Kidapawan cops in Senate hearing have ‘fantastic imagination’ – farmers’ counsel

Apr. 21, 2016
(Ace R. Morandante/ file photo)

(Ace R. Morandante/ file photo)

DAVAO CITY – The National Union of People’s Lawyers said the police officers ​testifying at the second Senate committee hearing on the violent dispersal in Kidapawan City have “fantastic imagination” after saying that a farmer who was killed was an armed rebel.

“The police, through PNP (Senior Superintendent) Alexander Tagum says the killed Kidapawan farmer was probably shot by militant rallyists themselves who were asking for rice.​

“​B​ut ​he also says he was an (New People Army) armed with a gun. So a dead man who can tell no tales was practically shooting at his fellow famished farmers. Or maybe at himself,” said Atty. Edre Olalia of the NUPL in a statement.

“What fantastic imagination,” he said.

On Wednesday, April 20, the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights held its second hearing following the public hearing in Davao City last April 7.

Army spy accounts

The police on Wednesday presented their witness, Charlie Pasco, who identified himself as a rebel returnee to prove their claim that the protesters were armed and infiltrated by the members of the NPA.

Pasco said 22 year-old, Darwin Sulang, a farmer who was killed during the violent dispersal was his former comrade.

Pasco said, as an intelligence asset of the Army, he was sent to the Spottswood Methodist Center.

“Darwin and I met because I have a contact with Darwin. He is my former comrade and he lie-low (from the N​PA) before I did,” he told the Senate in vernacular.

Pasco said he only went out of the NPA in 2014. He said he is now currently staying at the safe house of the 39th Infantry Battalion’s intelligence department.

Inside the Methodist compound, Pasco said Darwin told him not to worry because “he was armed”.

He said Darwin even showed him a gun, a .38 caliber pistol. He said Darwin told him that he will be the one to shoot and that Pasco should just stay behind his back.

“Darwin did not know that the 39th IB has sent me to observe their movements inside,” he said.

He said he even saw other men around them were “armed”.

“I cannot identify what kind of arms, but those were guns,” he said.

On April 1, Pasco said he kept on following Darwin. At around 10:05, Pasco said Darwin told him that he just stay put.

But Pasco said Darwin knew that time that he already surrendered.

Pasco said when the police ordered the protesters to clear the highway, they shouted that they will fight.

While the negotiations are still ongoing, the firetrucks sounded alarm and then there were rocks thrown from both sides, said Pasco.

He said he saw Darwin fired a gun and he shouted at him to stop it.

After which, gunshots were fired from the Methodist compound, said Pasco. He said he saw Darwin fell.

‘Professional witness’

But the NUPL said Pasco is a “congenital liar” and a “certified professional paid witnesses”.

“This fellow who claims to be a former rebel surrendered twice in 2014 and again last March 29 and got paid handsomely for it. He was manufactured out of thin air by the police and military to testify in the Senate yesterday,” said Olalia.

Senator Vicente Sotto III asked the police why the PNP did not arrest the alleged armed men whom they saw at the protest.

“You knew that they were armed, why did you not arrest them? Why did you allow violence to happen?” Sotto said.

Tagum said they were only informed by the Army “that they have an active agent inside” after the incident.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III also asked Tagum why they did not present the information during the first Senate hearing in Davao City.

To which, Tagum said: “Hindi pa namin ito alam Sir. Wala pa siyang statement nung nasa Davao. (We didn’t know this at that time. He does not have a statement yet when we were in Davao).”

Pimentel asked the Army’s 10th Infantry Division commander Major General Rafael Valencia to help the Senate in accessing the Army official identified as “Glenn” to whom Pasco reports.

“So we may know when he divulged the information he got from Charlie to the PNP. So we can make sure that the story was correct,” said Pimentel.

When Pimentel asked the PNP if they will stand by their story that they do not know about Pasco on April 7, the PNP said Pasco was there during the hearing, but was not given the opportunity to be presented because “when he asked permission to go out to talk to somebody, he never returned.”

Father rebuts spy’s claim

However, Darwin’s father, Ebao Sulang denied the claim of Pasco.

“Hindi NPA yung tinuro ko sa kanya dahil ako ay dating Cafgu (Citizens’ Armed Forces Geographical Unit) . Hindi ko siya tinuruan na maghawak ng illegal na baril. Ang tinuro ko sa kanya mag-farmer, mag-drive ng “skylab” (I was a former Cafgu and I never taught him to use illegal guns. What I taught him is to become a farmer and a driver of motorcycle),” said Mr. Sulang.

He also said he does not know Pasco.

NUPL lawyer Ephraim Cortez also cited reports that Pasco was in Digos, Davao del Sur on March 29 receiving a cash reward for being a rebel returnee.

The NUPL said they are now studying and preparing to press separate charges for perjury, obstruction of justice and possibly incriminatory machinations against Pasco.

“These are on top of the impending multiple countercharges about to be filed soon against the police, military, and local government officials,” the group said. (

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