CAMP ELIAS ANGELES, Pili, CamSur – The creation of the AFP Human Rights Office was greeted by the spate of killings blamed on the communist terrorists in the Bicol Region, a military official said here today.
Colonel Leoncio Cirunay, Operations Officer of the 9th Infantry Division, said that Fernando Candia, 68, of Sitio Tico-tico (sub-village) in Taysan village, Legaspi City was gunned down by a lone gunman inside a passenger jeepney in Resettlement Site area in Legaspi City at around 12:30pm yesterday (December 3). Cirunay said that the latest killing followed the brutal murder of Ernesto Manago, 52, another village watchman from the same village who was killed on November 24.
"We condemn the series of murders committed by suspected members of the CPP-NPA's special partisan unit (SPARU). After killing two of our soldiers last month, they are now turning their wrath on their suspected military informants among the civilian populace," said Cirunay in a statement released to the local media.
Eyewitnesses accounts stated that Candia was on board a public utility jeep with at least 10 other passengers when a gunman suddenly pulled a gun and shot the victim at close range. Candia sustained multiple gunshot wounds including a head shot which resulted to his instantaneous death.
Two innocent civilians were also hurt by the shooting. Lilia Abane, 41, and her young son Joel, 12, were hit by bullet splinters and stray bullets. The duo were brought to a local hospital and were declared as 'out of danger' by attending physicians.
"I stopped to unload a passenger when I heard gunshots behind me. The assailant immediately fled on board a motorcycle which was parked nearby. No one among us were able to identify the assailant who was wearing a cap," said Joefer Mangampo, the driver of the passenger jeepney where the killing was committed.
Two other people lay dead in another unsolved killing which occurred in Donsol town in Sorsogon on December 1 when the group of a local politician was ambushed by motorcycle-riding gunmen while coming from a campaign sortie.
The military has tagged the communist rebel group in most of the killings in the Bicol Region which has claimed the lives of at least 45 people .
The 'reds' have claimed responsibility in some of the killings which the military claimed as solid examples of human rights violations. In CY 2010 alone, 6 soldiers and 8 militiamen were killed in the series of extra-judicial killings perpetrated by the NPA bandit group members.
On November 22, 2010, the local bandit group in Camarines Sur admitted the killing of a certain Francis Obrero of Itangon village in Bula town. "We punish Obrero for being a military informant which is a serious offense in our organization (CPP-NPA-NDF)," an official CPP-NPA document released to the media said.
The 9th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army has assisted the filing of criminal charges against the members of the communist rebel group who were tagged as behind the latest murders.
The Army's Human Rights Office in the Bicol Region is also helping the relatives of the victims in filing a complaint (on human rights violations) against the CPP-NPA, before the regional office of the Commission of Human Rights.