President Rodrigo Duterte, “appalled” by the series of killings in Negros Oriental, has sought to bring perpetrators to justice, Malacañang said yesterday.
This developed after Duterte convened a meeting with several local officials at the Silliman University Gymnasium in Dumaguete City Monday.
“The President delivered a message that he is appalled by the killings in Negros Oriental,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said in a virtual presser.
Duterte, Roque said, vowed to be “completely neutral” but expressed hope that the culprits will be punished to the full extent of the law.
“He (Duterte) will be completely neutral but the state will fulfill his obligation to investigate and punish killers in Negros Oriental,” Roque said.
On May 14, suspected members of the New People’s Army reportedly killed four civilians in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental.
The victims were identified as Ronelo Quirante, 56, Roger Fat, 46, and Rodrigo Lubay, 46, and his wife Sherryl, 44. They were suspected to be military informants responsible for the March 23 encounter between the 62nd Infantry Battalion and the rebels.
Stephen Bandoquillo Alam, chairperson of Brgy. Bagacay in Vallehermoso town, Negros Oriental, was also shot by four allegedly guns-for-hire in the barangay hall on May 5. The suspects in Alam’s slay were arrested.
On May 4, Briccio Nuevo Jr., a lay minister, was shot dead in Brgy. Poblacion, Guihulngan City while he was at a vulcanizing shop, a police report showed.
CONFLICTING CLAIMS TO IDLE LANDS
The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has been directed to resolve the conflicting claims to idle lands to address the spate of killings in Negros Oriental, Roque said.
“The President has ordered the DENR to resolve conflicting claims to untilled lands that have led to the killings. The President said everything else being equal, resolve this dispute in favor of the poor,” he said.
The Department of Agrarian Reform has also been tasked to ensure the speedy distribution of lands to farmer-beneficiaries, Roque said.
TALK TO THE PEOPLE
Duterte did not hold his regular public address Monday because of his scheduled visit to Negros Oriental, Roque said. He said Duterte’s “Talk to the People” will be held today.*PNA