A massacre in the age of forensics

Posted by watchmen
October 25, 2018
Posted in OPINION

“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower living beings he will never know health or peace’ for as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other.” –Pythagoras


Did the perpetrators behind the Sagay City massacre think it was still the age of Neanderthals, where crimes can easily go unpunished? In a time of forensic science, where deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, plays a major role (among other scientific methods) in gathering evidence, even crimes committed years ago with no eyewitness accounts can be solved.

Those who mercilessly gunned down members of the National Federation of Sugarcane Workers at Hacienda Nene, located at Purok Firetree in Sagay City last October 20, will be identified and arrested soon, depending on Police Regional Office-6 director, Police Chief Superintendent John Bulalacao, who has ordered a no-nonsense probe into the matter.

I first heard the word “massacre” during the Martial Law era. It was the Jabidah massacre, or the killing of Moros, committed by members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on March 18, 1968. It was also known as the Corregidor massacre as it took place on Corregidor Island.

Even into the 1970s, the public was still discussing the matter amongst themselves as the press was not free to publish the details.

I also learned about the 1985 Escalante massacre in Escalante, Negros Occidental that claimed the lives of 20 and wounded 24 other on my birthday, September 18. The incident jolted me as a young man.

Earlier that year, I was riding a bicycle near where the incident took place and I remember vividly the faces of the farmers, vendors, and others in the then-municipality. Four years prior to the killings, I heard about the Pata Island massacre in Sulu, which took place on February 12, 1981, where supposed Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) allies killed 119 Armed Forces of the Philippines soldiers. A couple days after the incident, as the Philippine Army 31st Infantry Battalion Headquarters Service Company was set to leave the island, a group of MNLF rebels and Civilian Home Defense Force commander Unad Masillam surrounded them and opened fire.

To name a few other massacres in the Philippines, there was the 1985 Inopacan massacre in Leyte where 67 were killed, the 1987 Mendiola massacre in Manila where 13 were killed, the 1989 Digos massacre in Davao del Sur – 39, the 1995 Ipil massacre in Zamboanga del Sur – 53, the 1998 Sara massacre in Iloilo – 10, the 2009 Maguindanao massacre in Mindanao – 58 (including 40 journalists), and the 2014 Talipao massacre in Sulu – 21.

The most recent event in Sagay City killed nine, including women and children, and is still under investigation by Sagay City police chief, Police Chief Inspector Roberto Mansueto, and the 62nd Special Action Force

Unlike some of the aforementioned incidents, the one in Sagay City occurred in the age of forensics, which means investigators will not have a hard time identifying the culprits, which initial police investigations suggest may have been committed by mercenaries or armed bandits.

The progress on the case will continue to be monitored with hopes justice will soon be served./WDJ

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *