Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Volume 3, Number 34 September 28 - October 4, 2003 Quezon City, Philippines
in Maco, Compostela Valley
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.
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.
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.
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.
searched for them through the help of local officials and human rights alliance
Karapatan. They queried police and military headquarters and hospitals to no
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.
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.
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.
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.
and her companions are the latest victims of the Macapagal-Arroyo
administration’s declaration of “war” on progressive organizations,
according to human-rights groups
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
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.
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.
said witnesses saw Javier was present on the day Reynoso and her
companions were abducted.
motorcycle driver said Javier approached them moments before the youths were
abducted. The driver said Javier
asked them about the whereabouts of Reynoso.
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.
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.
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.
is assisting the families of the victims in preparing evidences for possible
criminal charges against the MIG.
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
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.
authorities should not stop until the principal suspects from the military
establishments, as pinpointed out by witnesses, are arrested and prosecuted,”
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