31st IB, 9th SAF massacre 5 farmers in Sorsogon
Five farmers were massacred by soldiers and police troops SEMPO-style (Synchronized Enhanced Management of Police Operations) in Barangay Dolos, Bulan, Sorsogon on May 8. The victims were Jeric Vuno, Jerry Palanca, Robert Villafuerte, Raymundo Tañada and Jaime Tañada. Jaime Tañada was suffering from the infirmities of old age while Villafuerte was mentally challenged.
The perpetrators made it appear that the farmers were Red fighters, a claim which was vehemently belied by residents. According to witnesses, soldiers ransacked seven houses in the barrio, and arrested and hogtied all male residents. Soldiers mauled the barangay officials who attempted to rescue the victims.
The soldiers brought the five victims at the backyard where they were shot. The cadavers of the victims bore marks of torture. The massacre was perpetrated by the 31st IB, 9th Special Action Force Battalion, Provincial Mobile Force Company of PNP Sorsogon and intelligence units.
Simultaneously, the same units also attacked the neighboring barangay of Calpi. They ransacked the residences of the Abuyog, Golimlim and Estiller families. They mauled Jeffrey Godala and Jojo Palanca, and two other Estiller minors. The soldiers also stole the residents’ money, cellphones and other personal belongings.
SEMPO was first conducted in Negros in 2018-2019 wherein at least 35 peasants were killed. The operations were then spearheaded by Police MGen. Debold Sinas, currently the chief of police in Metro Manila.
In Batangas, police elements also illegally arrested six residents of Barangay Coral ni Lopez, Calaca, SEMPO-style, in the early morning of May 10. The victims were identified as peasant leaders Leovino Julongbayan, Virgilio Vidal, Marcelo Vidal, Doroteo Bautista, July Julongbayan and Roilan Tenorio.
Meanwhile, elements of the 85th IB arrested farmer Leoben Holeto at a checkpoint in Lopez, Quezon on May 4. Holeto was on his way home after undergoing a medical surgery when he was apprehended together with his mother.