NORTH COTABATO — Provincial officials reiterated Thursday their appeal for a speedy closure to the August 29 murder of nine Moro motorists in Kabacan town allegedly perpetrated by non-uniformed policemen.
North Cotabato Gov. Nancy Catamco said Thursday she has called on the families of the nine men during a dialogue Monday to remain sober and wait for the outcome of an inter-agency probe on the incident.
Provincial and municipal leaders who accompanied Catamco to the venue of the meeting also told reporters about their wishes for an immediate dispensation of justice for the victims of the atrocity.
“Corresponding criminal cases shall be filed against the culprits based on the result of on-going investigation,” Catamco said.
The victims were on separate motorcycles en route to the town proper of Kabacan when their attackers flagged them town in Barangay Aringgay in the same municipality and shot them with assault rifles, killing eight on the spot.
The ninth victim died in a hospital about three hours later.
“I told the relatives of the nine victims that my administration will not take sides. Whoever perpetrated the killings shall be prosecuted. We don’t care if they are on the side of the government whatsoever,” Catamco said.
She said Romeo Catingjo, director for Region 12 of the National Bureau of Investigation, and his subordinate-agents are now wrapping up their findings on the August 29 incident that caused tension among residents of Kabacan, home to mixed Muslim and Christian communities.
“Let us refrain from putting religious and political colors to the incident. It was a heinous crime that needs full closure based on the penal code. Let us give the agencies probing on it enough time to complete their task of identifying the perpetrators whom we shall soon prosecute,” Catamco said.
Catamco provided the families of the nine Moro men cash assistance during their meeting last Monday. (Sept. 10. 2020)