Cops, Army vow to give justice to massacred family in Himamaylan

One of the four family members who was shot dead at their house in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental Wednesday (June 14, 2023). (Photo courtesy of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 and the Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade (IBde) have assured that the perpetrators behind the massacre of a couple and their two children in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental will be brought to justice.

In a statement released to the media yesterday, the regional police headquarters said that they will utilize all its resources to effectively neutralize any and all threats to the safety, security, and welfare of the people of Himamaylan City and the rest of Western Visayas.

The Fausto family – Emilda, 49, her husband Rolly, 52, and their two sons aged 11 and 15 – were shot dead by unidentified armed persons believed to be New People’s Army (NPA) inside their house at Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista on Wednesday night, June 14.

According to the police, the victims have relatives who are allegedly active members of the NPA.

The PRO-6 cited an initial report that the incident was part of the NPA efforts to undermine the gains of the government’s programs to End Local Communist and Armed Conflict.

With the series of losses and debacles sustained by the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-National Democratic Front (NDF)-NPA organization in Negros Island, they resort to senseless acts of violence to deter the people and the communities from working with the government and the state security forces, the PRO-6 said in a statement.

Police Brigadier General Sidney Villaflor, acting PRO-6 director, is asking the people of Himamaylan City to cooperate with the local police in the conduct of the investigation into these brutal killings.

The quest for justice is always a shared responsibility between the police and the community, he added.

“We strongly condemn the senseless acts of violence and terrorism against innocent civilians,” the PRO-6 said.

Currently, the Himamaylan City Police Station is conducting a thorough investigation into the incident.

The PRO-6 said that it will continue to work with the people of Negros Island in building a culture of peace by putting an end to the impunity and lawlessness perpetrated by criminals and by the NPA rebels.

Meanwhile, the Apolinario Gatmaitan Command (AGC) Negros Island Regional Operational Command-NPA, slammed the Army for the said massacre.

In a statement dated June 15, Ka Maoche Legislador, spokesperson of (AGC-NPA), accused the 94th Infantry Battalion (IB) for the death of the four victims, who were all farmers.

From combatant to official, they pursue the people to become victims in their scripted drama wherein they will surely be hailed as heroes, Legislador said.

He said the 94th IB will pay dearly for impeding the people from realizing social liberation and democracy.

However, these accusations were denied by the 303rd IBde, saying that these baseless accusations are nothing but an attempt by the desperate NPAs to tarnish the reputation of the Army in the province.

“Pointing their dirty finger at the Army is part of the rebel group’s deceptive tactic to cover up the truth,” according to Brigadier General Orlando Edralin, 303rd IBde commander.

Edralin said that the NPA rebels quickly blamed the Army without proof to mislead the people and to hide their guilty hands.

The Army extended their condolences to the grieving family and also condemned the brutal killings of the Faustos in the strongest possible terms.

The Army assured the public that they are committed to uncovering the truth behind the horrific incident and bringing the perpetrators to justice.

“We will spare no effort in pursuing justice for the victims and their families,” Edralin said, as they assured the Negrenses that the 303rd IBde remains committed to upholding its duty to protect the people of Negros Island.