The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is once again gravely alarmed by another violent attack against a public official. On 26 February 2023, CHR monitored news reports regarding the killing of San Carlos Barangay Captain Vivencio Palo who was shot dead at around 5:15AM in Lipa, Batangas. CHR, through its regional office in Calabarzon, immediately conducted a Quick Response Operation upon cognisance of this incident.
CCTV footage released online shows Palo standing atop of a pickup truck and unloading items for his store. A car then stopped next to his truck and the still unidentified passenger/s fired multiple shots towards him. The barangay captain was rushed to the hospital, but was declared dead in the emergency room.
CHR notes that this incident is a recent addition to the already distressing series of violence against government officials this 2023. As an independent national human rights institution, we stress that every human being has the right to live without fear of harm or violence. These attacks are not only a violation of fundamental human rights, but also go directly against the principles of justice and morality.
Whether these acts are politically-motivated or not, CHR asserts that this is unacceptable and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms. The value of human life is immeasurable. Thus, we call on local police authorities to investigate this incident with imperativeness and impartiality.
The Commission also calls on government, communities, and individuals to come together in solidarity and denounce any attack on human life. The realisation of a safer and more peaceful society begins with the prioritisation of the sanctity of human life and dignity above all else. Let us work towards dismantling this culture of violence and fear, and put an end to similar tragedies from occurring in the future.