BACOLOD CITY – Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol met with the relatives of the nine victims of the massacre in Sagay City, Negros Occidental to turn over financial assistance as he pushed for the conduct of an impartial investigation on the killings on Friday.
“I wanted to see for myself the families of the victims of the Sagay massacre. Some of them were farm workers. I met with them and extended financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture (DA). We also assured them of additional help,” he said.
He did not disclose the amount provided by the DA to the victims’ families.
Piñol told the families he did not come to pass judgment on the incident. “What I know is not enough. There are investigations going on by the proper agencies,” he added.
The DA chief said the government supports an impartial investigation and wants whoever is behind the heinous crime to be brought to justice.
In Sagay, Piñol was joined by Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. and Mayor Alfredo Marañon III during his visit to the victims’ wake at the city’s gymnasium.
He then proceeded to Bago City to inspect the province’s rice processing complex before going back to Bacolod City where he held a press conference in the afternoon.
Last Tuesday, Agrarian Reform Secretary John Castriciones also turned over financial assistance and mobile phone units to the victims’ families after President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit was cancelled because of inclement weather.
Meanwhile, in Bacolod before noon, the National Fact-Finding Mission led by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers and Gabriela Women’s Party also called on the government for the conduct of an impartial investigation.
“We call on President Duterte to pursue, prosecute and bring the perpetrators and their masterminds to the bars of justice. We call on him to conduct an impartial investigation free from the involvement of local police, agencies and public officials in Negros Island,” the group said in a report distributed during a press conference at the Negros Press Club office.
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Arlene Brosas said the Makabayan bloc filed a House resolution directing the committees on agrarian reform and human rights to conduct a joint inquiry in aid of legislation on the October 20 killings at Hacienda Nene, Purok Firetree in Barangay Bulanon.
In its report released to the Bacolod media, the National Fact-Finding Mission accused the local government of Sagay of “theatrics” in supposedly “deceiving the people to divert the investigation..far away from their bloodied hands.”
The group also claimed the Marañons (Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr and his son, Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Marañon III) are “pretending to be empathetic to the grief of the families” with the help of the local police and the military.” (Nanette Guadalquiver/PNA)