Bandits behind slay of 5 family members in S. Kudarat

SENATOR NINOY AQUINO, Sultan Kudarat (MindaNews/14 Nov) – The armed men who killed five family members in the hinterland of Sen. Ninoy Aquino municipality in Sultan Kudarat province dawn last Saturday belonged to the Dulangan-Manobo tribe, according to a witness who comes from the same tribe.

Aguilar Maga, one of the two Dulangan-Manobos working as helpers in the Fegurac household, said in an interview that he was positive the five armed men belong to his tribe because of their accent even though they spoke Tagalog. He could not identify them, though, because they were wearing bonnets that covered their faces except their eyes.

Maga said the family members were ordered to get out the house. Maga and the other househelp were likewise told to get out their quarters from a nearby hut.

As the armed men shot the five family members, Maga and his colleague slowly backed out and then went into hiding, getting away from the farmhouse.

Police recovered 52 empty shells from M-16 and Garand rifles.

Maga said only two of the bandits were armed.

Killed in what was believed to be a robbery with homicide case were the couple Jolly, 48, and Josephine, 47; their sons Jonathan, 23, and Jerson, 20; and nephew Benjie Pelitro, 35. They were killed 4 a.m. last Saturday in the Fugerac’s farm house in Sitio Lubungon of Barangay Midtungok of this municipality. Their main house, however, was in the barangay center in Midtungok.

Their bodies were brought to the main house where Fr. Roberto Layson, parish priest of Kulaman town in Senator Ninoy Aquino town, performed the blessing of the dead Sunday morning.

One family member was spared. Jeric, who is around 30, said he went home to their main house the afternoon before the incident.

Insp. Teody Salazar, municipal police chief, said they now have leads as to the five armed men and their motive.

For Jeric, who was interviewed at their residence in Midtungok, the armed men were definitely after the P40,000 cash and the chainsaws. The bandits also reportedly took away grocery items from the Fugerac’s store.

The Feguracs had the cash because they just sold newly cut Gmelina trees and newly harvested coffee beans, police noted.

Police said the land being tilled by the Feguracs were actually owned by the tribal people but pawned to the Feguracs. They lend out money to the natives, too.

Lately, however, the Feguracs had a heated argument with one of the tribal folks who pawned his land to them, police said.

“As per information received, this newly organized group of Dulangan-Manobos are operating in the boundary of Sen. Ninoy Aquino and Palimbang towns,” Salazar said.

The two witnesses are now under the police’s protective custody, he added. (Ferdinandh B. Cabrera / MindaNews)