IN REMEMBRANCE. Family members of the victims of mass purging conducted by the New People's Army in Leyte in the '80s offer candles at a marker engraved with the names of over 100 victims. The survivors gathered during the 13th anniversary of the discovery of the victims’ remains at the plaza in Baybay City on Monday (Sept. 2, 2019). (PNA photo by Sarwell Meniano)

BAYBAY CITY, Leyte -- Surviving families of the Inopacan Massacre on Monday remembered their loved ones killed in a mass execution perpetuated by the New People’s Army (NPA) in the 1980s.

During the 13th year commemoration of the discovery of the victims’ remains at the plaza here, families continued to cry for justice for their loved ones summarily executed by the rebels on suspicion of having ties with the military.

Guillermo Dedace, 58, a farmer, said they want justice to be served 33 years after armed men abducted and killed his father and two siblings.

He said he was just 25 years old when NPA fighters seized his father Roman and younger siblings, Reymondo and Wenceslao, in their farm in Cabungahan village, this city.

“By force, they took away my father and brothers since they are suspected military informants. We never saw them since May 1985 and we were informed that they are victims of mass purging,” Guillermo told the Philippine News Agency.

His family members were among the 87 victims of mass purging by the communist terrorist group in Baybay City. There were also 12 victims from nearby Inopacan town and 22 from Mahaplag town.

Feliza Apiba, a daughter of Felex Capillanes, another massacre victim, asked the public not to support any advocacy of the communist terrorist group. Apiba’s father was fatally shot in August 1985 after he was suspected of being a military informant.

“The NPA are only good at the start, but eventually they will show their real intentions. They have no respect for human lives,” said Apiba, whose father was also killed by rebels while tending their farm.

According to accounts of the military and witnesses, most of the victims bore brutal marks of crushed skulls still wrapped with blindfolding cloth. They suffered severe flesh wounds and broken bones even before they were hammered down with multiple bullet shots.

“Their death remains the most painful in Philippine forensic history to include the fact others were even buried alive while most were mutilated in pieces. It is also believed that some of the victims were raped by their comrades before they were finally tortured and killed.”

Philippine Army 802nd Infantry Brigade commander Brig. Gen. Lope Dagoy said the NPA’s 50-year struggle is senseless since they have not solved any problem despite their promises.

“They are barbarians and idiots. All they did was destroy the future of innocent students, youth and the peace-loving people of Leyte,” Dagoy said.

After the mass grave discovery in 2006, the Philippine Army filed 15 counts of murder before the Manila Regional Trial Court against couple Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Satur Ocampo, Vicente Ladlad, Randal Echaniz, Rafael Baylosis, Exusperado Lloren, and several others.

The case filed against the top hierarchy of the NPA had its last hearing last year.

The mass purging tagged by the NPA as “Oplan Venereal Disease,” claimed the lives of about 300 residents in Leyte province, based on estimates of former rebels and the victims’ relatives.

Skeletal remains of 67 individuals were unearthed from shallow graves at Subang Daku village in Inopacan town on August 28, 2006 through the help of villagers. (PNA)