5 dead in Bukidnon massacre

Lumads, Moros and settlers, even foreigners, celebrate friendship in a tribal dance at the Talaandig community center in Songco, Lantapan, Bukidnon on Friday (8 March 2019). MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 28 Nov) – Five persons were killed in a bloodbath early evening on Saturday in a tribal village in Lantapan town, Bukidnon, police said.

A report from the Bukidnon Provincial Police Office, as quoted by RMN-Malaybalay in its newscast Monday morning, said the attack took place in Sitio Kiabacat, Barangay Songco.

The report identified the fatalities as Rocky Cruz, 33; Rachel Cruz, 19; Winlove Sinto, 30, male; and, Daniel Lugnasan, 54. They sustained gunshot and hack wounds.

Two other victims were wounded — Mael Lugnasan, 30, and an unidentified child.

Both have been confined at the Bukidnon Provincial Medical Center.

The boy, who sustained a gunshot wound in the mouth and a hack wound in the belly, died at the hospital on Monday. 

Another child, an infant who was sleeping in a crib, was left unhurt, a relative of the suspects who requested anonymity said.

Police identified the suspects as Julie Saway a.k.a. Datu Lambagani, his son Dindo Saway and nephew Elfredie Saway, all residents of Songco.

Julie Saway is a half-brother of Datu Migketay Victorino Saway. Their father is the late Datu Kinulintang Anastacio Saway.

Datu Migketay, an internationally known leader of the Talaandig tribe, is currently the municipal Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative.

Another brother, renowned artist and musician Rodelio “Waway” Saway is also a municipal councilor.

Police said three other unidentified gunmen were involved in the incident.

A land conflict possibly fueled the incident, as the victims and the suspects, who are relatives, had laid claims to a piece of land in Songco, according to the police.

The six suspects have all gone into hiding. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno / MindaNews)