By Erwin M. Mascariñas
Buenavista, Agusan del Norte — Three farmers from the hinterland village here were found dead and riddled with gunshot wounds a day after they failed to return to home, Thursday morning.
Report from the Caraga Region’s Police Regional Office-13 identified the deceased farmers as Alfredo Tumaquin Sr, Romy Pinatugaw, and his brother Pina Pinatugaw, all were residents of Sitio Bagang in Barangay Simbalan, here.
Initial investigation by the municipal police station in Buenavista town revealed that on Nov. 6, at around 6:00 am, all three victims left their homes to work at the farm of a Korean named Ryoo Wang Gew to cultivate a portion of the 50-hectare land.
“When the families of the victims got worried when the farmers were not able to return home by night fall, according to them they usually go home by 6:00 pm. So the next day, they went out to look for them,” said P02 Ricafort Gilbuena, investigator on case from the Buenavista MPS.
Guilbuena added that at around 7:00 am the following morning, the son of Tumaquin discovered the lifeless bodies of his father and cousin Romy, then 50 meters the third body was found at the farmland owned by Tumaquin family just adjacent to farmland where they were supposed to worked with several gun shot wounds.”
The Buenvista MPS indicated on their report that a total of 23-fired cartridges were found at the crime scene.
Unfortunately members of the MPS did not process the crime scene, as the area was allegedly risky for their small police team to reach.
A group led by Nicholas Logronio, a barangay council member of Simbalan, recovered the bodies of the victims and as well as the empty ammunition cartridges.
All three of the deceased bodies were brought down from the area by 7:00 pm and was immediately brought back to the village by 10:00 pm as the family refused an autopsy of the bodies.
Supt. Christian L. Rafols, PRO-10 spokesman said they have yet to determine the motive behind the killings.
“We cant fully conclude yet the nature of the killings as right now, we are still gathering more data and an on-going investigation is underway and yet to be concluded. The recovered cartridges were brought to the Regional Crime Laboratory Office for ballistic examination,” said Rafols.
The area were the farmers were killed is about 40 kilometers from the town proper of Buenavista and close to the border to the town of Las Nieves.
According to several residents in Buenavista, over the past few years the area is known to be a major hot spot for several armed encounters between government troops and elements of the New People’s Army as well as conflicts brought upon by land issues.