HomeDiocesan ReportsBishop renews call for probe into killings of indigenous people in central...

Bishop renews call for probe into killings of indigenous people in central Philippines

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos made the appeal after reports that those killed tested negative from gunpowder residue

A Catholic bishop has renewed calls for an independent investigation into the killings of nine indigenous people on Panay island in the central Philippines.

Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos made the appeal after reports that seven of the nine persons killed during police operations tested negative from gunpowder residue.

Authorities had earlier claimed that the Tumandok indigenous people leaders “fought back” when search warrants were served on them on December 30.

Cardinal Jose Advincula of Capiz and seven other bishops in Western Visayas region pressed for an impartial probe into the killings amid allegations of human rights abuses.

Bishop Alminaza said the paraffin test only affirmed their call so that truth and justice will prevail.

“It affirms our collective statement and further gives weight to our demand for an independent, impartial fact-finding body,” he said.

“I hope [the Commission on Human Rights] will help us look into this,” the prelate added.

- Newsletter -

The head of the police crime laboratory in the region has been relieved of his post after he revealed to the media the result of the paraffin tests.

Col. Enrique Ancheta was removed from his post on January 20 after his interview with a local radio station about the case.

The Tumandok tribal leaders were killed in separate raids in the upstream villages of Tapaz town in Capiz and in Calinog, loilo.

They were known for their strong opposition against the construction of a mega dam project that would displace them from their ancestral land.

In a pastoral letter issued on January 15, the church leaders urged the government “to listen to the legitimate cries of the Tumandok against the construction of the Jalaur mega dam” project.

“We call on everyone to be highly vigilant in defending the sacredness of life and in respecting and protecting the rights of all,” they said.

© Copyright LiCAS.news. All rights reserved. Republication of this article without express permission from LiCAS.news is strictly prohibited. For republication rights, please contact us at: [email protected]

Support LiCAS.news

We work tirelessly each day to tell the stories of those living on the fringe of society in Asia and how the Church in all its forms - be it lay, religious or priests - carries out its mission to support those in need, the neglected and the voiceless.
We need your help to continue our work each day. Make a difference and donate today.