A group on Thursday said the nine fatalities in the previous day's military operations in Tapaz, Capiz, were members of an indigenous people's (IP) group, contrary to the claim of government forces that they were communist rebels.
In a post on Facebook, the group Pamanggas said the nine were Tumandok IPs who were "unarmed" and "non-combatant."
The group identified eight of the slain individuals as:
- Eliseo Gayas, Jr. of Barangay Aglinab, a TUMANDUK Council
- Mauro Diaz of Barangay Tacayan;
- Arcelito Katipunan of Barangay Acuña;
- Mario Aguirre of Barangay Lahug, a Barangay Council Member;
- Roy Giganto of Barangay Lahug, a Barangay Council Member, former Barangay Captain, and the current TUMANDUK Chairperson;
- Jomer Vidal of Barangay Daan Sur;
- Dalson Catamin of Barangay Nayawan, a Barangay Captain;
- Reynaldo Katipunan of Barangay Lahug, a Barangay Council Member
The group said Gaas was "tortured before killed."
According to Pamanggas, the family members of Gayas were ordered to go out of their house before armed operatives came in and shot him four times.
“Mario Aguirre’s and Roy Giganto’s houses, meanwhile were forcibly entered and operatives shot them dead inside while lying down asleep, in the presence of their families,” it added.
Meanwhile, 17 IP members were arrested in the same operation from different Barangays in Calinog, Iloilo and Tapaz, Capiz. The group identified 11 of them as the following:
- Marilyn Castor Chiva
- Luisito Bautista, Chief Tanod of Barangay Garangan in Calinog, Iloilo;
- Glen Legario
- Wilsie Chiva, 60 years old;
- Marivic Aguirre, former TUMANDUK chairperson and municipal government employee
- Marilou Sumaria Catamin, 54 years old
- (Rolen Caro Catamin, 21 years old
- Jucie Katipunan Caro, 44 years old
- Eleutricia Calbo Caro, 62 years old
- Rolando Caspillo, 56 years old
- Aileen Catamin, former TUMANDUK Secretary General, former Tacayan Barangay Captain, and a current municipal government employee
The group said Catamin’s family claimed that Aileen was tortured when she was brought to Tapaz Police Station.
Marevic Aguirre and Raul Catamin went missing, according to the group. Citing witnesses, the group said Aguirre was taken by military forces in a helicopter.
According to Raul's family, he was also subject to Search Warrant and operation by the police and military that morning.
“Identified victims were respected IP leaders in their respective barangays and were not armed,” the group said.
In November, the group said a community leader from Barangay Lahug sought the help of the Commission on Human Rights over alleged threats made by Philippine Army and Philippine National Police members against residents.
GMA News Online has reached out to Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo and PNP spokesperson Police Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana for comment.
They have not answered as of posting time.
According to Western Visayas police chief Police Brigadier General Rolando Miranda on Wednesday, the nine were killed during a simultaneous serving of search warrants against suspected New People's Army (NPA) rebels in Panay Island, particularly in Tapaz and Calinog.
A Super Radyo dzBB report said the alleged NPAs resisted arrest. --with Joviland Rita/KBK, GMA News