The Commercial Appeal

Philippine police kill 9 in raids

- Jim Gomez

MANILA, Philippine­s – Philippine police backed by military forces killed nine people over the weekend in a series of raids against suspected communist insurgents, with authoritie­s saying the suspects opened fire first. Others, however, said those killed were unarmed activists.

Police said Monday that all of those killed were associated with “communist terrorist groups” and had shot at officers while being served search warrants. The suspects died before arriving at hospitals, police said.

Police served at least 24 search warrants, mostly for illegal firearms and explosives, in Cavite, Laguna, Batangas and Rizal provinces over the weekend. Police said six other suspects were arrested, and nine escaped.

The killings drew condemnati­ons by left-wing and rights groups, which demanded an investigat­ion into what some described as executions of legitimate activists being carried out under the guise of a crackdown on rebels who have been fighting a Marxist insurgency for the past five decades.

The Department of Justice will investigat­e the deaths, officials said.

Cristina Palabay of the rights group Karapatan said many of those killed belonged to political and workers’ groups. She said one slain couple who led a fishermen’s group were gunned down by police as their 10-year-old son watched while hiding under a bed.

National police chief Gen. Debold Sinas denied the suspects were victims of extrajudic­ial killings.

“Those were legitimate operations because they were covered by search warrants,” Sinas said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA