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PIA Press Release

Militants’ accusations do not tally with CHR investigations

by Rey Anthony Chiu

Tagbilaran City (22 September) -- OVER the allegations that Nestor Arinque and Liezelda Estorba deaths were Bohol’s contributions in the gallery of political repression victims under the Arroyo Administration, Bohol Commission on Human Rights (CHR) head politely says “not yet”.

Speaking at the weekly Kapihan sa PIA aired live over a local station here, CHR Bohol head Rito Montes said CHR findings on the separate incidents of alleged political slays do not tally with what the cause oriented groups would want to impress.

Nestor Arinque’s death

Hugpong sa mga Mag-uuma sa Mabini (HUMABI) farmer leader Nestor Arinque was shot to death by motorcycle riding men in ski-masks last March 7, 2005.

Arinque’s wife Josefina said she noticed military men circling their house few days before his husband’s death. Unluckilly, the Arinque house lies in an isolated patch where no other person could validate Josefina’s claims.

Her story however bolstered speculations that military troopers under the 15th Infantry Battalion were the culprits in Nestor’s murder, to which militant groups immediately did say.

The accusing fingers came despite a Mabini police blotter entry that states Arinque was a known revolutionary tax collector and was engaged in extorting local businessmen.

In a check at the military based in San Roque, Mabini, CHR noted that there were no military units within the immediate vicinity of the scene that day as reflected in the military’s patrol area assignments.

Disheartened over the early allegations made as propaganda before formal investigations could sail through, Montes said while it is not military, they could not also ascertain if it’s the New People’s Army’s handi-work.

Liezelda Estorba murder

Last April 4, Liezelda Estorba, the daughter of a former high ranking Hugpong sa mga Mag-uumang Bol-anon (HUMABOL) leader was shot to death in an early dawn squabble by a certain Joel Bayron in Panadtaran Candijay.

Cause-oriented groups led by Karapatan immediately insisted that Bayron belonged to the police intelligence network, a fact denied by Candijay Mayor Sergio Amora, 15th Infantry Batallion Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Thomas Donato and Army Intelligence Officer 1Lt. Noel Caibigan.

Subsequent CHR investigations also tell that Bayron was a military asset and that the incident was purely personal common crime happening between neighbor relatives.

Montes shared that they have submitted their investigations to the regional and national offices as appropriate cases have been filed against Bayron, who is now in police custody.

Succeeding investigations

Sounding off the call, Montes now asks the people to give information on the pending cases investigated so that the authorities can have the cases closed.

The statement also came amidst the reports that in the recent Olayvar slay, the investigators have noticed apparent attempts to mislead the investigators by strewing corrupted “witnesses”.

The pre-mature press statements that have yet to be anchored on evidence complicate the prober’s work even more. (PIA) [top]

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