State forces kill 3, illegally arrest 9 in 10 days
Successive cases of killings and arrests were recorded over the past two weeks, especially in Negros island.
Soldiers of the 62nd IB summarily killed Marvic Ebarle and Romy Catasio in Balunggay, Barangay Montilla, Moises Padilla, Negros Occidental on July 20. They were shot at while waiting for a ride. Ebarle was a wounded Red fighter recovering at Catasio’s house in Inarawis, Barangay Quintin Remo.
In Quezon, Isagani Isita was killed by the police who claimed he “fought back” while being served an arrest warrant on July 30 in Sariaya. Isita was a former mass leader in Batangas who decided to join the people’s army after relentless state state persecution.
Arrest and detention. Eight farmers were illegally arrested by the 15th IB in Tugas, Barangay Pinggot, Ilog, Negros Occidental on July 29. They are being implicated in the armed offensive of the New People’s Army (NPA) in Ilog on January 28.
Before the incident, the 15th IB also detained brothers Jemson and Gaujel Villar for several hours in Camboguiot, Barangay Camindangan, Sipalay City, on July 22. They were released only after their wives’ insistent demands.
The police arrested and detained Lodorico But-ay, 68, of Cunalom, Barangay Carabalan, Himamaylan City last July 28. The military accuses But-ay of being a people’s militia commander and fabricated rape charges against him. He is a member of the Farmers Association of Barangay Carabalan.
Bombing. The 62nd IB shelled adjacent communities in Barangay Villegas, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental around 5 a.m. on August 5. In addition, police forces fired a grenade launcher in Barangay Magsaysay on August 3.
Indiscriminate firing. The 31st IB fired at the house of Erwin Vista, chief of Barangay Alin, Donsol, Sorsogon last August 4. Soldiers retaliated after Vista raised complaints over the soldiers’ encampment, littering and leaving human excrement in the village evacuation center’s bathroom.
Forced surrender. Tonying Sulano, a farmer in Barangay Nagbagang, Santa Catalina, Negros Oriental, was paraded by the police as a “surrenderee” on July 30. The Sulano family has been repeatedly harassed by the police and military for several years.
Harassment. In Batangas, the 59th IB’s combat operation in Barangay Putol, Tuy has caused distress among residents since August 3. Soldiers in the community are going from house to house looking for Jaysie Balugna, a prominent mass leader of Tuy.
In Negros Occidental, soldiers of the 79th IB ransacked the houses of farmers in Barangay Tamlang and Barangay Malasibog in Escalante City on July 18. Meanwhile, the 94th IB assaulted Betmar Pacheco and his pregnant wife on July 9 in Amaga, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City.
Trumped-up charges. Five fabricated cases were filed by the 59th IB against Hailey Pecayo, spokesperson of the human rights group Tanggol Batangan, in connection with her alleged violation of the Anti-Terrorism Law. Pecayo has actively exposed the role of the 59th IB in the killing of 9-year-old Kyllene Casao on July 18, 2022.