DOJ to start probe on Sagay massacre
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice (DOJ) will begin its probe on the Sagay City massacre where nine farmers were killed.
Assistant State Prosecutor Ferdinand Fernandez on Tuesday said the preliminary investigation is set for May 22 where respondents for the multiple murder case are required to submit their counter-affidavits.
“They were given time to answer allegations against them,” Fernandez told reporters.
Fernandez was assigned to handle the case after the Sagay City Prosecutors Office and the Region VI Regional Prosecutor’s Office based in Iloilo have inhibited themselves from handling the case.
“The preliminary investigation will be done in Manila due to security concerns,” Fernandez said.
On Oct. 20, 2018, nine members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) were killed inside Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
Following the incident, the PNP filed murder complaints against those suspected of involvement in the massacre, including Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo.
The victims were allegedly enticed to join the NFSW and were manipulated by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) to occupy the property as part of Oplan Bungkalan and Okupasyon.
Fernandez will also conduct a preliminary investigation on May 22 over the kidnapping and serious illegal detention complaint filed by the PNP against National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) lawyer Katherine Panguban, who is accused of taking a teenager tagged as a “star witness” after he survived the massacre.
Fernandez was assigned to conduct the preliminary investigation on the complaint against Panguban after the Sagay City Prosecutor’s Office and the Region VI Provincial Prosecutor’s Office also inhibited from handling the case. /ee
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