DOJ urged to speed up resolution of botanist Leonard Co’s slaying

By , on November 19, 2014

Botanist Leonard Legaspi Co was once regarded as the "foremost authority in ethnobotany in the Philippines." (Facebook photo)
Slain botanist Leonard Legaspi Co was once regarded as the “foremost authority in ethnobotany in the Philippines.” (Facebook photo)

MANILA — The family, friends and supporters of slain botanist Leonard Co on Wednesday held a dialogue with officials of the Department of Justice (DOJ) asking for the immediate resolution of Co’s killing.

Simultaneous with the dialogue, Kalikasan People’s Network for the Environment (KPNE), together with Agham Advocates of Science and Technology for the People, held a picket in front of the DOJ in support of Co’s family and the call for justice for Co and his two co-workers.

Co, forest ranger Sofronio Cortez and peasant guide Julius Boromeo were allegedly killed by members of 19th Infantry Battalion under the 802nd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army on Nov. 16, 2010 in Kananga, Leyte.

Co and his companions were conducting a biodiversity assessment for the reforestation project of the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) when the military allegedly fired indiscriminately on the three.

The Supreme Court (SC) earlier denied the request of Co’s family’s legal counsel to move the venue of the case from Kananga, Leyte to Metro Manila, to ease the burden and expenses of the aggrieved family and expedite the hearing of the case.

Meanwhile, a resolution issued by the DOJ investigating panel on Dec. 20, 2012 said that it only found probable cause to charge the military respondents with reckless imprudence resulting in multiple homicide and attempted homicide.

Co’s family has filed a petition for review asking DOJ to file murder charges instead.