PALACE FINALLY ORDERS VIGAN MASSACRE PROBE

Manila, April 11, 2003 -- Malacaņang has finally decided to provide a five-man security team for the survivors of the Rafanan family that was ambushed in Ilocos Sur more than a week ago.

President Arroyo gave the order in the wake of criticisms that her administration had turned a deaf ear on the cry for justice of radio commentator Efren Rafanan, who survived the March 13 ambush together with his daughter, Renelyn.

Rafanan's wife, Evelyn, and son, Raffy, were killed, along with their bodyguard, Elgin de Ocampo, in the ambush near the radio dzXE station in Vigan.

Presidential spokesman Ignacio Bunye said PNP chief Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. has already assigned the security team and has also directed the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) to assist in the investigation of the case.

Ebdane denied reports that the government and the police had ignored the accusation of Rafanan and the Save Ilocos Sur Alliance that former Ilocos Sur Gov. Luis "Chavit" Singson was behind the killing. Rafanan is a Singson critic and has accused him of the continued proliferation of jueteng in Ilocos Sur.

Ebdane said the CIDG would handle the formal questioning of Singson, who has denied Rafanan's allegations. (By JOCELYN MONTEMAYOR, Malaya


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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