When Mylene and Raymond Golloso (then 13 and 6 years old, respectively) were killed by armed men on May 7, 2004 in their own home in Bulan, Sorsogon, no other armed group was in the village except seven Army soldiers and two members of the paramilitary Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).
BY ALEXANDER MARTIN REMOLLINO
When Mylene and Raymond Golloso (then 13 and 6 years old, respectively) were killed by armed men on May 7, 2004 within the sanctity of their own home in Baranggay (village) Recto, Bulan, Sorsogon, no other armed group was in the village except seven soldiers of the 2nd Infantry Battalion, 901st Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army’s 9th Infantry Division; and two members of the paramilitary Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU).
Eleven officials and 42 residents of Baranggay (village) Recto stood by this claim this in a signed statement. Bulatlat received a copy of their statement through the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), whose lawyers Rachel Pastores and Amylyn Sato will form part of the panel that will prosecute President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) in Den Haag, The Netherlands this coming March for violations of the Filipino people’s individual and collective rights.
Data from Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights) show that there have been 791 victims of extra-judicial killings from January 2001 – when Arroyo was catapulted to power through a popular uprising – to November 2006. At least 340 of the victims are with known political affiliations. Of the 791, 58 are children, among them Mylene and Raymond Golloso.
Based on reports from human rights groups and the media, Mylene was cooking minatamis with her eldest sister Melody who was then 17 years old. Meanwhile, brothers Raymond and Resty were playing outside the house a few minutes before 3 p.m. on May 7, 2004.
Melody was getting a glass when they heard gunshots. Mylene rushed towards Melody and they called out to her brothers to get inside.
Melody told her three siblings to hide in their parents’ room. Mylene and Raymond sat on the bed while Resty stayed by the door, peeping out. They could not see anyone outside the house. They then heard two more gunshots.
When Resty looked back at his siblings, Raymond was wounded and had blood gushing from his head. He was almost dead and Resty was frantically trying to stop the bleeding. When he turned to Mylene, the left part of her face had been shattered and she was calling out to their mother.
Melody and Resty ran as fast as they could toward the nearest relative’s house, that of Vilma Gracilla, who lived almost 100 meters away from their place. However, the two children took several detours and negotiated slopes, so the total distance they traveled was about 1.5 kilometers.
As they were coming down from the house, they heard someone say, “Pasukin natin ang bahay, baka may buhay pa” (Let’s get inside the house, there might be others still alive). They had run a considerable distance when they heard another volley of shots and then a single loud shot.
Meanwhile, based on the account of Adelia Golloso (mother of the slain children), she had gone out at around 2:35 p.m. that day. She saw soldiers at the baranggay hall and at the house of Baranggay Captain Eduardo Adamos. She recognized one of them as Cesar Loares, a CAFGU member from Baranggay Quirino, Bulan.
She stopped at a friend’s house to take a rest. About 10 minutes later, she heard gunshots and ran to her house, hearing a volley of shots as she ran. The gunshots stopped for a few seconds, and then she heard two more shots. From a distance, she saw her house and noticed there were soldiers there. One of them saw her and asked her who she was.
“Ako po ang nagmamay-ari ng bahay na ‘yan! Ang mga anak ko nasa loob ng bahay!” (I own that house! My children are inside!), she answered.
The soldier told her to take a different route, but she insisted on going what she believed the easier way and ran straight to her house. She saw Mylene and Raymond slumped in the bedroom, with Raymond’s head resting on Mylene’s stomach. Both were bleeding. Mylene was able to open her eyes and call her. She cried for help from the soldiers, but no one came to the rescue, she said.
“Sabi nila, NPA ang pumatay sa mga anak ko” (They told me it was members of the New People’s Army who killed my children), Adelia said.
After the incident, the soldiers went to the house of barangay captain Adamos and asked him to draft a certification saying they had an encounter with the NPA and that the NPA guerrillas were the first to open fire and it was they who killed her children. Adamos complied with the request and signed the certification, a copy of which was received by Bulatlat. Aside from Adamos, others who signed the document were baranggay councilors Mila Sorio, Emily Martirez, Ricky Hernandez, Melchor Grajo, Antonio Hernandez, Remedios Magillo and Nora Hallig.
The incident was reported to the Bulan Municipal Police Station at 5 p.m. that same day. “Suspects up to this writing still unknown,” read an excerpt from the police blotter dated June 7, 2004, signed by SP02 Adolfo O. Villaroya. “And motives not yet certain.”
In a later written statement, however, Adamos and the councilors– together with Baranggay Secretary Virginia Graydo, Sangguniang Kabataan (Youth Council) Chair Edwin Martinez and Barangay Treasurer Ailyn Maquiniana – identified which armed group was in their village that fateful day. The statement was co-signed by 42 other Baranggay Recto residents, including four tanods (watchmen).
”San Mayo 7, 2004, wara man kamisin iba na naimod digdi sa amo baranggay na nagsulod na armado kundi yadto na siyam na Army. Ang nakilala mi lang didto yadto na si Cesar Luares saro na CAFGU. Nag-abot sira sa Recto mag-aala-una ng hapon. Mala ngani kay nagpaluto pa sin kaonon kay nagkaraon pa sira kina Kapitan. Pagkatapos mga alas-tres na hapon nagharale na pairaya san baryo an lakaw” (On May 7, 2004, we saw no other armed group that came here except the nine Army men. The only one we recognized among them was Cesar Luares, a CAFGU member. They arrived at Recto a little before 1 p.m. They even went and had someone cook food for them at the Captain’s house. Then, at about 3:00 p.m., they went off to the village on foot), the Baranggay Recto officials and residents said in their statement.
The death of Mylene and Raymond Golloso is among the cases to be heard March next year by the PPT in Den Haag, The Netherlands where Arroyo is to be tried for the following offenses:
*Violations of human rights, especially civil and political rights, with particular focus on summary executions, disappearances, massacres, torture as well as other vicious, brutal and systematic abuses and attacks on the basic democratic rights of the people;
*Violations of human rights, especially economic, social and cultural rights of the Filipino people through the imposition of “free market” globalization to exploit them; transgression of their economic sovereignty and national patrimony; various forms of economic plunder and attacks on their economic rights; and the destruction of the environment; and
*Violations of the rights of the people to national self-determination and liberation through the imposition of the U.S. war of terror; U.S. military intervention; as well as the perpetration of crimes against humanity and war crimes; misrepresentations of the people’s right to national liberation and self-determination as terrorism and the baseless “terrorist” listing of individuals, organizations and other entities by the U.S. and other governments.
The PPT will be hearing the cases based on the suit filed by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance), Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainee Laban sa Detensyon at para sa Amnestiya (SELDA or Society of Ex-Detainees Against Detention and for Amnesty), Desaparecidos, an organization of relatives of victims of forced disappearances; and HUSTISYA, the organization of victims of the current administration’s human rights violations. Former UN ad litem judge Romeo Capulong is the chief prosecutor and lawyers Pastores and Sato of the PILC will be part of the prosecution panel in the PPT session.(Bulatlat.com)