Press Release
May 29, 2006


Sen. Panfilo Lacson condemned Monday the early-morning ambush of former National Democratic Front (NDF) peace panel consultant Sotero Llamas in Bicol, saying the killing was a loss to the fight against graft, crime and poverty.

Lacson, who endorsed Llamas' candidacy for Albay governor in the 2004 elections, said that while Llamas was considered a communist rebel, he also fought against poverty and injustice in the countryside.

"I first heard of Llamas in 1988, when I was in the Constabulary. We came from different arenas as we fought for the same principles, against poverty and injustice in the countryside. Yet in 2004 we fought on the same side, against crime, graft, corruption and poverty," he said.

When Llamas was arrested during an encounter in 1995, Lacson was with the Philippine National Police (PNP).

Lacson also scored the unabated killing spree in past weeks that had claimed the lives of activists, journalists and even innocent civilians whom the government suspects of being critics.

"While I was very vocal in supporting the Anti-Terrorism Bill pending in the Senate, I am now having second thoughts about supporting the same as the political opposition could be the next target of the bill once passed by Congress," he said.

When he ran for governor in 2004, Llamas said Bicol has fallen victim to corruption for the past several years, where roads and bridges are easily damaged and qualified graduates are forced to take menial jobs just to make ends meet.

"I joined Sen. Lacson because he's the only candidate who can address our society's immediate problems. He has the resolve to help our country, to fight graft, corruption, poverty and criminality," he had said.

Initial information showed at least five men on three motorcycles ambushed Llamas in Tabaco, Albay at 8:30 a.m. Llamas succumbed to gunshot wounds in the head and body. The killing took place amid recent killings of activists and journalists critical of government in the countryside, fueling speculations of a government death squad out to silence Malacañang 's critics.

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