There was no massacre as the killing of 14 farmers earlier branded as supporters of the local New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Oriental last week “did not occur in one place.”
This was the clarification made by Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, Police Regional Office (PRO-7) director following protests condemning the alleged massacre.
The Commission on Human Rights-7 will have its own probe on the matter. Sinas said he welcomed such a move while at the same time directing the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division-7 to find out if the procedure in the implementation of search warrants prior to the killing was observed by the troops involved in the incident.
Sinas recalled that eight of the victims were killed in Canlaon City, four in Manjuyod and two in Santa Catalina, all in Negros Island.
The regional police director claimed that per their investigation, those slain 14 farmers were NPA supporters. The local NPA denied this allegation and denounced the act as a massacre of innocent farmers.
Search warrants were served to the 14 suspects but they resisted arrest and engaged the police operatives in a firefight, the police said.
Meanwhile, various groups had rallied in front of the regional office of the PNP-7 calling for justice for those who were killed in Negros.
They quoted the findings reportedly made by various human rights groups which stated “masked elements of the police in a full-combat gear barged into the victims’ houses, issued defective search warrants for weapons allegedly in their possession, shot the respondents to death and planted fabricated evidences.”