4 for­mer rebels tagged in Sa­gay mas­sacre yield

Manila Times - - Regions - BY EU­GENE Y. ADIONG

BA­COLOD CITY: Four for­mer com­mu­nist rebels linked by the Na­tional Demo­cratic Front (NDF)-Ne­gros to the in­fa­mous Sa­gay 9 mas­sacre sur­ren­dered to au­thor­i­ties but de­nied the ac­cu­sa­tions against them.

Frank Fer­nan­dez, spokesman for NDF-Ne­gros, last week tagged Vito Lu­trago, Ed­uardo Lino­gon, Rexi Robles, and a cer­tain Rako as the sus­pects in the Oc­to­ber 20 mur­der of nine civil­ians in Ha­cienda Nene in Barangay Bu­lanon.

The four are for­mer mem­bers of the com­mu­nist break­away group, Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Pro­le­tar­ian Army.

Fer­nan­dez also tagged the for­mer rebels as “armed goons” of land­lords in north­ern Ne­gros, who are own­ers of vast land­hold­ings in Sa­gay City.

Lu­trago, Lino­gon, Robles and Macario Pe­drano vol­un­tar­ily sur­ren­dered to the Sa­gay City Po­lice Sta­tion and de­nied they were serv­ing as armed goons for landown­ers, say­ing that they do not even know each other.

The four claimed they have been re­ceiv­ing threats that their fam­i­lies will be killed be­cause of their al­leged in­volve­ment in the mas­sacre.

On Fri­day, the four joined a me­dia con­fer­ence of the vic­tims of the Sa­gay 9 mas­sacre, ac­com­pa­nied by Chief Insp. Robert Man­sueto, Sa­gay City po­lice chief, and City So­cial Wel­fare De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer Con­so­la­cion Espinosa.

Lu­trago, whose two broth­ers were killed by the New Peo­ple’s Army, said he got the ire of the

“Spare my fam­ily, if you want to kill me,” he added.

Robles, on the other hand, said they are be­ing used as scape­goats, “so that the vic­tims’ fam­i­lies and the au­thor­i­ties will no longer search for the real cul­prits. “

But Man­sueto said de­spite their de­nials, the four are still con­sid­ered sus­pects as part of their in­ves­ti­ga­tion, al­though there is still no di­rect ev­i­dence against them.

Col. Bene­dict Arevalo, 303rd In­fantry Bri­gade com­man­der, whose in­fantry units are help­ing the po­lice se­cure the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims, ad­mit­ted he was shocked by the rev­e­la­tions of the for­mer rebels and fam­i­lies of the Sa­gay 9 mas­sacre, in­clud­ing the re­peated at­tempts of the Na­tional Union of Peo­ple’s Lawyer (NUPL), Kara­p­atan and Gabriela to take into cus­tody a 14-year-old vi­tal wit­ness to the mas­sacre.

Vic Pedaso, fa­ther of the wit­ness, who also joined the me­dia con­fer­ence held at the Balay Kauswa­gan in Sa­gay City, said his for­mer livein part­ner and his son, are be­ing held against their will.



il­le­gal de­ten­tion charges against the NUPL and other mil­i­tant groups.

Mean­while, Espinosa said it was agreed that the mi­nor be al­lowed to re­turn to Ne­gros, if he will be needed.

But she added that the mi­nor and the mother could not be lo­cated, as of this writ­ing.

The four for­mer rebels asked Pres­i­dent Ro­drigo Duterte to in­ves­ti­gate a law­maker in north­ern Ne­gros, who is sup­ply­ing lo­gis­ti­cal

and am­mu­ni­tion, to the NPA.

The for­mer rebels also claimed that the law­maker, whom they did not name, is also a drug lord.

Arevalo said the law­maker be­ing ac­cused as an NPA sup­porter in north­ern Ne­gros should be in­cluded in the House and Se­nate in­quiries.

“Our in­ter­est here is not po­lit­i­cal, but to know the truth, if in­deed, there is a con­gress­man or politi­cians sup­port­ing the NPA. It is bet­ter that it should be known by the peo­ple, not only by the Armed Forces of the Philip­pines,” he added.

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