John Heredia, Municipal administrator of Pilar town in Capiz province and former broadcast journalist, was gunned down in broad daylight and in front of several eyewitnesses on 2 May 2021 in the provincial capital Roxas City. He was pronounced dead on arrival in a nearby hospital.

Witnesses said the gunmen were riding a motorcycle and wore gray hoodie jackets. Recovered from the crime scene were seven ammunition cartridges, two deformed bullets, and one metal fragment. Despite the witnesses and video cameras in the area, however, security officials have thus far failed to identify the criminals.

John Heredia, 54, was formerly the host and producer of a public affairs program of Alto Cable TV in Capiz province. He was the first and longest-sitting Chairman of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines’ Capiz Chapter (NUJP). His wife, lawyer Criselda Heredia, is a member of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL). She and their daughter survived an assassination attempt in September 2019.

NUPL-Panay condemned the killing of Heredia. “This is a monstrous crime that must be investigated promptly and properly so that the perpetrators can be brought to justice,” the group said. “Under this administration, lives have, indeed, become so cheap as innocent people – activists, farmers, labor leaders, environmental defenders, and lawyers – are being murdered by the score.”

While the number of political killings continue to rise, this week, the untimely death of a political prisoner brings to the fore the injustice they suffer.

Joseph Canlas, peasant leader of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL) and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), and Vice President of opposition Anakpawis Party died of Covid-19 complications while a political prisoner of the Duterte government. He was arrested and detained on 30 March 2021 by the Philippine National Police based on fabricated evidence and trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

“We could only blame the Duterte government for Canlas’ untimely death,” the KMP said. “The state’s brutal fascism killed Canlas who was exposed to COVID while in detention and under the custody of the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology.”

Canlas was rushed to the hospital in the evening of 8 May due to a possible stroke and low oxygen levels. He had earlier complained of not feeling well, but the prison warden dismissed his ailment and did not provide any medical attention. On 10 May, he was already in a coma and died later in the day.

“We will turn our grief into strong indignation and protest this government that kills its people,” the KMP said.