Soldiers face raps for deaths of 2 men in Capiz clash
ILOILO CITY—The widows of two men killed in a clash between suspected communist rebels and government troops in Capiz province last month have filed criminal and administrative charges against Army soldiers in the Office of the Ombudsman.
In a three-page complaint submitted to the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military and Other Law Enforcement Offices on March 6, Analyn Borres and Marjorie Dequiño insisted that their husbands were civilians and not members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
They sought justice as they accused the troops under the Army’s 61st Infantry Battalion (61IB) of murder.
Named respondents were soldiers belonging to the 61IB, including Lt. Col. Leonardo Peña, commanding officer; Maj. Allan Mangaser, executive officer; and soldiers led by Sgt. Jeffrey Belarmino.
Reports from the military’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID) identified Lorendo Borres, 48, and his nephew Ian Borres, 24, as NPA rebels who were killed in an encounter on Feb. 24 in Barangay Jebaca in Maayon town, Capiz.
Lt. Col. Ericson Rosana, 3ID spokesperson, denied the widows’ allegations.
He said Ian and Lorendo Borres were part of a group of seven to 10 armed rebels that they engaged in a firefight. Three shotguns and two grenades were recovered from them, military reports said.
Rosana said the slain men were part of a rebel militia under the command of NPA leader Romulo Gangoso, alias Ka Regan.
But Dequiño said: “Everyone in our village knows that my (common-law) husband and his uncle were not NPA members. We want justice.”
Dequiño, in a telephone interview, said her husband and the older Borres were carrying bolos, not guns.
“[Lorendo] sought my husband’s help because he said two men in plainclothes allegedly tried to take his cellular phone and threatened to shoot him. They thought the two men were cattle rustlers,” Dequiño said.
She later heard a burst of gunfire but said she was afraid to look for Ian even after he failed to come home that night. The following day, she heard radio reports saying soldiers had killed two suspected NPA rebels in an encounter in their town.
Three other male relatives who were with Lorendo and Ian during that incident were unhurt.
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