An official of the Philippine Army urged activists in Negros Island to seek government help for protection if they feel there is a real threat on their lives.
That was the reaction of Maj. Cenon Pancito, 3rd Infantry Division spokesperson, when sought for comment after local activists, who are vocal against the Duterte administration, said they received death threats early this week.
Human rights group Karapatan, through its national public information desk, said it received a text message Sunday, March 7, that named the 10 activists in Negros Island alleged to be the next targets of the “Kill, kill, kill” program.
Karapatan Negros claimed that the threats came from state forces, as they are the only ones who have the motive as shown by their relentless attacks and intimidation.
But Pancito stressed that the 3rd IB “vehemently denies that the text messages were coming from the Philippine Army.”
“We find no logic on the insinuations simply because it will be very unlikely for anybody to commit a crime by warning their targets. It is as if saying that it’s beneficial for a theft to rob a house by telling the house owner that they intend to conduct robbery,” he pointed out.
He also stressed that it is never a practice of the Army to go after activists.
“Activism is a manifestation of our vibrant democracy. We always subscribe to the idea of respecting the rights of every Filipino so long that they respect the rights of others and will not commit any acts that will run contrary to existing laws,” he said.
He advised the activists “to seek the help of the government to protect them” should they believe there is a real threat against them.
“Our doors will always be open to those who feel threatened and need the services of the uniformed service, whether the Philippine National Police or the Philippine Army,” he added.*