BACOLOD CITY – The four members of the Fausto family in Negros Occidental were laid to rest on Sunday amid calls for justice and in-depth investigation of their gruesome death in far-flung Sitio Kangkiling in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City.
The burial rites at Barangay Aguisan Public Cemetery were held four days after they were found dead on June 14.
The City Social Welfare and Development facilitated the burial.
“As one Himamaylan community, let us extend our prayers for their eternal rest,” Mayor Rogelio Raymund Tongson Jr. said in a statement.
The victims, Rolly Fausto, 52; his wife Emilda, 49; and their sons Ben, 11, and Raben, 15, were found at their home with gunshot wounds.
The Police Regional Office-Western Visayas said “initial reports indicate the incident is part of the communist-terrorist group’s efforts to undermine the gains of the government's programs to end the local communist armed conflict.”
The elder Fausto was a military asset facilitating the surrender of his relatives who are members of the New People’s Army (NPA), according to a local media report quoting the Philippine Army's 94th Infantry Battalion.
In a statement on Saturday, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) through its office in Western Visayas, said it has “dispatched investigators to pursue the truth behind the killings and seek justice for the victims.”
“The CHR strongly condemns the brutal killing,” it said, noting there are allegations that the incident was insurgency-related and allegedly linked to the NPA, but there is also an allegation linking it to the military.
“All possible angles will be pursued in the course of CHR’s independent investigation,” the agency further said.
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson urged law enforcement authorities to “lead an in-depth investigation into this horrible act.”
In an earlier statement, the Philippine Army’s 303rd Infantry Brigade committed to seek justice for the deaths and dismissed the claims of the NPA linking government troops to the massacre. (PNA)