Rights group wants killings of 2 suspected NPA men probed
DIGOS CITY, Philippines – Human rights group Karapatan reiterated its call for an investigation into the recent killing of two civilians in Malita, Davao Occidental, by armed men believed to be soldiers who had accused the victims of being communist rebels or New People’s Army supporters.
Pastor Sadrach Sabella of Karapatan said the involvement of “elements of the state” in the deaths of Tony Bago and Arnel Tanduya was confirmed during the two-day fact-finding mission they conducted in the middle of July.
Bago, a fish vendor was killed last June 21 by two men wearing ski-masks in Barangay (village) Lagumit in Malita. Prior to the killing, the victim was summoned twice by soldiers of the Philippine Army for interrogation and persuaded him to convince his son, who has allegedly become a communist rebel, to surrender, he said over the weekend.
Bago, Sabella added, was also accused of being an NPA supporter and had received threats before he was gunned down.
He said Tanduyan was also accused by soldiers of being an NPA supporter before he was killed on May 7.
“The victim had received report that he was one of the targets of the military,” Sabella said.
Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista, who still has supervision over Davao Occidental, said he has ordered an investigation into the claims of Karapatan as soon as possible.
“But I also want the killing of an alleged military asset by suspected rebels probed,” he said, citing the July 17 killing of Henry Dasal in Barangay Palian in Malita.
Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria, Davao del Sur police chief, said Dasal was brutally murdered — with his face mutilated — and his relatives were supposedly informed by the NPA that rebels were behind his death.
Efren Aksasato, spokesperson of the National Democratic Front-Far South Mindanao, had earlier admitted that the NPA had “arrested” a Henry Dasal, a 50-year-old, resident of Barangay Pinalpalan in Malita on June 15.
“We want justice for all victims regardless of their supposed affiliation. We hope to establish the exact identities of the perpetrators so that we could file charges against them in court,” Bautista told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.