The Commercial Appeal
Philippine police kill 9 in raids
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 fire first. 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 officers while being served search warrants. The suspects died before arriving at hospitals, police said.
Police served at least 24 search warrants, mostly for illegal firearms 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 fighting a Marxist insurgency for the past five decades.
The Department of Justice will investigate the deaths, officials 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 fishermen’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.