• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The police yesterday declared a breakthrough in their investigations into the massacre of four family members in rebel infested Sitio Kangkiling, Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental on June 14.
PCapt. Judesses Catalogo, spokesperson of the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, yesterday said they have an eyewitness of the gruesome murder incidents, and other witnesses have volunteered information to police investigators.
Catalogo said the witnesses have already been relocated to ensure their safety.
Initial investigations of the Himamaylan police disclosed that about 15 armed men were involved in the commission of the crime.
Catalogo, however said they have yet to confirm the reported involvement of the New People’s Army, although it is among the angles being pursued in their investigations.
On June 14, Rolly Fausto, his wife, Imelda, and their two minor sons, aged 11 and 15 years old, were summarily executed in Sitio Kangkiling, Brgy. Buenavista, Himamaylan City, as on the same day, armed men believed to be NPA members also burned two heavy equipment in neighboring Sitio Bulod, Brgy, Carabalalan in the city.
According to the investigation of the Himamaylan City police, witnesses revealed that the armed suspects shouted “Mabuhay ang NPA, Mabuhay ang Hukbo. Tanan nga traidor patyon (Long live the NPA, Long Live the Army. All the traitors must be killed),” after the shooting incident.
Pinning the blame on the NPA is an old and tired tactic the AFP uses to escape accountability for its crimes against the people, Coni Ledesma, head of the National Democratic Front Special Office for the Protection of Children, said in a statement.
Catalogo said the testimonies of witnesses will determine the suspects involved in the heinous crimes. Hopefully, we will be able to convince more witnesses to give full accounts into the commission of the crime, to support testimonies of other witnesses, some of whom have appeared to be hesitant in disclosing more information, due to security concerns.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Negros Occidental has started collecting documents and statements on the brutal killing of the Fausto family, yesterday disclosed Vincent Para, head of the CHR sub regional office in Bacolod City.
Para said they have requested the Himamaylan City Police Station for copies of the investigation report, spot report and crime scene pictures.*