BACOLOD CITY: The family of slain sugar planter Norberto Lumayno does not believe that New People’s Army (NPA) rebels killed their relative. Raul Baterna, brother-in-law of Lumayno, over the weekend told Bombo Radyo Bacolod that it was a “diversionary tactic” of those responsible to leave foodstuff, backpacks and an NPA flag near an ambush site. Lumayno and his driver Danilo Braga were gunned down by about 15 armed men on Thursday in Barangay Minapasok in Negros Occidental’s Calatrava town. “If indeed it was the NPA that killed him, the [rebels]should have already issued statements to media claiming they are behind it, “ Baterna pointed out. He said when the land of his brother-in-law was raided a few years back, it was also the rebels who were named as suspects but was it was later found out that “goons” of a barangay (village) official were behind it. Baterna added that her sister will file a complaint with the National Bureau of Investigation on the death of her husband. “Right now, I had received information that I will be their next target,” he said, adding that he is not afraid of the threat. Senior Supt. Rodolfo Castil Jr., acting provincial police director, said he also does not believe that it was NPA rebels who killed Lumayno. Police Chief Inspector John Joel Batusbatusan, Calatrava police chief, claimed that the suspects may have holed up at a sugarcane field for at least two days waiting for the victims to pass by. This was confirmed, he said, with the recovery of foodstuff and canned goods in the area. Armando Villarin, Lumayno’s cousin, said the suspects shouted they were NPA members after the ambush.
EUGENE Y. ADIONG