LEGASPI CITY – Victims of the extra-judicial killings in Bicol have surfaced to air their complaints against the human rights abuses committed by the communist rebels, a military official said here yesterday, March 4, 2011.
LtCol John Oberio, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, said that more and more family members have surfaced to ask the military’s assistance during the filing of criminal cases against the perpetrators.
“Though threatened with death by the NPA rebels, some of the relatives have contacted me about their intention to file criminal complaints against the rebels. This is a positive step because most of the victims prefer to shut up for fear of the NPA's reprisals,” said Oberio.
Leonora Nerveza, 44, came to file a criminal complaint against the communist rebels belonging to the Santos Binamira Command based in Albay. Her son, Jeffrey, 20, was shot and killed by the communist rebels along with Sandy Lozano, at around 7:00pm on February 28, 2011.
She lamented the public pronouncements aired by the communist rebels over the radio that her son was meted with death for being a ‘robber’ and a ‘rapist’.
“It is disheartening that the communist rebels are accusing my young son as a criminal. I am sending him to school out of my meager income as a handicraft maker in our village,” said Nerveza, a separated woman who raises her 4 young children alone.
She also said that she last saw her son in the night on February 23 when he bade goodbye to attend the JS (Junior-Senior) prom organized by his school. I was told the next day that he was abducted by heavily armed men while on the way to the party.
“I was crying for many days as I was trying my best to locate my son. On March 1, residents of Cotmon village, Camalig town discovered the bullet-riddled body of my son at around 6:00am.”
At around 3:00pm yesterday (March 4), she headed to regional office of the Commission of Human Rights in this city to seek justice for the death of his son.
Atty Anel Almoguera of CHR Region 5 facilitated the filing of a criminal case against the culprits. She was told that she could receive a financial assistance of P10,000.00 if she can complete all the required documents.
A CHR team would be sent to conduct a thorough investigation about the circumstances leading to the killing of his son.
Lozano’s family declined to accompany Nerveza in her quest for justice. In a text message sent to Oberio, they claimed that the rebels threatened to ‘wipe out their whole family’ if they file a complaint against them (NPA rebels).
Chris Canieso, 21, a former rebel himself, has survived the attempt to kill him in December 2009 in his home in San Francisco village, Bula town, Camarines Sur.
He used to be a ‘student’ of Elmer Estrellado, a demolition and explosive instructor whom he knew as Ka Poldo.
He sustained multiple gunshot wounds including a bullet that barely missed his heart by an inch. He said that his former comrades wanted him killed because of his cooperation to the military authorities.
While recuperating from his wounds, he was caught by police authorities in a hospital in Iriga City.
He was incarcerated because of a case filed against him for the killing of a certain Sgt Valencia, an Army soldier who was killed in an attack that he participated as an NPA rebel in 2007.
While in jail, his former comrades accused him of cooperating with the government and the military authorities.
“My two brothers, Benjamin and Jaime were killed by my former friends in the CPP-NPA in 2010 as a ‘punishment’ for my alleged cooperation with the military,” said Canieso who belongs to a large family of 12 children.
“Due to the killing of my brothers, we decided to flee and seek refuge among our relatives in far away places,” added Canieso, who is now starting a new life as a father of two young children aged 3 and 1.
Canieso said that he wants his friends in the rebel movement to go home and start a new life. He said that young people like him were merely used by their leaders to advance their selfish purposes.
“Our leaders have forced us to become hardened criminals while they enjoy the loot that we collected from businessmen, poor farmers and corrupt politicians. As their pawns, they ordered us to kill people, and, I went on ‘AWOL’ (Absent Without Official Leave) because I can’t stomach the killings anymore,” explained Canieso who left the rebel movement in January 2009 after more than 5 years as a communist guerilla.
Military authorities here have pledged to help secure the victims of the NPA’s summary executions which had claimed the lives of 52 people in Calendar Year 2009 and 45 people in Calendar Year 2010.