An MSWDO worker of Mansalay Town in Oriental Mindoro was threatened by an NPA member to force the release of their dead comrades to Karapatan. This was revealed by MSWDO Mrs Baby Zacarias and was placed on blotter in the local police station.
The three cadavers were killed in an encounter in Brgy Panaytayan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro together with the recovery of at least four high powered firearms and other war paraphernalia. The bodies were airlifted by the military to Mansalay and was turned over to a local funeral shop for safekeeping. Authorities then brought in Former Rebels to identify the bodies with three positively identifying one as certain Bonifacio Egramo @Eboy, the Front Secretary of SRMA 4E based in Palawan.
Karapatan – Southern Tagalog arrived at Mansalay on June 17 demanding the release of the bodies to them. This was however denied as pertinent law requires that the bodies can only be turned over to relatives. In a press statement of Karapatan however, they claimed that they were being harassed and that the bodies were being held hostage by government forces. This failed attempt of Karapatan to claim the body was followed by the ‘visit’ of an NPA member to one of the workers of MSWDO. To date, Karapatan has presented a supposed relative of @Eboy. The ‘relative’ however identified Egramo with a different name. When asked to issue a sworn affidavit for his claim of the body, the relative refused. Karapatan has since then conducted a rally in Mansalay demanding the release with Bayan Muna and Anakbayan joining in to express support.
BGen Marceliano V Teofilo, Commander of 203rd Infantry Brigade who has jurisdiction of Mindoro, has assured that the cadavers will be treated with dignity and vowed to abide by existing laws on the matter. He added that if the Army (and the PNP) really wanted to deprive the rights of the families of killed NPAs, they would have just left the bodies in the encounter site.
“The Philippine Air Force took the risk of flying to the unforgiving terrain to airlift the three cadavers and delivered them to the funeral home in Mansalay town so they can be properly identified by their families and be given a decent burial,” BGen Teofilo said in a statement.
“The issue is not about humanitarian values as Bayan Muna claims but the proper identification of the cadavers so it can be turned-over to the rightful claimants,” he added.
Government forces has called on Karapatan and their affiliate groups to instead probe the NPA murders of Mangyan tribal leader Jose Barrera, Kennedy Dam-in and Junjun Ysog in San Jose ; burning of civilian properties in Sta Clara, Naujan on February 25, 2019 and another burning in a construction company working on a road project also in Naujan last June 17, 2019.