Army: NPA reasons for Otaza killings 'lies'
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Captain Patrick Martinez, spokesperson of the 4th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army on Sunday said that the New People’s Army statement on the killing of Loreto, Agusan del Sur Mayor Dario Otaza is deceitful and superficial.
Otaza was murdered together with his son Daryl after they were forcefully abducted on October 19, 2015 from their home in Barangay Baan, Butuan City.
Otaza and Daryl were later found the following day, hog tied and riddled with bullets.
Martinez said the NPA’s Southern Mindanao command spokesman Rigoberto Sanchez’s point-by-point accusation against Otaza and his son and their alleged crimes against humanity are superficial.
Sanchez alleged that Otaza is the mastermind of the "brutal murder" and "acts of torture" of Lumad and ordinary civilians, including the deaths of Benjie Planos and Gabriel Alindao, last September 2013.
“Ironically, these accusations are all coming from the number 1 Human Rights Violator and a criminal himself,” Martinez said.
Martinez said that both Planos and Alindao are NPA rebels and were “Sangay sa Partido sa Lokalidad” or main recruiters, organizers, and points of contact inside the barangays.
“It was the NPA that killed Planos and Alindao in 2013, after they turned their back against the NPA (and) after Otaza urged them of a better future,” Martinez said.
“Just like what Otaza did in 1986, (he) turned his back against the NPA,” Martinez added.
He added Planos and Alindao were killed by the NPA because of their betrayal. “They were killed in September 2013 by the NPA and (the crime was) charged to Mayor Otaza,” Martinez said.
Martinez added that the other killings mentioned in Sanchez’ statement suffered the same fate with the NPA’s "inhumane and brutal" Kangaroo Court.
Martinez also pointed out another fabricated statement was about the 4 minors and two of whom “according to Sanchez’ imagination” have been subjected to illegal arrest and illegal detention.
Martinez said that the 4 were no ordinary minors as they were child warriors of the NPA.
Martinez pointed out the minors was involved in the murder of Ramon Diaganon, barangay captain of Kauswagan, Loreto, Agusan del Sur on July 19, 2013.
The 4 minors were arrested by the 26th Infantry Battalion and the Philippine National Police and were immediately turned over to the Patin-ay Municipal Social Welfare and Development office.
“Most of the issues proliferated and fabricated by Sanchez came about after losing NPA control over Loreto,” Martinez said.
Martinez added that since the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) started their Bayanihan activities in Loreto, the NPA lost its control in the area.
Otaza was instrumental in the surrender of 246 NPA rebels and Militia ng Bayan (People's Militia).
“The former NPA saw this as an opportunity for them to renew their lives,” Martinez said.
Otaza was quoted by Martinez as saying: “Before, the NPAs (went to) the town forcibly taking away the food and other resources from the people, soldiers now are here giving their services to the people and bridging the gap between the people and the government. The NPAs made our people hopeful through their false promises, while the Government taught the people ways to realize their dreams.”
“Sanchez’ desperate move (to) discredit the peace and development advocacies of Mayor Otaza have even add up to the anguish of all the peace-loving people especially the Lumads who are experiencing NPA manipulation and exploitation,” Martinez said.
Martinez said that Sanchez’ admission of the crime is "clear evidence of the NPA as number one violator of the Human Rights especially the Right to Life."
“Human Rights is fundamental to everyone regardless of his beliefs, religion or stature in life. It is inherent to every human being, It cannot be waived,” Martinez said. - Rappler.com
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