Rebel suspects in mayor’s murder face charges

AUTHORITIES filed on July 4 murder charges against three suspected members of the New People’s Army deemed responsible for killing Impasug-ong Mayor Mario Okinlay at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Malaybalay City.

The Regional Task Group-Elected Government Officials (RTG-EGO) Okinlay headed by Police Senior Superintendent Pedro Austria, regional director of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, said the court docketed the murder charges under NPS No. X-01-INV-146-00231.

Austria said the witnesses identified the three suspected assailants as Joven S. Yanggo, 31; Efren S. Yanggo, 29; and a certain Ryan Daluniag. The Yanggos are residents of Barangay Bolunay and Bontongon and were identified as alleged members of the NPA.

Austria said the Yanggos surrendered in January 2012.

The task group RTG EGO Okinlay is still probing on the other suspected persons who may be responsible in the murder of the Impasug-ong mayor.

In a statement sent to news organization on Friday evening, Allan Juanito, the spokesperson of the NPA north central Mindanao, said the Maoist rebels killed Okinlay for his alleged crimes against the people.

Juanito said Okinlay was killed for his “counter-revolutionary activities in the guise of peace and development” in the barangays. The statement said snipers from the NPA South-Central Bukidnon sub-regional command carried out the operation at around 8 a.m. on July 2.

It said Okinlay and his convoy had come from Barangay Bontongon escorted by police and soldiers from the 8th Infantry Battalion when the guerrillas carried out the attack. The rebel group accused Okinlay of aiding the military in implementing Oplan Bayanihan, the government’s counterinsurgency strategy, since 2013.

Despite the presence of the military and the police, Okinlay was still shot to death by the rebels.

Malaybalay Bishop Jose Cabantan has condemned the slaying of Okinlay, stressing the diocese “does not espouse violence as a means to achieve justice and peace.”

Today, Bukidnon governor Jose Maria Zubiri and other groups that seek justice for Okinlay’s slay will hold a protest rally in Impasug-ong town while Okinlay’s remains will be moved to the municipality’s gymnasium for public viewing. (Grace Cantal-Albasin)
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