Interagency investigation team probing Matanao raid

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Saturday, March 29, 2014


AN INTERAGENCY investigation team is conducting a probe into the raid perpetrated by New People's Army (NPA) rebels at the Matanao Municipal Police Station in Davao del Sur last March 10, a top official of the Regional Prosecution Office said.

Regional State Prosecutor lawyer Antonio Arellano, in an interview with Sun.Star Davao, said an interagency investigation team composed of the Department of Justice (DOJ), Philippine National Police (PNP), and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are conducting a probe into the incident.

The investigation came after the case filed against the nine suspected NPA members arrested after the encounter was dismissed.

The respondents were identified as Johnrey Moher, Jolito Sales, Rofo B Nabundasan, Roger Natunton, Christopher Sales, Joey Alberca, Noel Alba, Lodemer Gama Bagumbayan, and Reynante Orot Paradise.

"We already have a team conducting an investigation not only on the attack of the NPA but also to the arrest of the nine suspects. The team will be investigating on all angles of the incident to determine whether there are human rights violations committed by either our state officials or civilians," Arellano said.

The regional state prosecutor said the formation of the interagency investigating body is by virtue of Administrative Order (AO) 35 penned by President Benigno Aquino III on November 22, 2012, in relation to the DOJ Department Order 726.

DOJ leads the investigation team composed of representatives from the PNP, AFP, Presidential Human Rights Committee (PHRC), Department of Interior Local Government (DILG), Department of National Defense (DND), Office of Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (Opapp), Presidential Adviser for Political Affairs (Papa), and National Bureau of Investigation.

The AO teams, as Arellano called them, are responsible for collecting evidence for case buildup against human rights violators on the side of the state, communist and the civil society in general.

Arellano, who read part of the AO 35, said: "There have been reported and validated violations of the above-declared rights of the individual throughout the years, which have served to create an impression of a culture of impunity, wherein security establishments of the State and non-state forces have been accused of silencing, through violence and intimidation, legitimate dissent and opposition raised by members of the civil society, cause-oriented groups, political movements, people's and nor-government organizations, and by ordinary citizens."

He also noted that in Davao Region, 17 prosecutors are part of the AO teams, and the Matanao raid is the first case being investigated in the region.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 29, 2014.

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