MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/25 July) – The New People’s Army on Friday said the police have filed “trumped-up charges” against three suspects in the killing of Mayor Mario Okinlay of Impasugong, Bukidnon.
In a statement sent by Ariel Inda Magbanuag, spokesperson of the NPA South Central Bukidnon Command, the rebel group identified the suspects as brothers Joven and Efren Yanggo and Ryan Daluniag.
“Instead of conducting a thorough investigation, the Regional Task Group-Okinlay headed by CIDG regional director P/Sr. Superintendent Pedro Austria, merely relied on guesswork and randomly pointed their fingers at the first likely scapegoats. After only two days of investigation, they effortlessly filed charges against the three,” the statement said.
“The AFP and PNP know that they have no genuine witnesses to prove their accusations. But they will not hesitate to make scapegoats out of civilians to fool the public into believing that they have not been idle in cases like this. In doing so, they are soiling their own image and alienating themselves all the more from the people,” it added.
Okinlay was ambushed last July 2 on his way home from a visit to Barangay Bontongon, Impasugong. The NPA had admitted responsibility for his death.
On July 10 MindaNews reported that the Yanggo brothers were former rebels who surrendered in 2011 and received financial assistance from government based on records from the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
“It is important that we know how they were identified. We thought they already surrendered…. How do we know if they are not fall guys?” he added. “The communists may even laugh at us if that is so,” Vice Governor Alex Calingasan said during a hearing held by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on July 8.
Police officials said during the same hearing that the Yanggo brothers had indeed surrendered.
In the same statement, the NPA also said “the Police Public Safety Company arrested three youngsters in Sitio Maynaga, Brgy. Iba, Cabanglasan, following the NPA’s attack on Sumifru’s pineapple plantation in the area”.
The statement cited that Insp. Joan Galvez, information officer of the Bukidnon Provincial Police Office admitted on air that they filed arson charges against Melvin Anggumao and Joefrrey Ganancia, of Maynaga, Barangay Iba, Cabanglasan town.
It said police refused to release the Anggumao and Ganancia even if neighbors and barangay officials had vouched for the innocence of the two suspects.
The NPA attacked Tuesday noon the pineapple plantation of Sumifro in Maynaga, destroying a boom spray and seized a KG9 machine pistol from the company guards.
Last week the NPA also attacked a plantation in Barangay San Jose, Quezon town that supplies pineapples to Del Monte. (MindaNews)