A year later, justice remains elusive for killed activist Jory Porquia

One year after the tragic death of activist Jory Porquia in Iloilo City, justice remains out of grasp for him and his family as the government has yet to act on his killing. 

According to Porquia’s son Lean, the authorities seem to be uninterested in helping them to solve his father’s case. 

“After a year, there’s still no justice. It seems that state forces responsible to conduct investigations are not interested in resolving the case. Kami na nga ang biktima, ang agrabyado, kami pa ang gagapang papunta sa kanila para humingi ng tulong? (We were the victims, the affected, and we're still the ones who will beg them to help us?),” Lean told Rappler in an interview. 

Bayan Muna Iloilo City coordinator Jory Porquia was ambushed inside his own home in Arevalo, Iloilo City on April 30, 2020. His family said he was slain by unidentified gunmen. 

Porquia’s son added the family has done everything it can to get justice for his father’s death – but justice is still delayed a year after. 

Kami ang naghahanap ng paraan para bigyang hustisya ang pagpatay kay Tatay. (We are the ones who find ways to get justice for my father’s killing.) We went to the CHR, we went to the UN, and now we’re going to the DOJ. Our hope is that the case of Tatay will be included in the list of cases that the AO 35 covers,” Lean said, referring to Administrative Order 35. 

AO 35 pertains to the creation of a task force led by the Department of Justice. It was created under the Aquino administration to act on the continuous attacks on progressive individuals, including extrajudicial killings.

The task force was also made to address the allegations that certain groups are "silencing, through violence and intimidation, legitimate dissent and opposition raised by members of the civil society, cause-oriented groups, political movements, people’s and non-government organizations, and by ordinary citizens."

On April 26, Lean submitted a letter to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to appeal that his father’s case be included in the ongoing investigation of the DOJ-led task force under AO 35. 

At present the task force under AO 35 oversees the investigation for the consecutive killings and arrest of activists, including some of the victims of Bloody Sunday.

Lean said that the task force might help them advance the case of his father. He added that the Philippine National Police has yet to give them substantial updates on his father’s case.

Red-tagged before being killed

Lean said that before his father was killed, he was first red-tagged and surveilled. 

“My father was red-tagged and placed under surveillance before he was killed. He is a victim of extrajudicial killing,” Lean said. 

During the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte, the red-tagging against progressives has persisted through the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). The NTF-ELCAC was created under Executive Order 70, which ordered a whole-of-nation approach to solve insurgency.

However, legitimate organizations, activists, and even celebrities became subjected to red-tagging. Some were killed by unknown assailants. 

Human rights activist Zara Alvarez was killed along Sta. Maria Street in Eroreco, Barangay Mandalagan, Bacolod City in August 2020. She was shot in the back by unknown assailants. 

The same year, Anakpawis former chairperson Randall Echanis was killed inside his home in Quezon City. 72-year-old Echanis was also the deputy secretary general of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas. – Rappler.com