Ilocos Norte Association of Barangay Councils (ABC) President Pedro Rex Aguinaldo has condemned the series of killings in the province recently victimizing his fellow barangay chairmen.
Aguinaldo, who also sits as an ex-officio member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, said in an interview that the killing of Virgillo Tumamao, chair of Barangay 17 Samac, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte, and Renato Balisacan, chair of Barangay 6 Parot, Vintar, Ilocos Norte are senseless killings and that the perpetrators of the crime should be brought to the bar of justice.
Based on initial police investigations, the murders were believed to be work-related citing the fact that a barangay chair often mediates and solves problems in his area of responsibility.
“Definitely, the Liga ng mga Barangay-provincial chapter condemns the killings of our colleagues. We believe these were all work-related,” Aguinaldo said.
With this development, Aguinaldo related that their group is set to pass a manifesto addressed to the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) requesting security for barangay chairs in high-risk areas to prevent any more killings.
If a barangay chair is proven to be exposed to immediate danger, Aguinaldo said the ABC would favor the granting of service firearms to them for security.
“We can’t please everyone. In line of duty, there are times that in resolving conflict in the local barangay, it is more often that disgruntled influential and powerful individuals in the area will get back at you when given an opportunity,” Aguinaldo said as he cited several instances where a barangay chair is often exposed to several threats.
Aguinaldo explained further that in a rural community, the barangay chief functions as local chief executive, legislator and judge; hence it cannot be avoided that personal grudges on part of aggrieved parties will make its move once an issue has thought to have subsided.
Leilanie G. Adriano