CHR starts probe into killing of 14 farmers in Negros Oriental
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is now investigating the case of the 14 farmers killed during police operations in Negros Oriental on Saturday.
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said on Sunday that the rate of death count in the country continued to alarm the commission.
“At this point, our interest is finding out the truth behind a police operation, which authorities claim to be meant to serve warrants of arrest, but resulted to 14 deaths of farmers and a cop said to be injured,” de Guia said in a statement. “The regional sub-office of CHR-Region VII has already been instructed to investigate this case.”
The operations — conducted by members of the Philippine National Police and the Army — aimed to ferret out illegal firearms held by suspected communist rebels.
Apart from the 14 individuals killed and the injured police officer, 15 other people who were the subjects of search warrants were also arrested.
De Guia also said that, despite reports that the 14 persons who were killed fought back against the authorities, their cases would still need to be taken to court for proper disposition.
“Even claims of resisting arrest to justify fatalities need to be tried before courts to ensure that there are no lapses and ascertain if the circumstances really warrant the offense from the police, resulting in the curtailment of life,” De Guia said.
Bayan Muna had already threatened to sue the police officers and soldiers involved in what it called a “massacre.” /atm