Another wave of killings took place yesterday in the hinterland barangays of San Isidro and Canlusong in EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, where the father and brother of slain Kagawad Rolando Lozada were killed.
Senior Inspector Arnold Mesias, EB Magalona police chief, yesterday identified the victims as Nicolas Lozada, 70, and his son, Rene, 22. Kagawad Lozada had been an active campaigner against timber poaching activities at the Northern Negros Natural Park.
The EB Magalona Municipal Environment and Natural Resources officer said Nicolas and Rene were father and brother, to Kagawad Lozada, who was murdered in Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona on July 25.
Mesias said the murder suspects first burned the house of Lauro Delgado Jr. in Brgy. Canlusong, before killing Rene in the same barangay, and his father, Nicolas, in nearby Brgy. San Isidro, all in EB Magalona.
The father of Delgado, Lauro Sr., was also killed by still unidentified suspects in Brgy. Canlusong, more than a month after Kagawad Lozada was summarily executed by still unidentified armed men.
On Sept. 5, former Canlusong barangay kagawad Federico Esguiran and his son, Nilo, were also both killed by a group of unidentified armed men, before their horrified family members in Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona.
Senior Supt. Allan Guisihan, provincial police director of Negros Occidental, said Mesias and his men, in coordination with the law enforcement agencies, were trailing the murder suspects as of last night. As for the motive of the recent killings, Guisihan said investigations are still ongoing.
Police have blamed a group of bandits of being behind the spate of killings in the hinterlands of EB Magalona, although some residents and local police investigators have claimed they were inter-related.
Before the killings, Task Force Ilahas operatives, including Kagawad Lozada, were ambushed by a group of armed men also in Brgy. Canlusong early this year. This was followed by the abduction of three farmers identified as Michael Celeste, Gerald Alabe and Julie Devero, whose fate remains unknown until now, police records show.
Supt. Samuel Mina, Task Force 3rd District chief, has said that warrants of arrest have been issued by the court against Jojo Devero, Charlie and Tava Seva for the murder of Kagawad Lozada.
However, not a single criminal complaint has been filed against the killers of the Esguirans, Delgado Sr. and those behind the abduction of the three farmers, due to lack of witnesses and lack of cooperation from the families of the victims.
The series of killings has prompted Mayor David Albert Lacson to call for the establishment of a detachment in the place, and he was supported by its barangay officials and residents.
Guisihan said the detachment is almost completed, and will be occupied by government militiamen after they have completed their training.
The Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade had earlier been accused of being behind the abduction of the three farmers but they have vehemently denied this.*GPB