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PIA Press Release
2010/09/23

Army troopers unearth gravesites in Albay and Sorsogon

Legazpi City (23 September) -- Army soldiers recently unearthed two gravesites of three civilians that were summarily executed by suspected New People's Army (NPA) in Albay and Sorsogon, military reports said.

In Albay, Army soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, led by Lt. Col. John Oberio, exhumed the remains of two people who were killed by the NPA rebels in Cabarian village, Ligao City at around 2:30 pm Tuesday (September 14).

A former rebel, who is now helping the military in its campaign against the insurgents, pinpointed the exact location of the gravesite.

Oberio identified the victims as Manuel Harden, 46, and his brother Domingueto, 44, both members of the communist movement.

The victims were accused by the communist movement as military assets and were sentenced to death through the movement's 'kangaroo court'.

In Sorsogon Army soldiers also exhumed on September 9 the remains of Julius Escudero, a militiaman who was abducted and killed by the NPA sometime in 2006.

The remains of Escudero were exhumed in barangay Marinas, a remote village in Sorsogon City.

According to military intelligence the discovery of the various gravesites is an indication that the communist movement continues to purge its own ranks and resort of extra judicial killing against those members they believe are returning into the folds of the law.

Major General Ruperto Pabustan, commander of the Army's 9th Infantry Division, has called on various human rights groups and local officials to denounce the dastardly acts by the NPA bandits.

"The continuous killing spree perpetrated by the NPA in 2010 is the indication that the bandit group remains as the main violators of the International Humanitarian Law. It is high time that local leaders and human rights groups take a stand to condemn these senseless killings," said Pabustan.

Meanwhile, a notorious gang member was s shot to death by suspected NPA rebels on Wednesday (September 15) in Pamplona town in Camarines Sur, a military official said.

LtCol Ernesto Cruz, commander of the Army's 42nd Infantry Battalion based in Camarines Sur, identified the victim as Sonny Nollasco, 27, a resident of Tambo village, Pamplona town.

Cruz said that five armed men approached the victim near his house and dragged him to a swamp where he was shot in close range with Cal.45 pistol at around 10:20am Wednesday.

"The victim was tagged as a member of the notorious hold-up gang in the area. He was shot to death in front of his relatives who witnessed the crime," said Cruz.

Lt. Col. Leoncio Cirunay, Commander of the 22nd Infantry Battalion also said that Nollasco was a former NPA rebel who asked for his help in going back to mainstream society.

"I was studying the possibility of letting him (Nollasco) join my CAFGU personnel. This is my own way of helping enlightened members of the bandit group to become peaceful citizens in our country," said Cirunay.

Nollasco is the 35th victim of the bandit group's policy of extra-judicial killing after the shooting of Rey Diolata, 24, in Gubat town in Sorsogon on September 10. Diolata was killed by NPA rebels in front of his wife and children. (PNA Bicol/PIA/mal) [top]

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