MURDER charges are being prepared against members of the New People's Army (NPA) who killed Mayor Dario Otaza of Loreto, a town in Agusan del Sur, and his son Daryl last week, police said Monday.
Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Ricardo Marquez, however, did not provide names of 16-20 suspects identified by witnesses as involved in the killings when he faced reporters in a news conference.
NPA took responsibility for the deaths on Sunday, commending its sub-regional commands for neutralizing Otaza and his son whom they accused of committing war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations.
The communist organization also said the Otazas were guilty of killing lumads in Agusan del Sur, creating paramilitary group, and espionage, among other crimes.
(Video by Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo)
Marquez said Otaza, a former NPA rebel, was killed for fighting insurgency in his area.
“It was found out that the NPA for the longest time have been trying to manipulate our tribal communities and Mayor Otaza was one of the pioneers who learned of this manipulation," the PNP official said.
"He was elected mayor and has been very passionate to educate the people against the manipulation of NPA and he became a target of terroristic activities of NPA."
Otaza and his son were seized from their home on October 19 and were found dead the next day, hogtied with multiple gunshot wounds, in the vicinity of Purok 2, Barangay Bitan-agan, Butuan City.
Malacañang condemned the killings and praised Otaza for being an "invaluable partner" for peace in the Caraga region. (Sunnex)