NPA denies killing SMI official

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/22 September) – A New People’s Army unit operating in Southern Mindanao today said the rebel group had nothing to do with the killing last week of a junior official of mining firm Sagittarius Mines Inc.

In a statement, the NPA’s Valentin Palamine Regional Operations Command said that Cristituto Bual, offsite land acquisition superintendent SMI was not in their “order of battle” nor in the list of those tried in the “People’s Court”.

Bual was slain by a motorcycle-riding gunman near his home in Davao City in broad daylight on September 16, 2011. Police are yet to issue a statement on the possible motives of the killing.

The NPA hinted that Bual’s having “purportedly bungled up SMI’s bid to lord it over Malalag town in preparation for the company’s projected infrastructures along Malalag Bay” may have led to his killing.

“SMI has been trying to acquire at least a hundred hectares in three coastal barangays of Malalag where it plans to build its port, filter plant and its 317 megawatt coal fired power station,” the statement added.

But the rebel group also conceded that the motive of the killing has yet to be fully uncovered.

SMI sources said the firm is planning to build port facilities in Malalag town where copper and gold ores will be shipped out from its mines sites in Tampakan, South Cotabato.

The Tampakan project is being opposed by environment groups and at least three Catholic dioceses whose areas are covered by the company’s mining operations.

The communist-led NPA is also opposing the project. (MindaNews)