79th IB killed a farmer, not a Red fighter, at Escalante

This article is available in Pilipino

The family of Jose Caramihan refuted claims that he was a member of the New People’s Army, contrary to what the 79th IB said last February 24. Caramihan was a farmer killed by 79th IB soldiers in Sityo Mansulao, Barangay Pinapugasan, Escalante City on February 21.

“My father was a farmer,” said Charlene Caramihan, an education student. “If he was a rebel, how could he have sent us to a private school?” Charlene is devastated over the death of her father whom she promised to bring to stage during her May graduation.

Jonathan Pabalate, councilor of Barangay Pinapugasan, also confirmed that Caramihan is a registered resident of the barangay. The Caramihan couple is a member of the United Sagay, Escalante, Toboso Planters Association, Inc. Their family is originally from Calatrava. Besides Charlene, the couple has six other children.

Jose was last seen by his family on the morning of February 21. There was an encounter between a unit of the people’s army in the said barangay around 11 a.m. , followed by the military’s indiscriminate bombing on February 22.

On the third day after the encounter, the family was shocked when the 79th IB, led by its commander, Col. Arnel Calaoagan, along with SOCO, PNP-Escalante and barangay officials, presented Jose as alias “Joe.” According to 1st Lt. Dan Carlos Zamosa of the 79th IB, “Joe” was the third fighter they killed in the “series” of encounters.

Caramihan’s body was in advanced stage of decomposition when the family retrieved it. He had bullet wounds in his leg, head, leg and arm.

Meanwhile, NPA-North Negros confirmed that there were two casualties in the first, and only, encounter that took place in Barangay Pinapugasan on February 21. It paid tribute to Emarie Pastidio (Ka Jandy) and Joshua Sultan (Ka Jorge). The unit also denied that Caramihan was a member of the NPA, and that there was a “series” of encounters that lasted until February 22.

AB: 79th IB killed a farmer, not a Red fighter, at Escalante