State forces killed 2 abaca farmers mistaken for NPAs in false encounter

By Baretang Bikolnon Staff

PANGANIBAN, CATANDUANES – State forces killed two abaca farmers who were mistaken for NPAs during a false encounter in Barangay Taopon here on September 22.

Abaca farmers Lito Aguilar, 33, and Christopher Abraham, 31, were killed while on their way home after fishing in the river for the preparation of Lito’s wedding the next day.

State forces from the combined troops of 83IB Alpha Company and Police Mobile Force Company (PMFC) were reportedly conducting a combat operation when they claimed the fire fight occurred in the mountainous portion of the said barangay at around 1 a.m. and lasted for about 10 minutes.

The three survivors who are also civilians were Jimmy Sierra, Joseph Turado and Jomari Calderon. They already filed a blotter report in the local PNP and insisted that there was no encounter.

Marami siguro sumigaw mga nasa dose pataas – Whoo! Sabay putok ng baril maraming putok hindi mabilang. Doon Nakita yung dalawang kasamang na napatay ay tinamaan na. Nang makita kong tumakbo yung dalawa kong kasama, tumakbo na din ako (Many probably shouted about twelve and up – Whoo! [they said] Followwed by countless gunshots. The two companions who were victims were found dead. When I saw my two companions running, I also ran),” Jomari Calderon who is physically challenged shared.

To Lito’s wife, Jovela Aguilar, 26, just married her husband’s corpse. “I feel very painful especially now that I am six months pregnant. On behalf of our family, we demand justice,” Jovela said.

The Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) of Catanduanes approved a resolution on first reading urging an in-depth investigation by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) following the death of two abaca farmers.

During a privilege speech, by Provincial Board Member Robert Fernandez, chairman of the committee on peace and order & public safety, stressed that the victims and survivors were legitimate residents Panganiban.

Barangay Captain of San Miguel, Jeffrey Velasco, also seeks justice for the killings. According to him, Aguilar was his close aide and they are not members of the NPA. (BaretangBikolnon.com)

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