MANILA -- The New People's Army (NPA) owned up to last week's ambush-slaying of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon Mayor Mario Okinlay, saying he was killed for his counter-revolutionary cause and oppression of the people.
Okinlay was driving his big bike as he led a convoy of municipal employees and Army and police escorts from an outreach mission in remote Barangay Bontongan when the attack took place last Wednesday.
In a statement, NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Operations Command spokesman Alan Juanito said Okinlay has given government troops the "full backing to live among civilians."
He also charged Okinlay of allowing the military to "occupy public buildings in a number of barrios, putting up checkpoints wherever and whenever they see fit."
In some barrios, Juanito alleged that some civilians were starved as Okinlay regulated the weekly rice procurement to five kilos, and imposed the farmers' work schedule to 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
"He outrightly ignored the revolutionary movement’s reminder in 2006 to address the issues the people have raised against him. In 2013, he merely tricked the NPA unit operating in the area that admonished him for his counterrevolutionary deeds," Juanito said.
Juanito added that Okinlay recently condemned the revolutionary movement.
"Okinlay was well aware of the weight of his crimes against the revolution that, despite his notoriety in Bukidnon as a Texas-style sharp-shooter, he moved around with heavily armed escorts," Juanito said.
He also said the people of Impasug-ong has long endured Okinlay's supposed "oppressive and exploitative rule," with the mayor allegedly grabbing lands of at least 50 people.
"During elections, he hit back on voters who did not vote for him. There have also been cases of harassment and manhandling of civilians who opt to suffer in silence for their own safety," he said.
Juanito also taunted the military for failing to protect their "close ally," adding that the death of Okinlay is a "big slap on the face" of 8th Infantry Battalion commander Lt. Col. Romualdo Raymund Landingin, especially after his battallion moved to Impasug-ong town just last February.
"For his many poor victims, justice has finally been served," Juanito said, adding that Okinlay’s death serves as a warning to local officials "to end their active role" in the military's counter-insurgent operations and campaigns."