CHR probes killing of family of four in Negros Occidental
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has launched an independent probe of last week’s killing of four members of the Fausto family in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental.
Through its office in Western Visayas, the CHR on Saturday said investigators had been dispatched to look into the killings and seek justice for the victims.
While there were allegations that the incident was insurgency-related, particularly with the involvement of the New People’s Army (NPA), the CHR said there were also claims that linked the killings to the Philippine Army.
“All possible angles will be pursued in the course of CHR’s independent investigation,” it said, as the commission further underscored the “primacy” of the right to life.
“Any instance to arbitrarily deprive a person of their life, moreso if vulnerable sectors are involved, should be faced with the full force of the law. We hope witnesses also surface [and help in] the resolution of this case and in defense of human rights,” the CHR added.
The victims — Rolly Fausto, 52; his wife Emilda, 49; and their sons Ben, 11, and Raben, 15 — were believed to be shot at close range using an M16 rifle, according to the Himamaylan police.
The father’s body was found in a cornfield 50 meters away from their house while his wife and sons were found in and outside their house in Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista in Himamaylan.
The farmers’ group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas earlier said there were witnesses who claimed that government troops ransacked the house of the Faustos on suspicion that they were NPA supporters.
Citing local human rights groups, Karapatan said Rolly and Emilda were allegedly subjected to continuous military harassment in the past months.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay, in a separate statement, said the continuing military development in Negros communities had placed the island under a “de facto martial rule,” with “no one [being] investigated, prosecuted and made accountable for these heinous crimes, despite evidence of the military’s involvement in these incidents.”