PNP eyes land dispute, NPA’s hand in farmers’ slay in Negros Occidental
The Philippine National Police (PNP) is looking at three angles in the killing of nine sugarcane workers in Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
Police Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Regional Director of the PNP in Western Visayas, said on Monday that the police are investigating whether or not the New People’s Army (NPA), the land owner, or other claimants were behind the shooting.
“We have not identified the perpetrators yet but we are pursuing these three angles,” he said in a press briefing.
Aside from these three angles, Bulalacao said they will also look at the possibility that the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) in the region could be the mastermind of the massacre.
He said members of the CAFGU reportedly had a dispute with the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers (NFSW) a few years ago.
“Maaaring maging fourth angle ‘yun (That could be a fourth angle). We are just gathering pieces of evidence,” he said.
Bulalacao also said that the police are investigating the core group of the NFSW which transported the nine farmers to Hacienda Nene before the shooting. He noted that the slain farmers had only been members of the NFSW two days before the incident.
According to Bulalacao, the core group immediately left the farmers in the area minutes before the shooting incident, even if they are aware that the area is “very critical.”
The core group also previously said that 40 armed men are behind the killing, but other witnesses told investigators that there are only five to seven gunmen, Bulalacao said.
“There are conflicting statements from the core group members kaya ito ay pinag-aaralan namin na maaaring kagagawan din nila at isisi nila sa pamahalaan (that’s why we are also studying if they were behind this and are putting the blame on the government),” he said. /je