MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/19 April) – A team from the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) regional office in Cagayan de Oro is investigating the death of Dao, San Fernando village chief Jimmy Liguyon after the Kalumbay Regional Lumad Center filed a complaint last month.
Maria Theresa Neri, CHR-10 senior special investigator, said the role of the CHR is to closely monitor the complaint filed before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office against the suspect Aldy “Butsoy” Salusad, son of former rebel Benjamin “Nonong” Salusad, who surrendered with 79 others in October 2011.
But Neri said the CHR is conducting its own investigation and coming up with its own report for its legal office.
“We shall closely monitor the development of the complaint until it reaches the court and to monitor how the case runs in court, too,” she added.
On April 11, deputy provincial prosecutor Phoebe Loyola Toribio issued a resolution on the complaint against Salusad where she said they found probable cause in the crime of murder. She recommended the filing of information against Salusad before the Regional Trial Court.
Neri said they are looking at not only the civil and political rights of the evacuees but also their socio-cultural and economic rights. She cited that “Cha,” a nine-year-old daughter of Liguyon, saw how her father was shot to death.
Neri said they are also verifying reports that there are previous warrants issued by the court against the Salusads.
Liguyon was killed on March 5 allegedly by Salusad, leader of an armed Lumad group called the New Indigenous People’s Army Reform (Nipar).
Salusad, who had admitted to killing Liguyon in an interview over DXDB last month, reportedly threatened to kill the victim’s family members and supporters.
About 23 families or 83 persons, including children, belonging to the Liguyon family and their supporters fled Dao after Liguyon’s death when Salusad allegedly threatened to kill them, too. A month after, the evacuees vowed to continue to stay at their “kampuhan” at the capitol grounds to pressure the government on their call for justice.
They refused to leave until the suspect is arrested.
Supt. Rustom Duran, Bukidnon provincial police director, in his update to the Sangguniang Panlalawigan, said he deployed a platoon of the police’s public safety company to San Fernando town on April 12 to effect the arrest of Salusad.
But he said even if the platoon conducted a joint operation with another team from the San Fernando police station, they left Dao past 8 p.m. empty handed. He also said they had “coordinated with the Philippine Army and the Special Cafgu Active Auxiliary prior to the operation”.
In Malaybalay City, the evacuees also faced eviction from the camp.
Sharon Liguyon, the village chief’s widow, reported that Zubiri came to the encampment on April 11 to inform them that they will be moved to a site near the NCIP office in Brgy. 9 while they are waiting for the arrest of the suspect. Zubiri told reporters he asked them to move where it is safe for their children.
But in a meeting with the leaders of the evacuees Wednesday afternoon, Zubiri said he is no longer asking them to leave the Capitol grounds. He vowed to ask the tribal leaders of San Fernando to do everything they can to facilitate the surrender of the younger Salusad.
Zubiri agreed that the datus can be instrumental in the surrender and that Salusad must also face charges. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)