DAVAO CITY — The New People’s Army on Sunday released its official statement owning up to the killing of Agusan del Sur town mayor. The NPAs said they “meted the maximum sentence of death penalty against Loreto Mayor and Bagani paramilitary leaders Dario Otaza and his son, Daryl,” on October 19 in Butuan City.
In a statement, Rigoberto F. Sanchez, spokesperson of NPA Southern Mindanao Regional Command said the Otazas killing “give justice to the thousands of indigenous peoples and peasants terrorized by their despotic tyranny in Loreto and surrounding municipalities of Agusan del Sur.”
“Revolutionary justice prevailed when the Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the New People’s Army, acting on the decision of the people’s court, authorized the imposition of standing order and punished warlords (Government of the Philippines) mayor Dario Otaza and Daryl Otaza to give justice to the thousands of indigenous peoples and peasants terrorized by their despotic tyranny in Loreto and surrounding municipalities of Agusan del Sur,” said Sanchez.
The NPA claimed that they posed as National Bureau of Investigation elements who raided the Otaza residence in Barangay Baan, Butuan City.
Sanchez said the NPAs “consfiscated four bushmasters rifles, two .45 caliber pistols and two 9mm pistols.”
He said the NPAs “found in Otaza’s possession some P25,000.00 which had been secured and shall be returned to the family through a third party in the soonest possible time.”
He said “the people’s court found Dario Otaza guilty of masterminding and ordering the execution of heinous crimes against the people and the revolutionary movement.”
The cases the NPA said included the “brutal murder and torture of the Lumad and ordinary civilians, namely, Benjie Planos of Brgy. Kauswagan, killed September 13, 2013; Gabriel Alindao of Brgy, Kauswagan killed October 10, 2013 and Gerry Villamor of Datu Ampunan, killed September 10, 2014, all in Loreto, Agusan Del Sur.”
Sanchez said the Otazas are also responsible for the multiple frustrated murder and robbery of some families residing in Km 16, Brgy. Datu Davao, Loreto on September 9, 2014 “perpetrated by Bukakang Banggaan and certain Augit and Intoy who are members of the Otaza-created Taptap paramilitary group.”
He said they are withholding the names of the victims “for their protection.”
The NPAs also included the following in the list of the cases of the Otazas: arson, torture of four minors, hamletting and imposition of food and economic blockade in five villages in Brgy. Kauswagan, Loreto, forced evacuation, which led to the dislocation of 459 Manobos, divestment and destruction of not less than 100 hectares of agricultural land and upland farms, attacks against and closure of two community based learning centers, and coercion and forcible recruitment of Lumads into paramiltary or bagani group.
Sanchez added Otaza “established and built intelligence networks within NPA territories in Agusan del Sur for purposes of counter-revolutionary operations of the AFP, including developing, maintaining, directing of assets for infiltration, espionage and sabotage.”
He said “Otaza was also complicit in the sell-out of more than 30,000 hectares of lands in Loreto, Agusan del Sur to a foreign palm oil plantation company.”
Sanchez said despite repeated warnings “they remained unremorseful.”
“In refusing to rectify to return to non-violent civilian governance, they continue to employ and arm paramilitary and Bagani troops to secure and fortify their oppressive rule and bureaucrat-capitalist interest. Hence, the Otazas made themselves legitimate targets by the NPA,” he said.
Mayor Otaza, a former rebel, has also served as National Commission on Indigenous People before he became a mayor of Loreto in 2010.
Otaza is reportedly instrumental to the surrender of 154 NPA members.
“In the case of Daryl Otaza, aside from directly participating in the commission of the above-mentioned crimes, he was a notorious drug lord in the town of Loreto and surrounding areas,” said Sanchez.
In news reports, the military described Daryl as “mentally-challenged”.
Mayor Otaza, 53 and Daryl, 27 were taken from their house at 6:00 pm on Monday and were found dead around 7:00 am the next day in Purok 2, Barangay Bitan-agan, Butuan City.
Malacañang, in a statement, condemned the killing of the two and said Otaza was part of the success of the government’s anti-insurgency campaign. (davaotoday.com)