WATCH: Mar stops recording of 'briefing' with Lumad leader
(Philstar.com) - September 14, 2015 - 3:52am

MANILA, Philippines — Outgoing Interior Secretary Manuel "Mar" Roxas II was not comfortable that at least one photojournalist was covering his conversation with a Manobo leader about the killing of three Lumad men.

Roxas, the standard-bearer of the ruling Liberal Party, visited Tandag City in Surigao del Sur on September 8, his last day at the helm of the Department of Interior and Local Government.

Surigao del Sur Gov. Johnny Pimentel, also a member of the Liberal Party brought Roxas to the sports complex where about three thousand Lumad evacuees are staying after they fled paramilitary operations where three of their leaders were killed.

RELATED: Lumad evacuees steadily increasing

In the video posted on YouTube on September 9 by Kodao Philippines, Pimentel asked Manobo leader Bertolo Garay to narrate to Roxas the killing of Emerito Samarca, Dionel Campos and Datu Juvello Sinzo.

Video released on Sept. 9, 2015 by Kodao Philippines taken in Tandag City Sports Complex on September 8.

Garay recounted that on September 1, villagers were roused from sleep by suspected members of the 36th and 75th Infantry Batallions, along with the Magahat-Bagani paramilitary troops, in Barangay Diatagon in Lianga town.

"They first took Alcadev's director, Sir Emok (Samarca’s nickname) and they killed him by slitting his throat. Then they herded Alcadev's staff to the village center," Garay told Roxas.

Roxas interrupted Garay and turned his attention to a journalists taking videos inside the tent.

"Teka muna. (Wait.) Who are you?" Roxas said.

A cameraman answered, "I'm from Veritas Manila, secretary."

Roxas then told them to stop recording the "briefing" and instead conduct interviews afterwards.

Kodao Philippines said in a statement that after the briefing, Roxas echoed the military's statement that the perpetrators were not members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. He also vowed to help the evacuees in addressing health concerns, such as chicken pox.

Inday Espina-Varona, campaigns director of Change.org Philippines, criticized Roxas's refusal to be filmed.

"A public official in a very public act in a very public place wants [a] photojournalist to stop his work," she said on her Twitter account. — Camille Diola

ALCADEV ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES BARANGAY DIATAGON BERTOLO GARAY CAMILLE DIOLA GARAY KODAO PHILIPPINES LIBERAL PARTY LUMAD QUOT ROXAS
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