Cops probe farm guards in Bukidnon shooting

Legal Rights

The Police Regional Office-Northern Mindanao (PRO-10) is looking at five security guards of a farmland in Barangay Butong, Quezon town, Bukidnon as persons of interest in the attack on the party of a visiting presidential aspirant in the area.

In an interview Thursday, PRO-10 spokesperson Lt. Col. Michelle Olaivar said the Regional Civil Security Unit (RCSU)-10 inspected the Kiantig Farm after receiving information that the suspects in the incident were the farm’s security guards.

“The firearms of the guards were also confiscated by the RSCU personnel because they were not wearing their uniforms. That’s one of the grounds,” Olaivar said.

On Tuesday, presidential candidate Leody de Guzman, together with two of his senatorial bets – Roy Cabonegro and David D’Angelo – went to the area with the group of Manobo-Pulangihon indigenous people (IP) when they were fired upon by unidentified gunmen.

The IP group earlier protested the alleged land-grabbing of their ancestral land in the area, the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) said in a statement.

At least four persons from the IP group were wounded in the incident.

They were identified as Charita Del Socorro, 42, of Barangay Butong, Quezon; Datu Didilusan Aroyo and Robert Debatian, both of Maramag, Bukidnon; and Hernani Abela, of Koronadal City, South Cotabato.

The RCSU-10, during their inspection, also confiscated eight firearms from the five security guards– two 9mm pistols, a .38 caliber revolver, and five shotguns.

The RCSU team also said in its report the non-uniformed guards also failed to present any certificate of authority from the Commission on Elections (Comelec) exempting them from the election gun ban.

Meanwhile, Olaivar said they are also verifying if the security agency has filed their certificate of exemption before the Comelec as the issuance might have only been delayed.

“If ever no one can present a certificate from Comelec, it is presumed that there has been a violation per se of the Comelec guidelines. However, the Comelec has to concur with this because they are the government agency in charge of issuance of these certificates,” she said.

Video footage posted by D’Angelo via Facebook Live showed that the IP group had been claiming their ancestral land with documents in hand.

However, Olaivar said they have received information from the Bukidnon Police Provincial Office that the case of the land dispute is still ongoing in court.

“The case is still in court. There is still no court order for them (IPs) to occupy the land they are claiming,” Olaivar said, quoting the Bukidnon police report.

PRO-10 director Brig. Gen. Benjamin Acorda Jr. directed the Bukidnon Police Provincial Office to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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