3 farmers found dead in Agusan del Norte
BUENAVISTA, AGUSAN DEL NORTE – Three farmers from the hinterland village here were found dead, their bodies riddled with bullets, a day after they failed to return home from a farm where they worked, police said.
A report from the Caraga regional police said the bodies of Alfredo Tumaquin Sr., Romy Pinatugaw, and his brother Pina Pinatugaw were found in a farmland adjacent to where they were supposed to work at 7 a.m. on November 7 by their families who sent out looking for them.
All three victims, who lived in sitio Bagang, Simbalan village, left their homes around 6 a.m. on November 6 to work in a 50-hectare farmland owned by a Korean national named Ryoo Wang Gew, according to the initial investigation by the Buenavista town police.
“The farmers were not able to return home by nightfall, so, the families were worried,” PO2 Ricafort Gilbuena, case investigator at the Buenavista police station. “They expected (the farmers) to be home by 6 p.m. So the next day, they went out to look for them.”
He said that around 7 a.m. on November 7, the son of Tumaquin found the bodies of his father and his cousin Romy.
“Then 50 meters away, the third body was found at the farmland owned by Tumaquin family, just adjacent to the Korean national’s farmland where they were supposed to work,” the police said. The bodies bore several gunshot wounds.
The Buenavista police indicated in their report that a total of 23-fired cartridges were found in the crime scene. But the police said they did not process the scene, as the area was “risky” for their small police team.
A group led by Nicholas Logronio, a barangay council member of Simbalan, recovered the bodies and the empty ammunition cartridges.
The family refused an autopsy for the bodies.
Supt. Christian L. Rafols, spokesperson of the Caraga regional police, said they had yet to determine the motives behind the killing.
The farmers were killed in an area, about 40 kilometers from Buenavista town proper, near the border of Las Nieves town.
Buenavista residents said the place had been considered a major hot spot, a site of several armed encounters between government troops and New People’s Army, and other land conflicts.
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