human rights in the Philippines

Missing farmer allegedly found beheaded in Negros Occidental

Marchel P. Espina

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Missing farmer allegedly found beheaded in Negros Occidental
But the Philippine Army debunks the claim that the body recovered was decapitated

A farmer who had gone missing for over a week was allegedly found beheaded near the site of a recent encounter between government forces and communist rebels in Barangay Tan-awan in Kabankalan City.

Clarizza Singson, secretary-general of Karapatan Negros Island, said that Bernardo Guillen, 50, went missing on September 17, and that they searched for him.

Singson said they found Guillen’s decapitated body 9 days days later, on September 26.

She said that Guillen was reportedly taken by the Philippine Army on September 17 following the encounter, according to his family members.

Guillen is the father of Bernard Guillen – one of the “Mabinay 6” who were arrested in 2016 and have since been detained in Dumaguete City.

“We call on the Commission on Human Rights for an independent and thorough investigation in the said killing. We also challenge the local government to address this senseless killing and gross human rights violations happening in the communities of farmers victimized by intensified military operations,” Singson said.

‘Karapatan statement is a lie’

Major Cenon Pancito, spokesman of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division based in Capiz province, said that the statement of Karapatan was “fake news.”

Pancito said there was an encounter in the area on September 17, but no cadaver was recovered, only guns and other belongings.

He said that on September 26, they received a report that a body was found at the side of the ravine.

The military went to the area with the police and representatives of the barangay to the recover the body, he said.

He said that the body was not beheaded when it was recovered by the authorities, but it was already in an advanced state of decomposition.

The body was buried immediately and was not autopsied as requested by Guillen’s family.

The military spokesman also clarified that Guillen was not forcibly taken inside his house, as claimed by Karapatan.

He said that Guillen’s wife claimed that her husband went out to check the area after hearing the gunfire.

Pancito said they could not establish if Guillen was caught in the crossfire or if he could have fallen into the ravine.

He added they have yet to see the report of the police.

Meanwhile, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines-Negros said in a statement that during the firefight, Guillen was tending their farm lot and immediately gathered his family to seek refuge.

“Upon reaching their house, members of the Philippine Army were already at their house telling them to evacuate. While on their way to the evacuation site, he went back to his house despite the opposition of his wife. His wife and children made it to the evacuation site but Bernardo Guillen never came back to them,” the group said. –

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