BACOLOD CITY – The top official of the Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID) has expressed full support to the investigation on the slay of Negrense human rights activist Zara Alvarez.
“The 3ID strongly condemns the killing of Zara Alvarez in Bacolod City on August 17. We fully support the ongoing investigation,” said 3ID commander, Maj. Gen. Eric Vinoya, in a statement on Saturday.
Vinoya, who heads the Philippine Army forces in Western and Central Visayas, said they would also welcome any information that would enlighten them about the incident.
“Like other quarters, we seek the truth and we intend to utilize our full capabilities so that justice will be served swiftly,” he said.
Alvarez, 39, was gunned down by an unidentified assailant in Eroreco Subdivision, Barangay Mandalagan on that fateful Monday night.
Earlier, Malacañang condemned the slay of Alvarez and fellow activist Randall Echanis, which happened within just a week, but said that blaming state forces for their deaths is “unfounded”.
“We denounce any form of violence perpetuated against citizens, including activists. We are a nation of laws; and violence has no place in any civilized society,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a statement.
He added that law enforcement authorities are investigating the killings.
As of Sunday, the Bacolod City Police Office (BCPO) Station 3 has yet to reach a breakthrough in the investigation, which pursued angles related to a possible grudge against Alvarez as well as her link to leftist organizations.
“There is no significant update yet,” Col. Ariel Pico, public information officer of BCPO, told the Philippine News Agency.
Echanis, a peasant leader and peace consultant of the National Democratic Front, was found dead in his rented house in Novaliches, Quezon City on August 10. He sustained multiple stab wounds and two gunshots on his head.
Alvarez, a former campaign and education director and paralegal of Karapatan in Negros Island, was shot several times from behind by an assailant on a motorcycle. She died of six gunshot wounds. (PNA)