Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief, Police General Guillermo Lorenzo T Eleazar ordered an investigation on a shooting incident involving Albay policemen and two activists who got killed while spray – painting protest slogans.
P/Gen Eleazar also ordered to place under “restricted custody” the policemen present in the incident.
The group Defend Bicol claimed the activists, identified as Jemar Palero, 22, and Marlon Naperi, 38, were shot dead by elements of the Albay Police on Monday morning in Barangay Lower Binogsacan in Guinobatan.
Palero was a member of Organisasyon ng mga Magsasaka sa Albay (OMA), and Naperi was a member of human rights group, Albay People’s Organization (APO).
PGeneral Eleazar ordered the Internal Affairs Service under Inspector General Alfegar Triambulo to dig deeper into the Guinobatan killing.
The official police report stated that the activists were armed and that they fired on the cops, prompting the latter to retaliate.
Police said the two victims allegedly fought the policemen in car patrol who chanced upon them, but human rights group said the killings were murder.
The two were killed by police forces after being seen conducting Operation Pinta (OP) at Banao Bridge, with the unfinished protest art stating “DUTERTE IBAGS”.
Both were residents of Guinobatan, Albay.
The unarmed civilians were branded as “nanlaban” by policemen, an old narrative of the police being used in its anti-drug “tokhang” operations.
The two guns allegedly used by the victims were planted, according to rights group.
Defend Bicol Stop The Attacks Network and Concerned Artists of the Philippines – Bicol (CAP – BICOL) condemned the brazen attack on human rights.
PGen Eleazar appealed to the public to let the investigation take its course before making conclusions on the incident.
“Upang maalis ang mga haka-haka at alegasyon tungkol sa pagkamatay ng dalawa umanong aktibista sa Albay, t pabilisin ang isinasagawang imbestigasyon upang bigyan ng linaw kung ano ba talaga ang nangyari dito,” said PGen Eleazar.
“Inatasan ko na din ang Director PRO5, Police Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo na ilagay under restrictive custody ang mga pulis na kasama sa pangyayaring ito habang isinasagawa ang imbestigasyon,” he added.
The PNP Chief also urged the public to let the investigation takes its course and refrain from speculating until the final report and recommendation are done.
“Makakaasa ang ating mga kababayan ng patas at malalimang imbestigasyon tungkol sa kasong ito so in the meantime, hayaan nating umusad ang isinasagawang pagsisiyasat sa seryosong alegasyon tungkol dito,” said PGen Eleazar.
“Nananawagan din tayo sa mga nakasaksi o may nalalaman sa insidente na makipagtulungan sa mga imbestigador para mabigyang-linaw ang kasong ito,” the PNP Chief said.