From the Visayan Daily Star (Jun 28): ‘NPA on a rampage in Negros'
The New People's Army in Negros is again on a rampage by killing civilians and openly admitting responsibility for it, Maj. Gen. Jon Aying, 3rd Infantry Division commander, saidyesterday.
The two local commands of the NPA in northern and central Negros have claimed responsibility for the ambush-slay of a sugar planter and his driver on June 22 in Brgy. Minapasok, Calatrava, and the killing of a former Army soldier in Canlaon City, Negros Oriental.
Aying said the Roselyn Pelle communist terrorist and bandit group declared the killing on Lumayno and his driver a “victory from the perspective of a criminal, a bandit and a terrorist “.
“What do they get from it? More conflict? More hatred?More injustice? More bleeding, sorrows and sufferings to two more families, Money from those in cahoots with them or hired them?”Aying asked.
Rebel spokesman Ka Cecil Estrella, alleged in a statement that punitive action against Lumayno was in answer to residents' cry against alleged threats, killings and widespread land grabbing in Calatrava, Toboso and Salvador Benedicto towns in Negros Occidental.
“This is an unnecessary and unacceptable atrocity and violence under our moral and spiritual values as well as our democratic principles and systems”, Aying said.
“This recent and barbaric act is no different from the killings of hundreds of innocent civilians in the past ten years by the CPP/NPA in Negros Island, including the Pusomassacare in La Castellana on Jan. 28, 2013,” he added.
They are clearly murderers and cold-blooded killers, was how Aying described the rebel group.
Definitely, this is a rampage and a sign of desperation, he added.
“This is one of the compelling reasons why they are losing more and more support from the people. The trend of its decline and downfall is irreversible. Sooner or later justice, will be served against them. It's just a matter of time. No matter how long... it will happen,”Aying further said.
Raul Baterna, brother-in-law of Lumayno, dismissed the allegations of the NPA as mere propaganda. “My brother-in-law was not engaged in land grabbing, but he was a victim of land grabbing,” Baterna told BomboRadyo.
As to allegations that he had organized guns-for-hire, Baterna responded “If he has a gun-for-hiregroup, he should have been defended.” He also stressed that his brother-in-law travelled alone.
Baterna said the family of Lumayno is inclined to believe that the compelling reason for the ambush wasa land conflict.
He added that they will seek the help of the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the incident.
“If indeed somebody admitted the killing, they could have been paid a royalty fee,”Baterna said.
Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil, officer-in-charge of the Negros Occidental police, yesterday said that they will also investigate if somebody hired the NPA to do it.
Col. Eliezer Losañes, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, also shared the statement of Aying, by also calling the NPA members terrorists.
They are doing these things for their own interest, and the people of Negros are on the losing end, Losanes said
The people should stop providing support to this group so that law enforcers can arrest them, and justice can be served, he added.