August 21, 2005
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Benguet murder violates CARHRIHL
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (Aug. 19) — Two days after Police General Arturo C. Lomibao awarded and promoted the 1604th Police Mobile Group (PMG) for killing two members of the New Peoples Army (NPA) and capturing five others in an encounter on Aug. 15 in Buguias town, the Chadli Molintas Command of the NPA Ilocos and Cordillera Region (NPA-ICR ) condemned the PNPs conduct of war as a flagrant violation of the Articles of War and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and international Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
“They show no respect for the lives of peasants and workers, or for those of captured NPA fighters under their mercy,” the NPA-ICR statement said.
In contrast, Lomibao awarded the government soldiers with medals and promoted them on the spot to the next higher ranks for their alleged bravery, in a press conference early morning on Wednesday, August 17.
Two red fighters were killed and five others were captured in a firefight between the PMG led by Police Inspector Brent Milan Madjaco and a unit of the NPA’s Jennifer Cariño Command on August 15 in Baculungan Sur, Buguias. The NPA members were identified by the PNP as Marcelo Dao-ayan alias Ka Suktan of Malibcong, Abra and Ryan Alladog a.k.a Ka Rudy of Alangtin, Tubo, Abra. The PNP side registered only one wounded member identified as PO3 Alyson Kalang-ad who was hit at his right elbow.
After the encounter, two other members of the NPA squad Antonio “Ka Leyap” Licawen and Brando “Ka Tub-on” Banasan were chanced upon by the pursuing police officers and were murdered. The PNP accosted the duo, claimed Martin Montana, spokesperson of the NPA command who were un-armed, incapacitated and unable to resist arrest. The two were reportedly waiting transportation arrangement for the treatment of Licawen’s wounded ankle.
Cowardly operation vs. hors d’combat
Montana characterized the “operations of the enemy troops as cowardly and in flagrant violation of the Articles of War and the CARHRIHL. He explained that under these conventions, Ka Leyap and Ka Tub-on were hors d’combat or non-combatant at the time of their capture. Ka Leyap reportedly sought refuge in a house in Sitio Luyot.
Secondly, the CMC pointed out, the corpses were mutilated with multiple bullet wounds. Montana said the superior enemy force could have captured them alive but chose instead, to murder them. Murder and mutilation, the CMC statement said, is the code of conduct for enemy troops who have been rampaging the countryside.
Meanwhile, Jose Licawen, a student leader and president of the Supreme Student Council of Easter College, and Ka Leyap’s brother condemned the double murder.
“We are entertaining possible legal cases against the PNP, including those that may be filed with the Joint Monitoring Committee,” Licawen said.
Licawen described Ka Leyap’s body as heavily mutilated, with signs of hacking and stabbing. His armpit bore wounds and his arm was twisted. He decried the PNP members and officer inflicting such a barbaric act on his brother. Licawen deduced that the captors tortured his brother and Banasan before they were murdered.
Lomibao declared such a big victory is the first time in so many years. He praised the PNP men on the ground for having killed and captured so many rebels in one encounter. He said the voluminous documents would reveal the NPA-ICR plans and programs that would help the government.
Lomibao recognized the community level intelligence work in the area. He added that the PNP adopted a more active and aggressive move to counter “terrorist” move. Civilians allegedly tipped off the PNP of the NPA’s presence in the community to which the troops responded. Information from the PNP claimed that at least five members of the team eluded the cordon launched by the PNP.
PNP Regional Dir. Noe Wong alleged that the NPA team encountered by his men operates in the Abra-Ilocos Region and the Kalinga-Mountain Province area. He said the PNP is trying to find out why they were transferred to Benguet.
The old woman who owns the house in Bad-ayan, Baculungan Sur, where the NPA sought refuge conducted a cleansing ritual as she and her family experienced fear after the incident.
A large population of Buguias, a Kankanaey town in north Benguet, still practices rituals related to man-initiated deaths or injuries. The NORDIS source in the area claimed that members of the PNP and the armed forces failed to recognize and respect these rituals. These government agencies, the source said failed to orient their members to respect these rituals.
Benguet Criminal Intelligence and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP-CIDG) filed a rebellion case at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office against the captured red fighters. They were brought to the Benguet provincial jail, after custodial investigation at the Camp Bado Dangwa where they were to be presented to the media on Aug 17. The PNP identified them as Vicente Masadao alias Ka Gil of Abra; Antonio Bagsao alias Ka Boy of Belwang, Sadanga, Mt. Province; Gina Nisperos Tabling alias Ka Sid of San Fernando, La Union; Fernando Gorospe alias Ka Ryan of Baguio City; and, Roda Gorospe alias Ka Tina.
Six oversized backpacks, eight high-powered rifles (HPR) consisting of
6 M-16 rifles; one M-203 grenade launcher with 12 ammunition and one carbine
rifle, and 36 various magazine assemblies, 640 ammunitions for m-16, 41
for caliber 45 pistol and assorted medicines, documents and personal belongings
were presented to the media. # Arthur L. Allad-iw and Lyn
V. Ramo for NORDIS
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