By Mike Crismundo
CAMP COL. RAFAEL C. RODRIGUEZ, Butuan City – The head of the Northeastern Mindanao Police Regional Office 13 (PRO 13) on Friday ordered a thorough probe on the death of three lumads in the far-flung highland Labong area, about 20 kilometers away from the barangay proper of Simbalan in Buenavista town, Agusan del Norte province.
Chief Supt. Gilberto DC Cruz also ordered the Agusan del Norte Police Provincial Office (PPO) and Buenavista Municipal Police Station (MPS), along with police scene of the crime operations (SOCO) teams, to conduct a thorough investigation, and closely coordinate in their probe to identify and arrest the perpetrators and determine the motive of killing.
“The culprits must be identified and arrested,“ said the region’s police in his directive.
The victims, all reportedly members of the Higaonon tribe, were identified as Alfredo Tomaquin, Sr. 61; his brother-in-law Paka Pinatugaw, 47; and Pina Pinatugaw, 48. They were all residents of Sitio Bagang, Barangay Simbalan, Buenavista town, Agusan del Norte.
The three Higaonons were workers at a 50-hectare farm owned by Korean national Ryoo Wang-hyow in Sitio Labong, Barangay Simbalan.
Initial investigation by the Buenavista MPS showed that the victims went missing after they were last seen leaving for work at around 6 a.m. last Tuesday.
“Thereafter, said victims were not able to return home until 6 p.m. that same day as their usual time of going home which left the family worried that’s why they decided to look for them,” the initial Buenavista MPS report said.
At 7 a.m. on Wednesday, the body of the victims, who bore several gunshot and hack wounds were found in a grassy area inside Tomaquin’s farm.
Responding Buenavista MPS personnel found in the crime scene several fired cartridges believed of M16 Armalite rifle and Carbine rifle.
Initial findings of the officials of the Buenavista Health Center in the Post Mortem Examination at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday showed that the cause of their death were gunshot wounds in different parts of their bodies.