The Philippine Army has finally admitted in court that two men accused in the murder of Bayan Muna member Benjamin Bayles were members of the 61st Infantry Battalion who had been using pseudonyms, Karapatan-Negros Secretary General Fred Caña, claimed in a press release yesterday.
Adjutant Col. Alexis Gopico testified before the Himamaylan Regional Trial Court Thursday that the suspects in the Bayles murder are indeed former soldiers who have been discharged by the Philippine Army, Caña said.
Gopico said accused Roger Bajon was actually Private First Class Rafael Cordova and accused Ronnie Caurino’s real name is Private First Class Reygine Laus, Caña said, in the press release.
He added that the two accused were members of the 3rdPlatoon, Bravo Company of 61stInfantry Battalion formerly based in Sitio Barasbarasan, Brgy. Manlucahoc, Sipalay City and were discharged from the service in May 2011 after they were implicated in the Bayles murder case, the press release said.
Bayles was killed by two gunmen in Himamaylan City in July 2010.
Edre Olalia, National Secretary General of National Union of People’s Lawyer, who was at the hearing, said the cases of extrajudicial killings of activist and members of the progressive people’s organizations were perpetrated by a special operation team whose members are enlisted personnel of the Philippine Army, the press release added.*