THE Armed Forces of the Philippines ( AFP) will not recommend the declaration of martial law in Negros Oriental amid several high profile killings in the province.
“From our level dito, I dont think at this time we need to implement martial law dito, manageable pa naman,” said AFP - Central Command chief Lt. Gen. Noel Clement.
However, Clement clarified that it is up to President Rodrigo Duterte if he wanted to impose a martial law in the province.
“Depende kay Presidente kung gusto niya talagang mag-impose ng ano dito (martial law) , but right now we’re not inclined actually to recommend martial law,” Clement said.
“Wala pa naman pero, ina-anticipate lang namin na we can come up with recommendations if we will be required later on,” he explained.
Clement said before declaring martial law in a certain area, there should be rebellion and insurrection.
“This is not happening there, may incident lang talaga ng patayan but they are within manageable level to the point na hindi naman siya widespread, na sa buong Negros Oriental ay nagkakaroon ng patayan,” Clement pointed out.
“Kasi hindi naman puwedeng nagbibintangan lang tayo . It has to be addressed from a different perspective, not just to address ‘yung killings,” he added.
The official said the AFP has deployed additional troops from the 302nd Brigade based in Zamboanga and one battalion from Bohol to the province.
PEACE AND ORDER RETURNING -- PNP Meanwhile, peace and order situation in Negros Oriental is returning to normal with the deployment of at least 300 Special Action Force commandos to help beef-up the existing local police force in the province.
“Unti-unti nang bumabalik sa normal ang kalagayan o situation sa Negros Oriental at ang kapulisan natin ay patuloy na nagbibigay ng seguridad doon,” Philippine National Police spokesman Brigadier General Bernard M. Banac said.
From July 18 to 28, a total of 21 persons including four policemen have been killed in the province by the NPAs last July 18 in Ayungon municipality.
As of yesterday, Police Regional Office 7 director Brig. Gen. Debold M. Sinas said three criminal cases have been filed in court in connection with the Negros Oriental killings.
He said in the gun attack that killed Marlon Ocampo and his one-year- old child Marlon Jr. , in Sta. Catalina town, police have filed two murder cases against suspects Jimlan dela Cruz and two “John Does” before the local prosecutor’s office.
Sinas said the survivors of the attack and some eyewitnesses pointed to the three suspects as the armed men who shot the victims.
On the other hand, the family of shooting fatality Federico Sabejon last July 26 in Siaton town have identified at least five suspects in the killing.
All five have been charged with murder before the prosecutor’s office.
Meanwhile, a double murder case has been filed against Oscar Bordago Calihan and three John Does in connection with the assassination of New People’s Army rebel returnees Weny Alegre and Felormino Janayan in Zamboanguita municipality last July 24.
Sinas said the case has been forwarded to the prosecutor’s office which is waiting for the appearance of the victims’ families and witnesses for the subscription of their statements.
The official said that the rest of the cases are still being investigated by concerned police offices.
He also announced the filing of charges for illegal possession of firearms and explosives against two suspects in the killing of the four policemen identified as Edmar Amaro,38; and Jojo Ogatis,20, who were both arrested in Sitio Yamot in Bgy. Mabato in Ayungon last Saturday. The charges were filed before the office of Prosecutor Ronald Tenaja.
Banac said that with the situation returning to normal in the province, the PNP leadership does not see any reason yet to place the province under martial law.
With Alfred Dalizon