Missing massacre survivor surfaces, recounts ordeal to Davao city councilors

Aida Seisa, center, in a fact-finding mission two weeks before her house was strafed in June. (Photo by P. Revelli/philipperevelli.com)
Aida Seisa, center, in a fact-finding mission two weeks before her house was strafed in June. (Photo by P. Revelli/philipperevelli.com)

By ZEA IO MING C. CAPISTRANO
Davao Today

DAVAO CITY – Aida Seisa, the farmer leader from Paquibato District here who owned the house raided by the military on June 14 midnight, surfaced and came to the city council’s regular session to give her account of the incident.

Seisa, who is the secretary general of the Paquibato District Peasant Alliance (Padipa), broke down in tears during her speech, prompting Councilor Karlo Bello, the chairperson of the committee on human rights, to ask for a recess.

Bello said it was the first time he saw Seisa. Councilor Jimmy Dureza asked Seisa to calm down as the councilors “cannot understand her.”

Three farmers were killed after the military raided Seisa’s residence in Purok 7, Paradise Embac village, Paquibato District.

The victims included tribal leader Datu Ruben Enlog who headed the Nagkahiusang Lumad Mag-uuma sa Paquibato (United Lumad Farmers of Paquibato or Nagkalupa), and farmers Randy Carnasa and Oligario Quimbo.

Seisa said her 12-year old daughter was hit on her arm.

“Akong anak nga 12 anyos nasamad sa bukton, walay kaluoy ang 69th (Infantry Battalion) (My 12 year-old daughter was hit on her arm, the 69th IB was heartless),” she cried.

She narrated that on June 13 she came home from Davao (Davao poblacion) at around 8 p.m.

“Pag-abot nako nangagda na akong nanay og panihapon apan wala mi sud-an. Mao to nga nagpalit ko og tinapa ug bihon sa among silingan (My mother called us for dinner but we didnt have any viand so I bought dried noodles and sardines from our neighbor’s store),” she said.

Seisa said after she cooked, Enlog along with his nephews, and Carnasa, who is the godfather of her daughter, arrived.

Seisa said her mother and her children were also inside the house.

She said she prepared their visitors coffee. She said Enlog cooked the chickens brought by Carnasa.

She said the firing started at the back of their kitchen.

“Dayon naa puy nitubag diri sa drier padulong sa akong balay. Nisinggit akong bana ug si (Carnasa) nga tama na kay mga sibilyan mi diri sa sulod (A fire came from the drier approaching my house. Then my husband and Carnasa both shouted ‘stop, all of us are civilians’),” she said.

She said their broiler chickens were also hit by the bullets.

“Dili gyud unta ko mogawas niadtong higayona tungod sa akong inahan uban ni Randy ug ni (Datu Ruben) ug sa iyahang mga pag-umangkon. Apan giguyod ko sa akong bana uban sa akong anak, tungod kay naigo na si Randy diri sa bukton, pagsirit sa dugo nagsigeg singgit si Randy “tama na ang pagpabuto kay puros mi sibilyan dinhi!” (I would not have left the house because of my mother.. But my husband dragged me out with my daughter because Randy was already hit on his arm,Randy kept on shouting “stop firing, we are all civilians here!”),” she said.

Seisa said it took them more than 30 minutes when they fled from their house.

She said her husband tried to drag Carnasa that time.

But Carnasa told her husband “paningkamot mo pre aron naay mosulti sa tinuod nga nahitabo (do everything to get out so that there will be someone who will tell what really happened here).”

She said they ran towards the road leading to the house of her cousin who just gave birth during the time of the incident.

“Apan, nadungog nako ang didto mismo atbang sa pultahan nagpondo sa nagpamusil sa amoa nga niingon ‘tu-a na ang object siguroha ninyo pagkuha ang object’ (But then I heard at the doorway from where the men who fired at us shouted ‘there goes the object, make sure to get the object’),” Seisa said adding that after which the men fired at the sodium light near their house.

She said they jumped in a ravine, dragging with her their daughter who at that time was trembling and couldn’t even walk.

She said her daughter even said “Ma mamatay na siguro ta ma (Ma, maybe will die).”

She said the rosary she’s wearing proves that God didn’t left them. She said they traversed five rivers just to escape from the area.

She said the next morning they arrived at their relatives house and heard from them the news that her mother was still alive.

‘Legitimate encounter’

Officials from the 69th Infantry Battalion, who were involved with the incident, also appeared during the city council session.

Lieutenant Colonel Rodney G Intal, commanding officer of the 69th Infantry Battalion said the incident was a legitimate encounter after members of the NPA fired at them.

“We went in the area just to respond (to reports) that there were armed groups in the house of Seisa,” Intal said.

He said they were to serve a warrant of arrest against Leoncio Pitao aka Kumander Parago and Nelson Anggoy aka Felimon or Upaw.

Bello said the warrant should have been served by the Philippine National Police.

He said the Army should have promptly coordinated with the police for the execution of the warrants.

Bello’s committee report also said they were informed “that the military received reliable information around 6 p.m. on June 13, 2015 that the persons who subjects of warrants were spotted within an area. The PNP was only informed of the encounter when it was over around 1 a.m. of June 14. This put in serious doubt the real intention of the military.”

Double celebrations

However, Seisa said the incident was a massacre against her family.

Seisa told Davao Today that Enlog and Carnasa were even drunk as they were celebrating the birthday of her 12-year-old daughter and their wedding anniversary.

“Gani nahubog man gani to si Datu ug si Carnasa, nanghimulbul to og manok kay naa may okasyon atong higayona (They were even drunk, they cooked chickens because there was an occasion that time),” she said.

She said there is no member of the New People’s Army inside their home when the Army attacked.

“Why would an NPA stay inside our house when we are near the road, we are all civilians,” she said.

Seisa said the military is angry at her because she is a spokesperson for the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) in Southern Mindanao region and Padipa.

She said until now she feels the trauma.

“I could not believe the Army can do that. Now I know that they really are butchers,” she said.

“Now I don’t have a house to go to, they already destroyed it,” she said.

Seisa also said that she is worrying for her security and the security of her family.

Seisa said the Army is accusing her to be a member of the NPA.

Unsatisfied

Councilor Bello and second district Councilor Danilo Dayanghirang said they were not satisfied with the reports from the police who responded to the incident.

“I am not satisfied, the police investigation is very poor,” Dayanghirang said after Police Senior Inspector Nolan Genova of the PNP crime laboratory said that he is not sure who cordoned the area when the Soco arrived nine hours after they received the report at 2 a.m. on June 14.

“The problem is the area where the Army positioned was not covered by the (police) investigations,” Bello also said.

The discussion of the city council on the alleged massacre in Paquibato lasted for more than six hours. The session was adjourned after the council lacked quorum at around 4 p.m.

Dayanghirang said they would like to hear from Paquibato Police station commander Police Senior Inspector Jesus Estrada Castañeda to shed light on the matter.

He also proposed to return the report to the committee on human rights. Reposted by ()

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