Rebelyn was wearing her white school teacher’s uniform when she left home to go to work. “Ma, lakaw na ko (Ma, I have to go now),” she called out to her mother Evangeline. It was 6:30 a.m. – the last time Mrs. Pitao saw her 20-year old daughter. It was the last time she ever heard her voice.
BY KEITH BACONGCO*
Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project
HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Posted by Bulatlat
DAVAO CITY – Rebelyn was wearing her white school teacher’s uniform when she left home to go to work. “Ma, lakaw na ko (Ma, I have to go now),” she called out to her mother Evangeline.
It was 6:30 a.m. – the last time Mrs. Pitao saw her 20-year old daughter. It was the last time she ever heard her voice.
Rebelyn usually arrived back home by 6:30 p.m. each school day. But last week, Wednesday March 4, there was no sign of her. Mrs. Pitao was worried: An hour and a half later, local police officers and a tricycle driver knocked on her door and brought news that Rebelyn had been abducted on her way home by armed gunmen.
“When I heard she had been taken, I knew I would never see her alive again,” said Mrs. Pitao from her small house in Bago Galera, Toril District in Davao City. “I knew they would kill her because they were angry at her father.”
Rebelyn, who would have turned 21 on March 20, was the third child and daughter of New People’s Army (NPA) leader Leoncio Pitao, also known as Commander Parago. Her partially-naked body was found late the following day, Thursday March 5, in an irrigation ditch in Barangay (village) San Isidro in Carmen, Davao Del Norte, about 50 kilometers north from here. She had been bound, gagged, raped and repeatedly stabbed in the chest.
“There were rope markings around her neck and mud all over her body,” her mother told the Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project. “She was like a carabao.”
According to the Scene of Crime Operatives (SOCO) of the Davao City police, Rebelyn had been dead for more than 20 hours before she was found by a local farmer. It suggests she was killed very soon after being taken.
“Her body bore five wounds inflicted by a thin sharp object such as an ice pick, which pierced her lungs and liver,” according to Dr. Tomas Dimaandal who conducted the autopsy at a local funeral home. His report added that her genitals had suffered cuts “possibly caused by a hard object.” Her mouth had been taped up.
Mrs. Pitao explained how, with the police officers listening, tricycle driver Danny Peliciano told her that two unknown men had boarded his vehicle alongside Rebelyn when she climbed in to ride home. As they neared Bago Gallera de Oro subdivision a white van – a Toyota Revo – blocked their path and forced the tricycle to stop.
“Two other men came out of the van and dragged her out of the tricycle. The driver said Rebelyn was screaming for help but he could not do anything because the men were armed. The driver said he ran away. Then they dragged my daughter inside the van.”
Mrs. Pitao believes the other two men on the tricycle were accomplices and all four men climbed in the van.