NPA admits killing Batangas village chief
The New People’s Army (NPA) owned up to the killing of a village captain in the resort town of San Juan in Batangas province for allegedly siding with a private land developer.
The NPA’s Eduardo Dagli Command operating in Batangas said in an emailed statement on Friday that it meted “punishment” on Barangay Hugom captain Mario “Mayok” Sulit for being “an enemy of the people and an instrument of the fascist state and (land) developers.”
Sulit was outside his garage when motorcycle-riding gunmen shot him dead around 8:30 p.m. on March 1.
While the rebels’ claim could be highly probable, this did not mean that the case was closed, San Juan police chief Supt. Joemar Labiano said.
“Usually, when the NPAs acknowledge (an attack as theirs), that’s it. Although, we are still pursuing other angles (in Sulit’s killing),” he said in a phone interview.
Labiano added that when Sulit’s funeral cortege went around the village, a group of illegal settlers “cheered.”
Small farmers and fishermen in San Juan and Lobo towns “had long suffered from Sulit’s policies,” Apolinario Matienza, NPA in Batangas spokesperson, said. These include preventing them from transporting their harvests in front of the private beach resorts.
There were also several instances when Sulit allegedly threatened fishermen by firing at their boats or hitting them in the head when they went near the resort areas.
In 2014, tension rose when at least 277 families were evicted from a beach front of Barangay Laiya Aplaya to give way to the development of a private resort.
The local government of San Juan relocated the families to another site.
After the demolition, Sulit allegedly ordered the seizure of the scrap metals and the residents’ harvests and made money out of them, the NPA said.
“The punishment (on Sulit) was in response to the grievances of the people of Lobo and San Juan who had suffered long enough … Let this serve as a warning to individuals who allow themselves be used by the state, selfish developers, and the fascist military (to) counter the revolution,” the statement added.
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