Support PNP, AFP; Don’t make them feel abandoned – Lacson
MANILA, Philippines – Senator Panfilo Lacson on Monday rallied behind the police and military amid questions raised over the killing of 14 farmers suspected to be communist rebels in separate operations against loose firearms in Negros Oriental over the weekend.
Instead of condemning them, Lacson said the public should support the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) personnel.
“Without prejudice to the findings of a formal investigation that may be contrary to the PNP’s version of the Negros Oriental operations, all peace loving Filipinos should support our police and AFP personnel for risking their lives to keep our communities safe and secure from bad elements, instead of condemning them only because highly partisan and leftist organized groups are busy with their usual propaganda efforts to harass our troops from sustaining their anti-insurgency and anti-criminality campaign,” he said in a statement.
“When farmers possess rifle grenades, fragmentation grenades, handguns, shotguns, ammunition, phones and subversive documents, it says a lot about their tactics in their insurgency campaign aimed at a protracted guerilla warfare aimed at overthrowing the duly constituted authority,” Lacson added.
Authorities said the 14 individuals killed in separate police operations in Canlaon City and two towns in Negros Oriental province last Saturday were suspected communist rebels.
But the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) claimed otherwise, saying eight of those killed were farmers from Canlaon City.
Lacson, a former PNP chief, also urged the Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department of National Defense to provide all the necessary legal and other forms of assistance to government troops, “and not make them feel abandoned.”
“Now, more than anytime, they should be assisted by their superior officers until and unless it is proven that they violated the established rules of engagement and the existing laws of the land,” he stressed. / gsg
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