CHR head optimistic Oro 'summary' killings could end

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Thursday, August 7, 2014


WITH numerous public officials and civil society groups already expressing their concerns on the series of “summary killings” in the city and the incapability of law enforcers to catch the perpetrators, the state's human rights body has remained optimistic that the rule of law is still at work.

Although alarmed with the incidents of torched and dumped bodies found in secluded areas in the city and the neighboring towns, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Loretta Rosales trusts the City Government and its law enforcers will be able to put the suspects behind bars.

To achieve this, she noted that cooperation of involved agencies must work doubly hard on this matter.

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"There must be due diligence exercised by all duty bearers led by the local government to get to the bottom of these summary killings," Rosales told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro Wednesday morning via email.

Earlier, Relanie, wife of 37-year-old Godwin Vergara who was shot dead in the head twice on Thursday dawn, July 31, sought the help of CHR regional office in northern Mindanao despite fears and apprehensions.

[READ: Ace darts player allegedly shot by police]

Relanie suspected that a police officer could have killed her husband since they had a squabble with some police officers stationed at Barangay Macasandig minutes before Godwin was shot.

Chief Inspector Ariel Phillip Pontillas, Macasandig police station commander, told this paper in a previous interview that aside from their own probe, he would welcome investigations from other government law enforcement like the City Investigation Detective and Management Branch (CIDMB), the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).

‘Dark elements’

"We should not allow dark elements that seek to destroy government reforms to literally get away with murder," said Rosales.

"Governance demands multi-stakeholder vigilance in monitoring and full enforcement of the rule of law. This includes media, schools and civil society," she added.

Councilors Ramon Tabor, Teodulfo Lao Jr., Roger Abaday and civil society groups previously called on law enforcers to put an end to these “summary executions” that have already claimed more than a dozen lives this year alone.

Meanwhile, Senior Superintendent Graciano Mijares, Cagayan de Oro Police Office (Cocpo) chief, said his team is doing its best to arrest suspects and reduce crime volumes in the city.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on August 07, 2014.

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