PNP tells locals in Negros Oriental: Don’t panic after ops that killed 14
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday urged the local residents of Negros Oriental not to be alarmed following the death of 14 individuals during a joint police and military operations in the province.
In a press conference at Camp Crame, PNP spokesman Col. Bernard Banac said that the operatives who joined the series of operations on March 30, were only doing their duties to combat various forms of criminality.
“Doon po sa mga kababayan natin sa Negros Oriental, ang atin pong panawagan huwag po tayong mangamba, huwag pong magulumihanan, huwag pong matakot (To our fellow countrymen in Negros Oriental, our message is for them not to be alarmed, confused or afraid),” he said.
Banac added the public can expect the PNP to continue to serve in accordance with the law and with respect to human rights.
“Itong insidente po ng nakaraang weekend ay bahagi lamang po ng ating law enforcement operations. Mandato po ng PNP ito na ipatupad ‘yung mga search warrants na ito laban sa mga suspects,” he said.
(These incidents over the weekend are part of our law enforcement operations. The PNP has a mandate to implement search warrants against suspects.)
On Monday, Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo demanded the police and the military to explain the death of eight persons in Canlaon City, four in the municipality of Manjuyod, and two in Sta. Catalina.
“I have no problem if they were serving legitimate search warrants. [The] problem is why were there so many deaths? I cannot accept that,” Degamo said.
Rights group said most of the fatalities were farmers, but the police claimed they were suspected hitmen and sympathizers of the New People’s Army and that these suspects opened fire at the arresting officers while in the process of serving the warrants against them.
PNP chief General Oscar Albayalde on Tuesday relieved from their posts the director of the Negros Oriental police and the chiefs of police in the said three cities and municipalities to pave the way for an impartial investigation into the case. /jpv
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