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Local officials exonerate soldiers in Northern Samar

By CMO Battalion, 8ID PA
January 19, 2012

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan City    Local officials of Barangays San Miguel, Las Navas and Barangay Osang, Catubig both in Northern Samar executed an affidavit exonerating the involvement of soldiers in the death of a certain Jovito Pajanustan, a local resident of Barangay Osang. The document was signed by the local officials led by Barangay Chairmen Apolinario B Libico of San Miguel and Aniano D Rosco of Osang last December 26, 2011 as fact-finding teams visited the site where the dead body was found on November 28. The local officials came up with the declaration to dispel the unjust rumour of involvement spread by some interest groups in every civilian death in the locality.

Initial investigation by the PNP Catubig as contained in the report of Police Inspector Ildefonso V Miranda Jr. on November 29 states that the victim left his house alone on November 25, 2011 at around 3:00 o clock in the afternoon purposely to work at his farm and never returned home until the time that he was found dead buried in a shallow grave in the state of advance decomposition with multiple stabbing and hacking wounds on the different parts of his body by his relative inside the vicinity of his farm at around 2:00 o clock in the afternoon of November 28, 2011. The PNP report also states that the cadaver of the victim was brought by his relative to Catubig District Hospital for Autopsy Examination. The local PNP unit has yet to determine the identity of the suspect and the motive for the crime.

The Municipalities of Catubig and Las Navas have been known for notorious killings. Residents in both municipalities attest to the very extensive control of illegally-armed and politicized groups in the area. The mortal wounds sustained by Mr. Pajanustan are reminiscent of the style of attack by these outlaws on soldiers doing community work in the barangays. Traders and government workers are the usual victims of these threat groups since they intend to keep the local populace isolated from development efforts by agencies of the National Government.

As a responsive partner in addressing the incidence of extra-legal killings in the Island of Samar, the 8th Infantry Division (8ID) of the Philippine Army has scheduled meetings with the Multi-Sectoral Quick Reaction Team (MSQRT) in Northern Samar to tackle the case of Mr. Pajanustan. In the interest of justice and transparency, the 8ID endeavours to partner with other government agencies and the civil society to objectively look into incidents that threaten peace and security.