Call for justice for botanist Leonard Co resound at the DOJ four years since his murder

Colleagues, friends and family of slain botanist Leonard Co trooped to the Department of Justice to call for the urgent resolution of his case and to hold accountable the state military forces responsible for his murder.

It has been four years since November 15, 2010, the day when the country’s foremost botanist Leonard Co and his team were indiscriminately fired upon by members of the 19th Infantry Battalion under the 802nd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Upper Mahiao, Lim-ao, Kananga while they were conducting biodiversity research for the Energy Development Corporation (EDC). Co and two of his companions, forester Julius Borromeo and farmer Sofronio Cortez, were killed.

Liham ng Pamilya Custodio sa Justice for Leonard Co Movement

19 Nobyembre 2014

Sa mga kapamilya at kasama ni Leonard Co, Sofronio Cortez, at Julius Borromeo:

Kami po ay nakikiisa sa inyong araw ng pagkilos upang patuloy na ipanawagan ang hustisya para sa Kananga 3. Apat na taon mula noong walang habas na inaulanan ng bala at pinatay ng 19th Infantry Battallion sa ilalim ng 802nd Infantry Brigade ng Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) sila Leonard Co kasama ang mga forest guide niya noong ika-15 ng Nobyembre, 2010. Apat na taon na, wala pa ring hustisya, pero patuloy pa rin ang inyong paghahanap nito. Saludo kami sa inyo!

Nalaman ko lang kung sino si Ginoong Co noong nabalita ang pagpatay sa kanya. Nagulat nga ako na mayroon palang tanyag na siyentista na tumutulong pangalagaan ang aming kalikasan dito sa Leyte.

Emergency powers turns the power crisis to an environmental one

Last Tuesday, the House Committee on Energy headed by Rep. Rey Umali lost its backbone and gave way to the wishes of the Executive to grant President Aquino emergency powers. House Joint Resolution 21 was passed with one negative vote to supposedly address a lack of power in 2015.

The decision was surprising since it appears that Sec. Jericho Petilla failed to present a convincing argument to support his doomsday scenario that there will be a massive shortage in power next year. The committee correctly removed Petilla's request for 6-12 billion pesos to rent or to buy modular generating sets from the resolution.

POWER or the People Opposed to unWarranted Electricity Rates presented a position paper at the hearing prior to the approval of the majority. Former congressman Teddy Casino of POWER told the committee that the said request of Petilla “unecessary, expensive and dangerous for consumers and taxpayers”.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.

Four years too long

One friend of his recounted him writing in Filipino, “If ever something bad happen to me in line of duty (as a botanist), please organize a symposium with a suggested title ‘A People’s Botatnist is Murdered.’ I’m sure it will be well-attended by pine trees, grasses and weeds.”

The botanist who wrote that was Leonard Co, and the friend who recounted it was artist Lingling Maranan-Claver in her blogsite for a tribute to the beloved Co who was indeed murdered in line of duty four years ago.

On November 15, 2010 in Upper Mahiao, Lim-ao, Kananga, Leyte, renowned botanist Leonard Co was conducting a biodiversity research for the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) when elements of the 19th Infantry Battalion under the 802nd Infantry Brigade of the Armed Forces Philippines fired upon the research team of five persons killing Co and two of his companions, forester Julius Borromeo and and farmer Sofronio Cortez.

Meggie Nolasco

Manufactured crisis?

At the hearing of the House Committee on Energy Committee last Monday, Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Director Irma Exconde presented the updated Luzon Supply-Demand Outlook and revealed that the supposed shortage in power supply in 2015 is but a thinning of reserves in April instead of the scenario earlier painted by DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla.

The hearing was held to discuss the joint resolution granting President Aquino emergency powers to address the supposed looming power shortage in Luzon in 2015. The granting of emergency powers was being insisted on by Petilla shortly before the State of the Nation Address of the President this year.

Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.
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