PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte is set to fly to Sagay City in Negros Occidental today to condole with families of the nine sugarcane farmers murdered by unidentified armed men in a plantation in the city.
Former presidential aide Bong Go said the President will be visiting the wake of the farmers.
The visit was added to Duterte’s schedule of activities, which includes some events in Naga City in Luzon.
The nine farmers who were killed last Saturday included four women and two minors. They were fired upon by some 40 armed men at Hacienda Nene in Bgy. Bulanon.
No suspect has been arrested by the police.
The police said it may be too early to conclude that the killers were members of the New People’s Army.
Authorities are looking into land dispute between the slain farmers and another group of farmers as possible motive for the killing.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr offered P500,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest of the gunmen.
Malacañang has condemned the killing, calling it a “dastardly act.”
SOLONS SEEK PROBE.
CONGRESSMEN yesterday crossed party lines in calling for a congressional inquiry into the alleged massacre of the nine sugarcane farm workers in Sagay City.
Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo “Albee” Benitez, chairman of the House Committee on Housing and Urban Development, underscored the importance for Congress to dig deeper into the October 20 bloody incident inside the 75-hectare Hacienda Nene, Purok Pine Tree in Bgy. Bulanon, Sagay City allegedly owned by Carmen Tolentino.
“I will file the resolution with the ABANG LINGKOD (party-list Rep. Joseph Stephen Paduano),” said Benitez.
Oriental Mindoro Rep. Paulino Salvador “Doy” Leachon, who chairs the House Committee on Justice, and Citizens Battle Against Corruption (Cibac) party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, chairman of the House Committee on Suffrage and Electoral Reforms, also sought justice for the killed farmers.
The left-leaning Makabayan bloc party-list lawmakers led by Bayan Muna
Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate filed House Resolution 2262 directing the House Committees on Agrarian Reform and on Human Rights to conduct a joint investigation into the incident as they sought the relief of the police officials in Sagay City.
“Ito ang tunay na Red October, kung kailan Peasant Month ay ‘dun sila na-massacre,” Zarate told reporters.
Alliance of Concerned Teachers party-list Reps. Antonio Tiñio and France Castro strongly condemned the massacre as they joined Zarate, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago in calling for the probe.
NPA ROLE IN SAGAY CITY MASSACRE AMONG THREE ANGLES EYED BY PNP
POLICE investigators are looking into three possible motives, including the possible involvement of the New People’s Army, in a mass shooting incident in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
“We have not identified the perpetrators yet but right now, we are looking at three most probable angles here. First, it could have been perpetrated by the land owners using armed goons, second it could have been perpetrated by other claimants of the land with links to the NPA; and third, it could have been the work of the NPA. That is very possible and they would blame the government for the killings,” said Police Regional Office 6 director Chief Supt. John Bulalacao.
The official said that based on information gathered by his investigators, the victims arrived in Hacienda Nene in Purok Firetree, Bgy. Bulanon two days before they were killed.
It appeared that the victims were brought to the place by organizers of the Negros Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) two days before they were killed.
“We found out that a few minutes after the victims were left by their organizers, armed men arrived and began shooting at them,” Bulalacao said.
DOLE, CHURCH CONDEMN CARNAGE
THE Department of Labor and Employment and Catholic prelates condemned the massacre of the nine sugar workers.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the massacre was a sabotage of the gains of the Duterte administration in guaranteeing decent work, job security and blissful life.
Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of the San Carlos Diocese also condemned the killing and ordered the social action arm of the Catholic Church to aid massacre survivors and the families of the nine slain sugar workers in Sagay City.
Meanwhile, the Department of National Defense yesterday asked Bayan Muna chairman and former Rep. Neri Colmenares not to use the death of the nine farmers in Sagay City to campaign for his party list.
DND Secretary Delfin Lorenzana issued the statement in response to Colmenares’ pronouncement that the Duterte administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines should be held liable in the murder of the nine farmers.
“We urge Mr. Colmenares not to use this tragedy as a springboard to campaign for his party list group, “ Lorenzana said. With Alfred Dalizon, Ryan Pacpaco, Jester Manalastas, Zaida delos Reyes, Lee Ann Ducusin and Sonny Sales