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Family claims: Not rebels, but farmers

BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN

A makeshift tent discovered by Army soldiers inside a seized rebel camp in Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City.* PA photo

The family of two brothers reported by the Philippine Army to have been killed during an encounter on March 26 in Sitio Maliko-liko, Brgy. Carabalan, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, strongly debunked allegations that they were members of the New People’s Army.

Jane Marie Ybañez, live in partner of Jason Sabanal, strongly debunked claims that her partner is a member of the New People’s Army, as she insisted that he was a farmer.

Jason and his elder brother Arnulfoboth died in an encounter with 94th Infantry Battalion soldiers on March 26, who were conducting pursuit operations on rebels they had encountered twice on March 25 in the same area.

A press statement from the 94th Infantry Battalion said that the Sabanal brothers were identified by former rebels as members of the Sentro De Grabidad Platoon of Central Negros Front 2, who were both operating in the barangays of Carabalan, Mahalang and Buenavista, all in Himamaylan City.

Lt. Col. Van Donald Almonte, 94IB commander, said that Army soldiers were clearing the rebel camp they had seized earlier of anti-personnel mines when they were fired upon by five rebels that resulted in another encounter and claimed the lives of the two insurgents.

Almonte said the fleeing rebels left behind their two casualties, while recovered from the encounter site were a caliber .45 pistol with three ammunition, a medical kit, a monocular scope, nine shotgun rounds and subversive documents with high intelligence value.

While they grieved with the family of slain rebels, Almonte said it is unfortunate to see two more NPA members who paid with their life for senseless armed struggle.

But Ybañez told RMN DYHB that they have a witness to prove that her live in partner was picked up from their abandoned residence in the place and killed.

Adelfa and Jell, sisters of the slain Sabanal brothers, backed up the statement of Ybañez that their two siblings are not rebels, but ordinary farmers.

The Sabanal family is calling for speedy justice on what happened to their family members.*

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