Cops not behind EJKs in Northern Mindanao – official
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The regional police office here has denied involvement in alleged spate of extrajudicial killings in Northern Mindanao.
This after bodies of three men were found dumped in a village in Bukidnon on Tuesday afternoon.
“There is no state-sanctioned killing. The PNP does not condone vigilante-type killing and strongly condemn it,” said Supt. Surki Sereñas, spokesperson of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 10, on Wednesday.
Police identified the victims as Vincent Viemer, 24; Clifford Abales, 21; and Don Remar Andales, 22, all residents of Barangay Tambobong, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.
Their bodies were discovered in Sitio Bagong Silang, Barangay Sta. Ines, Malitbog town in Bukidnon province.
The victims were alleged members of criminal groups operating in Tagoloan and Villanueva, and tagged in a number of crimes, said Chief Insp. Allan Oniana, head of the Tagoloan police.
Based on their investigation, Oniana said the victims belonged to the Spiderman Gang and Batang Mindanao (BM) 29 group and had previous police records in Tagoloan and Villanueva towns.
Oniana confirmed three men were invited by the Tagoloan police to determine if they were involved in a snatching incident last Sunday, November 4.
“They were brought to our office for identification, but the complainant cleared them. We let them go,” Oniana said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
The victims’ families alleged that the three men failed to come home after being invited for questioning by the Tagoloan police. They further alleged that some members of the Tagoloan municipal police station were the ones behind the three men’s death.
The police chief, however, denied some of his officers were behind the killing of the three men.
“These are pure allegations. There is no truth to this and there is no evidence to back this allegation,” Oniana said.
Sereñas, meanwhile, said the accusations against the police officers “are serious allegations which remain to be proven in the court of law.”
“But we assure the relatives of the victims that the PNP will remain impartial and fair. If there is evidence that would merit the filing of case against any of our personnel, we will not get in the way. It is also our desire to give justice to the victim,” Sereñas said.
Sereñas then called on the victims’ relatives to cooperate with state investigators and prosecutors.
“We offer our assistance to them and assure them of our sincere desire to give justice to the [victims]. We just have to approach the issue in proper forums,” he said.
Oniana said his office would be open to any investigation by the provincial and regional police offices and other agencies.
He said they had already identified a few personalities who might be responsible for the death of the three men, but quickly noted that investigation on the case is still ongoing.
Sr. Insp. Hubert Tirol, chief of the Malitbog police, said the bodies of the three men bore several gunshot wounds in the forehead, back, and chest.
The PNP regional crime laboratory has yet to issue the findings of its autopsy as of this writing, although Dr. Christian Caballes, medico-legal officer of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (Soco), said the bodies were already in a state of decomposition when found.
Tirol said they were coordinating with the Misamis Oriental provincial police and the Tagoloan municipal police to solve the killings. He said this was the second time that bodies were dumped in Malitbog, after the body of a certain Ryan Rolida was found there in October.
Tirol said he did not want the town to serve as dumping ground of victims of executions from neighboring areas. /kga
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