BACOLOD CITY: The New People’s Army (NPA) has admitted to the killing of sugarcane planter Norberto Lumayno, but his relatives doubt the murder was the rebels’ handiwork.
In a statement to local media the NPA’s Roselyn Pelle Command-Northern Guerrilla Front confirmed that they assassinated Lumayno, 67, and his driver Danilo Braga, 45, last June 22.
However, Raul Baterna, Lumayno’s brother-in-law told Bombo Radyo Bacolod that it was a “diversionary tactic” of those responsible to leave food stuffs, backpacks and an NPA flag near the site of the ambush.
“The claim made by the NPA that it was them is merely propaganda. I will only believe them if the claim is made in the form of an affidavit admissible in court,” Baterna said.
Baterna added that when the property of Lumayno was raided a few years back, it were also the rebels named as suspects but was later found out that the goons of a village official were the culprits.
In a statement signed by spokesman Cecil Estrella dated June 25, the Roselyn Pelle Command claimed that the execution of Lumayno was carried out because of his alleged “threatening acts, killing and land-grabbing activities in the areas of Calatrava, Toboso and Don Salvador Benedicto.”
The NPA claimed that Lumayno was “a notorious land grabber who used goons to force innocent people away from the land they cultivated.”
They also accused the sugarcane planter and his goons of killing farmers.
Major Gen. Jon Aying, commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, slammed the rebels after claiming victory over the killing of the sugarcane planter.
“Yes, it is a victory from the perspective of a criminal, a bandit and a terrorist,” Aying said.
Aying pointed out, “This is an unnecessary and unacceptable atrocity and violence under our moral and spiritual values as well as our democratic principles and systems.”
The recent and barbaric act is no different from the killings of hundreds of innocent civilians in the past 10 years by the CPP/NPA in Negros Island, Aying stressed.
“We cannot forget the Puso Massacare in La Castellana on January 28, 2013. They are clearly murderers and cold-blooded killers,” he added.