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DOJ gives Sagay massacre suspects last chance to respond to allegations

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By Jeffrey Damicog

Two men who have been tagged for their involvement in the 2018 Sagay City massacre have been given one last chance to respond to the allegations against them before the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Associate Prosecuting Attorney Miguel Flores, a member of the panel of prosecutors handling the case, said National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) members Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo have until July 17 to submit their respective counter-affidavits.

“This is their last chance,” Flores stressed.

“After July 17 submitted na for decision (the case will be submitted for decision),” he added.

The panel is currently conducting a preliminary investigation over the multiple murder complaint filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) against Manlangit and Arquillo over their alleged involvement in the massacre.

Flores lamented the respondents nor their representatives neither appeared nor submitted counter-affidavits during the hearings held by the panel on April 26 in Bacolod City and May 22 in Manila.

The case was transferred to the DOJ’s National Prosecution Service (NPS) in Manila after the Sagay City Prosecutor’s Office and the Region VI Regional Prosecutor’s Office inhibited them from handling the preliminary investigation.

The complaint concerns the Oct. 20, 2018 killing of nine NFSW members inside Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.

The victims were allegedly enticed to join the NFSW and were manipulated by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) to occupy the property as part of Oplan Bungkalan and Okupasyon.

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