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Lone assassin kills rights defender in residential area after Oratio Imperata, activists enraged, in shock

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – A lone killer gunned down tonight, only minutes after the Oratio Imperata prayer, a former political detainee and human rights defender who had long been tagged by State security forces as a ranking Communist cadre.

“I saw a few sticks of barbecued pork, a bottle of alcohol and a mobile phone scattered near her body,” village councilman Hernani Castor told DNX.

The village official was the first to arrive at the scene only minutes after he heard five gunshots ring across the middle-class residential area that saw its first violent killing in recent years. (READ: Woman shot dead in residential village)

Activist leader Diego Malacad said he had confirmed that it was Alvarez through confirmation from Clarissa Singson of the activist alliance Karapatan.

“I am shocked,” Malacad said as he confirmed that Alvarez had requested something from him through text only an hour before she was killed.

Malacad is a leader of a drivers group allied with Karapatan.

“She is now in the morgue and they saw her and identified her positively,” Malacad told DNX.

“The people are angry, we also are,” Juluis Dagatan, spokesperson of activist alliance, Bayan, said in a DNX interview.

Zara Alvarez. | Photo from Zara Alvarez FB account.
Zara Alvarez. | Photo from Zara Alvarez FB account.

The police blotter, however, from Police Station 3 chief, Capt. Richard Fajarito identified the victim as Sarah Rebuton, 30, of Cadiz City.

“Her boardmates told us that was her identity based on the identification cards she has and the name she gave them,” Fajarito told DNX.

The victim was shot at Sta. Maria Street and was found sprawled in the middle of the road dressed in black pants and a black jacket.

The reported time of incident: 6:40pm.

LONE GUNMAN

Castor said he even saw from afar the possible killer, a burly man who rode on a motorcycle parked on Sta. Catalina, the street before Sta. Maria facing south.

Alvarez was one of those charged for the death of an Army lieutenant in Cadiz City where she lives and was detained for several months in the district jail in the city.

Military officials have repeatedly claimed that she is a ranking cadre of the underground Communist Party, a claim Alvarez had also repeatedly denied

She left behind a daughter.

Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.

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