NDF-Bicol: ‘NPA rebels’ killed by soldiers in Masbate were ‘habal-habal’ drivers

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THE National Democratic Front-Bicol (NDF-Bicol) has condemned the brutality and deception of military squads after confirming that the four purportedly New People’s Army guerrillas killed in a “clash” in Barangay Mactan, Cawayan, Masbate, on August 3 were actually tricycle drivers.

NDF-Bicol Spokesman Maria Roja Banua said Gary Bisnar, Adam Fajardo, Biboy Badillo and a certain Pabito regularly drove “habal-habal” or extended tricycles in Cawayan, Masbate, were not NPA members.

Banua condoled with the families of the habal-habal drivers and urged them to fight for justice since the latest massacre brings to 268 the number of victims of extrajudicial execution perpetrated by the military under the Aquino administration.

“After the massacre, the military claimed that the four drivers were killed in an encounter and they even planted firearms and other ‘evidence’ on their remains,” Banua said in Filipino.

The massacre came a day before Phelim Kine, chief of the Human Rights Watch in Asia, urged new Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Hernando Irriberi to arrest, try and punish all soldiers and paramilitary men who have been committing human-rights violations.

Banua surmised that the massacre of the four drivers was a “crazy reaction” to battle losses by the military in Masbate.

“After their unit was ambushed, the soldiers of the Bravo Company of the 9th IB [Infantry Battalion] established a checkpoint at Barangay Matan, Cawayan, Masbate. They ordered four drivers of habal-habal motorcycles to alight, brought them to a cogonal area and killed summarily. Passengers who regularly ride the habal-habal witnessed what happened and they can prove that the drivers are civilians and residents of Barangay Mactan,” Banua said.

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