VP Robredo urging Senate to probe Negros killings
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo is urging the Senate to investigate the recent spate of killings in Negros Occidental.
In an interview in Bacolod City on Monday, Robredo stressed the need to attain justice for the slain farmers and other victims.
“Kailangan talaga magkaroon ng Senate inquiry iyan, at kailangang siguruhin na iyong paghanap ng katarungan para sa mga magsasaka maibigay—lalong lalo na kasi iyong mga circumstances talaga nagpapakita na maraming mga makapangyarihan na tao iyong maaaring involved,” she told reporters.
“Hindi magandang mensahe para sa mga pamilya ng mga magsasaka—at para sa iba pang magsasaka—na hindi sila pinoproteksyunan ng batas,” she added.
Last April 8, detained Senator Leila de Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 1034, calling for an investigation on a supposed joint police-military operations in Canlaon, Negros Oriental, which left 14 farmers dead.
Fact-finding teams from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) concluded that the victims were summarily executed.
The Philippine National Police (PNP), however, stressed that the operations were not a massacre because the suspects fought back and even wounded a police officer.
The incident in Canlaon City, however, is just one of the reported attacks or violent incidents in Negros.
Escalante City councilor Bernardino “Toto” Patigas, who is seeking reelection, was shot dead in a highway at Barangay Washington last April 23.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate suspected that Patigas — a Bayan Muna city coordinator — was killed because of his political beliefs.
On October 2018, nine sugarcane farmers were gunned down in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
The PNP blamed communist rebels for the attack.
Members of the House of Representatives’ Makabayan bloc claim that 28 deaths due to assassinations have been recorded in Negros in just three months.
According to Robredo, she hopes her anti-poverty Ahon Laylayan program would put pressure on the authorities to act on the case.
“Kasi lalong tumatagal iyong pag-file ng mga kaso, kasi kung titingnan natin iyong mga balita, mayroong mga tao na itinuturo na na maaaring salarin doon sa mga nangyari. Sana masundan na ito ng paghain ng kaso,” Robredo said.
“Ahon Laylayan can be a vehicle to put pressure, to put pressure on the authorities na aksyunan. Kasi halos dalawang buwan na o mahigit iyong pangyayari, at wala pang nakikitang liwanag iyong mga pamilya. At iyong takot na mangyayari ulit, parati siyang lingering hangga’t wala pang ginagawa,” Robredo added. /gsg
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