BAGUIO CITY (Nov. 23) — “We are mandated to protect the people and not to kill them,” a highly-placed police officer exclaimed in vehement denial of accusations that government soldiers are behind political killings, arising from questions by students of a private university here in a campus forum.
Reacting to a battery of queries as to whether it was true that the police and military men are behind this senseless killings, or whether political killing is institutionalized or a national policy, Police Dir. Fernando Moyaoen of the Baguio City Police Office, appeared astonished as he answered defensively during a forum on extra-judicial killings arranged by the Political Science Academic Society (POSAS).
Moyaen said that the police works 24 hours a day to provide its constituents the assurance of public safety but quickly pointed out that the ratio for every 100,000 civilians only three policemen are designated for their safety.
He also stressed that the PNP formed the Task Force Usig which will investigate the political killings on the national level. He clarified that the Claver case is further investigated and assured that the PNP painstakingly following up the case to bring justice to the victims. He further pointed out the Romy Sanchez case that they have identified and filed a criminal case against the murderer. Sanchez, was a political activist from Ilocos gunned down by an assassin on March 9, 2005 on Kayang Street, here.
“Life is the most precious thing god has given to us,” Catholic Bishop Carlito Cenzon said during the same forum. He said, these extra-judicial killings are much like a symptom, a boil we have to root out the cause. People are getting killed because some people are afraid the truth will come out.”
Cenzon cited so many government pronouncement that it should be stopped but still people are getting killed. He also stressed that as Christians we should make a definite stand and a collective effort to get into the bottom of these and find the truth.
Cenzon stated his opinion reiterated that those who are supposed to protect us are protecting the wrong kinds of people.
Jeanette Ribaya a regional coordinator of the Confederation for the Unity and Advancement of Government Employees ( Courage) and her husband Joe Cawiding, Bayan Muna coordinator in Baguio and Benguet had reportedly been under heavy surveillance for almost three months. # Nestor Guillermo for NORDIS