Slain couple’s daughter to pursue murder raps vs suspects

Rochie Resotay, wife of Elesio, who was claimed as a military informant and killed by NPA in Barangay Minapasuk, Calatrava, Negros Occidental in August, turns emotional as she shared her sentiment about the death of her husband during a press briefing on NPA atrocities at the Social Hall of the Provincial Capitol in Bacolod City Tuesday. (Photo courtesy of Nanette Guadalquiver)

By Glazyl Y. Masculino

BACOLOD City – After almost four months of waiting, the eldest daughter of the Fausto couple has again decided to pursue the filing of murder charges against the perpetrators who brutally killed her parents and two younger brothers in Himamaylan City, Negros Occidental in June 2023.

In a press briefing at the Social Hall of the Provincial Capitol here yesterday, Colonel Leo Pamittan, director of Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office (Nocppo), said that it was on August 15 when Lieutenant Colonel Reynante Jomocan, Himamaylan City police chief, contacted the Fausto siblings – three girls and one boy – to sign the prepared case folders for the filing of the case, but unfortunately, the sisters were hesitant at that time to sign the documents provided.

On September 1, Emily Fausto, the couple’s older daughter decided not to file the case but had authorized the police to do it on their behalf. “In short, they will be signing a waiver for the filing of the case,” Pamittan said.

In July, Emily was initially reported to stand as complainant, but the family eventually decided to let her brother stand as the primary complainant.

However, on October 9, Pamittan said that he was informed by Jomocan that Emily had again changed her mind and is now willing to personally file the case.

Pamittan believed that the police’s constant communication with the siblings influenced Emily’s decision.

But when asked about Emily’s whereabouts, Pamittan said that they could not divulge her location because of security concerns. He said that she is not under their custody, but she is being secured.

“As soon as she signs the documents needed, dadalhin na ng police ito sa prosecutor’s office for the filing,” he added. Police earlier said that four counts of murder will be filed against more than 10 suspects.

The Fausto family – Emilda, 49, her husband Rolly, 52, and their two sons aged 11 and 15 – were killed when unidentified armed men strafed their house at Sitio Kangkiling, Barangay Buenavista on the night of June 14.

According to the police, the family was allegedly sanctioned by the New People’s Army (NPA) after learning that the head of the family was supporting the Army’s anti-insurgency campaign.

Police earlier said that they have strong evidence from testimonies of the witnesses and forensics against the suspects, whom they have identified as alleged members of Central Negros 2 of the NPA. The NPA has denied the allegation.

“Ready na lahat ng affidavits. But, it takes time bago isampa ang kaso sa korte,” Pamittan said.

Meanwhile, the family of the two civilians killed in Calatrava town in August has executed an affidavit of non-interest to file a case against the perpetrators, according to Pamittan.

Felix Resotay Jr. and his nephew Elesio Resotay were killed prior to a clash between the police and the NPA rebels in Barangay Minapasuk on August 9.

The NPA claimed the death of the two civilians, whom they alleged to be military informants. The group also owned up to the killing of a policeman when the latter’s team was supposed to serve an arrest warrant to alleged NPA rebels in the said village.

Pamittan said that the Resotays are no longer interested in filing the case. However, he said that they are trying to convince the family to cooperate with them.

He said that they have already prepared the documents needed for the filing of the case and any statement from the family would strongly help it.

An emotional Rochie Resotay, wife of Elesio, recalled how her daughter lost a father at two years old.

“Akong asawa ultimong mangunguma. Pero akong anak gin kuhaan nila amahon. Asan man da ang human rights na ingon ninyo? Sakit gid kaayo sa akong buot na gin kitil ang kabuhi sang akon bana na former overseas Filipino worker (OFW) nga nanguma,” Rochie said, while she was carrying her daughter.

Rochie urged the remaining NPA rebels to lay down their arms. “Ayaw na kamo pamatay sibilyan ug mga tawo, kay daghang bata ang mawad-an sang amahan. Sakto na,” she said.

She thanked the military and the government for pushing her to go on with their life amid the tragedy that happened and for the livelihood provided to them.

For her part, Calatrava town Mayor Marilyn Era said the local government has implemented barangay support development programs in all 13 barangays to address insurgency in the town.

“Lahat ginawa na ng gobyerno,” Era said, but she noted that there are those who still choose to turn their backs on the government.

Era said that the cause of all of these is poverty. “Ang gusto lang natin mangyari is madinig man sana nila ang hangyo ta nga maghi-usa na ta because if there’s peace, there’s development,” she added.

As to the investigation of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-Negros Occidental about the encounter that killed six alleged NPA rebels in Barangay Tabugon, Kabankalan City on September 21, Pamittan said that the Kabankalan City Police Station is cooperating with the CHR.

The CHR earlier said that they were not allowed to have a copy of a spot report regarding the incident. But Pamittan said that what they could not provide is the case folder because the incident is still under investigation.

“It’s proper hindi muna idivulge kasi wala pang result ng firearm verification and the likes,” he added.

The six alleged members of Samahang Yunit Propaganda (SYP), Southwest Front (SWF) – Komiteng Rehiyon-Negros, Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor (KR-NCBS) killed in the clash were Pedro Pillar Jabalde, squad leader of Squad 2 of SYP Platoon 3, his wife Melissa Dela Peña, alias “Diane,” Bobby Pedro, alias “Recoy,” vice squad leader of Squad 3 in the same platoon, Mario Fajardo Mullon, alias “Reco/Goring,” medic of Squad 1 from the same platoon, Janesa Malasabas Romano, a medic, and Ruben Gaitan.

Pamittan said that based on the information they had gathered, the tricycle driven by Gaitan was not registered, and he had no driver’s license. He was also not a member of a tricycle driver’s association, the Nocppo director added.

“Those were the circumstances kung bakit hindi pa ma release kasi may mga vital information. As soon as the investigation is done, we will provide the information upon the approval of the higher office,” Pamittan said.

In the press briefing, CHR-Negros Occidental head Vincent Parra said that the investigation that they are conducting is motu propio, which means they conduct an independent investigation. “We go to areas, and talk to the concerned individuals,” he added.

The CHR started probing the Kabankalan incident since one of the fatalities was later found to be five months pregnant based on her post-mortem examination, and the wife of Gaitan claimed that her husband was not a member of the NPA.

The Army has welcomed any probe pertaining to the said incident, claiming that the result of the investigation will eventually clear them from various allegations of human rights violations.

For his part, Kabankalan Mayor Benjie Miranda said that there is also pressure on their part to address the insurgency affecting the said barangay.

But, he assured that the local government will provide more projects for the people and extend assistance to the affected families.