Mindanao lawmakers want alleged role of cops in Kabacan massacre probed
MANILA, Philippines — Seven lawmakers from Mindanao are calling for an investigation on the alleged involvement of policemen in the recent massacre of nine farmers in Kabacan town in North Cotabato.
House Resolution No. 1183 filed September 2 directs the committee on public order and safety as well as the committee on Muslim affairs to conduct a joint inquiry regarding the incident which happened on August 29.
The resolution was filed by Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman, AMIN Partylist Rep, Amihilda Sangcopan, Maguindanao 2nd District Rep. Esmael Mangudadatu, Lanao del Sur 2nd District Rep. Yasser Alonto Balindong, Sulu 2nd District Rep. Munir Arbison, Tawi-tawi Rep. Rashidin Matba, and Lanao del Sur 1st District Rep. Ansaruddin Abdul Malik Adiong.
“The killing of nine Muslim farmers in Kabacan, North Cotabato, has sparked outrage among Muslim communities, after initial investigations revealed that the victims were allegedly executed, and not killed in a shootout,” the lawmakers said in the resolution.
According to the lawmakers, nine people were killed in what authorities initially reported was a shootout between feuding clans, or locally known as Rido.
But citing a news article, the lawmakers pointed out that the regional directors of the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) in Region 12 said that based on a “dying declaration” of one of the victims, policemen were involved in the incident.
“The recurrence of reports of alleged illegal practices committed by law enforcement agencies especially affecting the Muslim population has become alarming and leads the people to believe that these are systematic and institutional failures, requiring a comprehensive review of the existing criminal justice system and law enforcement procedures and protocols being implemented in the country,” the lawmakers said.
“Allegations that PNP personnel are involved in nefarious activities, especially the killing of innocent people, should never be condoned, hence, an investigation is necessary to determine the circumstances leading to these senseless activities in order for Congress to legislate remedial measures to ensure that the Constitutional rights of the people are protected and that law offenders are prosecuted,” they added.
In a separate statement, Hataman said that if proven guilty, law enforcement officers who were involved in the incident should be held accountable.
“Kung hindi naman totoo, may pagkakataon tayo na malaman ang puno’t dulo ng mga ulat ng police involvement sa insidenteng ito. We should clear the air as we cannot have our citizens distrusting our men in uniform,” Hataman said.
The Philippine National Police (PNP) has said that it will launch an investigation into reports tagging police officers in the incident.
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