Jus­tice for Atty. Ben Ramos

Sun.Star Davao - - OPINION -

The lead­ers and mem­bers of the Na­tional Fed­er­a­tion of Sugar Work­ers (NFSW) in North Ne­gros con­demn the killing of peo­ple’s lawyer, Atty. Ben Ramos. The sugar work­ers of North Ne­gros mourn the pass­ing of a truly de­pend­able friend and com­rade. Amid our be­reave­ment, and de­spite th­ese vi­cious at­tacks against our ranks, the peas­ants of Ne­gros are ever de­ter­mined to con­tinue the strug­gle for so­cial jus­tice.

The rel­a­tives and sur­vivors of the Sa­gay mas­sacre and other Ne­gros peas­ants who have be­come vic­tims of the bru­tal re­pres­sion car­ried out by the lo­cal gov­ern­ment and the US-Duterte regime, have lost a fierce de­fender of their rights. As Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of the Na­tional Union of Peo­ples’s Lawyers (NUPL) in Ne­gros Is­land, Atty. Ramos was a close ally of peas­ants and farm work­ers op­pressed by anti-peo­ple laws, poli­cies and pro­grams.

Farm­ers run to Atty. Ramos to help them face the countless charges fab­ri­cated by land­lords and the state. They could call him any­time when­ever they need to con­sult him on rights cases, le­gal reme­dies, train­ings and le­gal clin­ics, and other con­cerns that re­quire his ex­per­tise. We had Atty. Ramos by our side in our call to im­ple­ment gen­uine land re­form; he was with farm work­ers, peas­ants and the peo­ple long-de­prived of own­ing the land they till.

The death of Atty. Ramos will bring forth more al­lies and de­fend­ers of the peas­ants. His was a pro­found death, a death so heavy, it is deeply grieved by the farm­ers and the peo­ple. Un­like the lives of those who serve only their selfish in­ter­ests, such as those be­hind the fa­tal shoot­ing of Atty. Ramos, the mas­sacre of Sa­gay 9, and the deaths of other peas­ants who be­came vic­tims of ex­tra-ju­di­cial killings (EJK). The lives of the cul­prits are worth­less to the peo­ple; their deaths are light as a feather.

The killing of Atty. Ramos is now in­cluded in the long list of EJKs in the coun­try. The strug­gling masses and their sup­port­ers have be­come easy tar­gets of state agents, their var­i­ous armed groups and hired guns. The per­pe­tra­tors are al­lowed to run free and evade re­spon­si­bil­ity with im­punity.

If this gov­ern­ment can nei­ther re­spond to nor de­fend the in­ter­ests of the peas­ants and the peo­ple, where would those op­pressed by the state it­self run to for help? If this gov­ern­ment can­not dis­pense jus­tice, whom must the peo­ple turn to?

Along with the peo­ple call­ing for jus­tice for the Sa­gay 9 mas­sacre, we also call for jus­tice for Atty. Ben Ramos and all vic­tims of EJK. The peo­ple of Ne­gros shall con­tinue the strug­gle for jus­tice!

Fed­er­a­tion of Agri­cul­tural Work­ers | Philip­pines

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