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Human rights violation committed in 2018 slaying of La Union solon

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The killing of former La Union Rep. Eufranio “Franny” C. Eriguel and three of his aides in 2018 was a violation of human rights.

This was the findings of the Commission on Human Rights in its resolution dated February 15, 2022 and signed by Regional Director Harold Kub-aron.

The CHR-Regional Office 1 said human rights violation (arbitrary deprivation of life) was committed against Eriguel who was killed in a political rally on May 12, 2018 ahead of the barangay elections.

Eriguel’s death marked the start of well-planned political killings in the province by an assassination squad reportedly composed of police and military scalawags and hired by a political rival targeting incumbent officials allied with La Union Governor Francisco “Pacoy” Ortega lll.

“The circumstances of this case, and the pieces of evidence gathered show that the victim was killed in a treacherous manner.  The unidentified gunmen who suddenly arrived at the venue of the ‘miting de abanse’, went near the victim, Dr. Franny, and then shot him several times,” the CHR said in its resolution.

“We rule that there is substantial evidence to support the finding of a human rights violation, particularly the arbitrary deprivation of the lives of Dr. Franny, his aides and the innocent people who attended the miting de abanse,” the CHR added.

Eriguel sustained eight gunshot wounds on his head, chest, arm and leg inflicted by the hired armed men.  

His death was followed by a string of high-profile political killings in the province, with Sudipen Mayor Alexander Buquing killed along with his security escort in October, and Balaoan Vice Mayor Alfred Concepcion in November. Concepcion’s daughter, Mayor Aleli Concepcion, was also wounded in the same incident.  The killings remain unresolved to this day.

Peace advocates Crusaders for Peace said the killings were not only a violation of Eriguel’s right to life, but also an affront to the political will of the people of La Union. 

CFP said that until today, this violation continues to be committed by people who are out to threaten politicians who are mostly allies of Gov. Ortega, intimidate their supporters and suppress the will of the people.

More than three years after the death of  Eriguel, another assassination plot against his wife, Rep. Sandra Eriguel and two mayors in the province was uncovered. This followed the arrest of several members of the notorious Magpali assassination squad, composed mostly of police and military scalawags, on June 23, 2021.

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