MANILA, Philippines – Amid the recent spate of Lumad killings in Mindanao, Malacañang said the Aquino administration backs calls for a probe on the issue. (READ: School head, 2 lumad leaders killed in Surigao del Sur)
Palace Communications Secretary Herminio “Sonny” Coloma Jr. said the government “continues to ensure the safety of all citizens.”
“We note the statement of the [Catholic bishops] on the killing of Lumads. According to Justice Secretary [Leila] de Lima, the DOJ (Department of Justice) supports the call for an inter-agency probe of the incident,” Coloma said in an interview with state-run radio dzRB on Sunday, September 13.
Coloma, however, did not give details on the said probe.
The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines earlier asked the Aquino administration to investigate the killings of Lumad or indigenous people in Mindanao despite the alleged culprits’ links with the government. (READ: CBCP dares Aquino admin: Probe Lumad killings)
According to local groups and the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP), the militia group Magahat Bagani Force is the alleged perpetrator of crimes against Lumads.
“The CBCP asks the government for an honest, thorough, impartial, and speedy investigation so that the guilty may be held to account for their wrongdoing,” CBCP president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas said on Friday, September 11.
In his strongly worded statement, Villegas also warned against “refusing to hold accountable” those the government protects.
After all, Villegas said the government uses militia groups for its counter-rebellion and counter-insurgency plans. – Rappler.com
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