Sagay massacre witness abducted by lawyer, PNP insists
A lawyer acting as counsel for human rights group Karapatan did try to prevent a 14-year-old boy from testifying in the multiple murder case arising from the killing of nine farmers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Western Visayas, insisted on this on Wednesday after the mother of the minor reportedly denied that his son had been kidnapped by lawyer Katherine Panguban, a member of the National Union of People’s Lawyers.
The minor is considered as the prime witness in the killing of nine members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers, who were also doused with gasoline and burned by their assailants on Oct. 20.
“It is quite surprising for the Karapatan lawyer to be acting contrary to their supposed mandate of providing justice to victims of violence,” Bulalacao told INQUIRER.net in a text message.
“Instead of ensuring the presence of the witness in the Sagay incident, she took custody of the minor against the will of the father in attempt to prevent him from testifying,” he added.
Bulalacao said Panguban’s action “exposes her evil design” to prevent the witness from testifying against the suspects in the massacre.
According to Bulalacao, the Western Visayas Police Regional Office has already filed a case of kidnapping and illegal detention against Panguban at the Sagay City Prosecutor’s Office.
“What is important for us in the PNP is to ensure that justice for the victims in the Sagay killing [will] be delivered,” Bulalacao said, warning that those who would attempt to cause delay of the investigation “shall be made accountable.” /atm
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