Farmer shot dead over land dispute

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A 63-year-old farmer did not survive a gun attack evening of April 2, 2023 in San Rafael, Iloilo.

Ireneo Compleza was driving his motorcycle from the town proper to Barangay San Andres when the incident happened.

As he was passing through Poblacion, San Rafael, another biker tailed Compleza and shot the latter.

Compleza was hit on the right side of his face with the bullet exiting his neck.

Lieutenant Gener Buena, San Rafael police chief, said responding police took the victim to Governor Niel D. Tupas Sr. District Hospital in Barotac Viejo town where he was declared dead.

The suspect immediately fled after the incident.

But at 2 p.m. on April 3, police arrested a 56-year-old man in relation to the shooting.

Buena said they would temporarily withhold the suspect’s identity pending some booking procedures.

Two witnesses pointed to the arrested person as the gunman.

Based on initial investigation, Buena said they’re inclined to believe that land dispute could be the motive for the killing.

Compleza allegedly made enemies as he acted as caretaker of a vast land in San Rafael.

The conflict stemmed from a portion of a 112-hectare property, which will be placed under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).

While the land has yet to be formally turned over to CARP beneficiaries, tenants were allegedly made to pay rent.

Buena said this allegedly sparked conflict between the victim and some would-be beneficiaries.