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Kidapawan clergy condemns killing of Cotabato LGU’s chief security officer

 • 02:16 AM Wed Feb 10, 2016
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By: 
Malu C. Manar

KIDAPAWAN CITY – The Diocesan Clergy of Kidapawan (DCK) has condemned the brutal slay of the chief Civil Security Unit (CSU) of the North Cotabato provincial government. Bernabe Abanilla, also known in the community as ‘Bantito,’ was killed outside a parish church in Barangay Doruloman,Arakan, North Cotabato at about 8a.m. on Sunday. For Diocesan administrator Monsignor Carlito Garcia, the killing was a violation of the right to worship. Abanilla, together with his family and bodyguard Jerson Semillano, were on their way to attend a Sunday mass at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Poblacion, when unidentified armed men shot him several times in different parts of his body.He died on the spot.His bodyguard was also killed. Garcia said the mass has just started when shots were heard outside. Most people inside the Church lied down on the floor.Others looked from thhrough themain door and the windows and they saw several killers shooting repeatedly two victims,” said Garcia. Some said that Abanilla could have run inside the church, instead, he sought cover on the other side of the building where he was shot to his death. Garcia said the mass celebrator blessed the bodies of the victims when the commotion has subsided and later resumed the mass. A day after the killing, the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) under the Mount Apo sub-regional operations command, owned up the killing and considered Abanilla’s death a ‘triumph’ of the Filipino masses. The statement, sent by the group’s spokesperson through emails of selected media organizations, said Abanilla was behind the killing in 2002 of student human rights activist Beng Hernandez and the brutal murder in 2011 of Italian missionary Father Fausto Tentorio. The rebel spokesperson has also linked Abanilla to Cotabato 2nddistrict Representative Nancy Catamco. For the NPA, Abanilla has aided Catamco in her attempts to rescue the indigenous peoples whom she believed were held hostage inside a protestant Church in Davao City by the NPAs and the progressive groups. Catamco denied the NPA claim. Although she admitted having ‘worked’ with Abanilla in 2010 during her first congressional bid, this has changed in 2013. Catamco said Abanilla has even worked ‘so hard’ to discredit her candidacy during the May 2013 elections. Even before his death on February 7, I was told he has also supported several campaigns to destroy me.So, it’s so weird or absurd that the NPAs would link Abanilla to me,” said the legislator. She even challenged the NPAs to show proof that, indeed, she is connected to the province’s CSU chief. For this, Catamco said the attempt of the rebels to connect her to Abanilla was ‘politically motivated.’

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