CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY , Philippines – The police regional office here has denied law enforcers were responsible for the spate of extrajudicial killings in Northern Mindanao following the discovery Tuesday afternoon of three bodies that were dumped in a village in Bukidnon.
In a statement released Wednesday, Philippine National Police-10 (PNP-10) regional spokesperson Supt. Surki Sereñas said: “There is no state-sanctioned killing. The PNP does not condone vigilante-type killing and strongly condemn it.”
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 alleged to be members of crime groups operating in Tagoloan and Villanueva and were tagged in a number of 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 confirmed that the three men were invited by the Tagoloan police to determine if they were involved in a snatching on Sunday, Nov. 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 also denied that officers were behind the killing seven as the families of the victims report that they 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 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.”
In the same statement, Sereñas has 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 suspected personalities but added they are still conducting further investigation.
Senior Insp. Hubert Tirol, chief of the Malitbog police, said they saw the bodies bore several gunshot wounds to 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 Operatives (Soco) said the bodies were already in an advanced 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 of executions from other neighboring areas.(davaotoday.com)