Only several weeks have passed since the savage massacre of 9 farmworkers in Sagay when one of the lawyers handling the case, Atty. Benjamin Ramos, became the next target and victim of what has become a spate of killings in this country.
ASCENT slams the brutal murder of Atty. Ramos by motorcycle-riding men who shot him four times on the night of November 6, 2018, resulting to his untimely death.
Aside from being a known human rights lawyer and member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Atty. Ramos was also a development worker, having served as the Executive Director of the Paghe-daet sa Kauswagan Development Group (PDG), an NGO based in Negros Occidental that helps peasants and rural communities.
He was also one of the lawyers who promptly lent legal assistance to ASCENT’s Benito Quilloy and Rita Espinoza when the two were illegally arrested on trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms by elements of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) last October 19, 2017 in Kabankalan City, Negros Occidental.
He is undeniably a versatile and highly committed development worker whom you can call anytime, 24/7. His colleagues in the NUPL described him as a passionate, dedicated, and articulate lawyer, and at the same time, an amiable and jolly person. He is indeed a great loss to all of us, especially to the farmers of Negros to whom he devoted his life of service. Only those who are against the interests of the needy and marginalized sectors stand to benefit from his death will order his bloody slaughter.
His brutal and untimely death is reminiscent of the murders of his fellow Executive Directors Willem Geertman of Alay Bayan Luson (ABI) and Emerito Samarca of ALCADEV; and among the many cases of attacks against progressive lawyers, development workers, activists, peasants, workers, church people, and indigenous peoples. He was recently tagged as a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in the island of Negros together with other activists and NGO workers.
Atty. Ramos’ legacy of service to the poor and downtrodden will never be forgotten and will serve as an inspiration to us all.