3.16.2009

UNCOVERING THE MASS GRAVES IN CEBU...


Three mass graves were unearthed by the joint team of the Central Command, 78th Infantry Battalion, 3rd Civil Relations Group, CRSAFP and the PNP in Cebu province recently.

The sole perpetrator of these mass killings is allegedly singled out to the communist armed group, New People’s Army (NPA) in 1980s as per account of the several witnesses.

These mass killing incidents had left a never-healing scathe in the hearts of those who mourned for the disappearance of their loved ones—and even until now a number of them (relatives) still yearned for justice to be served and the resultant incrimination of the perpetrators.

Antonia Labajo of Asturias town resentfully wept seeing the skeletal remains of her husband, Venancio for the first time after 23 years during the funeral blessing for the bones held at St. Jude Chapel, Central Command last 02 September 2008.

Antonia said she is now grateful because her husband’s soul will finally be at peace. She recounted her struggle in accepting the 23 years loss of her husband.

Venancio was among those killed in the infamous massacre perpetrated by the communist armed group, New People’s Army (NPA) in barangay Gaas, Balamban, Cebu in 1985.

The body of Venancio Labajo was among the nine skeletal remains dug up by the police and military teams on 29 August 2008 in sitio Mayana, barangay Gaas, Balamban, Cebu. With Venancio are the skeletal remains also of the Anugot family, the couple, Mauricio and Saria Anugot and the six of their seven children, aged, 18, 15, 12, 8, 1 and eight-months old baby.

Venancio was at the house of Anugot family when they were massacred by the NPA when they did not support anymore the NPA movement in the form of giving revolutionary tax, according to witnesses.

Meanwhile, Jesusima Ababon says her brother-in-law, Nilo Ababon was mistakenly identified as deep penetration agent (DPAs) and was killed by the NPA and the body was thrown into the cave in barangay Sudlon 1, Cebu City in 1980s.

The police and military unearthed two skeletal remains in the various caves in barangay Sudlon 1, Cebu City on 22 August 2008 but the remains had to undergo series of examinations by the Scene on Crime Operatives to check the identity whether it belonged to Nilo Ababon or to the other victims.

Julito Senarlo of Asturias town says his brother, Wilfredo was a former NPA member who was killed in an encounter with the military in the mountain barangay in Kalunsing, Tuburan, Cebu in 1987. It has been 21 years after that they know of Wilfredo’s death.

The skeletal remains of Wilfredo Senarlo alias Ka Aler were unearthed in the mountain barangay Kalunsing, Tuburan last January 31, 2008 because of the revelation of a former NPA member, Myrna Romero alias “Ka Magda”.

Julito said he just got hurt “because the NPA did not even bother to inform me on the death of brother (Wilfredo).”

Cebu province has been the haven of the communist armed group NPA who perpetrated a lot of uncouth and barbaric killings in 1980s and the most famous of which is the purging activities.

CENTCOM here is helping the families of the victims that the skeletal remains would be given decent burial and that their souls would rest in peace.

LT COL RAYMUNDO B BA√ĎARES JR, Commanding Officer, 78IB said the series of exhumations was made possible because of the information coming from the civilians.

He said that civilians now have slowly gained the trust and confidence of the police and military and openly shared information with the authorities.#

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