Samar SP: abductions,
summary executions of civilians in Samar alarming
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
CATBALOGAN, Samar ‑‑ The Provincial Board
Members here on Thursday broke their silence and condemned the series of
abductions, killings, summary executions of civilians in the different
municipalities of this province.
The killing and abduction
incidents sow fear to local residents and its respective town officials in
Calbiga, Hinabangan, Paranas, Jiabong, Motiong, San Jorge, Gandara, and
Catbalogan as if there is "Martial Law" imposed in these areas. The town
dads of these municipalities are making steps now to solve the menace, it
under Martial Rule!?
In an exclusive interview
with Samar Vice‑Governor Jesus B. Redaja on Thursday, April 14, he has urged
all town leaders, particularly the Municipal Peace and Order Councils of
each municipality to act and gather more evidence for the possible
investigation. "Iton nga Council, kay mayda man hiton kaapi nga pulis
ngan army, dapat maghatag ito hira han ira mga report bahin hine nga mga
panhitabo”, VG Redaja said.
Redaja added "(Because)
this is really alarming. Kun magpadayon ngani ine, baga‑baga la kita hine
han mayda Martial Law, deri ine maupay ngan kinahanglan matagan dayon ine
nga problema hin kasulbaran. Mga kinabuhi gud ine han mga tawo nga nawawara
deri kay kanan mga hayop la."
Board Member and ABC
President Joseph Escober, on his part said, the scenario next to Martial
Rule in late 70s is seems to be like this. "(And), I am alarmed by this
developments, I don't like this (killings, salvaging, abductions) happened
in our beloved Samar and
anywhere in the countryside,"
Escober told this writer giving hint that he is now gathering information
for his own investigation.
According to Escober, he
didn't like the reports reaching his office that those involved perpetrators
are representative of the government which primary mission is to protect and
serve the people. "Baliktad yata ang nangyayari dito sa ‘tin ah. Most of
the victims and witnesses point to military as the culprit," the
official said adding that he is aware that these incidents also happened in
the provinces of Eastern and Northern Samar and in Leyte areas.
complaining this province is seems like under the military control, we can
see soldier in every corner, in every barangay... there were also news that
the military has allegedly imposed a 10p.m. curfew to all in Brgy. San
Andres, Catbalogan. There were also reports reaching me that some hinterland
villages of this province are deserted due to militarization and abuses
allegedly committed by the troops of the 8th Infantry Division under the
leadership of Brig. General Jovito Palparan, we need to check this out,"
Member Concepcion ‘Dayday’ De Luna, who is not visibly seen in the province
for the past few weeks, an act unusual to her constituents, refused to
comment when asked for her reactions to the series of abductions, bombings,
and killings to the Bayan Muna members in Eastern Visayas. "Let's just
wait for our next move, we're still in the process of consolidating
evidences against the culprits," Board Member De Luna who is a noted
strong supporter of Bayan Muna stressed.
To recall, identified
supporters and leaders of Bayan Muna and other militant groups in the
provinces of Eastern Visayas has been either ambushed, abducted, and worst,
being killed. To date, still, no person or groups showed claiming
responsibility over the killings. The victim's relatives, however, claimed
that these are the handiwork of the military in their pursuit to elusive
members of the local New People's Army. "Their aim to silence us all, no
questions asked, no due process, killing us like pigs is very wrong and
pro‑evil, " a kin of the slain Bayan Muna member said.
victim's terror stories
In Catbalogan alone, the
police have recorded, as of March 31, a total of seven (not to mention those
unrecorded) abductions and killings occurred in the remote villages, and
some even in the Poblacion of Catbalogan.
In the morning of April
02, this year, a security guard identified as certain Dario Carcellar y
Castillo, 33 years old, married wished to put in the police records that a
certain 2nd Lieutenant Albert Basquiñas of the Military Intelligence
Battalion Group allegedly boxed him four times hitting his breast and head
for the motive of suspecting him as NPA member.
Later at night, one
Cristina Abalos y Quinawayan, 35, single and resident of KM-2 South Road,
Brgy Guindapunan, this town, reported to the police that her father Patricio
Abalos, of legal age, was abducted in the evening of March 28. She later
found out that her abducted father, after a thorough search, was in the
custody of the Military Intelligence Battalion Group of the 8th Infantry
Division based in Brgy Maulong, Catbalogan, Samar.
A daughter of the victim
identified the team leader who arrested her father even without warrant of
arrest as certain Lieutenant Basquiñas of the MIB of the 8ID. The suspect
was also named by another complainant Oliver Abalos of KM‑2 South Road,
Catbalogan, Samar as the same person who led the 6-man team who forcibly
entered and search his house on March 31, 2005.
Three days later, on April
05, at around 7:15 p.m., a certain Adelaida Cabadora y Tumagara, 26 years
old, married, a resident of Sitio Mabolo Brgy. Canlapwas, Catbalogan, Samar
reported and alleged that her husband Rico Cabadora, of legal age, never
return home from selling taho on April 5, 2005. Mrs. Cabadora suspects that
her husband was snatched by men in uniform.
One hour later on the same
day, another wife identified by the police as Loreta Fabillar y Del Rosario,
56 years old, a resident of Sitio Mabolo, Brgy. Canlapwas also rushed to the
Catbalogan PNP station and alleged that her two sons ‑Vivencio, 31 and
Alfredo, 24 ‑ were abducted by five unidentified persons on board a
dark-colored closed van. The suspects were all armed with M‑16 Armalite
rifles, the complainant said.
Also in the same date and
place, Francisca Laboc y Cabijan, 50 years old, also alleged that her son
Jaime, 23 years old, married, was also abducted by the same group at gun
point. Few days later, the bodies of the two abducted persons were seen in
Brgy. Canticum, Calbiga, Samar already dead.
In the different stories
of the victims recorded in the police log book, it was notably observed by
the Catbaloganons the use of the suspects of military uniforms, government
issued M‑16 Armalite rifles, and the bravery of the suspects to operate in
broad day light.
abductions and killings continues
Another killings and
salvaging happened in the previous days were the shooting to death of the
former rebel now outstanding cooperative leader and agrarian reform
beneficiary of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Rodrigo Sugalan in
In Catbalogan, Samuel
Dote, a rebel returnee and employee of LGU-Catbalogan, was shot to death by
still unidentified assassins while riding on his motorbike on his way to
A known social issue
activist Oscar Cabacang was also reportedly abducted this week but
fortunately released by his abductors the following day. He refused, though,
to tell his ordeal as of the moment.
Of this writing, several
unconfirmed reports on abductions continue to reach to the local authorities
and media. Local residents are afraid of the black van and motorcycle with
no plate number roaming around the town of Catbalogan forcing suspicious
civilians to go with them somewhere else. Most of the supposed victims
declined to be identified and named the suspects.
Of these developments, the
Sangguniang Bayan of Catbalogan has appealed to civilians to take extra
careful and to be vigilant always. The SB office has also directed the
police authorities to investigate and solve the crime incidents happening
within the town jurisdiction.
Meanwhile, Catbalogan PNP
Chief of Police Inspector Gaudencio Vencio has also expressed alarm to the
developments in Catbalogan. For so long a time, he had been keeping this
place safe and peaceful but now ruined by these people terrorizing the
civilians under his jurisdiction. He always urged the victims to file and
sign affidavit of complaints in order for them to act.
"Pero wala talaga, ayaw
nila gawin yun... siguro sa takot. Well, I cannot blame them, sino ba naman
ang hindi matatakot dyan sa mga nangyayari ngayon ",
Insp. Vencio told this writer reassuring that they will continue conducting
their nightly patrol.
"We also wish to help
but our hands were tied off unless the victims and the civilians cooperate,"
Insp. Vencio stressed. "I urged them (the victims) not to be afraid but
instead fight for their freedom and safety," he disclosed.
For several occasions, the
8th Infantry Division based in Brgy. Maulong, Catbalogan has previously
denied the involvement of the troops in the menace plaguing the different
towns of Samar. An Army official of the 8ID said "We are disciplined
soldier and we cannot do the acts done by the abductors and killers of the
said incidents,” the Army official who preferred to hide his name and
his unit said.
The Division’s Commanding
General, MajGen Jovito S. Palparan has also earlier denied any of the
incidents but pointed to the enemy as possible perpetrators. He also showed
strong commitments to get rid of all the enemy of state. “Soldiery is my
role, war is my game”, General Palparan was quoted by the media as saying.
Villagers in Samar
accused military for abuses
By RICKY J. BAUTISTA
April 14, 2005
SAN JORGE, Samar ‑ Some 600
residents of the five hinterland villages of this municipality seek the
intervention of the Human Right groups and concerned government officials
for the abuses allegedly committed by the Army's 34th Infantry Battalion
Special Operations Team (SOT) stationed in Brgy. Erenas, this locality.
As a result, many
residents of these villages already evacuated and transferred to another
place leaving behind their farms, animals and belongings for fear that the
military will kill them as they were being suspected as supporters of the
local New People's Army.
As this developed, these
residents coming from the villages of Sinit‑an, Guadalupe, Hernandez, Bay‑ang
and Bungliw, having a total population of 776, led by their respective
Barangay officials, sought an audience with Mayor Joseph V. Grey and his
Sangguniang Bayan members. They also wish to see Samar Governor Milagrosa T.
Tan and Samar First District Representative Reynaldo Uy to air their
grievances against the "inhumane" treatment of the military to the barrio
town officials' hike to get villagers' complaints
In behalf of Mayor Grey,
Vice‑Mayor Marcelina D. Yu and the entire Sangguniang Bayan members, the DA,
PNP, all of San Jorge and this writer on Thursday (April 7) hiked up and
trekked the said villages, which is almost 17 kilometers away from the
poblacion proper, to personally hear the complaints of the villagers.
Lieutenant Loki Marco, a graduate of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA),
who represented the 34th IB was also with the group to counter‑check the
The group first arrived in
Brgy. Sinit‑an around 11 a.m., and shortly after taking lunch, they gathered
the remaining barrio folks and asked them what realty happened. Residents of
the village told the town officials that their neighbors, twenty‑seven (27)
houses all‑in‑all, have already migrated to other places except for the last
three houses whose house‑owners cannot leave their house and their
Residents further narrated
that there were only eight of them in the village now remained. The entire
village's surroundings such as church, primary school, basketball court and
plaza, which were previously full of happy residents ‑ young and old ‑ are
now filled with silence. Most of the houses were close and a band of
military personnel, whose length of stay in said place is still unknown,
dominated some of the houses.
"Waray na gud an iba
magpahawid paglakat dinhi Sir, kay nahadlok ha mga military, guintarhog man
gud kami dinhi. Duha na gud nga kapitan dinhi an guinpatay han waray pa
kakilal‑i nga mga suspetsado, hino pa man an deri mahadlok hito nga
sitwasyon, Sir?” A certain ‘Reah’,
the village Sangguniang Kabataan president told this writer.
When the group visited the
villages of Guadalupe, Hernandez and Bungliw respectively, the barrio folks
aired the same complaints. The presence of a military official (Lt. Marco)
in each meeting, who always denied any involvement of the military in the
incidents, did not hinder the barrio folks to tell the town officials their
abuses according to barrio folks
Among the complaints aired
by the residents was the following: In Bungliw, Chairman Alex Bildad and his
constituents accused the military of harassing and threatening to kill them
if they will not cooperate to the military. "Nagsiring hira (Army) nga ha
usa pa ha ira an ma-ambush,
napulo nga barriohanon an kabalyo. Ngan kun deri ngani daw kami magsumat kun
hino ngan hain an mga NPA, susunogin daw nira an amon baryo, asya nga
nangaro dayon kami bulig ha municipyo,"
Bildad said which claim was supported by his constituents surrounding him.
Residents and village
officials of Guadalupe and Hernandez also accused the military of violating
their rights as human being. They said, some military men did not pay their
order at the store, never return borrowed house belongings, directing women
on their way to climb a coconut tree for them and prohibiting them to sleep
at nighttime in farmlands away from their homes.
“Mayda pa nira mga
tarhug nga an molupyo nga deri nadaop han ira patawag nga meeting, kontra
daw nira, sanglit bisan kami may mga buruhaton pa nadaop gud dayon kami para
deri kami mapagkamalan nga mga NPA,”
a lady-resident in Brgy. Hernandez said.
When asked if they were
sure the culprits are military, they said "Sure gud kami tungod han ira
logo nga 34th IB nga nakabutang ha ira mga uniform." In fact, they said,
they can identify some if they will see them again.
Meanwhile, sources said
the sudden increase of the alleged military abuses in the hinterland
villages of San Jorge, Samar begun right after the ambush incident occurred
in Brgy. Palencia, Tarangnan, Samar last March 3, 2005 wherein one of the
military belonging to the 34th IB was killed. The perpetrators, believed to
be members of the New People's Army from Eastern Samar, reportedly used the
route passing the villages of Sinit‑an‑Guadalupe‑Hernandez and Bungliw in
their escape against the pursuit of the Army reinforcement.
Few days after the ambush
incident, reports came out that the house of a local resident located near
the ambush site was burned including the couple resulting to their death.
The Nipa house‑owner is being suspected having participation with the
ambush. Up to now, there are no claimants as to who is responsible to both
On March 12, or nine (9)
days after the ambush incident, a certain Benito ‘Bening’ Mabini, Chairman
of Brgy. Sinit‑an was killed by several unidentified persons using a .45
caliber pistol. The victim who was the successor of the slain former village
Chief Rolando Mabini, was shot in close range while resting inside his house
around 6:30 p.m., the same day. Right after this incident, the villagers,
horrified with the series of killings in their village, begun migrating to
other places carrying all belongings they can bring.
Army's hands off
When asked for comments,
the Army's 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan, Samar has separately
and repeatedly denied all of the accusations lodged by the villagers.
Despite the voluminous complaints against several military personnel in the
area, still, some officials of the 8th ID belie the reports saying it's just
a handiwork of the left leaning propagandist of the enemy of the Philippine
Lieutenant Loki Marco of
the 34th IB, and who accompanied the group of town officials of San Jorge
who proceeded the complaining villages, repeatedly denied the participation
of the government's men in uniform. He said, there were many other groups
like the NPA who wore their uniforms and sow terror against the civilians.
"Hindi naman gagawin ng
mga military yang mga sinansabi nyo eh, kasi nandidito po ang military para
protektahan po kayo at hindi para takutin lang,"
Lt. Marco told village officials and residents in front of the listening
town officials of San Jorge.
He further added that,
"at kung totoo man po na sinabi talaga nila yun, I'm sure psy‑war lang nila
yun at hindi ibig sabihin na gagawin talaga ng military ang ganun. Ngayon,
kung wala naman po kayong kasalanan itinatago, eh bakit naman po kayo
matatakot at aalis, di ba?” The Army official asked.
At every end of the
Army‑town officials‑residents caucus, the government‑sent group advised the
latter to lodge a formal complaint in writing addressed to the Commanding
Officer of the 34th Infantry Battalion stationed in Brgy. Erenas or
addressed to the Sangguniang Bayan of San Jorge for a possible conduct of
Meanwhile, upon learning
the feedback and report of the town officials, Mayor Grey immediately
requested to seek an audience with the newly Commander of the 34 IB to
discuss with the said official whatever possible measures to undertake. He
promised to give proper and just action to both parties if ever the
allegations are true.
In a related development,
the third kagawad of Brgy. Sinit‑an identified as Paquito ‘Paking’ Mana, who
is one of the remaining eight persons in the village is scheduled to take
his oath as the new punong Barangay before Mayor Grey anytime this week. He
was convinced to take the post since the first and second kagawads of the
village refused to take over after the death of the previous two village
chiefs. Mayor Grey is optimistic that residents of the deserted village will
go back to their farmlands and their respective houses after the completion
of the village officials.
Special police group
formed to stop church-lootings
C. DE LEON/PNS
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo
– The Philippine National Police created “Task Force Bantay Simbahan" last
March 31 in response to a suspected organized robbery of antique religious
artifacts in the region.
Senior Supt. Wesley Barayoga,
operations chief of the PNP Region VI said the group is tasked to
investigate the series of thefts as well as identify and arrest the
culprits. "The cases are already alarming and we need to take bold steps to
prevent another theft of religious images," he said.
Senior Supt. Reynaldo Rafal,
the chief of the PNP directorial staff in
heads the task force composed of all intelligence units of the PNP,
including operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG).
Rafal said they are now working closely with church officials.
As of last count, seven
churches and a private house were victimized. The latest incident was last
March 28 when a silver monstrance, silver chalice and the silver crown of
the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary were stolen from the church in Igbaras,
Incidents of missing
artifacts in the churches and a private house were reported as early as
November 27, 2004 when a two-foot antique image of the Santo Niño was stolen
from the parish church of Tigbauan, Iloilo.
Two-days later, an 18th
century image of St. Agustine inside the parish church in Santa Barbara,
Iloilo was beheaded. The head was made of ivory. In January 30 of this year,
the ivory head and arms of the Santo Niño was stolen from the parish church
in Bugasong, Antique.
It was the second theft
involving the said image. In 1984, the image was stolen and was sold for P4
million to the Agencia de Empeños in
It was recovered after two years. The two-and-half feet icon was given by
Queen Isabela of Spain in 1703 to two Spanish businessmen, Don Simon Barcelo
and Don Marcilona dela Cruz, who donated it to the church in Bugasong.
The Jalbuenas, owners of the
life-size Santo Entiero (Dead Christ) which is displayed during processions
every Good Friday, discovered that the antique decorations of their 18th
century carriage were missing on March 15.
At Lezo, Aklan, a
gold-plated monstrance with the consecrated host was stolen from the
Perpetual Adoration Chapel while a bronze-plated ciborium inside the St.
Isidore, The Farmer church was also discovered missing by Fr. Carlos
Retorico after the second mass last March 20, a Palm Sunday.
The antique wooden heads of
St. Thomas de Villanueva and Sr. San Roque were stolen from the parish
church of Dao, Capiz on a Black Saturday, March 26.
Monsignor Meliton Oso,
director of the Jaro Archdiocesan
Social Action Center said they are now looking at the option of placing all
church valuables at the Archdiocesan Museum at the Archbishop's Palace in
Jaro district in Iloilo City,
but Oso said it is not big enough to accommodate all antique images.
Meanwhile both church and
police authorities have advised the parishes to hire more security guards if
they have valuables inside their churches and for parishioners to be on the
look-out for the missing items.
Last year, a wave of
burglaries victimizing churches in
Cebu has prompted Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal to issue
a circular, calling on parish officials to deposit valuable items with the
Archbishop's Palace or the
Boracay firemen appeal for support
By JOY C. DE LEON/ PNS
April 12, 2005
BORACAY ISLAND, Malay, Aklan
– The world-renowned resort island badly needs adequate fire-fighting
equipment. Senior Fire Officer Ronald Retoriano, chief of the Bureau of Fire
Protection (BFP) in this island, stressed the urgent need for an efficient
and reliable fire truck and other fire-fighting equipment in his appeal
addressed to provincial and national officials.
BFP-Boracay has one fire truck manned by ten personnel. It is parked at the
fire station near the flea market which was ironically razed by fire last
January 21. That fire which gutted about P200-million worth of properties
displaced some 100 families, mostly vendors.
Retoriano said the scale of that fire incident underlined their
helplessness, making them inefficient in their duties and responsibilities.
His sentiments were allayed by Pres. Gloria Arroyo who visited the island a
day after the incident with a promise to provide better fire-fighting
The local fire chief said his appeal is justified considering that the
island has helped much in boosting national coffers because of its revenues
in tourism alone.
“It is ironic that Boracay has contributed billions to the national
government but they failed to invest in a P1.5 million fire truck,” he
At present, BFP-Boracay is strictly requiring hotels and resorts to install
adequate fire-fighting provisions, particularly fire hoses and water pumps
prior to the issuance of a fire-safety permit which is necessary to operate
Additional fire hydrants are also installed near major hotels and resorts
with the support of the Boracay Water and Sewerage System and the local
government. The Boracay Foundation Inc., a private organization is also
organizing a volunteer fire brigade in the island.
Four fire incidents were recorded last month including a reception house of
a hotel and a warehouse.
6 soldiers died in
9, 2005 | 3:05pm
- An army officer and 5 of his
men were killed in an ambush-encounter yesterday with a group of New Peoples
Army (NPA) while having their usual combat operations in the vicinity of
Brgy Caamlongan, Calbiga, Samar at around 2:26 in the afternoon, military
The casualties whose names
still withheld by the military as of press time until their relatives are
properly informed, belongs to the 62nd Infantry Battalion of the 8th ID based in Brgy. Panayuran, Calbiga,
Samar under the command of Lt. Col. Reynaldo Celso Lanuzo.
A 10 minutes firefight
ensued during the ambush but the six army men were outnumbered by the NPAs
which resulted to the death of the army soldiers.
In fleeing, the NPAs took
with them six M-16 armalite riffles and a .45 caliber pistol belonging to
Prior to the incident, the
soldiers were conducting a tour of duty in Brgy Caamlongan and departing
just 500 meters away from the barangay proper the ambush took place. Brgy
Caamlongan is remotely located and can be reached by a 3 hours hike from the
town proper of Calbiga.
Military reinforcements were
immediately dispatched with 2 helicopter gunships to the ambush area and a
hot pursuit operation against the perpetrators is still underway as of press
The 62nd Infantry Battalion
was only in their 2nd week of assignment in the area,
and was previously assigned in
Bodies of the dead soldiers
now lie at Funeraria Gomez in Catbalogan before bringing them to Camp Lukban
in Maulong for vigils.
Priest appeals for the return of missing church items
By JOY C. DE LEON/ PNS