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NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Negros (KMP-Negros) called for justice and urged the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct an impartial investigation on the killings of Roly and Emily Fausto and their two minor sons in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan on June 14.
A month after the killings of the Fausto family in Sitio Kangkiling on June 14, the government and other rights groups have been working hard to uncover the truth behind the killings and put culprits behind bars.
Danilo Tabura, the spokesperson of the militant farmers’ group, claimed in a post first published on the KMP-Negros Facebook page that the accusations and witnesses presented by the Philippine Army and the Provincial Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (PTF-ELCAC), were fabricated.
“We have serious doubts about the credibility of these investigations,” the militant farmers’ group spokesman said.
The police said that it identified a band of 15 alleged communist rebels, including a certain Fernando Hermino, as perpetrators of the massacre belonging under the Central Negros 2 unit, based on their two witnesses.
Captain Arturo Margallo, the deputy chief of Philippine National Police-Himamaylan City, told Rappler that the family has yet to file an affidavit of complaint against the suspects.
If the family shows no interest in formally filing a case, the police will stand as the complainant on behalf of the family, Margallo said.
Margallo, however, was unable to give specifics regarding the window of time given to the surviving family members within which they can file a formal complaint.
RTF-ELCAC VI spokesperson prosecutor Flosemer Gonzales said during the press briefing of the PTF-ELCAC in June that Roly, the patriarch, was targeted because he was a former rebel turned military asset; and worked for the surrender of some of his comrades, including the in-laws of his eldest daughter, Emily.
A member of the Fausto family, however, denied this claim and said the slain farmer was not a military nor a police asset.
Tabura also mentioned in the statement that KMP-Negros has documented of some twenty farmers who were purportedly killed by the military during clashes and later reported to be communist rebels.
Prosecutor Gonzales refuted the claims made by KMP-Negros and told Rappler that it would stand firmly by the statements of the PTF-ELCAC during the press conference.
“We will not dignify the baseless and highly bastardized propaganda lies peddled by the KMP-Negros by making a response to their nonsense rantings,” the prosecutor said.
The militant group also urged the CHR to conduct an impartial and thorough investigation on the case of Crispin Tingal, Jr., a farmer who died on May 3 in a clash between the state forces and communist rebels in hinterlands of Himamaylan to Kabankalan cities.
The military said he was a rebel. However, surviving kin of Crispin denied the military’s claims and said he was heading home from a seminar on catfish farming as part of the Sustainable Livelihood Program of the Department of Social Welfare Development and the City Agriculture Office of Kabankalan when the military reported him as a casualty.
The NPA had a history of killing residents of Barangay Buenavista, whom they suspected of being criminals, which the local government and the international human rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) strongly condemned these killings. – Rappler.com