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NPA: Deployment of SAF troops a prelude to martial law

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental — The New People’s Army (NPA) has expressed concern over the deployment of more than 300 Special Action Force (SAF) troopers and the killing of civilians in Negros Oriental, saying the development was a prelude to the declaration of martial law.

Ann Jacinto, deputy spokesperson of the NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command, told the Inquirer on Tuesday that the unabated killings of civilians in Negros Oriental had been perpetrated by the state security forces and a death squad of President Duterte to condition the minds of the people for the declaration of martial law.

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Gen. Oscar Albayalde, the Philippine National Police chief, ordered the deployment of at least 300 SAF policemen in Negros Oriental following the series of killings in the province.

Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, director of the Central Visayas police, said the augmentation force would conduct patrol and checkpoint operations in Negros Oriental.

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“I’m just happy that chief PNP heeded our request to augment our police personnel in Negros,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Sinas said the public has nothing to fear with the deployment of more policemen in Negros Oriental.

“Hopefully, this will prevent more incidents perpetrated by bandits or lawless elements,” he added.

At least 17 persons were killed in a span of one week in Negros Oriental.

The PNP said NPA rebels could be behind the killings, saying some of the assailants spray-painted pro-NPA messages at the houses of their victims.

No messages on the wall

But the Communist Party of the Philippines has denied any involvement and accused the police, military and paramilitary forces as behind the killings.

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In a statement, the NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command, that operates in central Negros, also condemned the killings, accusing “death squads” allegedly deployed by the police and military to attack civilians.

“We do not write messages on the wall when we execute revolutionary justice. We issue official statements,” Jacinto said in a phone interview on Tuesday.

She said those who were recently killed were known to be good to the people.

“They were not NPA targets. They had no bad record. The NPA had no reason to mete [out] revolutionary justice on them,” she said.

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TAGS: Ann Jacinto, Leonardo Panaligan Command, Martial law, Negros killings, New People's Army, NPA, SAF, Special Action Force
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