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Police probe killing of five activists; security forces blamed

Police probe killing of five activists; security forces blamed

Police in the central Philippines were investigating the killings of five left-wing activists, while their colleagues accused the government Wednesday of condoning the murders, allegedly by security forces.
Two of the victims, members of the left-wing Bayan Muna party that the military claims has links to communist rebels, were found shot dead in Ligao, about 310 kilometers southeast of Manila, on Tuesday, said Chief Superintendent Ricardo Padilla.
"They bore gunshot wounds in the bodies and both were believed to have been killed elsewhere and dumped in Ligao city to mislead the investigation," Padilla said.
The two men, Miguel Dayandate and Julio Camero, were reported missing last week, Padilla said.
"We are still investigating the motive and identities of the killers," he said.
The human rights group Karapatan reported that three more activists were killed this week, also in central Albay province.
Padilla said police were investigating the three cases but had no immediate suspects.
The dead included Ruben Ermino, a 52-year-old pedicab driver, and Demetrio Imperial, 26, who was shot in front of his wife and child after gunmen wearing ski masks barged into their house, Karapatan said.
"Circumstantial evidence points to the military," said Neri Colmenares, a lawyer for Bayan Muna who took part in a small protest against the killings in front of the national military headquarters in Manila.
"Our protest is not only against the continuing killings but also against the government's lack of political will to prosecute the perpetrators," he said.
A military spokesman for the Southern Luzon region, Lieutenant Colonel Rhederick Parayno, denied security forces had a hand in the killings, and said one of the victims, Imperial, was spying on communist rebels for the military.
"The one who has a reason to kill him is the other side," Parayno said, referring to the rebels.
The military often claims that many victims of unsolved killings were gunned during internal purges within the communist movement.


Updated : 2021-07-24 01:11 GMT+08:00