“The Calago couple was brutally murdered. Whoever perpetrated this heinous crime intended to kill them in the most brutal manner to inflict harm and sow terror.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – A peasant leader and his wife were found dead in Tacpao village, Guihulngan City, Negros Oriental in the morning of May 25.
According to Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas and Tanggol Magsasaka, Endric Calago, 47, was found lying in a pool of his own blood outside the house. His face was shot at close range. His body was riddled with bullets. Empty shells of M-203 grenade launcher and M-16 armalite rifle were found in the crime scene. According to the police, at least four magazines of bullets were used.
Calago was the newly elected vice chairperson of Kapunungan Alang sa Ugma sa Gagmayang Mag-uuma (Kaugmaon), the KMP’s local chapter in Negros.
The body of Calago’s wife, Rosalie, 45, was found near the kitchen. She was lying on her stomach with a bullet wound on her chest.
According to KMP, the night before, at around 10:45 p.m. of May 24, Calago made loud noises inside their house apparently to call the attention of neighbors. Rosalie was heard shouting and asking for help “Tabang intawon mo, gianhi mi og mga military.” (Please help us. The soldiers are in our house). After a few minutes, gunshots were heard and the house was on fire.
The couple’s daughter, Erlie, 16, arrived from town at around 5:00 a.m. the next day. She was accompanied by neighbors and local police officers from the Guihulngan Police Station.
Antonio Flores, KMP secretary general, condemned the killings. “The Calago couple was brutally murdered. Whoever perpetrated this heinous crime intended to kill them in the most brutal manner to inflict harm and sow terror among the townsfolk of barangay Tacpao and Calagos’ colleagues and fellow peasant leaders and members of Kaugmaon.”
Based on initial reports, soldiers of the Army’s 11th Infantry Battalion are suspects in the killing. In a report, Lt. Col. Paul Idul, 11th IB commander, denied the allegation. Idul said the couple “appears to have had personal grudges that might have triggered the attacks against them.”
At the same time, Idul said the military would look into the incident and recommend the deployment of regular troops in the area where the couple was killed.
The KMP said, “Negros Oriental is a known hotbed of agrarian unrest and conflict and farmers’ struggling for lands become automatic victims of human rights violations. “
According to human rights alliance Karapatan, 238 have become victims of extrajudicial killings since President Benigno Aquino III assumed office until March this year. Sixty-one percent or 145 were farmers.