DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Days after Mayor Mario Okinlay of Impasugong, Bukidnon, was shot dead, the New People’s Army (NPA) took responsibility for it, saying it was carried out in the name of “revolutionary justice.”
Alan Juanito, spokesperson of the NPA’s North Central Mindanao Regional Operations Command, said Okinlay had been involved in alleged counter-revolutionary activities.
Juanito said Okinlay had been aiding the military in implementing counterinsurgency campaigns in the communities, particularly in the conduct of psychological warfare activities and in forcing civilians to surrender as communist combatants.
“Bullets from a sniper team of the New People’s Army under the South-Central Bukidnon Sub-Regional Command ended the life of the rabid counter-revolutionary mayor Mario Okinlay of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon at 8:00 AM of July 2, 2014,” Juanito said.
The NPA said shared that Okinlay was warned by the revolutionary movement about his involvements with the military and in the counterinsurgency campaign as early as 2006. He, however, “outrightly ignored the revolutionary movement’s reminder in 2006 to address the issues the people have raised against him.”
Juanito also accused Okinlay of land grabbing and using violence for his political campaign.
“The citizens of Impasug-ong endured his oppressive and exploitative rule for a long time. He has grabbed lands from no less than 50 people, promised them compensation then left the poor landowners waiting for years as they watched their lands in Impasug-ong converted to oil palm plantations. During elections, he hit back on voters who did not vote for him. There have also been cases of harassment and manhandling of civilians who opt to suffer in silence for their own safety,” Juanito said.
The family and the military outrightly condemned the attack and are currently pressing for justice.
Major General Ricardo Visaya, commander of the military’s 4th Infantry Division, vowed that state security forces in the area would not stop their operations to flush out the rebels responsible for Okinlay’s death.
“The 4th Infantry Division is one with the whole nation in condemning the NPAs who ambushed the civic action group convoy and killing Mayor Okinlay of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon. We will file charges against the NPAs who are responsible for the said attack. The Army together with the PNP will not stop in conducting pursuit operations against the NPAs until justice will be served,” Visaya said.
“For the family, relatives, friends, and loved ones of Mayor Okinlay, the whole 4th Infantry Division condoles for his death. He is known to be a good leader, father, and a brother to all of us because of his active service for his town. Since the start of his career as Mayor of Impasug-ong, he never failed to deliver what was best for his people and until his last breath, his love and passion for serving his people are still imprinted in the hearts and minds of everyone,” Visaya added. – Rappler.com
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