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Mass grave, a slap in the face of peace-loving people of Benguet

Police crime scene

TUBA, Benguet — As “Poyopoy mass grave” of the 70s and 80’s crept back to life with the horrifying discovery of eight bodies Tuesday along a ravine here, veteran intelligence officer, now Benguet police director Colonel Elmer Ragay, shivered.

“It is a big slap on the face for the peace-loving people of Benguet,” Ragay said.

Ragay said that the bodies may have been killed somewhere and were just dumped in the area. He confirmed that Poyopoy was infamous as a “dumping ground” of victims of summary executions in the past.
“Something has to be done to secure the area from being such,” he said.

Ragay stressed that such an abominable thing was not done by the police, citing, “the provincial police office was adjudged as the best police office for the past three years, so it is impossible that our personnel are involved. It is unfair that policemen are accused for such inhuman deeds,” the Benguet police chief lamented.

On Wednesday morning, the third cadaver brought up from the ravine was identified by his father and brother by the “Guardians 11 Achilles” tattoo on the left arm and another “tribal” tattoo on the right arm of 28 year old Maranao, Fahad Manan Macalanggan, temporarily living at Pinewood, Crystal Cave in Baguio City. His brother also confirmed that the brown pair of pants the victim wore was his gift to him. He was last seen morning of October 8.

Thursday morning, the mother of Kent Charlie Lubiton Licyayo, 22, identified him via his silver ring still embedded on his ring finger, gold silver earring and clothes. Licyayo, a native of Hingyon, Ifugao, and according to relatives worked as a tricycle driver there, was temporarily staying at Block 4 along Hilltop barangay in Baguio City and went missing midnight of October 8.

Friday, Tadian town, Mt. Province native Alfredo Laminta, 30, was identified by his brother Jonathan and cousin Raffy Ganipac as one of the 8. Police do not know where he was last seen before he went missing.

Col. Ragay admitted that the site where the dead bodies were found was only 200 meters away from a Community Police Assistance Center (Compac) of the Tuba town police. Only one policeman mans the Compac at night until the early hours of the morning. Others patrol the expanse of Tuba. It is hard to monitor the surroundings especially dark spots, the Benguet police chief further admitted.

According to the autopsy results, all the bodies have no gunshots wounds. One of the bodies bore traumatic injuries on the chest area.

DNA samples from the bodies have already been taken. Communications were also sent to police offices and other law enforcement agencies for an inventory of missing persons.

Baguio police director Col. Allen Rae Co meanwhile assured they will conduct an inquiry to assist in the investigation being conducted by the Benguet police. ●