4 of 11 Negros Oriental killings ‘solved’ – Albayalde

CEBU CITY, Philippines – Philippine National Police Director General Oscar Albayalde said that 4 of 11 killings in Negros Oriental province have been “solved” in a statement issued Tuesday evening, August 20.

“The Regional Director of Police Regional Office 7 in Central Visayas [Brigadier General Debold Sinas] reported that out of 11 shooting incidences that transpired in Negros Oriental, 4 cases were already solved and referred to the Prosecutor’s Office in Dumaguete City,” Albayalde said in a press statement.

Although Albayalde did not specify all of the cases that were resolved, 3 cases were filed already as of August 5. (READ: Only 3 cases filed so far vs suspects in Negros Oriental shootings)

He added that a Special Investigation Task Groups (SITG) was formed to “closely supervise and monitor” incidents involving Elected Government Officials and other prominent personalities including the murder of lawyer Anthony Trinidad, Arthur and Ardale Bayawa, ex-Ayungon Mayor Edsel Enardecido, among others.

For the deaths on July 25 of school principal Arthur Bayawa and his sister Ardale, a Department of Education official in Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental, police pointed to a land dispute as the reason for the killing.

Police officials connected the riding-in-tandem killing of lawyer Anthony Trinidad to the killing of the Bayawa siblings. Police said Trinidad represented the Bayawas in a land dispute.

Police said they are also looking into his alleged links to left organizations as a possible motive for the killings. 

Trinidad was killed on July 23 in Guihulngan City when gunman approached the side of his vehicle and unloaded several shots into Trinidad’s car.

Negros Oriental has seen a spike in the number of killings since July.

While Duterte considered using martial law to quell violence in the province, he decided against it and instead the Philippine National Police has deployed 300 of its elite Special Action Force to help augment local police units.

In Negros Oriental, at least 21 people have been killed from July 18 to 27, including a lawyer, a barangay captain, a city councilor, a former mayor, and a one-year-old child. Rights groups say at least 87 people have been killed in the two Negros provinces since 2017. – Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.