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JUSTICE. A group of indigenes filed murder and frustrated murder cases against suspects of the tribal wedding massacre on July 30. The group claims it was not a “tribal war” but a paramilitary operation. (From Left) Fr. Christopher Ablon, of Karapatan-Northern Mindanao, Datu Menti Duyan, Jimmy Duyan, and Roger Plana of Kalumbay. Photo by Nitz Arancon

Lumads cry for justice

By Nitz Arancon,
Correspondent

INDIGENES from San Fernando, Bukidnon yesterday filed murder and frustrated murder charges against the suspects of the massacre during a tribal wedding ceremony on July 30 before the National Bureau of Investigation, here.

Roger Plana, secretary general of Kalumbay told reporters the massacre left a pregnant woman dead and seriously wounded seven other indigenes who attending the wedding.

Plana said among the suspects they will sue for murder and frustrated murder charges are Aldie “Buchoy” Salusad and a government militia combatant they know only as “Asang,” who they claim works for the 68th Infantry Battalion.

Witnesses to the massacre, who were also present during yesterday’s press conference, said they saw Salusad and companions disrupt the tribal wedding ceremony by firing indiscriminately towards Ernie and Mesay Bago-ngon and the couple’s wedding guests at about 9 am on July 30 in a public plaza, Sitio Tibugwayan, Baran-gay Kawayan, San Fernan-do town in Bukidnon.

Slain instantly after the straffing was a wedding guest Makeneth Gayuran, who was 4-months pregnant. Among those seriously wounded were Coras Sedom, Jeje Bangonan, Naylen Dunala, Aroto Balabag, Mike Upaw, Maay-ann Tagabilog, and Cambo Bangonan.

For his part, Fr. Christopher Ablon, secretary general of Karapatan-Northern Mindanao Region, vehemently denied that the massacre was because of a “tribal war” but a “paramilitary crime.”

Ablon challenged the Duterte administration to make good on his campaign promise of genuine change.

Bisan pa’g mahurot na’g patay mga drug lords, hantud nga nagapadayon pa gihapon ang pagpa-matay sa katawhang lumad, wala gayud tinuod nga kabag-ohan ubos sa Duterte administration,” Ablon said.

Ablon added he found it ridiculous that Salusad, who has had a warrant of arrest in 2012 for murder is still at-large and has even been featured in a magazine by the Department of Social Welfare and Development as a 4Ps beneficiary.

Kon gipa-surender ni President Duterte ang mga suspect sa illegal drugs, ako pud siya nga hagiton nga iya usab nga ipadakop si Buchoy sa labing dali nga panahon ug paghatag hustisya sa mga biktima,” Ablon dared.

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About Nitz Arancon

Nitz Arancon
Nitz Arancon started his career in the broadcast media. He worked as a cameraman for a news program of a local TV station, and subsequently became a reporter and later, commentator of the now defunct radio station DxJR.

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