Unidentified human remains found in Capiz forest

By Jennifer P. Rendon

A shallow grave in Tapaz, Capiz yielded human remains, which authorities are still working to identify.

The discovery was made on the afternoon of February 29 by the Philippine Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion in a forested area of Sitio Aray-aray, Barangay Siya, Tapaz town, where the body was found buried roughly two feet underground.

Lieutenant Colonel Vicel Jan Garsuta, the 12IB commander, revealed that on February 27, a former rebel tipped off the troops about the hastily buried body.

Two days later, the army unit excavated the site, uncovering a body wrapped in a tarpaulin.

Due to the advanced state of decomposition, they refrained from fully exhuming the remains.

“It was almost skeletal remains,” noted Garsuta, suggesting that the remains could likely be male.

The Tapaz Municipal Police Station was alerted to the finding at 11 a.m. on March 1.

Currently, army personnel are safeguarding the area, awaiting the arrival of the PNP Scene of the Crime Operations (SOCO) team to carry out a thorough investigation.

Garsuta disclosed that they have leads regarding the identity of the deceased.

“We suspect that the cadaver may belong to the reported NPA rebel who was wounded and later died following an encounter on January 4, 2022,” he shared.

This individual was from Barangay Masaroy, Calinog.

Another possibility is that the remains could be one of the individuals reported wounded in a separate clash in Barangay Manaripay, Calinog in August 2022.

The 12IB commander plans to request that SOCO take a DNA sample to match with family members of the two rebels potentially lost in the prior encounters.

The ongoing investigation aims to bring closure to the case and provide answers to the families of the deceased.