House of Representatives’ Makabayan Bloc on Wednesday criticized the killing of 14 farmers during police operations in Negros Oriental on March 30, 2019.
The group overtly commented the killing even as party-list Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro of ACT-Teachers, Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, and Carlos Isagani Zarate of Bayan Muna filed three resolutions calling for the investigation, in aid of legislation, of the killings.
The Philippine National Police, on the other hand on Thursday condemned the people who continued to support the “enemies of the state” by taking advantage of the search warrant operations that resulted in the death of 14 suspects in Negros Oriental for their alleged propaganda against the government.
“We should vehemently send our condemnation against these people supporting the perceived enemies of the state to gain power themselves, even sacrificing the innocent lives of young students to attain their own propaganda against our country and government,” said Police Chief Oscar Albayalde. He made the statement amongst the calls for his resignation over the incident.
The lawmakers condemned the killing that they described as “political tokhang.”
Casilao cited Anakpawis was outraged over the incident, adding that the victims were leaders and members of the different local organizations in Negros Oriental.
Casilao noted the incident could be the implementation of Memorandum 32 that he described as a type of martial law, an open crackdown on legitimate organizations that the police had tagged as communist fronts.
He added the victims, who were civilians and members of active organizations and local organizations of peasants, “became the sacrificial lamb of the police counter-insurgency operations.”
Casilao added Makabayan was calling for an independent investigation and would not accept the investigations conducted by the National Police’s Internal Affairs Service or IAS.
Later, he did not say how his group would react should the National Police’s IAS find the policemen implicated in the killing guilty.
“This will lead to a whitewash only. We know the script.” Casilao added.
Casilao concluded they were collating the testimonies of the survivors and the victims’ families which would form part in the case buildup against the policemen.
Antonio Tinio also called on the House to take action on the killing of the 14 farmers.