From the Philippine News Agency (Apr 3, 2019): NegOr joint police-military ops within operational standards: Centcom
The Central Command (Centcom) on Wednesday said the joint police and military operations conducted in different localities in the first district of Negros Oriental that resulted in the death of 14 people were within the operational standards in implementing lawful orders of the court.
Lt. Gen. Noel Clement, Centcom commander, said that simultaneous service of 36 search warrants issued by executive judges of Regional Trial Courts in Cebu and Negros Oriental was part of legitimate anti-communist and law enforcement operations.
The warrants were issued for alleged violation of Republic Act 10591 or the Comprehensive Firearms and Ammunition Regulation Act of 2013.
“The operations were implemented as part of the security standards in our efforts to maintain peace and order especially that the elections are nearing,” Clement said in a statement.
He added that the simultaneous implementation of 36 search warrants resulted in the arrest of 16 personalities who were subjects of the court order and the recovery of 53 assorted firearms and explosives broken down as follows: eight rifle grenades, two grenades, nine .45-caliber pistols; 25 .38-caliber revolvers; one .357-caliber revolver; four shotguns, and four homemade rifle/pistols.
Meanwhile, six of the subjects of the warrant were able to elude arrest.
Clement expressed confidence that the human rights body probing the incident will exercise objectivity.
“We appeal to the sense of fairness of the CHR to exercise integrity of their mandate of conducting investigation, that such should be based always on solid evidence and objective factual bases, rather than on pre-judgment and pre-conclusion that can only muddle the issues rather than attaining truth and objectivity," he said.
It can be recalled that a day-long joint military and police operations against the New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Oriental on Saturday, March 29, resulted in the death of 14 and capture of 16 of the group's alleged members.
Reportedly, those who were killed engaged the authorities in a shootout as the latter served the search warrants. Eight of the fatalities were from Canlaon City, four from Manjuyod, and two from Santa Catalina, all in Negros Oriental.
The operation was called “Oplan Sauron 2.0,” an internal security operation plan against personalities connected to the Communist Party of the Philippines, NPA, National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in the first congressional district of Negros Oriental and a follow-up to the December 27 to 29, 2018 operation dubbed as “Oplan Sauron,” the report said.
The joint operations covered Ayungon, Canlaon City, Guihulngan City, Mabinay, Manjuyod, Siaton, Santa Catalina, Tanjay City, and Vallehermoso towns in the said province.