plastered and viciously red-tagged in fliers in what the Karapatan official could only describe as a “hitlist.”

“Jory spent years of his life in the struggle for people’s rights since the dark days of the fascist Marcos dictatorship and his brutal murder under another fascist regime is a tremendous loss for all of us. However, if they think these killings will make the people cower into silence, they are gravely mistaken. As we grieve with his family and comrades, we are also undaunted in raising our voices in demanding justice for Jory and hold accountable the perpetrators of this wicked act of violent injustice,” she ended.