Probe of North Cotabato security chief’s slay to go on despite NPA admission
KIDAPAWAN CITY, North Cotabato – North Cotabato officials on Wednesday urged authorities to dig deeper into the killing of the provincial security chief early this week.
“The recent murder of Mr. Bernabe B. Abanilla was a great loss of the life of a dedicated family man who was devoted to his work,” Gov. Emmylou Taliño-Mendoza said in a statement.
Abanilla was walking towards a church in Arakan, North Cotabato – along with his bodyguard – when attacked on Sunday. The two of them died at the hospital they were rushed to.
Mendoza said authorities should conduct a deeper probe into Abanilla’s death despite the admission of the New People’s Army (NPA) that he was killed for his alleged involvement in several killings, including that of Italian missionary Fr. Fausto Tentorio in 2011.
“There is a graver reason for his death as it was not the first attempt on his life. We need to thoroughly investigate the reasons and the motives, and the men behind this criminal act,” Mendoza added.
She said that “justice must be achieved and given to all victims of killings in Cotabato, including the death of Mr. Abanilla.”
As this developed, the police announced the formation of a special investigation task force to handle the investigation of Abanilla’s death.
Senior Supt. Alexander Tagum, the North Cotabato police director, said Arakan’s chief of police, Senior Insp. Felix Fornan, was also relieved of his duty.
North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to take the lead in the investigation of Abanilla’s killing as this could also help shed light on the Tentorio murder case.
She cited the NPA’s claim that Abanilla, also known as Bantito, was targeted for his involvement in Tentorio’s death.
“This new development calls for the reevaluation of the evidence under consideration as well as to establish a new lead in the investigation,” Catamco said, adding that the first set of suspects might have been wrongfully accused if the NPA’s claim was true.
She said the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) should also make a profile of all persons intimately associated with Bantito in any capacity from the time Tentorio was killed on October 17, 2011.
Catamco said only by a deeper investigation can justice be served to Tentorio and other victims of extra-judicial killings in the province.
“Let us all stand against these extrajudicial killings and to work together to ensure that the rule of law prevails at all times,” she said. SFM
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