CHR probes torture, death of soldier in Capiz town
By Nestor P. Burgos Jr. / Philippine Daily Inquirer
ILOILO CITY, Iloilo — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Sunday condemned the alleged torture and killing of a soldier by communist rebels in Tapaz town in Capiz province.
In a statement, lawyer Jacqueline Ann de Guia, CHR spokesperson, said the agency would also conduct an investigation into the killing of Cpl. Frederick Villasis.
Heavily armed New People’s Army (NPA) rebels gunned down Villasis in Barangay Lahug in Tapaz town in Capiz on Aug. 11.Citing reports, De Guia said Villasis was on a motorcycle with a civilian pillion rider on their way to the municipal hall when they were stopped by around 40 rebels.
Villasis’ companion was left unharmed but the soldier was allegedly taken and tortured before he was shot from behind. His motorcycle was set on fire.
“Such senseless violence is an affront to human rights, particularly to the sanctity of human life,” De Guia said.
The CHR urged the government “to apply the force of law in ensuring that the perpetrators are held accountable for these transgressions.”
The NPA regional command in Panay has taken responsibility for the killing of Villasis but did not comment on the allegations of torture.
Brig. Gen. Marion Sison, commander of the Army’s 301st Brigade in Capiz, also condemned the killing of Villasis.
“It is clear that the terrorist NPA does not value human life. They do not respect human rights. Our soldiers are working to give our people a better life, by paving the way for peace and development,” he said in a statement.
Julio Montana, spokesperson of the NPA’s Panay regional operational command, said in a statement that Villasis was “punished” for his purported involvement in the “massacre” of nine leaders of the Tumandok indigenous people’s group in Tapaz on Dec. 30, 2020.
Montana alleged that Villasis was among elements of the Army’s 12th Infantry Battalion who conducted surveillance operations and guided police operatives involved in the Tapaz operation.
“Villasis is a legitimate military target of the NPA because aside from being a regular member of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, he was armed and involved in serious crimes against the people,” Montana said in an Aug. 12 statement posted on the website of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Nine Tumandok tribe leaders were gunned down in a coordinated police and military operation in Tapaz and in Calinog town of Iloilo province. Sixteen others were arrested.