AFP says Sagay killings part of NPA plot to oust Duterte
The killings of nine farm workers in Sagay, Negros Occidental over the weekend were part of a plot of the New People’s Army to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, the military said Wednesday.
In a press briefing, Armed Forces chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. said the workers were recruited and allegedly deceived by the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), a front organization of the communist rebels.
Galvez claimed the workers paid the NFSW an amount of P500 for one hectare of land, less than two days before the incident.
The nine farmers were killed on Saturday night, after a small group of gunmen fired at them while they were eating dinner at their tents at Hacienda Nene in Brgy. Bulanon.
Based on accounts given by residents and authorities in the area, Galvez said the victims were neither workers nor claimants of the land and were recruited by the NFSW only in the morning on the day of the incident.
The Department of Agrarian Reform said the victims were also not entitled beneficiaries.
“They were brought there by their recruiters from the NFSW who left just before the shooting happened,” the AFP chief said.
“In all aspects, if you encamp at others’ land, you are inviting trouble. I have been working with land disputes for most of my career….If you step on others’ land without permission, this means war or trouble,” he said.
An investigation is ongoing to determine the suspects behind the shooting. Authorities are looking at the involvement of other claimants, the landowners’ private army, and the communist rebels.
Part of ‘Red October’
Galvez added that the incident was part of their feared scenario from the “Red October” plot by communist rebels to remove the President from office.
Military officials earlier said the plot has lost steam, but said it remained a rolling plan of the communist rebels to destabilize the government.
“As we have been stressing in the past weeks, the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) has been hatching plans to oust the Duterte administration and this incident is part of their plan to rouse civil unrest and discredit the government,” Galvez said.
He explained that this was part of “Oplan Bungkalan,” a campaign by the communists to take advantage of farmers’ causes for agrarian reform and use them as bait.
“By manipulating, deceiving and exploiting the needs of these farmers, the NSFW has put the lives of these farmers in grave danger by pitting them against the landowner and other claimants in the area, with the ends of jumpstarting an orchestrated nationwide protest by leftist groups,” he said.
The AFP chief said it was also incredible that there were protests less than a day after the incident.
“Wala pang isang araw after ng nangyari, nakita natin na nagkaroon ng rally sa DAR [Department of Agriculture], sa Davao, Surigao, Baguio, yung mga progresibong grupo. Parang masyadong napakabilis ng orchestration,” he said.
“Halatang it’s a sinister plot. There is orchestration somewhere. Nakikita namin may nagkukumpas, nakalatag na,” he added. /muf
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