Cops urge more witnesses to surface to boost evidence vs massacre suspects

Police Lieutenant Colonel Reynante Jomocan, Himamaylan police chief, in a media interview at Nature’s Village in Talisay City, Negros Occidental Thursday. (Glazyl Y. Masculino Photo)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – The Himamaylan City Police Station in Negros Occidental is almost complete with its collection of evidence to file a case against the perpetrators behind the killing of the Fausto family.

However, Police Lieutenant Colonel Reynante Jomocan, city police chief, said they are convincing others, especially those that are near the crime scene, to surface to strengthen the evidence against the perpetrators.

Jomocan said the filing of a case depends on the availability of the results of the post-mortem examination, ballistic examination, and the decision of the victims’ immediate family. “As long as ma complete ta na tanan, ma file na ta case,” he added.

At least 15 suspects alleged to be members of Central Negros 2 (CN2) of the New People’s Army (NPA) were tagged in the massacre of the Fausto family.

Emilda, 49, her husband Rolly, 52, and their two sons aged 11 and 15 were shot dead at their residence in Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista on the night of June 14.

Jomocan earlier said that they have two witnesses who are now under their custody for safekeeping.

One of the witnesses has identified one of the 15 perpetrators after he had an encounter with him prior to the incident, according to Jomocan.

Jomocan believed that there are more witnesses but are afraid for their security. He assured them that authorities will secure them.

During Thursday’s press briefing, Police Colonel Leo Pamittan, director of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), revealed that Fernando Hermino, an alleged squad leader of CN 2, and his group were behind the said massacre based on the affidavit executed by the witnesses. He, however, refused to elaborate further, pending the investigation.

Jomocan said the perpetrators are residents of Barangay Buenavista, based on the testimonies of the witnesses.

He claimed that Hermino was allegedly the one obstructing NPA rebels who want to surrender to the government.

“Gusto nila ipakita sang NPA na ara pa presence nila and hindi tularan ang ginagawa ng former rebels na magbalik sa government,” he added.

Jomocan said the Fausto family has many relatives who are active NPA rebels, and Rolly started helping the government encourage the surrender of rebels since last year.

“Kung mag traidor ka, patyon ka,” he added.

Jomocan presented during a press conference at Nature’s Village in Talisay City the facts of the case and an update on the investigation.

The incident was earlier denied by the NPA, putting the blame on the local Army, but the latter also denied the allegation.

In a statement, the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division (ID) strengthens its claims of innocence as the Philippine National Police (PNP) preliminary investigation findings tagged the NPA as suspects in the brutal killing.

This significant breakthrough is not only a relief to the grieving families of the victims but also to the 3ID, it said, adding that the troops have been unjustly accused by the NPA and its allied groups, desperately attempting to shift blame to conceal their own culpability.

The 3ID said that the PNP’s investigation is founded upon credible witness accounts and concrete evidence.

The Army in Western Visayas pledged their unwavering commitment to collaborate and exert significant efforts and eventual contributions to PNP, committing their full support particularly to uphold human rights and bring the perpetrators to justice.

The 3ID earnestly urged the public to remain vigilant and join them in combatting the dissemination of misinformation, fake news, and propaganda.

It is significant that everyone takes part in upholding the truth to ensure that the families of the victims receive the justice they rightly deserve, it said.