8 bodies found in Benguet town’s old ‘salvage victims dumping ground’

Police crime scene

BAGUIO CITY — Tales of Sitio Poyopoy as dumping ground of victims of summary executions flourished in the 70’s and early 80’s.

Dimly lit, grassy and uninhabited, the area along Marcos Highway in Tuba town, Benguet, was the perfect location, so they say, for “executioners” to finish off their victims or just roll already dead bodies into the deep ravine off the side of the mountain highway.

Sooner or later, the bodies would be discovered because of the stench. 

Poyopoy’s notoriety as ‘salvage victims dumping ground’ returned this week as eight bodies were retrieved from a ravine 30-meters below the highway by members of the Benguet police and the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Authorities first found five decomposing cadavers and two human skeletons on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday morning, another decomposing male cadaver was also found in the area.

According to the Scene of the Crime Operatives, the cadavers were believed to be dumped approximately more than two weeks to a month ago, while the two skeletons may have been there for about a year. All of the bodies were male.

The stench of death was first noticed by residents on midday Tuesday, prompting them to seek the police. By late Tuesday afternoon, all of the bodies were brought up from the ravine.

Another one was brought up Wednesday morning, as families looking for their missing love ones have began massing up in the area hoping they could identify those being brought up from the ravine.

At the time of writing, only one victim has so far been identified. A report by Rappler names one of the victims as Fahad Manan Macalanggan, 28 years old, Maranao and a resident of Baguio City. He was identified by his father and brother through his tattoos.

Major James Acod, Tuba police chief, said it is early to conclude if the bodies were victims of summary execution.

Benguet police director, Col. Elmer Ragay said he cannot issue any statement pending identification of the victims and deeper investigation of the crime.