Senators to PNP, AFP: Arrest suspects in Lumad killing
Ben Serrano (The Philippine Star) - October 2, 2015 - 10:00am

TANDAG CITY , Philippines– Senators Teofisto Guingona and Aquilino Pimentel III told the police and military to arrest three leaders of an armed group and 23 of their members for the killing of Lumad tribe officers last Sept. 1.

The lawmakers, who head the Senate inquiry on the killings, got exasperated after Tandag Bishop Nerio Odchimar and non-government leaders reported that prime suspects Loloy and Bobby Tejero and Margarito Layno remained free and were seen roaming the vicinities of military camps.

The three were tagged in the killing of tribal leaders Dionel Campos, Aurelio Sinzo and Alcadev tribal school director Emerico Samarca.

Odchimar said the Lumad killings started last year and the attack last Sept. 1 was just the latest perpetrated by the Magahat-Bagani group in Lianga and San Miguel towns.

He added that despite the efforts of some government and non-government officials, nothing has been done to arrest or disarm the suspects.

A priest and a nun backed Odchimar’s allegations after forwarding the reports given to them by parishioners.

Datu Mampapalanog, Higaonon tribal chief in Bukidnon, claimed that about 300 members of Lumad tribe were killed near his domain by alleged members of the New People’s Army and that the dead have yet to be investigated.

He asked the two senators to allow them to arm themselves “since the Armed Forces and the Police are not always around to protect” them – a proposal that was immediately shot down by the lawmakers.

“Leave the security concerns and civilian protection to the police and military,” Pimentel said.

Guingona and Pimentel also heard the testimonies of at least five eyewitnesses to the killings on Sept. 1 and Aug. 9.

Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel also appealed for help as he asked both senators to order the police and military to “disarm and disband” the Magahat and Bagani armed groups.

Pimentel identified Datu Calpet, Marcos Bocales, Bobby Tejero and Marcial Belandres as the leaders of the armed groups that are operating in the province.

“As long as (the suspects) are armed and remain free to roam around, our province can never achieve peace. It will always cause unrest among the Lumad communities” Pimentel said. 

Guingona and Pimentel tasked Chief Supt. Vert Chavez, Caraga region police director, and Senior Supt. Narciso Verdadero, Surigao del Sur provincial police chief, to immediately arrest the three principal suspects.

ACIRC ARMED FORCES AND THE POLICE AURELIO SINZO AND ALCADEV BOBBY TEJERO AND MARCIAL BELANDRES CHIEF SUPT DATU CALPET DATU MAMPAPALANOG DIONEL CAMPOS EMERICO SAMARCA GUINGONA AND PIMENTEL LUMAD
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