Saturday, November 14, 2009

Philippine Army Denies Any Hand In Death Of Peasant Leader

CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, Camarines Sur – The Philippine Army denies involvement in the killing of Rodrigo Torres, 40, a peasant leader of Barangay San Pablo , Del Gallego, Camarines Sur, who was gunned down last Tuesday morning (10 Nov 09).

Major Harold Cabunoc, Public Information Officer of the 9th Infantry Division, challenged the KMP-BAYAN MUNA Bicol to substantiate their claim before hurling baseless accusations against the military. “It is not an Army policy to kill unarmed civilians, even the ones who are actively supporting the CPP-NPA-NDF”, said Major Cabunoc. “During the past weeks, we spared the lives of armed cadres of the local terrorists who were caught off-guard by our troops in Albay and Sorsogon. If we are the trigger-happy killers they portrayed us to be, we could have killed these armed rebels right away since they had their firearms with them when we raided their hide-outs in remote baranggays of Sorsogon”, he added. Eight rebels were captured during the series of raids conducted by the Army soldiers last week (Nov 5, Nov 7, Nov 10). These operations netted 10 assorted firearms, including 6 high-powered firearms and ammunitions.

According to the data taken from the headquarters 9ID, the CPP-NPA-NDF is on a killing spree victimizing military and paramilitary forces (CAFGU), PNP and civilians who are perceived to be military supporters. As of this date, 32 people had been killed (18 civilians, 12 CAA and 2 PNP) by suspected local terrorist rebels; some of them claimed as the perpetrators of the gruesome crime. “I encouraged the KARAPATAN, KMP and BAYAN-MUNA to fight for the rights of these fellow Filipinos who were killed by suspected CPP-NPA rebels while they were returning home to stay with their family. Policemen and CAFGU personnel have human rights too!”, he added. “With this background about the enemy, it is very possible that he (Mr. Torres) was killed by his own comrades in the CPP-NPA”, Cabunoc said.

Currently, the military is coordinating with the PNP to determine the circumstances of the killing and help the family of the victim bring the perpetrators to the bar of justice.

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