Philippines: Union leader shot dead - demand justice and an end to impunity now
Antonio "Dodong" Petalcorin, the leader of the Network of Transport Organizations (NETO-APL-ITUC), was shot dead on 2 July 2013 right in front of his home. The gunman was caught on a CCTV camera calmly escaping in a motorcycle.
The union suspects Benjamin Go, the regional director of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Regional Office in Davao City was behind the killing.
Dodong was part of a group of transport leaders who exposed the alleged corrupt practices of the director and launched a campaign to oust him in October 2012. Dodong's colleagues believe that his murder might be a part of a series of attempts to silence those unmasking corruption in the LTFRB office, which primarily victimizes small-time public transport drivers and operators. They gave as an example what happened to Emilio Rivera, former chair of an independent transport workers' group, the Matina Aplaya Transport Cooperative (MATRANSCO), who was shot dead; as well as that of Carlos Cirilo, who narrowly survived when a grenade was lobbed inside his home but fortunately failed to explode. Dodong, Emilio and Cirilo have one thing in common – they were co-complainants in a corruption case filed against Benjamin Go.
We are calling on the President of the Philippines to do his utmost to stop the murders of trade union and human rights activists, and to bring the killers to justice. We also call upon the President to address the issues that Dodong and his colleagues have raised and fought for - the alleged corruption at the LTFRB office in Davao City. This will ensure that they did not die in vain.