After years of search and hope that they are still alive, the remains of three persons who went missing between 1999 to 2014 and believed to be killed by the New People’s Army (NPA) were found and exhumed in a conflict-torn district in Davao City.
They were identified as Dandy Rivera, 47; Ariel Peletos; and Adelio Ramirez.
In a statement Wednesday, Brig. Gen. Nolasco Mempin, commander of the Philippine Army’s 1003rd Brigade, said the victims were subjected into a “kangaroo court” by the NPA before they were supposedly killed and buried by communist rebels in separate areas in Paquibato District.
A quick search on the internet describes a kangaroo court as “an unofficial court held by a group of people to try someone, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a crime or misdemeanor.”
According to Mempin, Rivera was an owner of a horse renting shop and had a customer who was allegedly an NPA rebel in 1999. When he went to retrieve his horse and asked for payment, he was accused of being a military spy. His remains were discovered at Purok Culape, Barangay Mapula, Paquibato District.
“Na-kangaroo court siya at dito sa Purok Culape ng Mapula siya inilibing. Iyon ang in-exhume natin ngayon para mabigyan ng marangal na libing at maibalik din sa kanyang pamilya (He was subjected into a kangaroo court and buried here in Sitio Culape, [Barangay] Mapula. We exhume his remains now so we can give him a decent burial and return him to his family),” Mempin said.
The military contacted Rivera’s sister, Marycel, to facilitate the burial of the victim.
Meanwhile, the remains of Peletos and Ramirez were recovered in Barangay Palanum, Paquibato District. They were reported missing in September 2014.
Mempin said the two victims were former supporters of the NPA but backed out from the group. He said this was seen by the victims’ comrades as “unacceptable” so they were also subjected into a kangaroo court as a “punishment” for their “sins.”
Ramirez sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the body while Peletos has multiple stab wounds, Mempin said. A former NPA rebel who surrendered to the military allegedly gave the location where the three victims were buried.
Peletos’ wife, Lina, confirmed the identity of his husband while no immediate relative claimed the body of Ramirez.
Mempin condemned the NPA’s use of kangaroo court system as he described the killings as “inhumane and unlawful.”