PNP looking into possible role by communists in death of nine sugar farmers
The Philippine National Police ( PNP) is looking into the possible involvement of the communist rebels in the killing of nine sugarcane farmers in Negros Occidental last Saturday.
In a press briefing in Camp Crame Monday, Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, the regional police director, said they have not identified the perpetrators but are pursuing three angles.
Bulalacao said one, may have been perpetrated by the land owner who hired goons. Second, he said this may be perpetrated by other claimants.
He added around 40 farmers were legitimate claimants although some have been linked to the New People's Army.
"Meaning, they are supporters (of NPA). So this group is our suspect to this incident," he said.
The third angle is the possible involvement of the communist group and its armed wing, the New People's Army ( NPA).
"Based on the information we gathered, these victims have been members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers ( NFSW) for two days, they were newly recruited. They were brought to the hacienda to occupy and settle down there. Their recruiters who allegedly were core group of the NFSW leave the area and a few minutes after that, around 9:45 in the evening, they were killed," Bulalacao said.
Authorities believed the nine victims were used as bait by the NSFW, a legal front of NPA in pursuance of their campaign to discredit the Philippine government.
"Based on the circumstances, they were just members of NFSW for two days. They were left there despite the places being very critical and anytime they can be attacked. Why did the core group members left them their?" he said.
Bulalacao said the core group members went to a nearby house to allegedly charge their cellphones few minutes before the incident happened.
PNP Director General Oscar Albayalde said pursuit operations, composed of AFP ( Armed Forces of the Philippines) and PNP units, have been launched since Saturday while a Special Investigation Task Group has been formed.
"All indications suggest the participation of the CPP-NPA in pursuit of their "Oplan Bungkalan at Okupasyon", a grand design to occupy private and government property using their mass base and to create untoward incident then blame it on the government," he said.
He believed the increased activity by the CPP-NPA could be a part of its “saber-rattling” tactics to project an image of strength to highlight their forthcoming anniversary in December 26, and to bolster its extortion activities in the forthcoming election season next year.
"Also in the wake of series of armed hostilities staged by the local communist dissident terrorist movement, the National Headquarters has alerted anew all PNP field units to conduct counter-actions against stepped-up tactical offensive activities of the CPP-NPA dubbed “Supermarket” aimed at collecting more firearms and equipment from police and military targets thru raids and ambuscades on soft targets and other targets of opportunity," he said. Ella Dionisio/DMS