CHR: Negros Oriental killings should not lead to martial law
MANILA, Philippines — The spate of killings in Negros Oriental should not lead to the declaration of martial law in the province, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said Thursday.
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said declaring martial law in Negros Oriental, like what happened in Mindanao, would, “in a sense,” normalize military rule.
“We do not see the need for the President to exercise any assist prerogatives. We would not want a declaration of a state of national emergency nor a declaration of martial law in any part of the country,” she told ABS CBN News Channel in an interview.
At least 21 were reported killed in the province since July 18, when four intelligence police officers were gunned down and allegedly tortured by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Ayungon town.
Guia added that initial reports from their personnel who are conducting investigation on the killings said the local police are not cooperative in releasing requested reports.
But this was denied by Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesperson Brig. Gen. Bernard Banac.
“The case in Negros, of course the PNP is willing to cooperate with the CHR and we are one with them in our desire to look into these killings and make suspects and perpetrators answer to the law,” he said.
He added that cooperating with the CHR is “just a matter of communication” and that the police are willing to release reports and records “on a case to case basis.”
He also assured that the situation in Negros Oriental is under control, and that “there is no need to be alarmed or afraid.”
“Whether this is insurgency related or not, the fact that killings happened, crimes happened, we need to investigate,” he said.
Banac also assured that the PNP will mete out punishment on any police personnel who might be involved in the series of killings in the province, as some groups have alleged that “death squads” from state forces could be behind the incidents.
The Negros Oriental police is eyeing the involvement of the NPA in all the killings in Negros Oriental since July 18, saying the group wants to show that they are still a force to contend with. /muf
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