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NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, Philippines – The family of the farmer tagged as a communist rebel slain in an alleged encounter in Sitio Cambaga, Barangay Yao-Yao, Cauayan, Negros Occidental, on November 7, called for justice and investigation.
Lieutenant Colonel J-Jay Javines, public information chief of Philippine Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (3ID), has confirmed the armed engagement that involved the Army’s 15th Infantry Battalion and a band of 10 suspected communist rebels.
Javines said the encounter resulted in the deaths of two suspected communist rebels identified as Jovy B. Moreño alias “Christian” and Warren B. Cadarin alias “Omar.”
The 3rd Infantry Division claimed that the two fatalities were members of the South West Front (SWF), Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor (KR-NCBS), one of the guerrilla fronts in Negros earlier classified by the authorities as weakened.
Jane, the sister of the Cadarin, however, refuted the earlier claims of the military tagging their brother as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) and being blamed for several atrocities in southern Negros Occidental.
Jane told Rappler that his brother was first reported missing on November 4, after tending to his small charcoal production yard near their home in Sitio Indangawan, Barangay Manlucahoc in Sipalay City.
“Gin-pangita pa namun siya pila ka days kag kun diin na kmi ka lab-ot, gali gin-paantos siya (We searched for him everywhere for a couple of days, only to find out that they scourged him)” she said.
She said that when his brother was unable to get back home that evening, the family reported the incident to the Sipalay City Police Station. Cadarin was missing for three days before the military tagged him a communist rebel killed in an encounter in the southern Negros Occidental town.
“Grabe ka sakit ang natabo sa utod ko kag halos tanan kami indi ka pati. Imbestigasyon kag hustisya ang kihanglan namon (We are incomprehensibly hurt and never would have thought that our brother would experience this. For our brother, we demand justice and investigation),” she said.
Contrary to the military’s earlier claims, Jane said that his brother was a farmer tending his farm and a small charcoal yard and not an NPA member. His two small children, ages four and five, had him as a good father at 30, she added.
Jane also clarified that the residence of his brother is in Sitio Indangawan, Barangay Manlucahoc, and not in Sitio Barasbalasan, as earlier claimed by the authorities.
Javines told Rappler that the two fatalities had been included in their “order of battle,” which is where the military keeps a closer eye on them. “They were both listed in our PSR or order of battle (OB) in layman’s term.”
Javines said that one has to undergo a series of evaluations and confirmation to be included in the order of battle to ensure that a person is an active NPA member.
He also asserted that they did not scourge, abduct, or torture the slain individuals.
“If we scourged them, it can be seen in the investigation of the Scene of Crime Operations division of the Philippine National Police,” he said.
All of these are just part of their propaganda to discredit our troops and seek sympathy and popular support to further agitate, and stir emotions of the people to be angry with our security forces,” he said.
Javines also connected the two slain individuals as responsible for the killing of two military personnel of the 15th Infantry Battalion in April. He said they were also involved in the September 21 encounter in Barangay Tabugon, Kabankalan City, with the elements of the 47th Infantry Battalion, which resulted in the deaths of six individuals.
Javines said the two served as security lookout but were able to flee, leaving their six comrades behind.
The military is always open to whatever steps or investigations that the family and other independent groups will conduct, he told Rappler.
“As always, we welcome any form of investigation because we are more confident that our troops on the ground will always follow our rules of engagement and will never commit any form of human rights violations,” he said.
The government seized two high-powered firearms, including an M653 rifle and an M14 rifle, a caliber .45 pistol, one anti-personnel mine with a blasting cap, magazines for the M14, various ammunition, medical paraphernalia, personal belongings, and subversive documents. – Rappler.com