Philippine Army soldiers are responsible for the recent killings in Himamaylan City, National Solidarity Mission (NSM) participants charged at a press conference in Bacolod City on Friday, June 23.
The NSM called for national and international investigations into the massacre of farmer Rolly Fausto, 52, his wife, Emilda, 49, and their sons Ben, 11, and Raben, 15, on June 14 and the killing of Crispin Tingal Jr. on May 3.
The NSM press conference came a day after the Philippine National Police and the Army announced that they have witnesses to prove that the killing of four members of the Fausto family was committed by the New People’s Army (NPA).
The NSM participants who visited Barangay Buenavista in Himamaylan City on June 22 were composed of representatives from the Philippine Congress, various organizations including church people, farmers, women, Indigenous Peoples, environmental rights defenders, children’s rights defenders, among others.
Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) Bacolod Bishop Virgilio Amihan, who read the NSM statement said the massacre of the Fausto family “is a culmination of a series of harassment, destruction of properties, violation of domicile, illegal search and red tagging that was similarly inflicted on the Tingal family who barely escaped a pattern of attacks, from red tagging to massacre”.
Rep. Raoul Manuel (Kabataan Partylist) said he together with Deputy Minority Leader France Castro of ACT and Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela filed on June 19 House Resolution 1091 calling on the Committee on Human Rights to investigate the massacre of the Fausto family.
“We hope the PNP’s investigation of the Fausto massacre was genuinely impartial – only then would their supposed breakthrough have credibility. Problem is, reports on the ground say otherwise,” Ariel Casilao, Union ng Manggagawa sa Agrkilutura (UMA) chairperson, said.
“Stories of coercion, in which witnesses are forced to testify and follow a script provided by the PNP to paint the NPA as perpetrators, have been shared with us.” Casilao said.
The NSM urged the Commission on Human Rights, and Congress to conduct an impartial investigation of these cases in Negros.
“Families experience loss of livelihood, severe trauma, especially among children, and a grave violation of their freedom of association. Farmers who cultivate the land and feed the nation deserve peace, justice and the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor,” the NSM said.
The Army’s 3rd Infantry Division pointed out on Friday that the PNP investigation shows that the merciless killings of four members of the Fausto family in Himamaylan City were perpetrated by CPP-NPA.
“The PNP’s investigation is founded upon credible witness accounts and concrete evidences, in stark firm contrast to the falsehoods and deceitful claims propagated by the Communist terrorists and their associates out of sheer desperation,” it said.
The 3ID urged the public to remain vigilant and join them in combatting the dissemination of misinformation, fake news, and deceptive propaganda orchestrated by the Communists and their allies.
“It is significant that everyone take part in upholding the truth to ensure that the families of the victims receive the justice they rightly deserve,” it said.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson said they cannot expect the NSM participants to agree with report of the PNP and military who have witnesses to prove that these atrocities were committed by the CPP NPA.
“Being on the government side of course I put value to the report of the military,” he said, adding what is important is that the culprits are identified.
Lt. Col. Reynante Jomocan, Himamaylan police chief, said they have secured the judicial affidavits of two witnesses to the massacre of the Fausto family.
More or less 15 armed men executed the shooting of the victims led by Fernando Hermino, squad leader of NPA Central Negros Front 2, he said.*