By Jeffrey Damicog
The respondents, who were tagged in the 2018 Sagay City massacre incident, have been given more time by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to respond to the allegations against them.
“We were given an additional 15 days to prepare for our counter-affidavit,” said lawyer Luz Perez following Wednesday’s (July 17) hearing conducted by a panel of prosecutors chaired by Assistant State Prosecutor Fernando Fernandez.
The panel is currently conducting a preliminary investigation over the multiple murder complaint filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP).
Perez, who is a lawyer under the Sentro Para sa Tunay na Reporma, represents two of the respondents in the case, namely, National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) members Rene Manlangit and Rogelio Arquillo, both of whom were not present in Wednesday’s proceedings.
During the hearing, Fernandez gave Manlangit and Arquillo until August 1 to file their counter-affidavits in response to the PNP complaint.
Aside from Manlangit and Arquillo, Fernandez said the PNP has filed an amended complaint which added five more respondents in the case, namely, Dario Dayanan, Edgar Cabiles, Jethro Danoso, and two others known only as Regan and Klark.
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 themselves 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.