HUMAN rights advocates should also look into cases victimizing policemen, Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said on Tuesday, July 25.
Marañon added that the rights of the six policemen who were killed in an ambush in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental last Friday were also violated.
“The New People’s Army (NPA) also violated their rights. The human rights groups should also investigate it, not only the cases involving the government, the police and the army. It should be both sides, not only one-sided,” the governor said.
Moreover, Marañon said the police should also “keep up and shape up” to prevent any premeditated attacks from the communist rebels.
He said the policemen who got ambushed in Guihulngan were tricked.
“The police have shortcomings, that’s why they got ambushed again. There’s a pattern, they didn’t prepare. Why they didn’t take precautionary action,” Marañon said.
“Gi set-up, nag painto naman. Naisahan naman sila (They were set-up and they let the enemies fool them. They got tricked),” he added.
The governor said it all boils down to intelligence, and lamented why the policemen didn’t learn from the previous NPA attacks.
Marañon said he agrees that the national government should not continue with the peace talks following the NPA attacks in the recent weeks.
He said it’s hard to continue the peace process when the other side is not sincere.
“I believe that NDF (National Democratic Front) is not sincere with the peace talks,” Marañon said.
However, the governor said that development can help resolve the armed struggle.
“For me, to solve insurgency, (there should be) development. Many people are poor and they can be enticed easily to join the armed struggle,” he said.
Marañon reiterated his call to the rebels to the return to the mainstream society.
He said there are only a few rebel forces in Negros. “But like a bite of an ant, it’s irritating.”
Senior Superintendent Petronelli Baldebrin, deputy director for operations of Police Regional Office-Negros Island Region, said a task group was created to lead the investigation on the Guihulngan ambush.
Baldebrin was directed by the regional command to supervise the task group while Senior Superintendent Henry Biñas, acting director of Negros Oriental Police Provincial Police, serves as commander.
Baldebrin said they can’t conclude yet if there’s an intelligence failure as the investigation is still ongoing.
On July 21, six policemen, including Guihulngan Police Chief Arnel Arpon, were killed when they were waylaid and fired upon by suspected rebels. They responded to the call for assistance of Councilor Edison de la Rita, who was earlier ambushed by the rebels.
Biñas said they are investigating all angles, including the reason why De la Rita was included in the NPA hitlist.
Meanwhile, Marañon said the second State of the Nation Address of President Rodrigo Duterte was the “most unique and most good” he had heard.
“With the very enormous problems the country is facing right now, we need a strong, decisive, and brave leader,” he said. “For me, he is the right president at the right time now.”
He said the public should also rally behind the President as he could not solve the problems of the country by himself.