Witnesses and evidences gathered by human rights and people’s organizations point to the military as the perpetrators in the abduction and killing of two Kabataan (Youth) Party-list poll watchers last May 15.
BY ZOFIA LEAL
Vol. VII, No. 16 May 27-June 2, 2007
Last May 15, Ronilo Brezuela, 16 years old, and Roberto “Jun Jun” Bagasbas, Jr., 20 years old, were abducted and then killed at Camarines Norte. Both were members of Kabataan (Youth) Partylist. The two were abducted after bringing food to their poll watchers last May 15.
An investigation by Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)- Camarines Norte and local people’s organizations revealed the following series of events that took place from May 14-May 19:
* May 14: Ronilo asked permission from his mother to attend a fiesta at Brgy. Old Camp and said that he would be sleeping at a friend’s house.
By the end of April, Jun Jun told his father that he would go to Manila to look for work.
* May 15: Ronilo and Jun Jun brought food to the poll watchers at the Capalonga polling precinct in Brgy Old Camp. They were leaving the place when abducted by armed men.
According to some of his neighbors, they last saw Ronilo with Jun Jun last May 15, at around 7 a.m.
* May 16, 2007: At around 2 p.m members of the CNPO (Camarines Norte People’s Organization) of Brgy. Mataqui ( three kilometers away from Poblacion, Capalonga) were able to speak with the person ordered by the military to drop the two bodies at his barrio. He then placed the bodies on his paragos (a cart that is pulled by a carabao) on his way to the barrio. He also went to the city to rent a vehicle to transport the bodies.
On that same day, the radio program Bombo Radio Daet reported that the Philippine Army claimed that there had been an encounter between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Philippine Army at Capalonga and that there had been two NPA casualties.
Fr. Abel, the parish priest of Capalonga, blessed the two bodies that night. According to Fr. Abel, one of the bodies had a broken lip, a cut in his chin, and a hole on the left side of his chest. According to the Philippine National Police (PNP), the body was stabbed and had a gunshot wound.
* May 17, 2007: Roberto Bagasbas Sr., the father of Jun Jun, received news that there were two dead bodies at the plaza of Capalonga and that one of the bodies resembled his son. Bagasbas then went immediately to Capalonga and saw two plywood boxes where the bodies were placed. Bagasbas was able to peep through the boxes by removing three nails. He then saw the face of his son, Jun Jun. Bagasbas noticed that the skin on Jun Jun’s chin was removed and that he had a hole in his chest. Jun Jun’s feet and hands were also tied. The smell of the rotting body was already strong. At around 12 noon Bagasbas asked permission from the PNP to take his son’s body home.
Jun Jun’s body was embalmed at Funeraria Adea. According to the embalmer, the body was sadistically tortured. The body of Jun Jun was covered with a plastic bag before being placed in the coffin because the smell was strong.
* May 19, 2007: Anita Brezuela (Ronilo’s mother) was informed by her neighbors that her son is dead and was already buried.
The remains of Jun Jun was buried at the cemetery of Brgy. Dahican.
Karapatan and people’s organizations in Camarines Norte point to soldiers from Alpha Company of the 31st Infantry Battalion based in Tigbinan, Labo, Camarines Norte as the perpetrators.
Marites Lopez, Kabataan Partylist spokesperson in Bicol said, “Naniniwala kami na ito ay bahagi ng pandarahas ng militar at gubyernong Arroyo sa aming hanay upang pigilan ang tagumpay ng Kabataan Partylist sa Bicol. Pilit na pinagtatakpan ng militar ang kanilang krimen sa pagpapalabas ng iresponsableng pahayag na namatay ang dalawang kabataan sa isang engkwentro.” (We believe that this is part of the violence being perpetrated by the military and the Arroyo government against our ranks to hinder the success of Kabataan Party-list in Bicol. The military is covering up their crime by saying that the two died in an encounter.)
Lopez added that the military’s claim that they are not intervening in the elections and that the elections held in Bicol was peaceful is not true. Lopez said that they have evidence and data that can show that the military and its agents are directly involved in the harassment of Kabataan Party-list and other progressive party-list members.
In the last poll results for party-lists in the Bicol Region, Kabataan is already in the top 10. Citing the poll results, Lopez said, “Abot-kamay na namin ang tagumpay dito sa Bicol at amin itong inaalay kasabay ng pinakamataas na pagpupugay sa dalawang kasama naming nagbuwis ng buhay para bantayan ang boto ng kabataan at mamamayang Bikolano at isulong ang pulitika ng pag-asa, pakikibaka at pagbabago,” (Victory is already within our reach here in Bicol and we are offering this together with our highest praise to our two comrades who risked their lives to guard the votes of the youth and the people of Bicol and uphold the politics of hope, struggle and change.)(Bulatlat.com)