14 people killed in Negros Oriental resisted arrest ? PNP spokesman
The Philippine National Police (PNP) defended on Sunday the simultaneous police operations, which reportedly resulted in the death of 14 farmers in Negros Oriental.
Police spokesman Colonel Bernard Banac, in an interview over dwIZ, said that they were sure that those who died resisted while being served with warrants of arrest.
"We're definite that there was resistance because our PNP would not use the necessary force if there's no threat to the lives of the police officers," he said.
"So all of these happened with presumption of regularity and we're sure that there was resistance from the suspects," Banac added.
Human rights group Karapatan, in a statement, said that separate incidents of killings of at least 14 peasants simultaneously occurred in Canlaon City, Sta. Catalina and Manjuyod towns in Negros Oriental on March 30.
Cops allegedly killed eight residents in Canlaon City, while at least two peasant leaders in Sta. Catalina town, the group said.
It said that four others were also slain in Manjuyod, while the group was still verifying reports on at least 12 arrested local peasant leaders in the same town.
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay attributed the series of killings to the continuing militarization of communities, as well as the Synchronized Enhanced Managing of Police Operations (SEMPO) or Oplan Sauron of the PNP in the region, implemented alongside the government’s counterinsurgency program. among other repressive policies.
She also cited the Memorandum Order No. 32, series of 2018, which placed Eastern Visayas, Negros, and Bicol under a state of emergency.
“This is unconscionable. We strongly demand an immediate and independent investigation on the incident, the pull-out of military troops in said communities, and an end to the implementation SEMPO. The Negros region has been a consistent target of escalating police and military operations, which have had severe and catastrophic consequences for the communities in the area," she said.
"Fourteen killings in a day is the handiwork of vicious butchers and men-in-uniform intoxicated by power, thinking they can just do whatever they like without consequences. As we condole with the families of all those killed, we join our voices in the call for justice and accountability for these heinous crimes perpetrated by the government,” Palabay said.
Contrary to the allegation by Karapatan that law enforcers were abusing their power, Banac said the government forces were just pursuing suspected wanted criminals.
Those killed were allegedly hiding contraband, such as firearms, he said.
He added that the policemen were just effecting the search warrants issued by the Court. Celerina Monte/DMS