BAGUIO CITY (August 25) — The families of two Tabuk residents summarily executed, allegedly at the hands of the relieved Kalinga Philippine National Police (PNP) provincial director, are demanding justice and urging the authorities to file criminal cases against the PNP members involved in the murder of their kin.
Two persons who said they were survivors in the said killings, Rodel Gallema and Robert Lutao, claimed in an affidavit that relieved Kalinga PNP Provincial Director Pedro Ramos and his men killed Noel Gubiangan and Elmer Gallema, both residents of Tabuk.
Gallema and Lutao claimed that Ramos’ men arrested them together with Noel and Elmer without warrant in the morning of May 23 at the Gubiangan residence in Gobgob, Tabuk while they were fencing a pastureland.
The two survivors said they were brought to the Kalinga PNP barracks in Tabuk, and that afternoon, to the Prosecutor’s Office in Tuguegarao, Cagayan. They added that policemen stopped their relatives from accompanying them to Tuguegarao. On their way back to Tabuk from Tuguegarao near the Eleb Cemetery along the road, Ramos allegedly pushed Noel out of the police van while another PNP officer identified as Silawa did the same to Elmer, while the two were handcuffed.
A white mini dump truck parked near the cemetery then ran over Gubiangan and Gallema. Both survived this first runover. Ramos then allegedly ordered his men to place the two victims’ heads near the jeep’s tires and to run over them.
The survivors said they heard the tires crushing the heads of Noel and Elmer. They added that the PNP jeep ran over the body of Noel and Elmer at least seven times. Ramos then ordered his men to bring the bodies of Noel and Elmer to the Kalinga Provincial Hospital where their families received their mangled bodies.
Nordis learned that brothers Elmer and Rodel went to the Gubiangan residence in the afternoon of May 21 to fence the land of the latter. Noel, the son of Adelberta who hired them, and Robert Lutao joined them.
Adelberta claimed that at 1:30 a.m. of May 23, unidentified attackers fired for at least 30 minutes at the house of her son where the four were sleeping. At early dawn, ten members of the Philippine Army arrived in the area to secure them, as allegedly ordered by the mayor of Tabuk. Next, PNP men led by Ramos arrived on board a police jeep and ordered the soldiers, “Kunin nyo lahat ng mga lalaki rito, kunin mo ito,” pointing to Noel. Adelberta said she pleaded to Ramos and his men but to no avail.
At around 10 p.m. that night, she received text messages that her son Noel and Elmer (Gallema) were at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital. She hurriedly went to the hospital and saw their bodies dusty, broken and heads flattened.
According to their affidavit, the survivors Rodel and Robert were tortured by Ramos men, then brought to the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology in Bulanao, where they are now detained. A reliable source said Ramos had filed a criminal case against them.
Amidst the outcry of militant groups in Kalinga, PNP Director General Oscar Calderon relieved Ramos from his Kalinga PNP post, and assigned Colonel Roberto Damian of the PNP-CAR to take over as officer-in-charge.
Meanwhile, multi-sectoral groups in Kalinga urged the investigation and punishment of PNP officials and members involved in the series of killings in the province, including the latest ambush of the Claver family, resulting in the death of Alyce Claver and serious injuries to Dr. Chandu Claver.
They claimed that the current spate of Kalinga killings began when Ramos replaced Senior Supt. James Dugao.
The Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) said that families of several victims pointed to Ramos as the culprit. CHRA Chair Atty. Reynaldo Cortes claimed that there were 16 victims of summary executions and seven cases of frustrated murder in Kalinga since January this year.
The said groups decried the continuing threats against a lawyer handling cases against Ramos. On Aug. 16, the house of Atty. Warren Luyaben, president of the Kalinga Integrated Bar of the Philippines and lawyer of the Gubiangan and Gallema cases, was sprayed with M16 gunfire by unidentified men. # Arthur L. Allad-iw for NORDIS