By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The police is still facing a blank wall in the murder of an activist in Kiangan, Ifugao.
Police Superintendent John Colinio, Ifugao provincial police director, said in a text message that no witness has surfaced yet and that they have not gathered any solid evidence to point to whoever killed William Bugatti.
Bugatti, the officer-in-charge of the Ifugao Research Development Center (IRDC) and a paralegal of the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA), was gunned down while on his way home along the provincial road in Bolog, Kiangan on March 25.
Colinio said the police task force is doing its best to resolve the killing. “Our task force is continuously engaging with office mates, neighbors, relatives and friends of William if they could shed light on the incident, hoping we could extract valuable information,” Colinio said in a text message.
Lawyer Jennifer Assuncion, CHRA vice chairperson, pointed to a problem hampering the police task force’s approach at investigation. “Why should they put the burden of shedding light to the killing on the office mates and relatives of the victim? It is the police’s job to find evidence that would lead to the arrest and prosecution of the perpetrators,” she said.
Assuncion reiterated that the office mates and relatives are also victims grieving for the loss of their loved ones and all they want is for justice to be served. “We demand for the conduct of an impartial and competent investigation so that the culprits will be brought to the bar of justice,” she said.
Assuncion cited a court ruling in the James Balao case where the court found the police investigation insufficient because they only relied on the information the colleagues and family of Balao gathered. She said that Bugatti’s case is similar with the police only looking at the information they could extract from the office mates and relatives of Bugatti.
Bugatti’s colleagues in an indignation rally last week pointed at state security forces as perpetrators. Bugatti earlier figured in the target list of the Army’s 86th Infrantry Battalion stationed in Ifugao at the time that the CHRA got a copy of in 2012. He was listed as number 21 and labeled as brains of the New People’s Army (NPA).
General Roger Salvador in an earlier interview denied the involvement of the Philippine Army in the killing of Bugatti. He claimed that Bugatti is at odds with the NPA for spending some of his revolutionary tax collections for personal use.
Salvador also said being included in a target list does not mean one would get killed.
In an interview in a television network, Salvador said those who figured in a military list need to go to the army and clear their names. (Northern Dispatch/ Reposted by Bulatlat.com)