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PIA Press Release

Soldier finds decomposing cadaver of missing person near encounter site in Ilocos Sur

By Freddie G. Lazaro

Narvacan, Ilocos Sur (September 16) -- Government troopers discovered last Tuesday a decomposing cadaver of a reported missing person during the encounter of the soldiers and the New People's Army (NPA) in a hilly in Barangay Pila East, Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur over the weekend.

Colonel Essel C. Soriano, Commander of the Army's 503rd Brigade, cited the report reaching to his office that a platoon of soldiers from the army's 86th Infantry Battalion found the cadaver when they were conducting thorough search on the area. The foul odor guided the troops to its location at about 150 meters away from the encounter site.

"To identify the cadaver, the soldiers sought assistance of local policemen who went immediately to the area for inspection of the reported cadaver," he said.

In the result of the autopsy examination conducted by police crime laboratory personnel, it showed that the victim died due to multiple gunshot wounds inflicted from the back portion of his body.

However, the police told that the other details such as the firearm used in the killing was difficult to identify as the cadaver was on the state of decomposition.

Soriano said that the body was later identified by his close relatives as Elmer Valdez from Conconig East, Santa Lucia, Ilocos Sur.

Valdez was reportedly missing after he went to the vicinity near the NPA's encampment to gather bamboos when the firefight ensued last Friday morning in the hilly area of Barangay Pila East, Sta. Lucia town.

The body was later brought home by his relatives after it was cleaned by the Velasco Funeral Services.

Soriano clarified that the mere presence of Valdez in the area with the NPA rebels on the time of encounter raised the suspicion that he was among the group and not just an ordinary individual.

Asked if who is responsible, he answered that the AFP has done its part in searching after a reported missing individual and in its proper disposition.

He also said that the local government of Santa Lucia to include the barangay officials of Conconig East shall now take the responsibility of attending to the needs of the bereaved family.

"This is perhaps very unfortunate but it does not mean that the Philippine Army has to be blamed since the soldiers are only after the NPA terrorists," he added. (PIA Ilocos Sur) [top]

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