Crame, militants Fact-finding teams

GUEST EDITORIAL

There are expected two fact-finding teams that will conduct “impartial” investigations on the killing of 14 farmers in Canlaon, Manjuyod and Sta Catalina hinterlands. One from the police, the other from militant groups.

But both will be expected  to report two  different things:

First to arrive was the initial wave of the militants’ group called the Karapatan who have members in nearby towns and cities.  Without first going into details, the Karapatan group initially claim that the police operation killed  farmers whom they claim were suspected NPA recruits. The police denied this.

We also have the special team from main police camp in Camp Crame Q.C. headed by Police Brig-Gen Omega Jireh Fidel of the Directorate for investigation detective management fact finding team who arrived Thursday and visited the crime scene.

Their mission is to see whether their policemen did the right protocol in the rules of engagement and in the issuance and service of search warrants. Whether or not the police were justified in killing their victims.

In fact, to ensure an impartial investigation, the highest PNP official PD Raul Tacaca and the chiefs of police of  Canlaon city, Manjuyod and Sta Catalina were relieved of their administrative duties., and replaced by their deputies as OICs.

In short, we the public will be expected to be told two different stories:

That the victims were NPA recruits and were killed because they resisted arrest; and the other story will be:  that the police barged into their houses around 2 am on March 30, served the warrant, and before sunrise the victims were already dead. Some say it was executed without due process, and the other, a simple shootout because suspects resisted arrest.   Who has the proofs, please present these.

Finally, the police warrant was for a search of illegal firearms and ammo.  The police did not say the farmers were NPA recruits; and that the search was a simple police operation for illegal firearms,  upon ordinary civilians.

It was from the militants whom we heard that the victims were ordinary un-armed farmers who were summarily executed because they were suspected NPAs. The police said the victims were suspects of past extrajudicial killings and police ambushes and harassments.

Moreover, the police say it was a non-political but a simple criminal incident. The militants say it was a political killing against innocent farmers suspected to be underground militias. How did the militants know that.?—and the police didn’t?

Therefore, being in this free country, you are also free to choose whom to believe: the police, or the left-leaning militants.