Ex-AFP chief: Method, motive point to NPA as Agusan mayor's killers
Louis Bacani (Philstar.com) - October 20, 2015 - 2:28am

MANILA, Philippines - Former Armed Forces chief of staff Emmanuel Bautista insisted on Tuesday that members of the New People's Army (NPA) were the likely abductors of slain Mayor Dario Otaza of Loreto, Agusan del Sur and his son.

Bautista, the executive director of the Cabinet cluster on security, justice and peace, said that indicators on the ground and statements of local people pointed to the communist rebels as the primary suspects in the killings of Otaza and his son, Daryl.

"Iyong statement ang sabi 'believed to be NPA' and that was the report given to us by our field units for a reason na unang-una, 'yung methodology na ginamit NPA," Bautista said in a press briefing in Malacañang.

Bautista said the mayor's abductors posed as National Bureau of Investigation personnel by wearing their uniforms. He said NPA rebels also used this method in past kidnappings.

Bautista said the NPA also had the motive to kill Otaza, who was a Manobo, a Lumad and a former NPA member who facilitated the previous surrender of 154 rebels by helping in the government's Serbisyo Caravan.

"He is helping his fellow Manobos and other Lumads in the area. He is bringing development to that area and we partnered with him to do that. He is trying to bring all of those misguided Lumads, Lumad brothers still up there in the hills to come down and he has been very successful at that," Bautista said.

"He has the credibility and he has a lot of followings also. And so that and many other issues [are] motivations enough for him to be a target of the New People's Army."

Bautista said Otaza also received death threats from the NPA in the past.

Otaza and his son were abducted at around 6:50 p.m. on Monday from their home in Barangay Baan, Butuan City.

At 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the bodies were found hogtied with multiple gunshot wounds in the vicinity of Purok 2, Barangay Bitan-agan.

Bautista and Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma condemned the incident and assured that law enforcers will hunt down the suspects.

"We grieve with his family, the people of Loreto, the Manobos and other indigenous peoples, and the entire Filipino public. Rest assured that our law enforcement personnel will exert every effort to bring the perpetrators of this grisly, cowardly crime to justice," Bautista said.

BARANGAY BAAN BARANGAY BITAN BAUTISTA BAUTISTA AND COMMUNICATIONS SECRETARY HERMINIO COLOMA BUTUAN CITY EMMANUEL BAUTISTA FORMER ARMED FORCES LUMAD NEW PEOPLE OTAZA QUOT
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