MANILA - The Philippine National Police on Monday said it is eyeing several angles in the massacre of 9 sugar workers at the Hacienda Nene in Sagay City, Negros Occidental.
PNP chief Director General Oscar Albayalde said those who killed the farmers may be hired goons of the hacienda owner, fellow claimants of the land, or communist rebels.
The fatalities, who were members of the militant group National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW), had occupied the hacienda as part of an agrarian reform assertion campaign called "Bungkalan."
They were gunned down while they were having dinner on Saturday night.
Albayalde claimed "all indications" suggest the participation of the New People's Army in "Bungkalan" that allegedly aims to "create untoward incident then blame it to the government.
"All indications suggest the participation of the CPP/NPA in pursuit of their 'Oplan Bungkalan at Okupasyon,' a grand design to occupy private and government property using their mass base and to create untoward incident then blame it on the government," the PNP chief said.
But the NFSW had earlier said farmers joining the "bungkalan" campaign are just cultivating idle farmlands that had been covered by agrarian reform.
Albayalde said he has directed his men to explore all angles in their investigation and to gather solid pieces of evidence that will "support an airtight case" they will be filing before the courts.
He said the police and military their continue pursuit operations after the killing, while a special investigation task group will be probing deeper into the incident.
"The Philippine National Police condemns, in the strongest sense, this despicable attack on poor peasants," the PNP chief added, as he expressed his sympathies to the victims' families.