SUSPECTED New People’s Army (NPA) rebels murdered Swiss-Filipino businessman Patrick Wineger in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato yesterday morning, according to combined military and police reports.
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Eastern Mindanao Command (EMC) spokesperson Col. Leopoldo R. Galon, Jr. in a text message reported that two armed men on board a motorcycle fired at various parts of the victim’s body while he was surveying the market at Vilamarso St. Kidapawan City at 7:40 a.m.
Superintendent Renante Cabico, Kidapawan City Police Chief, said the victim was a naturalized Filipino. His mother was a native from Basilan, and his father a Swiss national.
Mr. Wineger who owned a rubber plantation in Barangay Saguing, Makilala, North Cotabato was active in peace campaigns in the region. He prioritized the hiring of former rebels to work in his plantation, said the EMC spokesperson.
According to the Kidapawan City Police chief, extortion is a possible motive for the killing.
Police suspect the victim had connections with the military based on the three IDs they recovered.
“He had an appointment to the military intelligence battalion,” Mr. Cabico said.
“He had been receiving multiple threats from the NPAs because he (Mr. Wineger) had been cooperating with the military,” the police chief added.
Last year, the rebel forces’ guerilla operations and other criminal activities such as arson, bombing, robbery, kidnapping, and murder claimed the lives of 56 civilians.
The collection of “revolutionary taxes” from mining firms and plantation operators last year reached P300 million, raising the total to P1.8 billion since 1998, according to military intel.