Former solon condemns continuing injustice to Sagay Massacre victims
Manila, Philippines – A day before the first anniversary of the “Sagay Massacre” where nine farmworkers were killed in the said city of Negros Occidental, former Anakpawis Party-list lawmaker and current National Vice-Chairperson of Unyon ng Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA) Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao condemned the continuing injustice and with the perpetrators remain outside the hands of the law.
“The police, with the Department of Justice has abandoned the pursuit for justice for the victims of Sagay Massacre. Worse, they had the gall to divert the blame by accusing the victims’ legal counsel and members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers,” Casilao said in a press statement.
He also slammed the “ninja cop”-accused resigned police chief Oscar Albayalde, who only two days after the incident, blamed the New People’s Army (NPA) as perpetrators as part of “a grand design to occupy private and government property using their mass base and to create untoward incident then blame it on the government.”
“We actually have a police force who is not scientific or objective, and reeks of anti-people orientation that it had abandoned the carrying out of a diligent effort of investigation just to blame activists, essentially absolving the real perpetrators,” he exclaimed.
Casilao backgrounded that the Negros island has been categorized by the Duterte government as a “communist hotspot,” that explains the massive deployment of military and police forces. Activists in the island also fell to mounting cases of extra-judicial killings since 2017. Almost two weeks after the massacre, Atty. Ben Ramos of National Union of People’s Lawyers-Negros has been gunned down in Kabankalan City. A month later, the Memorandum Order 32 that targets activists in Negros, Samar and Bicol has been signed by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“On top of their sabotage of the investigation of the Sagay Massacre, a pro-people lawyer fell victim to EJK. This is clear a part of the counter-insurgency effort and the eventual execution of the MO32,” he stressed.
Fully proving the police’ non-intention to resolve the killings, in December 2018, 6 peasants and activists were killed in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, and in March 30, 14 peasants were killed in Canlaon City and other towns. The government legitimized the “mass killings” with the carrying out of the Synchronized Enhanced Police Management Operations (SEMPO) under the local counter-insurgency program Oplan Sauron.
“From the beginning, the police had no illusion of solving the ‘Sagay Massacre,’ as they are themselves the killers in the island, they are directed by the notorious police official Debold Sinas,” he said.
De Sinas was the Police Regional Office-7 director Brigadier General Debold Sinas that carried out SEMPO and Oplan Sauron in the island. He is now the Philippine National Police National Capital Region Office Chief, after the abrupt reshuffling due to Albayalde’s resignation.
“Duterte promotes ‘mass killers,’ as Sinas carried out Oplan Sauron in Negros, he will carry out the Implan Kalasag in Metro Manila,” he bared.
Implementation Plan Kalasag is the counter-insurgency program in Metro Manila.
Finally, he condemned that the police force under the Duterte regime is not an enforcer of the rule of law or due process, but a mere uniformed armed goons.
“Justice for the Sagay Massacre victims is clearly will not be by the efforts of the police, but by the people’s movement whose mass actions will hold not just the perpetrators, but the whole list on the echelon of killing machine which is topped by Duterte,” he ended. ###