Senators on Tuesday urged the Philippine National Police to seriously investigate the anti-communist group Kawsa Guihulnganon Batok Komunista (KAGUBAK) and ensure the safety of the personalities included in the group's hit list.
During the Senate Public Order and Dangerous Drugs Committee hearing on the spate of killings in Negros province, Senator Risa Hontiveros said the fact that five of the 15 people included in the KAGUBAK hit list were killed proved that there was some truth to the list.
“One-third na ang patay, patunay ito na tutuo ang hitlist. Seryosohin natin hindi lang ang listahan kundi ang KAGUBAK. Hindi katanggap tanggap na ilalagay ang pangalan sa isang pirasong papel tapos papatayin ka na. Seryosong imbestigahan ang hit list at KAGUBAK at proteksyunan talaga ‘yung 10 pang nasa listahan na ‘yan,” said Hontiveros.
Among those killed were: lawyer Anthony Trinidad, who was number 14 on the list; Heidi Malalay Flores who was 11th on the list; Roberto Caday, 12th; and Boy Litong and his son, who was accused of being a member of an NPA unit, both as number 15.
Senator Ronald dela Rosa, committee chairman, said the members of KAGUBAK should be identified and be held accountable for the deaths.
“Dapat malaman natin sino itong KAGUBAK na ito at kung sila ang pumatay ng lima dapat mapanagot sila otherwise walang kapatusang patayan ito,” said dela Rosa.
Asked whether local police were involved in the killings, Region 7 Police director Brigadier General Debold Sinas denied this.
“I could assure you no PNP (police officer) was involved in the killings. We are not involved in any of these killing na ini-investigate,” Sinas responded.
Hontiveros called on to Sinas protect the people on the list and give justice to those who were killed.
“Protektahan ang 10 sa listahan na ‘yun, sana na maibalik ang public safety sa Negros Oriental at buong Negros, mabigyan ng hustisya ang mga namatay,” she said.
Dela Rosa, a former PNP chief, said the regional police office should account for the persons on the list and make sure they were alive.
"This committee demands from PRO (Police Regional Office) 7 na dapat itong 10 na living persons na nasa hitlist na ‘yan ay i-account n’yo at siguraduhin na buhay pa,” he said.
Negro Oriental Governor Roel Degamo assured the committee that he would coordinate with Guihulngan Mayor Guido Reyes and Sinas to protect the 10 people on the list.
Degamo would also work for the dismantling of KAGUBAK.
Reyes, for his part, asked the PNP to deploy more police officers in his city to prevent any more killings.
“Sana dagdagan ang pulis sa lugar namin kasi kung ang ratio is 1 to 500, dapat 210 ang pulis sa amin. Ang pulis sa amin ay 55 lang, paano sila makaserve ng maayos?” reasoned the the mayor.
Dela Rosa said the PNP should consider the request as an emergency situation. “Dagdagan mo para hindi na masisi ang gobyerno pag me namatay dyan,” he told Sinas.
Sinas said that additional men had been sent to Guihulngan and there now 76 police officers in the town, aside from the mobile force platoon.
A precinct was also established in Barangay Trinidad, which they considered a critical area as it was "infiltrated" by NPA.
Sinas said security forces in Negros lost two battalions when these were sent to Mindanao during the Marawi siege. — DVM, GMA News