PNP: No massacre in Negros Oriental operations
MANILA, Philippines — The series of police operations that resulted in the death of 14 individuals in Negros Oriental was not a massacre, Philippine National Police (PNP) chief General Oscar Albayalde said on Monday.
“Hindi totoo na ito ay masaker. Ito ay nangyari sa mga iba’t ibang lugar, hindi i-isang lugar ito na 14 na katao [ang namatay] and remember there were also 12 people who were arrested. So meron pong hindi nanlaban at na-aresto,” Albayalde said in a press briefing at Camp Crame.
(It is not true that it was a massacre. This happened in different places, not just in one place, where 14 people were killed. And remember there were also 12 people who were arrested. So there are some who did not resist the authorities and were arrested.)
Some human rights groups earlier tagged as a massacre the operations against loose firearms on Saturday (March 30) that led to the death of eight persons in Canlaon City, four in the municipality of Manjuyod, and two in Santa Catalina.
The Negros Oriental police said the 14 were suspected hitmen and supporters of the New People’s Army (NPA) who were allegedly involved in several foiled assassination plots against the police and the military.
Meanwhile, PNP spokesperson Col. Bernard Banac also said that the accusation of some groups is far from reality.
“Yung sa akusasyon ng mga kritiko na ito ay massacre ay malayo po sa katotohanan, taliwas,” Banac said in an interview over Radyo Inquirer.
Banac said a police officer was also wounded during the operation. Forty-one loose firearms were seized from the suspects.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it has already started investigating the case “to find out the truth” behind the police operations.
“Bukas po ang Philippine National Police sa anumang mga hakbang na magkakaroon ng inquiry upang malaman ang katotohanan at sinasabi yung nila yung legitimacy ng ating operations,” Banac said. / gsg
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