The Department of Justice will conduct a fact-finding investigation into the recent spate of killings of political activists in Bicol.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Wednesday formed two special investigating teams of prosecutors and agents of the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the two separate incidents where three members of militant groups were killed.
Covered by the probe are the killings of Karapatan members Ryan Hubilla and Nelly Bagasalan last June 15 in Sorsogon and the killing of former Bayan Muna coordinator Neptali Moraga in Naga City, Camarines Sur last June 17.
In Administrative Order No. 35, Guevarra directed the teams to ascertain if the incidents are politically motivated, and to assist in the buildup of cases for the successful prosecution of those responsible.
The teams are required to submit their report to the DOJ chief’s office within 30 days.
Moraga was reportedly gunned down at the village of San Isidro, Naga City in Camarines Sur province around 8 a.m. last June 17 as he drove his motorcycle to work at the provincial capitol.
Bayan Muna said Morada left his position in their group in 2000 and worked for former Camarines Sur Vice Gov. Ato Pena.
Bagasala and Hubilla, on the other hand, were shot repeatedly by still unidentified men as they paid for their tricycle fare in Sorsogon City last June 14.
Meanwhile, a National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) official earlier expressed fear that the recent killing of the two human rights group members in Sorsogon is allegedly the handiwork of the Communist Party of the Philippines–New People’s Army.
“What we feared most is now happening and it is most likely that the killing was executed by the CPP, to support their filing of writs of amparo and habeas data, the basis of which were their allegations of government harassment and attacks,” said Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations.
Parlade called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to seriously investigate the murder of Hubilla and Bagasala.
“The AFP has nothing to gain with this killing especially in light of the filing of writs of Amparo and habeas data that the CPP and its petitioners do. Earlier, we warned that the CPP- NPA might start killing their own NUPL (National Union of Peoples Lawyers) members and Karapatan members if only to embarrass the state,” he said. With PNA