PNP files murder raps against ‘recruiters’ of Sagay massacre victims

By Mark Garcia

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental — The Philippine National Police (PNP) has filed multiple murder charges against the alleged recruiters of the nine farm workers killed by gunmen in Sagay City last week.

Regional Director John Bulalacao said in a statement on Saturday, that the PNP has filed multiple murder charges to Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo, both members of National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), and other John Does.

The charges filed on Friday came after the police have gathered statements from eight complainant-witnesses including the minor who survived the killings, he said.

Earlier, the PNP created a Special Investigation Task Force that would investigate and give immediate solution for the massacre at Hacienda Nene in Barangay Bulanon, Sagay City.

All complainant-witnesses were willing and voluntarily said their respective affidavits, he added.

The statement of the minor was taken by the investigators as witnessed by the Local Development and Social Welfare Officer, Bulalacao said.

He said that upon their examination of statements, the common ground was that the alleged recruiters deceived the victims and enticed them to join by promising a parcel of land once their cause would succeed.

This cause, which the police tagged to the CPP-NPA, is called Oplan Bungkalan/Okupasyon. The NFSW have earlier said that this program is their response to resonate their campaign for genuine land reform and free land distribution.

However, Bulalacao said that it is an agrarian reform revolution “persuading innocent people by promising them land not knowing that they become part of a greater force that would generate outrage to the government.”

He also hit “human rights groups” that hampered the PNP investigation by taking the witnesses and discouraging family members in cooperating to the filing of the case.

“Their actions are contrary to what they claim. If they are true to their words that they want justice for the victims, they should help in the conduct of the investigation and let these witnesses speak,” Bulalacao said.

He also urged the public that the incident would serve as an eye opener to not be persuaded of the alleged groups that promises they want to help the people “when all they have are their selfish and ill motives to put down the government.”