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Remains of NPA summary killing victims found in Bukidnon

August 23, 2019 - Friday 6:08 PM by Ruth Palo

Article Banner Image SKELETAL REMAINS. Authorities uncover the remains of retired police officer Joel Rey Miqu Galendez in Kitaotao Bukidnon. ARJOY M. CENIZA

DAVAO CITY -- The skeletal remains of a retired police officer, and Army soldier, and a Lumad leader killed two years ago allegedly by the New People’s Army in 2017  were exhumed by an anter-agency group in Barangay Digongan, Kitaotao, Bukidnon on Thursday, August 22, 2019.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Ezra Balagtey said the remains belong to retired police officer Joel Rey Miqu Galendez, Army Sergeant Reynante Havana Espana, and Lumad datu Dionisio Camarullo Havana.

Balagtey said the inter-agency group, which was led by 10th Infantry Division comander Major General Jose Faustino Jr. and 1003rd Infantry Brigade commander Colonel Nolasco Mempin, supervised the exhumation of the remains.

Witnessing the exhumation were members of the community, the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Kitaotao, Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO), 89th Infantry Battalion (IB), the members of victims' families, and the local government unit of of Kitaotao.

Balagtey said the three were abducted on August 22, 2017 at a roadblock conducted by NPA members along the highway in Kalagangan, Bukidnon.

Based on information released by Lieutenant Colonel Silas Trasmontero, commander of 89th Infantry Battalion, the gravesite was revealed to the military by members of the komiteng Rebolusyonaryo sa Munisipalidad (KRM) who had dissociated from the communist group on August 7, 2019 after the conduct of a Community Support Program (CSP) in the area.

The military said Barangay Digongan was once the center of the “shadow government” KRM, which was organized by the rebels along the Pantaron Range in the tri-boundary of Bukidnon-Agusan del Sur-Davao del Norte.

The military said the KRM  collapsed after the community denounced and declared the NPA “persona non grata” on August 7, 2019.

The military said Galendez’s sister Evelyn and España’s wide Aida has been sending money to the abductors until July 2019 when the NPA failed to comply with the families’ demand to show proof of life.

Balagtey said the remains were formally handed over to their respective families after legal and SOCO processing were undertaken.

Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) commander Lieutenant General Felimon T. Santos Jr. condemned the abduction and killing of the three, which he was was prohibited under International Humanitarian Law.

“We grieve for the victims' relatives. At least we were able to put closure on their agony," he added.