Albayalde questions identities of slain rights defenders
MANILA, Philippines — Police Gen. Oscar Albayalde raised doubts Monday on the identities of three individuals killed in Sorsogon province and Camarines Sur, saying that rights group Karapatan and militant group Bayan might be taking advantage of the situation to put the blame to state forces.
“Of course we also have to establish kung talagang member ‘yan. Who knows? Baka mamaya tine-take advantage lang din nila ‘yan. They are saying na ito ay member. You know, these people, they take advantage of almost everything. Kaya kailangan nila i-prove kung talagang member nila yan,” he said in a press briefing.
(Of course we also have to establish if they are really their members. Who knows? Maybe they are just taking advantage of the incidents. They say those killed are their members. You know, these people, they take advantage of almost everything. That’s why they have to prove that they are indeed their members.)
Two members of Karapatan — Nelly Bagasala and Ryan Hubilla — were gunned down by two men at close range at Barangay Cabid-an in Sorsogon City, Sorsogon province on Saturday.
This was followed by the death of Neptali Morada in Naga City on Monday while he was on his way to Camarines Sur Capitol hall in Pili, where he worked as a staff of the Office of the Vice Governor. Morada was a former Bayan Muna regional head and Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) campaign committee head.
Police Maj. Gen. Amador Corpus, director of the PNP Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said his unit and the local police are jointly investigating the incidents.
But Albayalde stressed the PNP will not necessarily focus on investigating the cases.
“Not necessarily na ito ay member ng ganito, member ng gano’n, bibigyan na natin ng focus (Just because they are members of these groups doesn’t mean we will focus on the cases). We have other incidents that we have to focus on also,” he said.
He added the police will also look at the circumstances of their death apart from investigating if the individuals are indeed members of the groups. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)
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