(This statement was updated from the earlier one released yesterday in order to include details of the incident resulting from the Fact Finding Mission carried out by human rights group Karapatan. The earlier statement was based on initial reports provided by the National Democratic Front (NDF)-Cagayan Valley.)
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) joins the Filipino people in condemning in the strongest terms possible the fascist troops of the 86th Infantry Battalion for carrying out the heinous murder of elderly couple Vicente and Rosario Valenzuela in Sitio Calabbagin, Barangay San Miguel, Echague, Isabela in the early morning hours of November 23.
Information collected by a fact-finding mission determined that operating troops of the 86th IB’s Alpha Company led by 2Lt. Bernardino and Sgt. Balansa arrived at So. Calabbagin the day before at 7 a.m. They stayed in two houses and had drinking sprees with some residents. The soldiers left the following morning at 1 a.m. A few hours later, residents heard two simultaneous single gunshots succeeded by automatic gunfire.
The day after, the soldiers returned to San Miguel and ordered village officials to accompany them to the hilltop hut of the Valenzuelas, half a kilometer away from the sitio center. There they found Vicente’s body, with a gunshot wound on his back, slumped by his hut’s entrance. Rosario’s body was found in the sleeping quarters, with a gunshot wound below her right ear. The house was riddled with bullets.
Soldiers ordered the residents to wrap the bodies in sleeping mats and bring them to the village center. While doing so, a soldier named Robert Bagni was heard apologizing to the residents, saying that other soldiers fired at the hut thinking that there were NPA fighters inside. This angered the residents, who were furious at not having been informed about the incident earlier.
“The CPP condemns this terrible fascist crime perpetrated by the armed troops of the 86th IB and holds the officers of the 5th ID fully responsible for the killing of the elderly Valenzuela couple,” said the CPP. “The CPP calls on the people of Echague to rise up and demand justice for the Valenzuelas. The CPP further calls on units of the New People’s Army in the area to punish the perpetrators of this heinous war crime.”
“The CPP holds the Aquino regime, its commander-in-chief and its military and security officials ultimately responsible for these murders, as well as the wave of massacres, killings, abductions, illegal detention and other grave violations of human rights across the country,” added the CPP.
“This latest war crime comes hard on the heels of the massacre by the 27th IB of the Capeon family last October 18 in Davao del Sur and the successive killings by the 2nd IB of civilian Dante Osma and village councilor Ely Oguis last November 1 and 11 in Albay. Oguis was decapitated by the soldiers and his head buried in the mud,” pointed out the CPP.
“The armed agents of the Aquino regime are becoming increasingly brutal in carrying out their Oplan Bayanihan war of suppression,” said the CPP. “Claims by Aquino and his military officials of respecting human rights have been proven to be empty rhetoric and serve only as a thin veil to conceal the bloody trail of abuses and terror perpetrated by the AFP and other armed agencies of the reactionary state.”