COTABATO CITY — The Commission on Human Rights in Region 12 (CHR-12) is docketing the massacre of nine Moro motorcycle riders in Kabacan, Cotabato as extrajudicial killings (EJK).
CHR-12 regional director Erlan Deluvio said they have arranged interviews for gathering witnesses' statements to support the filing of charges against police state forces.
“When we say EJK, usually it involves law enforcement agents but it doesn’t end there, it could be the inaction, if they did nothing to the investigation or it is ineffective," Deluvio said.
The human rights lawyer said this will happen when reports made during post-activity have discrepancies especially during the stage of gathering affidavits.
The ambush on the nine riders took place in Barangay Aringa at about 12:10 p.m. Eight of the victims died at the site, while the ninth victim died later in hospital.
The dying statement of the ninth victim, Tong Guiaman, will be particularly important.
“This dying declaration of the victim who manage to speak to his relatives before he died alleging policemen are [behind the killings] will be very important to the case,” Deluvio added.
North Cotabato Provincial Police Director Henry Villar, when reached by phone to give their side, said, “It’s up to them.”
For now they have not established yet the motive for the killings.
“We don’t want to speculate, we are looking on several angles and we are making our best to give accurate result of our investigation,” Villar said.
Police Major Peter Pinalgan Jr., Kabacan town police chief, said the victims were strafed while standing by the roadside on Aringgay Road, near the state-run University of Southern Mindanao campus.
“They were allegedly ordered to stop by unidentified suspects and when they all alighted from their respective motorcycles they were shot several times,” Pinalgan said.
He said the suspects used high-powered firearms such as M16 rifles, carbines, and cal.45 pistols based on the empty shells found at the crime scene.
The victims were identified as Kons Kalilangan, 35 years old, married, farmer and resident of Aringay, Kabacan, Cotabato; Saganding Sailon, 30 years old, farmer and resident of Osias, Kabacan, Cotabato; Benladin Dimanalao, 25 years old, single, farmer and resident of Aleosan, Cotabato; Jaiden Musaid, 25 years old, farmer and resident of Midsayap, Cotabato; Romeo Balatamay, 35 years old, married, driver and resident of Aringay, Kabacan, Cotabato; Katindig Kagayawon, 25 years old, farmer and resident of Buluan, Kabacan, Cotabato; Fahad Mandigan, 30 years old, married, farmer resident of Sitio Agpa, Kayaga, Kabacan, Cotabato; Budsal Jakaria Lipusin, 37 years old, married, farmer resident of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao; andTong Guiaman, 30 years old.
“For now we will corroborate the utterances made by several witnesses and formalize their statement,” Deluvio said.
In Philippines context, an EJK is the killing of a person by governmental authorities or individuals without the sanction of any judicial proceeding or legal process. It is committed outside of the course of judicial duties.
The local government of Kabacan and the provincial government of Cotabato expressed their condemnation of the gruesome killings. — BM, GMA News