Brother sees SAF officer being finished off by armed men in video
MANILA, Philippines — An injured man in fatigues who was seen in a video, being executed by unidentified armed men in a cornfield, has been recognized as PO1 Joseph Sagonoy, one of the 44 Special Action Force troops that were slaughtered in a gun battle with Moro rebels in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, on Jan. 25.
Sagonoy’s younger brother, Julius Sagonoy, said he saw the video and confirmed the victim was his brother. “I have seen the video and I confirm he was my brother,’’ Julius Sagonoy told the Philippine Daily Inquirer in a telephone interview.
Sagonoy said that except for members of the media, no one from the Philippine National Police contacted him about the video.
He said that his first reaction when he saw the video was pity for his brother and then anger. He explained the video was sent to him by his cousins who first watched the video in the Internet.
“He was already down, but alive. I want justice, although I do not know where to start and how to do it,’’ Sagonoy said.
He added that he would not share the video with their parents.
“It is too painful to see. They might not be able to take it,’’ Sagonoy said.
In the six-minute video uploaded in the Internet, three more men wearing what appeared to be SAF uniforms with their faces down were briefly shown, but most of the clips showed the feet of the man wearing blue slippers.
The video showed glimpses of the cornfield and shadows of the gunmen who were talking to each other in the vernacular.
Sagonoy also said that his brother had gunshot wounds in the neck and chest.
“I was told he died of multiple gunshot wounds’’ Sagonoy said.
Erica Pabalinas, the wife of SAF officer Ryan Pabalina who died in the Mamasapano carnage, told the Inquirer that her husband’s body was so disfigured that initially, they were advised not to open the casket.’
“We did not see his whole body. We were only allowed to look at his face that had stitches all over, and the skull was obviously restored,’’ the widow of Pabalinas told the Inquirer.
Still grieving, Erica said she still did not know what to do next in her search for justice.
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