Negros Occidental

One year later: Himamaylan massacre still unresolved, justice sought

Erwin Delilan

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One year later: Himamaylan massacre still unresolved, justice sought

CLENCHED FIST. Emily, the eldest child of the murdered Fausto couple in Himamaylan City, raises her fist while calling for justice for her parents and two siblings, who were killed in June. Authorities say she went missing.

Reymund Titong/Rappler

Police say the lone witness and daughter of murdered couple Roly and Emilda Fausto has gone missing

BACOLOD, Philippines – Human rights activists and progressive organizations demanded for justice again on Friday, June 14, for the victims of the controversial massacre of a family in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, exactly a year after the brutal killings.

One year after the shooting deaths of red-tagged farmer Roly Fausto and three members of his family in Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista in Himamaylan, not a single case was filed against any suspect.

The 52-year-old Fausto was tortured and his body was found 50 meters from a hut, while his wife Emilda, 49, sprawled just outside their home’s door. Emilda’s skull was crushed and her left leg was riddled with bullets.

MOURNERS. Relatives, neighbors, and friends attend the burial of Roly and Emilda Fausto and their two sons, Ben and Raben, at the Aguisan cemetery in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, on June 18, 2023. Reymund Titong/Rappler

The couple’s two sons, aged 11 and 15, were also killed. One was found hanging at the back of the house, while another was inside the Fausto home.

In a statement, Human Rights Advocates Negros (HRAN) urged authorities to conduct a no-nonsense investigation and bring those behind the massacre to justice.

Progressive groups have accused state forces of being behind the massacre, an allegation the military strongly denied.

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) noted that nothing substantial has been done so far a year after the Fausto massacre, but neither has it looked into the brutal killings.

“CHR is just for the human rights aspect, and we will be probing if, indeed, there was a violation of the right to life,” said Vincent Parra, CHR head in Bacolod.

Parra, however, said the CHR would give P10,000 in aid to the surviving members of the Fausto family. 

The couple’s daughter Emily remains missing, and three other Fausto siblings were not around during the massacre reportedly carried out by at least 15 people.

Lieutenant Judesses Catalogo, spokesman for Negros Occidental police, said the Himamaylan police station has not filed a multiple murder complaint against anyone because Emily, the lone witness, went missing.

Emily is the daughter of the slain Fausto couple, who survived the brutal attack.

Catalogo said, “We cannot locate her anymore. We’re just waiting for her to surface. Emily, being a surviving heir in the massacre, should sign an affidavit-complaint against anyone suspected to be behind the crime before filing such at the prosecutor’s office.”

The Army’s 3rd Infantry Brigade in Negros Occidental has repeatedly denied accusations that soldiers under it perpetrated the killings on mere suspicion that the victims were members of a farmers’ group being linked to the New People’s Army (NPA).

Instead, the Army accused the communist rebels of being behind the brutal killings, alleging that guerrillas executed them on suspicion that they were military informants. – Rappler.com

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