By Ali G. Macabalang
COTABATO CITY – The interim Parliament of the Bangsamoro Autonomous governance has joined the bandwagon of public condemnations of the recent kidnap-slay of a Muslim female online jewelry seller, and demanded maximum punishment for the suspects, including five police elements in Nueva Ecija.
“I condemn in strongest terms the kidnapping and cold-blooded murder of… Maranao woman, Nadia Casar, by rogue members of the Philippine National Police,” lawyer Pangalian Balindong, regional parliament speaker and erstwhile four-term member of the House of Representatives, said Saturday.
Balindong, a Maranao like Casar, said the public outrage heightened amid the fact that the “supposed servants and protectors” of “helpless” civilians burned the victim’s “body beyond recognition in an attempt to hide…the crime.”
His written statement was backed up by Zia Alonto-Adiong, a member of the 80-seat Parliament, through a resolution assailing the incident, especially the involvement of police elements.
Adiong’s resolution acknowledged PNP Chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar’s order for the swift summary dismissal from service of the five cops and the filing of criminal cases in the Department of Justice alongside two civilian suspects named as Dario Robarios and Franklin “Kelly” Macapagal.
Like Speaker Balindong, Parliament Member Adiong the “barbaric” acts by the cop-suspects connoted “urgent need to institutionalize reforms in our security sectors, especially the PNP.”
The five cop suspects – Staff Sgt. Benedict Matias, Staff Sgt. June Malillin, Corporal Julius Alcantara, Master Sgt. Rowen Martin, and Staff Sgt. Drextemir Esmundo – have reportedly been “under custody” or detained after their arrests or surrenders.
Civilian suspect Macapagal allegedly contacted Casar to buy an item offered online. Casar hired a Grab driver, went to Nueva Ecija from Cavite and delivered to Macapagal in Nueva Ecija his ordered stuff. While returning, Casar and the driver were blocked by five men aboard a car and a motorcycle in Barangay Tagpos, Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija at about 1:45 p.m. on July 20, investigations showed.
Suspects took the Grab driver’s mobile phone and P4,500 cash and freed him the next day. The driver reported the incident to a nearby police station, where he recognized one of the outfit’s organizational chart photos as that of one of the cop-suspects, it was learned.
On Aug. 1, the burnt remains of Cesar were recovered from a shallow pit in Sitio Pinagpala, Barangay Imelda Valley in Palayan City at around 2:30 p.m.
Speaker Balindong said “the brazen acts of human rights violations perpetrated by scoundrels in uniform only serve to smear the good image and reputation of the PNP.”
On Aug. 4, House Deputy Speaker and Basilan lone Rep. Mujiv Hataman berated the alleged role of cops in Casar’s kidnap-slay as “reprehensible” and an act of “savagery.”
“Friends and relatives of Nadia Casar, including the whole Muslim community, are calling for justice. Hers was a life cut short because of the greed of people, people who are supposed to protect her in the first place,” Hataman said.
Balindong said “the incident breeds enmity and distrust at a time when the Bangsamoro, as a people, is moving forward in our commitment for peace and cooperation.”
Fellow Muslim traders in Nueva Ecija had staged street peace rallies, while religious, traditional and professional Moro sectors demanded “maximum punishments” for the suspects amid speculations that Casar could have also been raped before she was killed and her cadaver burned, placed in a sack and buried in a shallow pit. (PMT)