Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Army vows to assist PNP in running after suspects of extra-judicial killings

Cebu City (18 June) -- To ensure that the government’s policy of zero tolerance for extra-judicial killings pronounced by Malacanang recently will be fully enforced, the army in the Visayas region vowed to fervently support the Philippine National Police (PNP) in running after the suspects of the killings of militants, former militants and journalists.

Col. Jefferson Omandam, spokesperson of the Army’s Central Command, in an interview, said the military will give the police authorities wider latitude in their conduct of investigation on cases of extra-judicial killings in the country, which got the attention of the international human rights groups recently.

The military, Col. Omandam informed, will make sure that justice will be given to the victims of extra-judicial killings regardless of who the perpetrators are.

The army officer clarified though that the military’s role in this matter is limited only in helping the law enforcers bring the perpetrators to trial.

“While the PNP is performing a support role in the government’s Internal Security Plan (ISO) where the AFP is the lead agency, the AFP will only perform a support role in prosecuting criminal elements”, the army spokesperson stressed.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, in her remarks before representatives of media organizations, the PNP, AFP and the Department of Justice (DOJ) in Malacanang last week deplored the killings of the journalists saying she intends to “break this cycle of violence once and for all”.

Meanwhile, the army spokesperson called the statement issued by Bayan Muna Regional Coordinator Arman Perez implicating the military in the shooting of Maximo Auxillo, a Bayan Muna Coordinator of Bohol over the weekend saying such statement is irresponsible.

According to Col. Omandam, the suspect was already identified based on the testimony of witnesses and that the police alone should be taken as the authority in determining the angle of the case. (PIA-Cebu/ECD)

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