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Nation

Reds behind Himamaylan massacre – PNP

Gilbert Bayoran - The Philippine Star

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines — New People’s Army (NPA) rebels perpetrated the killing of a family of four in Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista in Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental last week, according to the police.

Maj. Mary Grace Socorro Borio, Western Visayas police spokesperson, cited the accounts of witnesses as she disputed claims that the police had not been objective in its investigation.

“The facts indicate categorically that members of the NPA terrorist group committed the killings,” Borio said, adding that the police investigation is based on evidence and not on hearsay and biased statements.

Up to 15 armed men were reportedly behind the killings.

The witnesses have been relocated to ensure their safety, according to Capt. Judesses Catalogo, spokesman for the Negros Occidental police.

The NPA had earlier blamed the military for the massacre, saying Rolly Fausto, one of the four victims, had been red-tagged by authorities.

Fausto, his wife Imelda and their two minor children were found dead on June 14.

Old, tired tactic’

In a statement, Coni Ledesma, head of the National Democratic Front’s Special Office for the Protection of Children, said pinning the blame on the NPA is ”an old and tired tactic” of the military to escape accountability for its crimes.

Meanwhile, cause-oriented groups slammed the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or NTF-ELCAC for alleged harassment of a fact-finding team sent to the scene of the crime.

The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women said Jeffrey Celiz, an alleged NTF-ELCAC agent, red-tagged human rights advocates, lawyers and paralegals conducting a fact-finding mission.

Amihan said Celiz, in an interview with a media outfit, called on authorities to arrest those seeking an investigation, for obstruction of justice. – Emmanuel Tupas

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