EDITORIAL - Murder in Malabon
(The Philippine Star) - January 24, 2016 - 9:00am

With the elections approaching, checkpoints have been set up, many targeting motorcycles with two riders. This did not stop two men on a motorcycle from opening fire at Malabon 2nd District Councilor Merlin Mañalac before 4 p.m. the other day as he stood near his house in Barangay Tenejeros. Mañalac was pronounced dead at the MCU Hospital in Caloocan City.

The gunmen, who reportedly had two lookouts, scattered leaflets declaring that they belonged to a communist group and that the killing was in retaliation for the “murder” of a member of the New People’s Army in 2010. But police investigators believe politics was behind Mañalac’s murder.

Violence has hounded the Mañalac family since the days when the councilor’s father Alfonso “Boyong” Mañalac was a police officer battling criminals in Malabon. Merlin, who had reportedly received death threats for several months, was the third son of the police officer to be slain.

The attack highlights the impunity by which murder is committed in this country, with the level of violence rising during election season. The impunity arises from the failure to bring murderers to justice, whether they are the masterminds or merely guns for hire.

If the Malabon police does not believe the communists’ hand in Mañalac’s killing, the best way to disprove the murderers’ claim is to catch them. Every unsolved murder invites more killing. The nation has seen this, over and over, in the deadly attacks on journalists, judges, environmental advocates and left-wing activists.

Mañalac’s death could trigger more violence in Malabon, threatening the integrity of the upcoming elections in the city. Similar situations now exist in several areas around the country, with political rivalries settled through murder. Authorities must prevent the violence from escalating and must stop the use of murder as the ultimate political tool.

ACIRC ALAC ATILDE BARANGAY TENEJEROS BOYONG CALOOCAN CITY DISTRICT COUNCILOR MERLIN MA IF THE MALABON MALABON NEW PEOPLE PLUSMN
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