23 May NPA Killed a Tribal Leader in Malaybalay City
On Tuesday morning, May 17, the New People’s Army (NPA) stormed Datu Benjamin “Otto” Omao’s office and killed him. 6 armed men were reported to have made the attack. Empty shells of AK-47 rifles were also found in the crimes scene.
Omao is an indigenous people’s mandatory representative at Malaybalay City’s legislative council.
According to Ariel “Inda” Magbanwag, the NPA-South Central Bukidnon spokesperson, Omao is a “hardened criminal, land grabber, and a rabid counter-revolutionary.”
Magbanwag also added, “He was notorious in the area for his association with the bandit group Delamance. He was abhorred and feared by the people for a long time because he was armed.”
Omao was reportedly protected by a retired Colonel since 1995. He was chosen as IP mandatory representative in Malaybalay through coercion, intimidating his fellow chieftains in voting for him.
He was also known as a Marijuana seller in 2005-2006. In 2007 he illegally grabbed a land in Sitio Umbawan, Barangay Managok, Malaybalay.
Magbanwag said, “The people in Malaybalay and Cabanglasan have long been asking to punish Omao.”
Capt. Joe Patrick Martinez said in a statement, “This action by the NPA is a clear contradiction to their propaganda, claiming that they support Lumad rights. In fact, this is another case in the long list of an estimated 428 Lumad killings perpetrated by the NPA.”
Yet the NPA is true to their actions that they are asking the local government in the area not to place an IP mandatory representative who has a criminal record and oppressive to his fellow members. This is their motivation in killing Omao and they are never contradictory to their propaganda.
In the incident, two other civilians were wounded and treated with proper medical assistance. They are Barangay Aglayan’s tribal leader Thelma Saieto and office staff Sammy Talucdo.