Families of central Negros massacre victims still calling for justice after 2 years

January 30, 2015 1:43 am 

BACOLOD CITY, Jan. 29 — Families of victims and survivors of the ambush-massacre perpetrated by the New People’s Army (NPA) in Barangay Puso, La Castellana, Negros Occidental two years ago are still seeking justice.

The incident on January 27, 2013 claimed the lives of eight civilians and a policeman and injured 12 others.

The victims were on their way home on board a barangay service vehicle when they were ambushed by NPA rebels, who later claimed responsibility for the deaths of civilians and apologized.

Up to now, the suspects remain at-large although charges have already been filed against them.

“For us, there is no justice yet,” Arlen Complesa, wife of ambush-massacre victim Ramir Complesa, who attended the commemoration rites for the “Puso massacre” Tuesday.

Complesa said they have received assistance for the education of their children from the provincial government of Negros Occidental, Philippine Army, La Castellana municipal government, civil society groups, and peace advocates. The Catholic Church also helped them cope with stress.

During the concelebrated mass Tuesday officiated by Fr. Rimbert Rivera, a statement of the Diocese of Kabankalan was read by Fr. Boyet Enar, expressing support to the call for justice by the families of the victims.

“We are demanding and praying for the real truth from the perpetrators, and not political or ideological lines, that even blamed the victims and survivors of the incident,” the statement signed by Bishop Patricio Buzon said.

Rebel spokesman Juanito Magbanua, however, maintained that, based on their witnesses’ account, the members of the Barangay Peacekeeping Action Team who were killed in the ambush had firearms.

Buzon also challenged the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army leadership to analyze the ideology they are fighting for, and to determine if the killing of innocent civilians is justified.

“To government officials, we are hoping that not only material and financial assistance be extended to the families of the victims, but also helping them to attain justice,” he said.

The provincial government of Negros Occidental extended scholarship programs to the two daughters of Complesa – Mary Lyn, who studied Nursing and recently passed the board examination, and Bhemverly, a third year Criminology student. (PNA)

LAP/NLG/GPB

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