Democratic forces should vehemently condemn the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) over the brutal massacre of the Fausto family on June 14 in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, and Negros Occidental Province. The massacre launched by armed troops under the 94th IB, represented war crimes of the most merciless degree.
Soldiers of the 94th Infantry Battalion stormed into the hut of the Fausto family sometime Wednesday night and executed the killings in cold blood. The victims were spouses Rolly/Billy (52) and Emilda (51), and their two children, Ben (15) and Raben (11). Emilda and her children were killed in their sleep, while Rolly was dragged to a nearby sugarcane field where he was killed.
The remains of Rolly Fausto, 50; his wife Imelda, 49, and their two children aged 15 and 11 years were found in separate areas.
Fausto’s body was discovered in a cornfield some 50 meters away from his house. His wife and children were found in and outside their house in Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista.
AFP suppressing truth
A series of gunshots that smoked at past 10 p.m. on Wednesday gave residents an impression that it was just another firefight between the military and the rebels.
Colonel Van Donald Almonte, commander of the 94th IB, and Col. Orlando Edralin, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade, which leads operations of the 94th IB, was responsible for the massacre of the Fausto family. Before they could even justify their crimes, reports of the massacre were circulating at full swing in news channels and social media. Shaken by the evidence of their crimes, they left no stone unturned in distorting facts and making baseless accusations against the New People’s Army (NPA).
At first, the AFP issued statements claiming that the Fausto family were killed as part of “internal cleansing” of the NPA, but later invented a white lie that the Faustos were spies of the AFP, and that they were “red-tagged” as part of their “cover” (unwittingly admitting that the AFP does carry out “red tagging” against activists).
All democrats should wholeheartedly extend their sympathies to the Fausto family, and support their demand for justice and for the perpetrators of this crime to be sent to the book.
The Faustos were active members of the Baklayan, Bito, Cabagal Farmers Association (BABICAFA), a locally registered organization organising peasants and farm-workers in the said barangay. Before their murder, the Faustos were continuously subjected to interrogation by soldiers of the 94th IB who accuse them of being supporters of the New People’s Army.
Fausto had been red-tagged or marked by the military.
Just last May, soldiers attacked the Faustos in their own home, placed a knife against Emilda as she was subjected to gruesome interrogation. Billy was tortured to force him to admit to being an NPA supporter, and then later forced him to lead soldiers in their operations. The soldiers were demanding that the Faustos cooperate with the AFP and perform task as spies against the NPA. Their killing aims to send a clear message for others to surrender to the dictates of the military or suffer the harshest consequences.
This is not the first war crime undertaken by military units under the command of General Edralin, and other AFP brigades. In haste to secure his promotion and extort millions of pesos in counterinsurgency funds, he is ordering foot soldiers of the AFP to commit crimes targeting civilians, including children. The AFP’s rank-and-file, specifically those under the 94th IB, who can longer tolerate the bloody crimes they are being made to commit against the Filipino people should leave the AFP and repudiate the lies and fascist ideology that they have been brainwashed with. It is not surprising that many of them are traumatized and dehumanized by these crimes and now suffers from different forms of mental illnesses.
The massacre of the Fausto family is the 5th massacre executed by the reactionary state armed forces under the Marcos illegitimate and fascist regime, in less than one year in power. More than 100 civilians and people have been eliminated since Marcos assumed power. The fascist regime is banging every nail in the wall to suppress people’s dissent and their various forms of resistance, permit foreign big capitalists and their local cohorts to seize the people’s land and the country’s wealth, and give the Marcoses a licence to loot r the public coffers.
Encounters between government security forces and communist guerrillas have been a regular feature in the area in the past several months.
Democrats are subjected to tyranny of the highest scale, being framed as armed guerrillas and lie fabricated. Neo-fascism has sprung at a helm.
The farmers’ federation gave several warnings of threat of red-tagging as a violation of freedom of association, since MO32 has historically been a weapon used by AFP against agricultural workers to brand them as supporters of the NPA.
The Filipino people are determined not to be demoralised by the fascist attacks of Marcos’ armed minions. More and more, they are galvanising forces to demand justice for all the crimes perpetrated by the AFP and all other armed agents of the Marcos regime. They are getting ever prepared to heighten struggle against fascism of Marcos.
Negros Occidental Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson raised voice for justice for the members of the Fausto family on Wednesday evening in Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City.
“In an incident like this, the least we are given to the surviving member of the family is justice. We do hope that the culprits or suspects can be identified and most importantly apprehended so that justice can be served.”
The governor also extended his condolences to the surviving family. “I hope she will be safe and justice will be given to her,” he added.
“Without orders, it is automatic that the identification of the suspects comes first.”
The Agricultural Workers Union condemned the incident on Wednesday night. Agri-workers continue to harbour fears that the Fausto massacre will trigger another series of killings.
Harsh Thakor is freelanced journalist who has studied national liberation movements. Thanks information from Manila Times, Phillipine Star and Red Spark