• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade and Police Regional Office 6 vowed to seek justice for the deaths of four members of a family in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental, as it described the accusations of the New People’s Army, linking them to the gruesome murder, as baseless allegations.
Brig. Gen. Orlando Edralin, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, who strongly condemned the brutal killings of members of the Fausto family, said they are committed to uncovering the truth behind what he describes as a “horrific incident,” and in bringing the perpetrators to justice.
We will spare no effort in pursuing justice for the victims and their families, Edralin said.
The PRO6 also vowed to bring the terrorists to justice, apparently referring to the suspects behind the massacre, as it also asked Himamaylanons to cooperate with authorities in the conduct of their investigations.
Edralin also described the allegations of NPA against Army soldiers as “nothing but an attempt by the desperate NPA rebels to tarnish the reputation of the Philippine Army in Negros Occidental, stressing also that “pointing their (NPAs) dirty finger at the Army is part of the CTG’s (communist terrorist group) deceptive tactic to cover up the truth.”
The victims, Rolly Fausto, his wife, Imelda, and their two minor children, succumbed to multiple fatal gunshot injuries, inflicted by still unidentified suspects on Wednesday night.
Police recovered 53 empty M16 assault rifle shells at the scene of incident.
In a statement, the NPA Apolinario Gatmaitan Command, who condemned the incident, accused the 94th Infantry Battalion of being behind in the gruesome murder of the Fausto family.
The 94IB was responsible for the neutralization of two top rebel leaders in Negros, Rogelio Posadas and Romeo Nanta, secretary of the Komiteng Rehiyonal Negros/Cebu/Bohol/Siquijor, and regional commander, who both died in gun battles in Binalbagan and Himamaylan City, respectively, in previous months.
Within a period of one month, 11 NPA combatants have been killed in a series of encounters with Army soldiers in central Negros alone, with cadavers recovered at gunbattle sites, military records showed.
With the series of losses and debacles suffered by the CPP-NDF-NPA terrorist organization in Negros Island, they resort to senseless acts of violence to deter the people and the communities from working with the government and the state security forces, regional police spokesperson PMaj. Mary Grace Socorro Borio, said.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said that by accusing the military as the culprits, it appears that the other group already passing the blame to muddle the issue.
Extending his condolences to the surviving family member, Lacson said he is hoping that the culprits may soon be identified and apprehended, “so that justice can be served to the remaining family member.”
The provincial government of Negros Occidental is also extending assistance to the surviving family member, he added.
PCapt. Judesses Catalogo, spokesman of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, urged those who may have information on the incident to share it with the authorities.*