June 29, 2009
Activist Doctor Killed in Mindanao
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Epidemiologist Dr. Rogelio Peñera was killed because of his activism, his colleagues insisted on Saturday.
Dr. Jonathan Placido, chair of the Alliance of Health Workers (AHW), said Peñera had rallied people in the sector against issues that threatened their welfare and the delivery of health services to the poor.
Peñera was driving home with his daughter on Wednesday night when he was ambushed near his home in Cabantian village here. He died from multiple bullet wounds in the head and body, while his daughter suffered minor injuries.
Order of battle
Former Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador said Peñera, a council member of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), might have been marked for execution in a supposed military order of battle. The list was made public here in May by Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo.
The military has since denied the existence of an order of battle. Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesperson of its Eastern Mindanao Command, said he could not understand why it was easy for militants to point an accusing finger at the military.
Rx for Peace
Dr. Jean Lindo, a member of the Rx for Peace, said that Peñera, as chair of the AHW in the 1990s, opposed Executive Order No. 3866 mandating the rationalization of the Department of Health.
The slain physician was also an active member of Purga (Health People United for the Removal of Gloria), a group of medical practitioners and health workers calling for the resignation of President Macapagal-Arroyo.
At the time of his death, he was at the helm of the campaign against the latest influenza strain A(H1N1) in southern Mindanao.
Efficient and dedicated
Dr. Leopoldo Vega, head of the Davao Medical Center, described Peñera as an efficient and dedicated co-worker.
Supt. Antonio Rivera, public information officer of the city police, told reporters that investigators still had no idea as to who were behind Peñera’s death and what the motive was for the killing.
“It’s still a blank wall. Unless we can get very substantial information, which could lead us to witnesses and evidence, then the investigation will start moving the way it should. We are still gathering information and evidence,” Rivera said. Jeffrey M. Tupas, Inquirer Mindanao