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Volume 3,  Number 34              September 28 - October 4, 2003            Quezon City, Philippines


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Massacre in Maco, Compostela Valley
Alleged m
ilitary intelligence agents abduct, torture, murder youth activists

The massacre of four youths from Maco, Compostela Valley province – including two Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) officials – adds to the growing state terrorism against progressive organizations.

Bulatlat.com Mindanao Bureau  

MACO, COMPOSTELA VALLEY  – Marjorie Reynoso, 18, a Sangguniang Kabataang (SK or youth council) chairperson in Anislagan, a village in this town, wanted to be a health worker for her community. A second-year nursing student at Arriesgado College Foundation in Tagum City, she had volunteered for medical missions organized by the Anak ng Bayan youth party, in which she was also the municipal chairperson.

Her dreams, however, ended when she and three other companions from her community were abducted on Sept. 19 and were later found dead on Sept. 22, buried in a shallow grave inside a banana plantation farm in Compostela town, Compostela Valley. Reynoso, according to initial reports, had been raped.  

Mindanao island map shows Compostela Valley 

The other victims were Jonathan Venaro, 17, an SK councilor of Mapaang village; Lito Doydoy, 27, Anak ng Bayan organizer; and Ramon Regase, 19, a motorcycle driver.  

On Sept. 19, the four youths were abducted along Apokon National Highway in Tagum City. Reynoso and Doydoy were on board the motorcycle driven by Regase, with Venaro hitching along. Reynoso and Doydoy were on their way home after attending a birthday party.  




Victims of torture and summary execution: 
(L-R) Regase, Reynoso, and Doydoy

Witnesses said they were stopped by a maroon Tamaraw FX.  Two of Reynoso’s companions were shot in the leg before they were all forced into the van.

Relatives searched for them through the help of local officials and human rights alliance Karapatan. They queried police and military headquarters and hospitals to no avail.


Karapatan recounted in its fact sheet this incident: “An hour after the abduction of Lito, Marjorie, Jonathan and Jong-Jong, Gloria Reynoso, mother of Marjorie, tried to contact her daughter through her mobile phone. But a recording only responded, saying that the phone was either unattended or out of coverage area.

“It was late in the evening when Gloria began to feel worried about her daughter’s whereabouts and again attempted to call her mobile phone. She was surprised to hear a man answer with a loud laugh before immediately hanging up on her. A few minutes later, Gloria’s phone rang. She answered the call. The same person laughing loudly was on the other end of the line and Gloria responded with “I know you are members of the ISU and MIG, but don’t you dare touch my daughter! Bring her back to me dead or alive!” Then the other end went dead. Gloria vainly tried calling back, but the mobile phone had already been turned off.”   

Bodies of massacre victims are exhumed inside a plantation 

Photo courtesy of Mindanao Times

On Sept. 22, their anxiety turned to grief and outrage when they learned that the four youths were found buried in a shallow pit inside the Selecta Farms Plantation in Compostela. 

Farm workers said they first noticed something buried in the plantation since Saturday, but thought it was just chemical waste. On Sept. 22, they noticed the foul smell coming from the buried site was unbearable.  They notified the police who later dug up the site and discovered the four bodies, which were piled on top of each other in a shallow and narrow pit.  

A police investigator noted that their bodies bore signs of torture: stab wounds, masking tape covering their mouths, rope marks on their necks. A bullet shattered Reynoso’s skull.

Reynoso and her companions are the latest victims of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s declaration of “war” on progressive organizations, according to human-rights groups

Karapatan Southern Mindanao secretary-general Ariel Casilao said the Maco massacre showed the administration’s “desperate move to crack down on progressive and militant groups.” He said 432 incidents of human rights violations involving 16,034 individuals were reported to have occurred so far this year in Southern Mindanao alone.

Karapatan noted that the abduction of the four victims occurred 50 meters away from the 1101st Philippine National Police (PNP) outpost in this town.  The group wondered why the police did not react immediately since gunshots were heard at the time.

Anak ng Bayan Southern Mindanao secretary-general Jeppie Ramada identified a Military Intelligence Group (MIG) Region 11 agent, Willie Javier, as one of those responsible for the deaths of the four youths.

Ramada said witnesses saw Javier was present on the day Reynoso and her companions were abducted.

A motorcycle driver said Javier approached them moments before the youths were abducted.  The driver said Javier asked them about the whereabouts of Reynoso.

MIG Region 11 commander Maj. Allen Capuyan denied that they have an asset named Javier. However, a MIG official revealed to the press that Javier is already inactive with the group. Capuyan said he has yet to check their records on the existence of Javier.

Lt. Col. Agane Adriatico, chief of the military’s 5th Civil Relations Group for Southeastern Mindanao, said that the New People’s Army (NPA) might have killed the youths as “sacrificial lambs” to attack the credibility of the military and the government.

Casilao lambasted Adriatico’s statement as a desperate attempt to cover up the military’s atrocities.  He also chided Capuyan’s inconsistent statement on Willie Javier.

Karapatan is assisting the families of the victims in preparing evidences for possible criminal charges against the MIG.

Relatives and friends, stunned by the brutal killings, are one in demanding justice for the victims. Maco Vice Mayor Voltaire Rimando, who is calling for an investigation on the incident, said Reynoso would be remembered as an “idealistic youth leader who showed concern for her constituents and her community.” 

Davao City Councilor Angela Librado issued a statement denouncing what she called inhuman and barbaric act. “If they can do this on the youth officers of SK and members of legal organizations, imagine what they can do to the ordinary youths?” she said.

“The authorities should not stop until the principal suspects from the military establishments, as pinpointed out by witnesses, are arrested and prosecuted,” Librado said.

The councilor, a human-rights lawyer and former youth activist herself, also criticized the reported surveillance and harassment of the members from militant youth organizations who claimed they were stalked by the same vehicle that was used in the abduction of the four victims. Bulatlat.com

Related article: 
NPA Identifies 3 of 5 intel agents in Maco massacre;
calls on youth to come to the countryside

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