Police file multiple murder raps vs nine suspects in Sagay shooting
Police filed on Friday multiple murder charges at the city prosecutor's office against nine suspects in the killing of nine sugarcane workers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last Saturday.
Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, western Visayas police director, said two of the suspects are Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo. They allegedly recruited the victims to the National Federation of Sugar Worker (NFSW).
Bulalacao said the victims were manipulated by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed component, the New People's Army, into illegally occupying a private property as part of its Oplan Bungkalan/Okupasyon program.
“It's an agrarian revolution persuading innocent people by promising them land, not knowing that they become part of a greater force that would generate outrage against the government,” he said.
Manlangit and Arquillo allegedly left the victims before they were killed in an open field in Barangay Bulanon, some 400 meters from the main highway.
Also charged were seven John Does, the unnamed gunmen who shot the victims while resting in a makeshift shelter.
Bulalacao said investigators relied on testimonies of eight witnesses, including a minor who survived the killing.
“Upon examination of the statements of the complainant witnesses, there is only one common ground, that is the recruiters deceived the victims and enticed them to join by promising them a parcel of land
once their cause would succeed,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the NFSW said if the military and police are serious in serving justice to the victims and their families, they should arrest members of the private army which the police stated as the main suspect in the Sagay massacre.
"We are dumbfounded that after stating that the victims were fed to 'private groups protecting the interests of landed individuals in the province,' the PNP plans to file multiple-murder charges against NFSW members and not pursue the private army responsible for this mass murder," said NFSW secretary-general John Milton Lozande in a statement. DMS