Renato Penas (Ka Rene)
AFA wishes to thank all of you who sent your generous expressions of sympathy and solidarity for PAKISAMA and the family of our beloved and esteemed farmer-leader, Renato Penas, who was murdered last June 5.
AFA joined the activities of PAKISAMA last June 6-12 in honor of Ka Rene when his body was brought to Metro Manila. Together with many farmers, NGOs, students, and other supporters of the agrarian reform movement in the Philippines, we joined the memorial services, masses, and marches for Ka Rene; as well as solicited financial assistance for the bereaved family. We also printed out and handed over your messages to his wife and children. His body was brought back to Mindanao and buried last June 16.
The search for truth and justice continues. A multi-sectoral body aimed at conducting an independent Fact Finding Mission (FFM) to be able to gather evidence and other information that could help surface the motive behind the killing of Ka Rene Peñas was launched. PAKISAMA welcomes any donation to cover the expenses of this investigation.
Rene Peñas, 51, and two others were riding a motorcycle on their way home when they were fired at by an unidentified assailant using a shotgun, said SPO4 Rey Vasquez, acting police chief of Sumilao town.
Peñas, a barangay (village) councilman in San Vicente, died of a gunshot wound on his left chest, Vasquez said.
His two other companions, Eliezer Peñas and Samson Dollete, also suffered injuries but both were sent home after being treated at the Provincial Hospital in Bukidnon.
"The assailants were on the left side of the road. Peñas tried to crawl but he was again shot," Vasquez told GMANEWS.TV.
Noland Peñas, the victim's eldest child, said the trio were shot when they were driving along the darkest stretch going to his father's farmhouse to drop off Eliezer, a relative and caretaker of the farmhouse.
Noland said that two men allegedly were seen running away after the shooting. He said the police had already conducted crime scene investigation.
When asked of the motive of the killing, Noland told GMANEWS.TV on a mobile telephone interview that his father's death was probably related to a land issue he currently handled.
"My father had recently been consulted by CLOA holder beneficiaries in another land claims here. Perhaps, this is a possible motive of his killing," Noland said without elaborating so as not to hamper the police's investigation.
A CLOA is a certificate of land ownership award given by the Department of Agrarian Reform to farmer-beneficiaries of the government’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Rene Peñas was one of the participants in the 1,770-kilometer “walk for land, walk for justice" of Sumilao farmers in October 2007 to prod the government to award the land long denied them due to the manipulations of a landlord.
He was also one of the pioneers of the Mapalad hunger strike in 1997, and one of the leaders of the community organizers of the 444-kilometer walk of Banassi farmers in Ula, Camarines Sur.
When the CARP Extension with Reform (Carper) bill was passed in the lower house on Wednesday his son Noland said his father was already in Sumilao.
"He came home on May 30 and was so jubilant when the Carper has been passed on Wednesday and quoted his father saying "Nidaug na ta!" (We have won!).
Last March, Peñas was elected as national vice president of peasant organization Pakisama.
Peñas' remains were brought to a funeral home in Impasug-ong town, the wake will be later held in his home in San Vicente in Sumilao town.
Balaod Mindanaw, a non-government organization helping farmers on legal matters, will send a team to investigate the death of Peñas, according to lawyer Noemi Batula, the organization's managing director.
"We condemn the death of Rene. It is so painful to lose a great farmer leader who aggressively push forward the Carper and the other land campaigns which he strongly advocated. We demand justice for his death, we are holding our own investigation to his death," Batula said.
Batula said she was surprised to hear Peñas' death since he was in Manila before he came home on May 30. "I only knew that he was back home when I heard the news that he was shot dead Friday midnight," Batula said.a
Rene left behind his wife Evangeline, 55, Noland, 27, Wopsyjenn, 26, Jerald, 24, Realynme, 16 and his two-week old grandson. - GMANews.TV
Renato Penas, Vice-President of PAKISAMA, was ambushed dead by unidentified gunmen at 11:00 PM yesterday, on the way to his farm in Sumilao, Bukidnon.
He was 51.
His 2 companions are in the hospital nursing gunshot wounds.
It was a high price to pay for selflessly dedicating himself to the agrarian reform movement.
He is one of the most respected, trusted farmer-leaders, and whose creative, dynamic ideas have fired the spirits of many farmers to make the agrarian reform program truly work in the country.
Ka Rene, a recognized leader of the Sumilao farmers and presently Vice-President of PAKISAMA, recently led various campaigns in Congress to help enact CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform with Extension and Reform).
He led to victory the 1,700-kilometer Sumilao and the 444-kilometer Banasi farmers’ marches in 2007-2008.
His last text message about CARPER was “Panalo na tayo!” (We won!).
Ka Rene is the third PAKISAMA leader gunned down in the last 7 months, in what are apparently agrarian-related and politically motivated killings. They were all from Mindanao.
He has attended AFA events before, such as the 3rd General Assembly in Korea in March 2008, and the IFAD final negotiations for the medium term cooperation program in May this year.
Ka Rene is survived by his wife Evangeline (55), and 4 children, Noland (27), Wopsyjenn (26), Jerald (24) and Realynme (16).
Please pray for them and his soul that they may have justice and peace.
We ask you to also pray for our country as well.
Justice for Ka Rene! These brazen, senseless killings must stop!
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