AUTHORITIES are still investigating the deaths of three men found on a cliff in Sitio Bagong Silang, Malitbog, Bukidnon, Tuesday, November 6, who appear to be victims of vigilante-style killing, an allegation that police strongly denied.
Victims were identified as Vincent Vimen, 24; Clifford Abales, 21; and Don Remar Andales, 22; all residents of Villanueva, Misamis Oriental.
Initial investigation showed the victims sustained gunshot wounds on their head by a 9mm caliber pistol. The victims have a spider and BM (Batang Mindanao) 29 tattoo markings on their bodies.
There were reports that the victims were allegedly invited by the Tagoloan police for questioning last Sunday but they were eventually dismissed. However, the victims reportedly failed to return home.
Investigators are also looking into the background of the victims.
Superintendent Surki Sereñas, spokesperson of the Police Regional Office (PRO)-Northern Mindanao, said the alleged involvement of policemen in the killings has to be proven in court.
Sereñas said there is no state-sanctioned killing and that the Philippine National Police (PNP) strongly condemn and do not condone vigilante-type killing.
“Those are serious allegations which remain to be proven in the court of law,” he said.
However, Sereñas has assured the relatives of the victims that the PNP will remain impartial and fair and will not get in the way should there be evidences that would merit the filing of cases against any police personnel.
He also said the families of the victims can bring the issue to the court or seek help from other agencies such as the National Bureau of Investigation, Commission on Human Rights, or National Police Commission.
“The PNP is calling on the relatives of the victims to cooperate with state investigators and prosecutors. We also offer our assistance to them and assure them of our sincere desire to give justice to the victims. We just have to approach the issue in proper forum,” Sereñas said.
The police official said investigators have leads already and need the cooperation of witnesses.