September 26, 2008
Press Statement


Maybe they were members of the NPA, but then again may be they were not. What should boggle the mind is how they died.

Lt.Pedro Inserto of the AFP-Centcom claims Rachelle Mae Palang, Gerry Cabungcag, and Bernardo Villalongja died in a shoot-out with his trooops on September 18, 2008 in a hinterland barangay of Dauin town, Negros Oriental. But the slowly unfolding facts paints a different picture.

It is clear now that there were no encounter in that area in the first place. The bodies of Cabungcag and Villalongja both sustained multiple gunshot wounds at the back, while that of Palang has a single, clear wound at the ‘left parietal-frontal lobe’.

This brings us to the more shocking fact. Since last Thursday, various officers of the the AFP from the 79th Infantry Battalion to the 302nd Infantry Brigade and the AFP-Centom have been boasting of having killed “NPAs” in that place. They distributed photos and video clips of the bodies and other trophies. Yet, it never occurred to them to collect the bodies for descent disposal. They left these to rot.

It was only on Sunday (4 days after the alleged incident!), when the families arrived to claim the bodies that these were hauled down from the site, and not by PNP or AFP troops, but by the (Dauin) Mayor’s men.

By not collecting and disposing properly of the bodies they killed, the government soldiers have committed a war crime. It is not only a violation of the Protocols of the Geneva Conventions, but of every known norms of basic human decency.

Adding insult to injury, the killers of Palang, Villalongja, and Cabuncag even denied the families immediate access to the bodies as if these were under their custody and they have authority over them. The families of Villalongja and Cabungcag were even hauled off from the funeral home in Dumaguete City to far off Zamboangita town to be investigated.

And Lt.Inserto claims the AFP respects human rights…###


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