Cops review unsolved cases in Benguet’s ‘killing fields’
BAGUIO CITY—Unsolved cases involving bodies dumped at a 150-meter deep ravine along Marcos Highway at Sitio Poyopoy in Tuba town, Benguet province, will be reopened after the discovery of eight dead men there this week.
Poyopoy has been known as the “killing fields,” a notorious dumping ground for victims of summary executions as far back as the 1980s, according to Police Col. Elmer Ragay, Benguet police director.
“I was still in high school at the time the stories of ‘salvaging’ first came out,” said Ragay, who ordered an inventory of the cases and the reopening of their investigation.
In October 2014, bodies of two men were recovered there by garbage collectors. Earlier in March that same year, a body bound with masking tape was also found in the area.
Except for two victims who had been identified, the police had not established who and how six other men found about 30 m from the roadside this week were killed.
Policemen and firemen retrieved the bodies on Oct. 15 and 16, after homeowners near the area complained of the stench. Police had been looking for two missing men in Poyopoy since last week.
Police wanted to check every section of the ravine for more bodies, said Police Col. James Acod, Tuba police chief.
Volunteers from Team Rubicon Australia had been scouring the ravine and had deployed a drone on Wednesday to aid the search teams.
The footage caught by the drone showed kilometers of garbage strewn down the ravine, which may have been used as an illegal dump, Ragay said.
The bodies were found closer to the road. These were in different stages of decomposition, suggesting these were thrown off the road at different periods, said Police Lt. Col. Lourdes Juan, chief of the Benguet crime laboratory.
Some of the bodies lost some parts that were likely eaten by stray animals.
Two bodies were identified by family members as those of Kent Charlie Licyuyo, 22, of Hingyon town, Ifugao province, and Fahod Macalanggan of Marawi City. They were reported missing on Oct. 8, Ragay said.
Licyuyo had been staying at a residential area near the Baguio City public market.
Ragay said the two men’s relationship would help police build a profile about them, hoping to determine if they were related to the other bodies found in the same area of the ravine. —VINCENT CABREZA