DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 12 Oct) – The military’s 10th Infantry Division has asked the militant group that accused them of masterminding the death of farmer Jimmy Saipan, an anti-mining and human rights activist, to cooperate in the ongoing police investigation to identify the suspects.
Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) Secretary General Antonio Flores earlier blamed the killing of Saipan on the 10ID, who he said has been “terrorizing the entire Compostela Valley since 2008.”
Capt. Rhyan B. Batchar, chief of 10ID’s division public affairs, called on Flores “to instead cooperate with the ongoing police investigation of the cowardly killing of Mr. Saipan by providing information and evidences to support his allegations against any suspect.”
He said that they are willing to investigate any of their members if the KMP could present investigation that would point to any 10ID personnel who may have attacked the farmer leader early Monday.
Batchar advised the KMP to wait for the results of the police investigation.
“We encourage concerned individuals and groups to file appropriate charges against any of our personnel who commit any crime. We do not tolerate any misbehavior of our troops and will be very grateful to those who will help us purge our ranks of misfits,” he said.
Saipan, secretary general of the Compostela Farmers Association (CFA), was attacked by unidentified gunmen around 5:45 a.m. on Monday in Montevista town in Compostela Valley.
He survived the ambush and rushed to the nearby Poblacion area to ask for help from concerned citizens.
Saipan was then brought to the Compostela Valley Provincial Hospital and later transferred to the Davao Regional Hospital in Tagum City, Davao del Norte where he died at 2:20 p.m. Tuesday.
In a statement, the militant group believed that the attack on Saipan had something to do with his anti-mining stance in the community.
Saipan opposed the entry of Agusan Petroleum and Mineral Corp. (AGPET), a large mining company owned by San Miguel Corporation (SMC) that covers 12,000 hectares within the ancestral domain of the Lumads. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)