NPA denies hand in mayor's ambush-slay-A A +A
Thursday, May 29, 2014
DAVAO CITY -- The New People's Army (NPA) denied on Thursday involvement in the ambush-killing of Laak Mayor Reynaldo Navarro, saying "Navarro's track record did not make him a legitimate target."
The NPA even condemned Navarro's killing, as the group also expressed sympathy to his family and colleagues.
"Navarro's track record did not make him a legitimate military target, thus, no revolutionary punishment was executed against him, though his business interest in logging and agri-business expansion has increased in the last few years," the NPA's Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command spokesperson Rigoberto F. Sanchez said in a statement e-mailed to news organizations on Thursday.
Navarro, onboard a white Mitsubishi Montero Sport vehicle with plate number SHE-663, was on his way to Tagum City when six armed men riding in two motorcycles attacked his convoy upon reaching Km. 9 at Purok 12 in Barangay Sigayen in Asuncion, Davao del Norte around 8:20 a.m. Wednesday.
Sanchez said they "did not consider (Navarro) an enemy who warrants a standing order or a recipient of death sentence."
Sanchez said as a long-time politician whose area covers territories of the People's Democratic Government in Compostela Valley, the slain mayor had cooperated with their comrades and "in many ways, demonstrated actions that point to his recognition of the revolutionary cause."
"[Our] comrades have repeatedly warned him of his increasing anti-people activities. Navarro merely ignored these warnings, thus, forcing the NPA's Comval-North Davao South Agusan Sub-regional Command to caution him publicly against wanton logging, militarization and some human rights abuses in his area," Sanchez said.
"In accusing the NPA of Navarro's ambush, the 10th Infantry Division under the Eastern Mindanao Command showed that it's poised to agitate and conscript Navarro's lumad supporters and followers to become its new lackeys and bandits under the Oplan Bayanihan counter-revolutionary campaign," Sanchez said.
The Army's 10th Infantry Division (10th ID) spokesperson Captain Ernest Carolina denied to have blamed the NPA for Navarro's killing.
"The 10th ID never accused the NPA or any (group for that matter). We never said anything like that. We are not sure where this came from. The case is now under investigation by the Davao del Norte police authorities," Carolina said.
The Davao del Norte Provincial Police Office said it has names of the two suspects who were killed in a 20-minute firefight after mayor's security escorts had retaliated, but did not give further details.
Personnel of the Asuncion Municipal Police Station and Laak Municipal Police Station in coordination with the troops of the Philippine Army's 10th ID are conducting further investigation on the incident.
A Special Investigation Task Force Group was created Thursday to investigate Navarro's death. (Sun.Star Davao/Sunnex)
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on May 30, 2014.