The victims were almost unrecognizable as they lay at the funeral parlor. Some of their fingers were cut off and those that were not had chipped-off nails. They also sustained broken bones in different parts of the body and stab wounds in the stomach. Their bodies were literally black and blue all over.
By DABET CASTAÑEDA
Clemente Calatrava, 52, and Alberto Clemente, 49, were treasure hunters from Barangay (Village) Munting Bayan, Sariaya, Quezon province, 89 kms south of Manila. At 5 a.m. last Oct. 12, the two left home to check on their mining site in Cavinti, Laguna, a province 66 kms south of Manila. But instead of finding gold, the two were found dead on Oct. 14.
In a telephone interview with Bulatlat, Rojo Pornasdoro, spokesperson of the human rights alliance Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)-Laguna chapter, said the incident happened after soldiers from the 1st Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IBPA) and guerillas from the New People’s Army (NPA) figured in an encounter in Brgy. Calminue, also in Cavinti, Laguna on Oct. 13.
In the encounter, two soldiers were reported dead. No casualties from the NPA were reported.
Pornasdoro alleged that soldiers from the 1st IBPA under a certain Colonel Quizon were the ones responsible for the torture and salvaging of the two treasure hunters.
He said that the remains of Calatrava and Clemente were first seen by villagers under the heat of the sun in front of the Cavinti municipal hall. Witnesses said the two were wearing black shirts with the words “NPA Bicol.”
The victims were almost unrecognizable as they lay at the funeral parlor, witnesses said. Some of their fingers were cut off and those that were not had chipped-off nails. They also sustained broken bones in different parts of the body and stab wounds in the stomach. Their bodies were literally black and blue all over.
By killing the two treasure hunters, Pornasdoro said, the military is establishing a state of fear among the civilian populace. He also said that the military may have killed the two “out of revenge” as he recalled that in March, the NPA Romulo Jallores Command in Bicol captured two soldiers who were eventually released in August.
Calatrava and Clemente were laid to rest on Oct. 20 in their native hometown in Sariaya, Quezon. Families of the victims are planning to file a case against Quizon as commanding officer of the 1st IBPA at the Commission of Human Rights (CHR) and the Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front (NDF).