Latest Stories

Gunmen shot civilians as they begged for their lives


DEAD SPOT The bodies of nine people, including a policeman, lay on the ground and on the truck after they were ambushed by heavily armed men in La Castellana town in Negros Occidental. Nine others were reportedly wounded. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PNP

BACOLOD CITY—The civilians begged for their lives, but the gunmen didn’t care. They shot them all.

The brutality of it makes the survivors doubt that their attackers were communist New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas.

“It doesn’t seem they were NPA even if they yelled ‘Long live the NPA,’ because [NPA guerrillas] usually spare civilians,” said Avelino Ordoñez, 48, a village peacekeeper who survived the ambush on a truckload of policemen and villagers in Barangay Puso, La Castellana town, Negros Occidental, early on Sunday.

Kids allowed to go

Ronnie Lapiado, 41, a village volunteer and also a survivor of the attack, said that when the gunmen opened fire on the truck the passengers who were standing were hit but those who were sitting on the truck’s bed were not, because the bullets’ did not penetrate the vehicle’s sides.

Lapiado said the civilians called out to the gunmen, “We’re civilians, spare us.”

The gunmen ordered them to get off and lie face down on the ground, Lapiado said.

There were children in the group, but the gunmen allowed them to go, he said.

He said he took off his volunteer’s uniform and jumped off the truck.

Ordoñez did not take off his uniform and jumped off the vehicle with his wife, Virginia, and joined the rest who were lying on their stomachs on the ground.

Civilians shot

Virginia Ordoñez, 50, threw herself on her husband’s back to conceal his uniform, but the gunmen probably had already seen it.

They opened fire on the civilians, yelled “Long live the NPA,” and withdrew.

With his wife covering him with her body, Ordoñez survived the shooting. She did not.

Lapiado was wounded in the hands, but survived the attack.

He, too, doubted that the gunmen were NPA guerrillas because they shot the civilians.

Nine, including a policeman, were killed and 12 (not nine as earlier reported), including two police officers, were wounded in the ambush.

Lapiado said the group helped to secure a village dance contest in Puso on Saturday night. He said there were 22 people on the truck when they left the village after the dance.

But as they were leaving the village, civilians on foot, including children, asked for  a ride on the truck.

Lapiado said there were more than 30 people on the truck when the gunmen attacked the vehicle.

Senseless deaths

On Monday, Florencio Nilles, Puso village head, expressed sadness over the attack on the policemen and village volunteers who kept the peace during the fiesta in his community. He described the deaths as senseless.

“It is difficult for us in our village to understand how such a cruel crime could be committed,” Nilles said.

Ismael Villanueva, head of neighboring Cabacungan village, where some of the dead and wounded came from, said the victims were good men.

The policeman who was killed was a good man and the village peacekeepers worked as volunteers, he said.

La Castellana Mayor Alberto Nicor said it was a sad day for the town.

Originally posted: 6:21 pm | Monday, January 28th, 2013

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: ambush , Communist Insurgency , Negros Occidental , Philippines - Regions , survivors’ accounts

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • If Napoles names Aquino allies, they’ll be brought to bar of justice – Palace
  • Lacson says diamond-studded earring snatched from wife fake
  • Pope John XXIII launched Vatican II and then some
  • Militants: Napoles as state witness is ‘clear travesty of justice’
  • US ‘closely watching’ for signs of N.Korea nuclear test
  • Sports

  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Pacers rally past Hawks 101-85 to even series
  • David Moyes out as Manchester United manager
  • Nadal to face fellow Spaniard at Barcelona Open
  • Defensive Chelsea holds Atletico in scoreless draw
  • Lifestyle

  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Sweet party for Andi Manzano
  • Safety in online buying and selling
  • Entertainment

  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Summer movie preview: Bay reboots ‘Transformers’
  • Business

  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • $103M Vista Land bonds tendered for redemption
  • Oil slips to $102 as US crude supplies seen rising
  • SC stops Meralco power rate hike anew
  • Technology

  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • New York police Twitter campaign backfires badly
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • Filipina, 51, shot dead by 24-year-old American boyfriend
  • China, rivals sign pact to ease maritime tensions
  • Visa-free US trip? Do not believe it, says consulate
  • Obama visit to Asia seen as counterweight to China
  • Violence mars militant protest at US Embassy
  • Marketplace