Soldiers kill elderly couple in Masbate ‘operation’

Soldiers kill elderly couple in Masbate ‘operation’

Florencia and Pedro Regala


The Philippine Army has reported that a man and his wife were killed early last week in a clash with a small group of New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Masbate province, but the human rights group Karapatan on Saturday said the elderly couple were executed by soldiers.

The Army strongly denied Karapatan’s allegation, saying that it would welcome any investigation of the killing of the couple at Purok 5 in Barangay Tuburan in Masbate’s Cawayan town on Feb. 5.


Farmers Pedro Regala, 78, and his wife Florencia, 67, were in their hut that morning getting ready to start their day when soldiers and paramilitary men arrived and took them to a remote part of a nearby creek and shot them, Karapatan said in a statement.


Gabriela, Piston banners

“The Philippine Army categorically denies in the strongest means such allegation,” Lt. Col. Louie Dema-ala, Philippine Army spokesperson, told the Inquirer.

Karapatan chair Kristina Palabay said the soldiers, who were members of the Army’s 2nd Infantry Battalion, displayed banners belonging to the women’s group Gabriela and the drivers’ group Condor-Piston to implicate them in the insurgency.

“How dare the bloodthirsty Armed Forces of the Philippines report the killings, with the victims both physically unable to defend themselves, as an encounter,” Palabay said.

“The Marcos Jr. regime just claimed they have defeated the New People’s Army and yet, they continue to use this as justification for their murderous acts. Now, who are the real terrorists? No less than the AFP and the Marcos Jr. regime,” she said.

An Army report said an M-16 rifle, some ammunition, a pistol, several cell phones and personal belongings were abandoned along with the slain couple by other members of the rebel group following the 8-minute firefight.

READ: 2 suspected NPA rebels killed in Masbate clash


It said the soldiers clashed with about 10 members of Platoon 1, Komiteng Larangan Guerilla South, Sub Regional Committee 4, killing the Regala couple.

Karapatan urged the Commission on Human Rights to investigate the killing.


Dema-ala said the Army would “welcome all investigations from appropriate legal authorities.”

He said the encounter between the Army and the NPA was “a legitimate focused military operation wherein our troops acted from the information provided by the community that an armed group is encamped near their community.”

“We are calling for the remaining members of the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA to surrender and live a peaceful life with their family,” Dema-ala added.

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He expressed condolences to the family of the slain couple.

TAGS: Masbate, NPA, soldiers

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