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NegOcc gov forms special task force to probe Sagay 9 massacre

MEETING WITH SAGAY 9 KIN. Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. (2nd from right), Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Marañon III (2nd from left), and Provincial Agriculturist Japhet Masculino (left) join Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol in meeting with the families of the massacre victims at the wake in Sagay City gymnasium on Friday (October 26, 2018). (Photo by Richard Malihan/Negros Occidental Capitol PIO )

BACOLOD CITY — Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. has formed Special Task Force “Hustisya” (justice) to ensure an in-depth and unbiased investigation on the killing of nine farmers in his hometown of Sagay City.

The governor announced the move in a press statement released Friday night, almost a week after the massacre took place at Hacienda Nene, Purok Firetree in Barangay Bulanon, which the victims occupied on October 20.

“The special task force (will) ensure a thorough and impartial investigation on the Sagay 9 incident so that the real truth and proper justice shall be served to the families of the victims at the soonest time possible,” Marañon said.

The task force will consist of representatives of respective Social Action Centers of the dioceses of San Carlos and Bacolod, Public Attorney’s Office in Negros Occidental, and Provincial Agrarian Reform Office, in close cooperation with the national offices of the departments of justice and agrarian reform, and the National Bureau of Investigation.

“I will resolutely work that justice will be served and no amount of intimidation or threat can prevent me from bringing before the bar of justice those who are responsible and involved in the Sagay 9 incident,” he said.

Marañon said that he, his family, and the entire people of the province grieve “such a very unfortunate incident, which victimized the poor farmers and sugarcane workers.”

“So therefore, we are in solidarity with the families of the victims to demand justice with urgency and decisiveness,” he said.

The governor added that the task force will “make sure that those responsible as the criminal perpetrators of the Sagay 9 killings shall be brought before the bar of justice together with those who planned, organized, agitated and manipulated the poor farmers and sugar workers.”

Earlier on Friday, Marañon and his son, Sagay City Mayor Alfredo Marañon III, joined Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol in a meeting with the families of the victims at the wake in the city gymnasium.

Piñol turned over financial assistance from the Department of Agriculture to the families.

Meanwhile, in a statement on Saturday morning, the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO), headed by Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil Jr., urged the public to avoid making conclusions on the Sagay 9 massacre.

“Let us wait for the results of the investigation being conducted by the Special Investigation Task Force (SITF) and let us not make conclusions without concrete evidences and bases,” the provincial police said.

The NOCPPO has created its own SITF a day after the incident to investigate the Sagay killings.

“We assure the public that the investigation being conducted is fair and sides with no one. We seek the truth for we are the protector of the people,” the provincial police added. (Nanette Guadalquiver/PNA)

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