From the Negros Daily Bulletin (Feb 4): Massacre Victims’ Kin Continue to Slam NPAs
"We reject money offer"
Families of the La Castellana massacre heve condemned what they called as an excuse on the part of the New People’s Army rebels as the latter justified the killing of eight civilians and one policeman and the wounding of 12 others.
Five of the victims were laid to rest Saturday amidst cries for justice by the families who have expressed disapproval of the press statement released by the lawless New People’s Army (NPA) yesterday, calling it a lame excuse.
Buried Saturday at the Barangay Cabacungan, La Castellana town were civilian massacre victims Ramir Complesa, Joselito Lucban, Virginia Ordoñez, Tiotimo Esplegera and Enrique Dingcong.
In a audio statement emailed to some media outfits here Friday, JB Regalado the NPA spokesperson blamed policemen on board the civilian canter truck as the first to have fired which allegedly prompted them to fire back not knowing there were civilians on board.
Regalado said the NPA is willing to pay damages to the bereaved families of slain innocent civilians. However, one of the widows of the victims who requested not to be named expressed disappointment on the NPA statement, saying she could not accept any money from NPA rebels as payment for the death of her husband. She said the life of her husband has no cash equivalent.
Gema Dingcong, wife of Enrique Dingcong, driver of the Canter truck, expressed condemnation on the manner her husband and other victims were shot on the head "to finish them off" quoting the perpetrators. She also claimed that the P9,000 cash in her husband’s wallet, which they were supposed to use for down-payment on a motorcycle, was lost during the ambush.
On his part, Colonel Oscar T. Lactao, Commander of the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade, also scored the monetary payment by the NPAs,
"It is not about money we are talking about here; it is about the loss of a loved one, of the victims’ right to live, and it is about justice." he said.
"If they (NPA) just pay damages to the victims’ families, will this justify that they can kill people unarmed and just compensate them with money?" he asked.
Lactao added that the Army and the PNP in Negros will continue working hard and soliciting local government, non-government and private individuals’ support for the families that were left behind by the victims of the unfortunate incident. "We are willing to support and assist all initiatives that will help bring justice to the victims and alleviate the sufferings of their families." he said.