Family members of victims of the mass killing initiated by the New People’s Army (NPA) commemorated on Sunday the Inopacan mass grave discovery and exhumation in this city.
More than a hundred family members from this city, Inopacan and Mahaplag towns in
Leyte visited the final
resting place of the skeletal remains of their loved ones.
Skeletal remains of 67 individuals were unearthed from shallow graves in Subang Daku village in Inopacan town on Aug. 28, 2006 through the help of villagers.
The mass purging tagged by the NPA as “Oplan Venereal Disease,” has claimed the lives of about 300 residents in Leyte province, based on estimates of former rebels and the victims’ relatives.
The Philippine Army called the place where the skeletal remains were discovered as “The Garden.”
Among those who joined the 10th year commemoration was Carmelita Tenaja, whose husband was one of those executed. She personally witnessed the summary executions done by insurgents in their village.
Tenaja asked President Rodrigo R. Duterte to help them attain justice.
“Mr. President, you are the only one who can help us. We need your intervention to give justice for the fathers who were killed, for the mothers who were executed and orphaned children,” she added.
Former rebel Erlinda Caiwan recalled that her son was killed by insurgents after she surrendered to military in 1984.
Caiwan admitted that she was part of the group that executed farmers. She was ordered to kill at least four people unknown to her.
“I was compelled to kill because if I would not do it, my life would be at stake,” she told reporters.
After killing the fourth victim, she realized that joining the revolutionary group would not bring her a peaceful life.
Caiwan left the NPA-controlled village at midnight. “They would kill me if they know that I’m leaving. Everyone in our village are either NPA members or sympathizers,” she recalled.
Four days after she surrendered in a military camp in Mahaplag town in 1984, the rebels killed her son.
On Sunday, the old woman joined several others in calling for justice for her son.
She also asked the government not to free those who are facing charges for the murder of their family members despite the ongoing peace talks in
Norway between the
national government and the Communist Party of the . Philippines
After the mass grave discovery, the Philippine Army filed 15 counts of murder before the Manila Regional Trial Court against couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Satur Ocampo, Vicente Ladlad, Randal Echaniz, Rafael Baylosis, Exusperado Lloren and several others.
The Tiamzons got temporary freedom to be part of the on-going peace talks between the government and the NDF in
. Oslow, Norway
“I hope that the President will not allow these people to be free from the charges because they are the reason why people living in remote villages remain poor. They suppressed the right of the people to attain progress. They should face trial and be put in jail,” Caiwan exclaimed.
Col. Francisco Mendoza, brigade commander of the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade expressed hope that cases filed against NPA leaders will be pushed through.
“One of the topics in
is how to give justice to
the victims of atrocities. Let us hope that the government panel will be able
to make a better representation to the victims of these killings,” Norway said. Mendoza
“We are always here to protect you and to ensure that these things will never happen again,” he added.