By Reynard Magtoto
GUBAT, SORSOGON – Suspected members of Armed Forces of the Philippines in the province killed two innocent civilians who were farmers and residents in interior villages of Gubat town.
Peasant Jaime Estrada, 44, was murdered on August 7, Monday at 9 pm in its residence in Brgy. Casili, Gubat . Suspected 31st IBPA and 22nd IBPA troops entered the victim’s house, picked him out and has been shot.
The victim’s house was near the ambush site that took place morning, “certainly the only armed military in the area at that time for their ‘hot-pursuit operations’,” according to NPA-Celso Minguez Command spokesperson Samuel Guerrero who denied that Estrada was a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“It seems that the soldiers are in awe after a huge casualty in the successful ambush of the NPA in Brgy. Casili, Gubat, Sorsogon on August 7 morning. The troops of 31st IBPA, 22nd IBPA and elements of the 96th MICO (Military Intellegence and Combat Operatives) responded it with terrorist attacks and human rights violations against the Gubatnon people,” Ka Guerrero said.
On August 8, Tuesday at 10 pm, brothers Jayson and Jeric Españo were shot by elements of the 96th MICO at their home in Brgy. Union. According to civilians who saw the incident, there were four motorcycles with 8-armed men with long firearms, their face were covered with a handkerchief. They stood in front of the victims house and shot them.
Jayson died while Jeric was injured in his arm.
According to Ched Españo, wife of Jason, they are about to sleep when Jeric came to their house threatened and said they are looking for his brother, Jason.
Based on the fact sheet of Karapatan Sorsogon, the identified gunmen pretended to be NPAs and called the attention of the victims. However, the victims did not recognize them at all. Ched said her husband is not an NPA.
NPA-Celso Minguez also denied the allegation.
There was also a resident who just left the village and his livelihood because of the threat and accusation of the AFP that it was an NPA supporter.
According to Guerrero, it is a sign of the military’s caution to turn anger into unarmed people who are not involved and should be saved from armed conflicts. “The military troops must be condemned in their barbarous activities. Duterte must be held accountable for the widespread violation of the human rights of the people,” he said.
Investigators later found 14 empty casings of M16 bullets, and two spent shells of 9mm bullets.
Police Chief Inspector Jimmy Jeremias, Chief of Police (COP) of PNP-Gubat, made an appeal to residents for cooperation with the police to solve the killings in the town. (BaretangBikolnon.com)