Iriberri scores critics linking soldiers to Lumad killings
ARMED Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Hernando Iriberri on Thursday scored critics linking soldiers to the recent killings of Lumads in Surigao del Sur.
“They (critics) want to destroy the image of the Armed Forces,” he told reporters on Thursday.
Last Sept. 1, Emerito Samarca, executive director of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development or ALCADEV, and Manobo leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Juvillo Sinzo were killed by Magahat-Bagani group, a paramilitary force supposedly organized by the military.
Human rights groups such as Karapatan alleged that those behind the killings were from the Magahat-Bagani.
Surigao del Sur Governor Johnny Pimentel also accused the military of arming the militia.
The military has repeatedly denied the allegations, saying the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (Cafgu) is the only paramilitary unit of the AFP.
“There was no military involvement in the killings…It’s easy to accuse but definitely we have no forces there when that incident happened in Lianga,” Iriberri said.
Murder charges have been filed against the suspects in the killings early this week.
“I would like to emphasize that these suspects are not members of Cafgu as some insinuate,” Iriberri, who hails from Surigao del Sur, said.
“It’s very clear that there is no truth to the accusations hurled against us,” he added.
Iriberri said that Magahat is one of the many tribes in Surigao del Sur.