Death of mentally disabled farmer due to severe torture by elements of the 8th IBPA in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, Mindanao

On 27 April 2010, Wilfred, Cristituto and Romie went to Mangasa, Sitio Damitan to  gather “luway” a type of cane that look like rattan used as frames for growing beans.  Wilfred and Cristituto were both hired helps of Romie in his farm.  At around 2:00 PM, they took a break from their work to eat a late lunch when around 24 soldiers suddenly emerged from the thicket and ordered them, at gunpoint, to stay put. 

Then, they were interrogated, separated from each other and tortured.  All three were ordered to surrender their guns or disclose where they had hidden them.  They were also accused of being members of the New People's Army (NPA) and that they were part of the team that set up an ambush in Agusan del Norte.

Cristituto was brought about 30 meters away from their resting place.  He was ordered to produce an identification document but was unable to do so because he left his residence certificate at home.  He pleaded with the soldiers to bring him to the village hall or to any village official in Dalwangan who could vouch for his identity and disprove the military's accusations.  But his plea fell on deaf ears.  He was ordered to take off his shirt and this was used to blindfold him.  Then they started beating him with the luway that they gathered.  The interrogation and the lashings lasted for about an hour.  His body became numbed all over.  He was told to lay down facing the ground and threatened to be shot if he moved.  When he sensed that the soldiers had already left, he rose to his feet and walked slowly looking for his companions.  He met Wilfred downhill crawling on the ground.

Wilfred was also made to strip and his shirt was used to blindfold him.  The soldiers took turns in beating him.  He was kicked with their combat boots on, hit with the butt of their rifles and whipped with the luway he gathered.  The intense beating was a result of the soldiers’ perception that Wilfred was being insolent during the interrogation.  When his interrogator asked him “Where do you live?;” his answer was “at home” and when asked, “Where did you sleep last night?”; his reply was “on the mat”.  But this seemingly insolent way of answering the soldiers’ queries was really due to his disability.  Wilfred did not have the capacity to think about complex things.  And because of his disability, he bore the brunt of the soldiers’ ire.  Like Cristituto, he was also ordered to lie face down on the ground after an hour of torture and threatened to be shot if he moved.  When he felt that the soldiers were gone, he slowly crawled his way to seek help.  He could not anymore stand up because of the pain.  This was how Cristituto found him.

Cristituto helped him up and half carried him back home.  They met Romie along the way.  Romie and Cristituto carried Wilfred home.

Romie recounted that he too was blindfolded using his scarf.  He was slapped repeatedly and ordered to locate the alleged New People's Army (NPA) camp in the area.  He was told by the soldiers that they had already killed Wilfred and they would also kill Romie he would not cooperate.  With nothing to divulge, the soldiers commenced to bodily search him.  They found the P10,000.00 church collection entrusted to him as the church treasurer.  The soldiers took it together with his Seiko 5 wrist watch.  But he earnestly pleaded with the soldiers that the money was not his and that he just had it in his possession for safekeeping.  They relented and gave him back the money but they kept his wrist watch.  Then, he too was ordered to lay prone on the ground and threatened to be shot if he moved.   10 minutes after the soldiers left the area, he got up and looked for his two companions.  They saw each other on their way home.

Upon reaching Brgy. Dalwangan, they sought assistance from relatives and village officials.  Wilfred and Cristituto were brought to the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital.  Cristituto was discharged from the hospital the following day.

Wilfred remained in the hospital.  He had difficulty breathing, was in constant pain and was having blood in his urine.  He stayed there until 13 May with no change in his condition.  Despite this, his attending physician discharged him from the hospital with no prescription drug to alleviate the pain when he went home.

At home, he suffered from severe pain and could not sleep.  He continued to urinate with blood in his urine.  Wilfred died on 18 May 2010.

Wilfred's family reported that a certain Sgt. Viña of the 8th IBPA visited them at the hospital several times and gave them financial assistance worth P7,000.00.