WITH an investigation on the bloody encounter involving members of the Philippine National Police, Malacañang hinted at another probe – this time on the killing of nine activists during separate police operations over the weekend.
In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the President has specifically directed Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra to take the lead role in the probe.
“Ang iimbestigahan po, iyong necessity and proportionality kung bakit sila napatay. Kung walang necessity and proportionality, that would be murder,” Roque told newsmen.
In a separate statement, Guevarra said:
“I have to take a look at these incidents. But basically dahil maraming agencies ang maiinvolve diyan, we would rather discuss it muna in the inter-agency task force on EJKs and torture and other grave violations of human rights.”
The most recent attack on dissenters has been met with public outrage against President Rodrigo Duterte who ordered government forces to kill suspected rebels without regard for human rights, two days before the incident happened.
Roque however doesn’t seem to find any connection, adding that the police operations over the weekend should not be linked to Duterte’s call, citing provisions under the International Humanitarian Law.
“Tama iyong order ng President to kill communists kasi kung ang kalaban ay may armas, alangan namang mag antay ka lang na ikaw ay mabaril,” he said.
Unlike Roque, Guevarra kept mum whether or not the killings have something to do with the President’s directive to cops.
“Let’s see what really are the facts kasi mahirap magsabi na it’s because of what the President said. We don’t really know the facts as yet so the best thing to do really is to conduct a fact-finding investigation of what happened so that’s only the time we can probably make a conclusion,” he said.
The police earlier claimed that the suspects resisted arrest, and for which reason they were killed.
Six of the nine casualties were reported in Rizal, two in Batangas, and one in Cavite. Six were also arrested during these operations.