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CHR probes deaths of 14 farmers in Negros Oriental police operations

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 3/31/2019 Gorgonio, Luis
a woman smiling for the camera: Atty. Jacqueline de Guia, CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline de Guia, CHR spokesperson

The Commission on Human Rights will conduct an investigation into the police anti-crime operations in Negros Oriental on Saturday morning that left 14 people in separate areas in the province.

In a statement, CHR spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline De Guia expressed concern over the rising body count of alleged criminals in the country, which she said has continued to be a human rights concern.

"At this point, our interest is finding out the truth behind a police operation, which authorities claim to be meant to serve warrants of arrest, but resulted in the deaths of 14 farmers and a cop said to be injured," De Guia said.

Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office head Colonel Raul Tacaca said eight of the suspect criminals were killed in Canlaon City, four in Manjuyod town and two in Sta. Catalina town.

Police operatives proceeded to their respective targets but the suspects shot it out with authorities trying to serve the search warrants.

Such a claim that authorities were serving search warrants when the shooting incident happened need to be looked into.

"Even claims of resisting arrest to justify fatalities need to be tried before courts to ensure that there are no lapses and ascertain if the circumstances really warrant the offense from the police, resulting the curtailment of life," De Guia said.

"The regional sub-office of CHR-Region VII has already been instructed to investigate this case," she added.

Progressive group condemns killing

Meanwhile, the progressive College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) has condemned what it called "unacceptable" incident.

"This kind of incidents where ordinary Filipinos get mercilessly killed by uniformed men is an outright violation of human rights —a Constitutionally guaranteed right that must be upheld by everyone, especially those who swore to serve the interest of the people," the group said in a statement on Saturday.

The CEGP urged the public to likewise condemn the incident and call for justice for the victims.

"As we condemn this deliberate attack against ordinary Filipinos, we also vow to join [activities] seeking justice for them. The truth will come out and those in power will be held to account for it," the CEGP said. —Erwin Colcol/LBG, GMA News

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