Members of a bandit group struck again Monday in Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona, Negros Occidental, and shot dead a former barangay kagawad and his son.
This happened after they also summarily executed a barangay kagawad and a barangay resident earlier, police said yesterday.
The eight suspects, wearing bonnets, and armed with an M-16 assault rifle, shotguns, Uzi machine pistols and handguns, summarily executed former Kagawad Federico Esguiran, 55, and his son, Nilo, 31, in front of their family members and relatives, in Sitio Aligbon, Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona, who pleaded with them to spare their lives, police investigations showed.
A certain Edad Cuello, who works at the farm of Esguiran, sustained a gunshot wound in his left leg, after being shot by one of the suspects. He is now being treated at the Teresita Lopez Jalandoni Provincial Hospital in Silay City.
Esguiran succumbed to gunshot wounds in the head and chest, while his son was also shot in the head and in both shoulders.
Barangay officials and residents of Canlusong yesterday asked for the immediate deployment of Army soldiers, in the absence of a detachment in the area, in fear that the bandits will strike again.
Col. Oscar Lactao, 303rd Infantry Brigade commander, said he has dispatched troops to augment the police stationed in Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona.
Supt. Samuel Mina, 3rd district task force chief, said he suspects that the perpetrators are the same persons who also killed barangay kagawad Rolando Lozada and farmer Lauro Delgado Sr., in Brgys. Canlusong and San Isidro, EB Magalona, since they have similar firearms.
Police investigations show that the bandits took four cellular phones and P500 in cash from the house of the victims that they ransacked, while searching for firearms.
Seven empty shells of M16 armalite rifle and a cartridge of shotgun were recovered at the crime scene.
The bandit group calling itself “The Brothers” reportedly has about 18 members from various families residing in the hinterlands of EB Magalona, and believed to be engaged in timber poaching and illegal-charcoal making in Brgy. Canlusong.
Mina said they already have the identities of some of the suspects, and are waiting for the issuance of arrest warrants against them.
Police investigations also showed that the incidents of summary executions started after Task Force Ilahas and the municipal government of EB Magalona intensified their anti-timber poaching activities that led to the discovery of about seven hectares of forest destroyed by poachers, and the destruction of more illegal charcoal pits within the area.
In July, the armed bandits also shot and killed kagawad Lozada, who was also actively involved in the anti-timber poaching activities in Brgy, Canlusong, EB Magalona
Before his death, Lozada was with Task Force Ilahas operatives who were also ambushed by armed poachers in Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona, on May.
Some barangay officials of Canlusong who are also actively involved in the anti-illegal logging campaign, have received death threats from poachers, and have sought refuge in the lowlands.
Police records also show that a group of unidentified armed men also abducted three residents of Brgy. Canlusong in EB Magalona last month, and fate remains unknown.
Mayor David Albert Lacson had earlier refuted claims that EB Magalona is a “killing field”, saying the killings and occurrences of untoward incidents in the past two months were “isolated cases”.
Lacson maintained that EB Magalona is generally peaceful. “We assure the safety of visitors who come to our town,” he said.
The establishment of a detachment in Brgy. Canlusong, EB Magalona, to constrict the movements of a bandit group and New People’s Army who are reportedly seeking refuge in the area during military operations, is being proposed by Lacson.
The 3rd district task force headed by Mina has been tasked to neutralize the illegal activities of the bandit group that is also linked to several robbery-hold-up activities in the hinterlands of northern Negros.*GPB