Leonard Co

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.

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.

Author: 
Meggie Nolasco

One year too long

WE mark today one year since our top beloved botanist Leonard Co and his companions, forest guard Sofronio Cortez and farmer guide Julius Borromeo, were shot dead by members of the 19th Infantry Battalion (IB) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in Kananga, Leyte province.

Author: 
GIOVANNI TAPANG, Ph.D

Remembering our environmental heroes

[This column is contributed by Marjorie Pamintuan of Agham Youth.]

Environmentalism is perhaps a glamorous advocacy that one could think of with its cycling, rock-climbing, and lifestyle fanfare. Yet this glamorous green image gets tainted red with blood as one remembers that environmental advocates have come under attack in the past few years because their grassroots work grates against big corporate interests.

Author: 
Ms. Marjorie Pamintuan

Environmental advocates commemorate All Souls Day with the call for Justice for Leonard Co, Julius Borromeo and Sofronio Cortez!

PRESS STATEMENT
October 30, 2011

Environmental advocates commemorate All Souls Day with the call for Justice for Leonard Co, Julius Borromeo and Sofronio Cortez!

End impunity now! Justice for Leonard Co, Julius Borromeo and Sofronio Cortez!

Letterto the Editor
October 30, 2011

It has been a year since Leonard Co, Julius Borromeo and Sofronio Cortez were blatantly killed by elements of the Philippine Army. Up until now, not a single warrant of arrest or inquest has happened. It is very heartbreaking for those who loved and valued Leonard Co. This culture of impunity which has been haunting our country claimed the life of a national treasure. Leonard was a renowned taxonomist. He dedicated his life to science in service of our nation. Instead of giving him proper awards and citations, he got bullets from whom we call “defenders of peace”.

Scientists group condemns DoJ whitewash of botanist death

A whitewash-- this is how the scientist group AGHAM-Advocates of Science and Technology for the People called the findings of the Department of Justice fact-finding panel that cleared the military of any wrongdoing on the death of Leonard Co, forest guard Sofronio Cortez and farmer Julius Borromeo last November 15 in Kananga, Leyte.

Fact finding mission for Leonard Co (2)

Conclusion

Last Monday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) withdrew its charges against the “Morong 43.” The 43 health workers were arrested in Morong, Rizal last February 6, 2010 and were detained for more than 10 months. Their eventual release (if the court approves it) puts in the forefront the case of Leonard Co and his companions as a human rights issue that squarely falls under the watch of the current administration.
We hope that this case is resolved in the end with a similar favorable outcome as the “Morong 43’s” case.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Fact-finding mission for Leonard Co (1)

Leonardo Co, renowned Filipino conservationist and botanist, along with forester Sofronio Cortez and farmer Julius Borromeo, was killed on November 15, 2010, allegedly by troops of the Philippine Army, while conducting research on tree biodiversity in the Manawan-Kananga Watershed in Leyte. On the day of his death, Co and four of his companions were pursuing research work for the Energy Development Corporation: surveying and collecting specimen seedlings of endangered trees for replanting.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang

Leonard Co: Naming the plants, planting the seeds

I would have written about the Lotto for this week’s column had not a text from a friend told me that leading botanist Leonard C. Co was reportedly killed in a supposed crossfire between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Leyte. They were doing research work for the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) in Upper Mahiao, Lim-ao, Kananga, in Leyte province with a security clearance when an Army patrol that responded to NPA sightings in the area chanced upon them.
Two other members of the EDC research team were reportedly killed together while two others survived.

Author: 
Dr. Giovanni Tapang, Ph.D.
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