At least two unidentified gunmen fired at Romeo Capalla in front of the Oton public market about 6:30 p.m., said Senior Inspector Jigger Gimeno, Oton police chief.
Capalla was pronounced dead on arrival at the Western Visayas Medical Center in Iloilo City where he was taken.
The victim was former general manager and current chairman of the board of the Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), which helps farmers and women organizations produce and sell natural and organic products for local and international markets.
Gimeno said the gunmen fled on two motorcycles with at least two other persons believed to be lookouts in the direction of the neighboring town of Tigbauan in southern Iloilo.
Police are still determining the identities of the assailants and the motive of the attack.
But the human rights groups Karapatan said the killing of Capalla was the culmination of continued harassment against him by the military.
“First they harassed him by filing trumped up charges. They were unsuccessful, so now they killed him,” said Reylan Vergara, Karapatan-Panay secretary general.
Policemen and soldiers arrested Capalla in August 2005 in Barangay (village) San Antonio in Oton town, 11 kilometers south of Iloilo City.
He was detained for 32 days on various charges for allegedly taking part in an attack by New People’s Army (NPA) rebels on a field office of a construction firm in Guimbal town in Iloilo in 2004.
The Regional Trial Court Branch 67 in Guimbal, Iloilo ordered Capalla’s release on Sept. 5, 2005 for lack of evidence.
In seeking dismissal of the charge against Capalla, his colleagues at the PFTC had pointed out that he had been working with the center since 1994 and the firm’s manager since 2001.
Capalla’s co-accused in the 2005 case, Fernando Baldomero, was also gunned down on July 5, 2010.
Baldomero, then councilor of Lezo town in Aklan and provincial chairman of the partylist group Bayan Muna, was the first political activist killed under the Aquino government. His case remains unsolved
Please pray for the repose of the soul of the victims of this summary execution.
If it were indeed the work of the military...
Lie in the Academy, you get kicked out and brutally punished!
When part of the brass, do whatever you want.
Honor is good on paper.
Oh, and have I told you that this Ampaw president is actually a puppet of the Communists?