Negros Occidental

CHR launches probe into Negros Occidental killings as NPA admits involvement

Erwin Delilan

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CHR launches probe into Negros Occidental killings as NPA admits involvement
The New People's Army owns responsibility for killing seven civilians it accused of being spies

BACOLOD, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Bacolod City has announced an official investigation into a series of killings in Negros Occidental. The wave of violence, blamed on communist rebels in the region, raised serious human rights concerns in the province.

The announcement came after eight civilians were killed in a month’s time, with alarming allegations emerging that most of them were targeted by the New People’s Army (NPA) on suspicion that they were government informants. 

CHR-Bacolod Director Vincent Parra told Rappler on Thursday, May 9, that the Commission will conduct a motu proprio investigation on the alleged liquidation of eight civilians in the province from April to early May of this year, which seven of whom were allegedly tagged by the NPA as spies or “military agents.”

“This could be a violation of the right to life allegedly committed by non-state actors,” Parra said.

He cited a provision in the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which states that “everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”

In a statement, Ka JB Regalado, the spokesman of the NPA’s Leonardo Panaligan Command-Central Negros Guerrilla Front, said they killed the following people in difference places in the province within a period of less than one month:

  • Danny Boy Bartolome of Sitio Paho, Camandag, La Castellana town on April 11
  • Barangay tanod Alexander Alquizar of Proper Lagaan, Calatrava town on April 20
  • Myrna Bilando of Sitio Duga-anon, Barangay Oringao, Kabankalan City on April 21
  • Jun Habagat of Sitio Cagay, Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City on April 24
  • Albert “Tongkai” Golez of Sitio Cuyawyaw, Barangay Inolingan, Moises Padilla town on April 24
  • Ritoy Pedro of Sitio Kamanggahan, Barangay Amontay, Binalbagan on April 28
  • Barangay tanod Donie Baculi of Sitio Bactolon, Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City on  May 3

The NPA, however, denied any hand in the May 1 killing of a village councilor, Reynaldo “Jimmy” Jacolbe, in Barangay Puso, La Castellana town. Instead the NPA condemned the killing of Jacolbe.

But as for the seven, Regalado said maintained that they spied for the Army’s 62nd and 94th Infantry battalions based in Isabela and Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental, respectively.

“They cooperated with the Army to the detriment of the members of our ‘pulang hangaway’ (red warriors), so we carried out our revolutionary justice against them,” Regalado said.

Lieutenant Colonel J-Jay Javines, public affairs officer of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division in Jamindan, Capiz, called on the CHR to conduct a no-nonsense investigation in the wake of the NPA’s statement, admitting to be behind the killings.

Javines said, “They (NPA) are violators of human rights, and they’re terrorists. This should be investigated by human rights groups and advocates.” 

He said the NPA suffered major setbacks in the province, and was desperate as it struggled to be relevant.

“This is why they resort to killings of innocent civilians to make their presence felt in the communities and grip people in fear. The NPA is sending the subtle message: ‘This should be done to anyone who cooperates or gives information to security forces,’” Javines said.

The Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (NOCPPO) condemned the killings, and ordered a separate investigation into the killings in the wake of the NPA statement.

Negros Occidental police chief, Colonel Rainerio de Chavez, said, “Once we have identified the perpetrators, backed by evidence and have completed the requirements, we will immediately file appropriate charges against them.”

“We assure [the families of those killed] that we will not rest until we find out who are behind the killings and bring justice to the death of their loved ones,” De Chavez said. –

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