Statements tagging AFP in NegOcc massacre irresponsible

MANILA — The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday said statements linking the government and the military to the massacre of nine sugar workers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental is irresponsible.

The AFP made the statement in response to former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares’ claims that the government and the AFP should be held liable for the incident.

“Sadly, a lawyer like Mr. Neri Colmenares whose predisposition could have been prudence and caution hastily and immediately accused government and the AFP of criminal responsibility—without the presumption of innocence; without the benefit of any form of investigation. From a fellow counselor-at-law, I say those were very irresponsible, sweeping, and malevolent statements that tend to malign the reputation of the AFP whose members have fought—some were maimed or have died–protecting the people and securing the state,” AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

This is in contrast to the preoccupation of the President and other government agencies to assist the victims and how to bring a swift resolution to the case, he added.

“The AFP reiterates its indignation over the brutal killing of nine innocent victims in a shooting incident in Brgy. Bulanon in Sagay City. We pray for and commiserate with the families of the victims just as we commit to help in the immediate resolution of the case. The AFP will provide any assistance it can towards the identification, prosecution, and punishment of the perpetrators of this dastardly act,” Arevalo added.

Towards this end, AFP chief-of-staff Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr. has sent 3rd Infantry Division commander Major Gen. Dinoh Dolina to personally assess the needs of the families of the victims and extend the identified needs.

Arevalo said Dolina will works closely with the police, local government, and other agencies of national government to ensure that justice will be served through a thorough and comprehensive investigation.