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Ex-chief justice: Operational reports on killing of ‘Negros 14’ must be bared

/ 05:41 PM April 08, 2019
Ex-chief justice: Operational reports on killing of ‘Negros 14’ must be bared

Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno

ILOILO CITY — Former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno on Monday said police operational reports on the killing of 14 farmers in Negros Oriental should be made public especially to the families of those who died.

Speaking to reporters at the sidelines of the a voters’ education forum at the University of the Philippines Visayas here, Sereno said there was an alarming pattern in the killing of subjects of search and arrest warrants.

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She noted that police’s justification that warrant-subjects resisted arrest or fought back has become doubtful.

“We are entitled to be protected in our lives. Hindi lang binabawian ng basta-basta on the allegation na nanlaban (No one should be simply killed on the allegation that they fought back),” Sereno said.

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Policemen backed by soldiers killed 14 farmers in Canlaon City and the towns of Manjuyod and Sta. Rita on March 30 in coordinated operations to serve search warrants for loose firearms on alleged members or supporters of the New People’s Army.

Police officials had said those killed fought it out with policemen and soldiers.

But this has been belied by relatives of those who died. They insisted those killed were not rebels and unarmed.

“In the case of the many, many reports that we have already received, the ‘nanlaban (fought back) theory has become somewhat ‘cut-and-paste’,” she said.

Sereno said that based on the circumstance of the killings compared to direct evidence and affidavits, police’s accounts were difficult to believe in.

According to her, many of those killed were asleep or lying down when a large number of policemen entered their houses.

She also noted the “candor” of testimonies by witnesses which, she said, were “substantial.” /kga

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