At about 10 pm on February 26, four Armalite-wielding men wearing ski masks forcibly entered the home of Eduardo Macapagal, 54, and tried to take him away at gunpoint. The soldiers failed to take Macapagal with them after his family refused to let go of him. “This is another clear proof that the military is behind the killings and abductions,” said Joseph Canlas, Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) party-list Central Luzon coordinator.
BY ABNER BOLOS
Gitnang Luzon News Service
Posted by Bulatlat
MASANTOL, PAMPANGA (64 km. north of Manila) The vehicle that armed men in ski masks used in an attempt to abduct a fishpond operator in Barangay (village) Bulaus, Masantol, Pampanga may yet again point to soldiers as the culprits.
At about 10 pm on February 26, four Armalite-wielding men wearing ski masks forcibly entered the home of Eduardo Macapagal, 54, and tried to take him away at gunpoint.
The assailants relented and left after issuing death threats when Macapagal’s family held on to him and refused to let him go.
The vehicle the armed men used was traced to be a patrol vehicle of the village council of Barangay Consuelo, Macabebe, Pampanga which was borrowed by a certain Army Sgt. Lumasac on that day and was returned the day after.
In a statement to the police, Macapagal said that he was already in bed when he heard persons kicking the gate of his yard to force it open and later also the door of the house.
He said when the assailants were unable to forcibly open the door to his house, his son, Eduardo Jr. who looked out a window to check the commotion was forced at gunpoint to open the door.
He said when the armed saw him, they grabbed him and forced him to kneel with their rifles pointed at his head and both sides of his body. The assailants, who wore fatigues and ski masks, then asked him to produce a gun which Macapagal denied having.
He said the assailants tried to take him with them but his family held on to him until the armed men relented.
“Dyan ka lang babalikan ka namin. Madugong pagbabalk,” (Stay put, we will be back for you. Next time it will be bloody.) Macapagal quoted the armed men as saying.
The younger Macapagal, 18, a tricycle driver, told police he followed the armed men when they left and saw that they boarded a yellow patrol vehicle with markings identifying it as a vehicle of Barangay Consuelo, Macabebe, Pampanga.
Ernesto Perez, 54, village head of Consuelo told police that the patrol vehicle owned by the village council was borrowed by a certain Sgt. Lumasac at noon of February 26. He identified Lumasac as a soldier who is deployed in their village.
Perez said Lumasac told him he needed to borrow the vehicle because he will go to Barangay Palimpe in Masantol Pampanga. Perez said the vehicle was returned by Lumasac the day after the failed abduction. Macabebe and Masantol are adjoining towns.
The armed men came back one week later. A police investigation report dated March 5 said Macapagal sought police assistance in the early evening of March 4 because two armed men in civilian clothes were seen casing their residence.
The armed men, however, had left when the police arrived.
Military as culprits
“This is another clear proof that the military is behind the killings and abductions. We have testimonial and physical evidence that soldiers deployed in Macabebe forcibly entered the home of a resident in Masantol and tried to snatch him,” Joseph Canlas, Anak Pawis party Central Luzon coordinator told GLNS.
He said the government should investigate at once the army unit stationed in Barangay Consuelo, Macabebe if it is at all serious in preventing more killings and abductions.
“The government must stop its Oplan Bantay Laya counter-insurgency program because civilians continue to be victimized. The military should pull-out from the communities to restore normalcy in the lives of people who have been terrorized for so long,” Canlas said.
Published reports and documentation from Karapatan- Central Luzon show that are 127 civilian victims of extra-judicial executions and 59 victims of enforced disappearance in Central Luzon since President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo took office in 2001 up to the present.
Sixty-six per cent of the killings and 80 per cent of the abductions occurred from September 2005 to November 2006, the period when retired Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan was commander of the Philippine Army’s 7th Infantry Infantry Division that covers the seven provinces of Central Luzon.
In Pampanga province, 23 civilians have so far been killed and six were abducted and remained missing, according to records of Karapatan-Central Luzon.
Canlas, who is also chairperson of the Alyansa ng Magbubukid sa Gitnang Luzon (AMGL, Central Luzon Peasant Alliance) is himself a victim of harassment and surveillance.
He told GLNS he had to take special precautions to evade military and government agents who are constantly on his tail.
Arroyo vowed to crush the 38-year old communist insurgency before her term ends in 2010. But she has come under fire from local human rights groups and the international community for her failure to investigate and put an end to the killings which her critics say are being done by government security forces. GLNS/posted by (Bulatlat.com)