CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The police regional office here denied law enforcers were responsible for the spate of killings in Northern Mindanao following the death of three men whose bodies were dumped in a village in Bukidnon and were discovered on Tuesday afternoon.
“There is no state-sanctioned killing. The PNP does not condone vigilante-type killing and strongly condemn it,” said Philippine National Police-10 (PNP-10) regional spokesperson, Supt. Surki Sereñas in a statement released Wednesday.
Police identified the victims as Vincent Viemer, 24; Clifford Abales, 21; and Don Remar Andales, 22, all residents of Barangay Tambobong, Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.
Their bodies were found in Sitio Bagong Silang, Barangay Sta. Ines, Malitbog, Bukidnon.
The victims were said to be members of groups operating in Tagoloan and Villanueva and were tagged in several criminal activities, said Chief Insp. Allan Oniana, head of the Tagoloan police.
Based on their investigation, Oniana said the victims belonged to the Spiderman Gang and Batang Mindanao (BM) 29 group and had previous police records in Tagoloan and Villanueva.
Oniana has confirmed the three men were invited by the Tagoloan police to determine if they were involved in a snatching incident on Sunday, November 4.
“They were brought to our office for identification, but the complainant cleared them. We let them go,” Oniana said in a phone interview Wednesday.
The police chief has denied that some of his officers were behind the killing as the families have alleged that the victims failed to come home after they were brought in for questioning by the Tagoloan police.
“These are pure allegations. There is no truth to this and there is no evidence to back this allegation,” he said, referring to the accusation by the victims’ kin that some members of the Tagoloan municipal police station were the ones who carried out the killing.
In a radio interview, Andales’ mother Maria said his son was picked up by the Tagoloan police Sunday night.
Sereñas said that to accuse the involvement of some police officers “are serious allegations which remain to be proven in the court of law."
"However, we assure the relatives of the victims that the PNP will remain impartial and fair. If there are evidence that would merit the filing of case against any of our personnel, we will not get in the way. It is also our desire to give justice to the victim," he said.
In the same statement, Sereñas called on the victims’ relatives to cooperate with state investigators and prosecutors.
“We also offer our assistance to them and assure them of our sincere desire to give justice to the [victims]. We just have to approach the issue in proper forums,” he said.
Oniana said his office is open to any investigation by the provincial and regional police offices and other agencies.
He said they have already identified a few personalities he suspected to be the killers but added they are still conducting further investigation.
Senior Insp. Hubert Tirol, chief of the Malitbog police, said they saw the bodies bearing several gunshot wounds on the forehead, back, and chest.
The PNP regional crime laboratory has yet to issue the findings of its autopsy as this writing, although Dr. Christian Caballes, medico-legal officer of the Scene of the Crime Operation, said the bodies were already in a state of decomposition when found.
Tirol said they are coordinating with the Misamis Oriental provincial police and Tagoloan municipal police to solve the killings, adding that this was the second time that cadavers were dumped in Malitbog.
In October, the body of a certain Ryan Rolida was found in Malitbog, Tirol said, adding that he doesn’t want the town to be the dumping ground of victims from other neighboring areas. (PNA)
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