DOJ transfers Sagay massacre probe to Manila

MANILA Prosecutors will hold the preliminary investigation in Manila on the deaths of nine sugar hacienda workers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental last October due to security concerns.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has given respondents in the 2018 Sagay City massacre until May 22 to respond to the multiple murder complaint filed against them.

"The preliminary investigation will be done in Manila due to security concerns. They were given time to answer allegations against them," Assistant State Prosecutor Ferdinand Fernandez told reporters Tuesday.

At least two suspects have been identified by the police, namely Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo.

Fernandez said the case was filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) before the Sagay City Prosecutor's Office in Bacolod City last April 26.

The case was assigned to Fernandez after the Sagay City Prosecutor's Office and the Western Visayas Regional Prosecutor's Office recused themselves from handling the preliminary investigation.

Last Oct. 20, 2018, nine members of the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) were slain inside Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

The victims were allegedly enticed to join the NFSW and were manipulated by the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People's Army to occupy the property as part of Oplan Bungkalan and Okupasyon.

Fernandez will also conduct on May 22 a preliminary investigation over the kidnapping and serious illegal detention complaint filed by the PNP against National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL) lawyer Katherine Panguban who is accused of taking a teenage boy tagged as a "star witness" after having survived the massacre. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency