Vigo murders: “case solved”

Supt. Jose Calimutan, deputy provincial police chief who headed the disbanded Task Force Vigo, told MindaNews in a telephone interview Tuesday afernoon that the police has done its part. “It’s now in the hands of the prosecution,” he said.

Task Force Vigo, already disbanded after the complaint was filed against the suspects in the Vigo killings, was composed of the Police Regional Office (PRO 12), the Criminal Investigation Detection Group (CIDG) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

The Vigo couple was riding on their motorcycle on their way home when shot by motorcycle-riding gunmen at Apo Sandawa Homes at around 5 p.m. on June 19.

The Task Force Vigo was created the next day, June 20. But two days later, Regional police chief  German Doria announced that the Sparrow Unit of the New People’s Army was behind the Vigo killings.

George, 35, was project officer of the Mindanao Youth Leadership Program, a three-year program funded by the Consuelo Foundation, Inc. and implemented by the Community and Family Services, International (CFSI) in Barangay Liliongan, a conflict-affected area in Carmen, North Cotabato. The project George headed focused on improving the situation of the Moro, Lumad and settler youth in the area.

Maricel, 39, was communications consultant of Rep. Lala Talino and was area coordinator of  SPOTS (Solar Power Technology System) of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), a project funded by the British Petroleum, to distribute solar power to agrarian reform communities without access to electricity.

Co-founders of the Federation of Reporters for Equality and Empowerment (FREE), the two continued to do part-time media work until their death — George hosting Tingog sa Kabatan-unan (Voice of the Youth), a 30-minute radio program of the CFSI aired every Monday noon while Macel hosted Kalihukan sa Kongreso (Congress Affairs) of Rep. Talino over DXND every Sunday noon

Chief Supt. German Doria, director of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Region 12 (Southwestern Mindanao) on June 23 told DXND Radio for Peace that one of the three suspects in the killing of the Vigos had been identified as Dionisio Madanggit, allegedly a member of the Sparrow Unit of NPA Front 51.

Doria said George was suspected by the NPA to have tipped of government forces on the whereabouts of Renante Edisa, 32, alias Benjie, believed to be the head of the NPA’s Front 51, on November 21,  2004.  Benjie, who reportedly replaced Amadao Pitao alias Kumander Benzar, was killed in that raid in Barangay Kisante, Makilala.

Citing records from the Philippine National Police, Doria said Madanggit  is also responsible for the series of killings in North Cotabato, including the killing in March 2005 of a certain Army Private First Class Berang of the 39th Infantry Battalion, believed to be the triggerman of Commander Benjie, leader of Front 51 in November 2004.

“The suspect, now the subject of the manhunt of the authorities, was also behind the killing of Magpet town councilor Gerry Lingaro, a known anti-communist advocate last December 2005,”  and one Engineer Villahermosa, a businessman from Makilala town who allegedly refused to pay revolutionary taxes to the NPA, Doria said.

But Karapatan North Cotabato in a fact-finding report in February, pointed to Madanggit, also known as Juning or “Jikjik,” as a rebel returnee, military asset and one of three accomplices to the murder of Jay Allunar on February 5 this year in Malasila, Makilala.

Karapatan said in the February 22 report that  Madanggit, “is a goon for hire, reportedly has a standing warrant of arrest but still at-large roving around the province without restraint.”

“I know, in my heart, the authorities have not talked to the real witnesses.   There are still witnesses now hiding because of fear.   These are the persons who might give them clues, but are not yet that strong to come up in the open,” Maribel, Maricel’s younger sister, said. (MindaNews)