The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will provide the best legal defense for the Philippine National Police (PNP) personnel who took part in several police operations in Negros Oriental that resulted in the killing of 14 suspected communist rebels and the arrest of some 12 others.
“We stand by our police officers and we will provide them with the best legal defense to help them overcome whatever legal challenges that may arise as a result of several Negros Oriental operations,” says DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año.
He says the operations were completely aboveboard and covered by search warrants issued by the Regional Trial Courts of Negros Oriental.
“Our law enforcers acted professionally and in accordance with the law during the conduct of police operations in Negros Oriental. They simply returned fire when the subject of the search warrants engaged them in a shoot-out,” says Año.
Fourteen suspected communist rebels were killed in separate operations against loose firearms in Canlaon City and two towns in Negros Oriental over the weekend when they fired upon law enforcers who were serving the warrants.
Recovered from the suspects were rifle-fired grenades, fragmentation grenades, handguns, shotguns, various types of ammunition, and subversive documents.
The DILG Chief dispels allegations that there was a massacre, saying that this is “part of the typical disinformation and propaganda campaign of the CPP-NPA-NDF and their communist front organizations to portray government in the baddest light even in the face of evidence to the contrary.”
“How can they say there was a massacre when some 12 other suspects were arrested during the operations? Halatang-halata na naman na pilit na sinisiraan ng mga makakaliwa ang pamahalaan at pumopostura na naman sila na kakampi ng mamamayan,” he says.
He says that the PNP is ready to face any investigation into the shoot-out including those to be conducted by the Commission on Human Rights.
Año likewise offers his condolences to the families of the 14 alleged communist rebels who were killed during the operations as he assures them that he will be the first one to castigate the police if it is found out that they did not follow the rules of engagement.
He also appeals to the public not to condemn the police for the killing of the 14 suspects because they only did so to protect and defend themselves.
“Hindi po ang pulis ang kontrabida dito. Ginagawa lang nila ang kanilang trabaho para sugpuin ang krimen at panatiliin ang kapayapaan sa ating komunidad.Mas gugustuhin ba natin na sila na nagtatanggol sa atin ang mamatay?,” he says. ##