FACT FINDING MISSION REPORT
TASK FORCE MAWAB FOUR
August 4, 1999
Barangay Ngan, Compostela town,
and Mawab town, Compostela Valley province
By the way he handles the critical media and the armed conflict, President Joseph Estrada has thoroughly showed his government's direction towards an
open authoritarian rule. In Southern Mindanao, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has intensified its military operations in the
countrysides, employed divide and rule tactics among the indigenous Lumads for counter-insurgency campaign, and doubled efforts to arrest and jail
alleged New People's Army guerillas and sympathizers. It also maximized propaganda offensive against the NPA's alleged recruitment of children (of
minor age) by parading these young political prisoners before the media and in succession.
So it was not surprising when Estrada smugly vowed in his first State of the Nation Address to crush the revolution saying "ang rebelyon hindi bini-baby
It seemed to be a promise too soon for Godofredo Guimbaolibot, also known as
Ka Paking, a ranking NPA leader in the region and Rodolfo Jubahib, an NPA medic. Seven hours after their arrest and those of two other civilians,
Engr. Edwin Asion and Mariano Diamante, their lifeless bodies were turned over to the local police.
This brutal murder comes at a time when there is an apparent resurgence of the revolutionary movement, a movement that has been formerly declared by
the government as already spent. The massacre reflects a return of the open fascist and vindictive rule of the Philippine Army in the countrysides like
the dark years of the Marcos dictatorship.
Acting on the call and moral obligation to respond to human rights victims, church groups, human rights workers and various non-government organizations
formed the TASK FORCE MAWAB FOUR to expose and demand justice for what is apparently a case of rub-out, foul play and summary execution of the four
On August 5, 1999, the TASK FORCE and KARAPATAN conducted a fact-finding mission in barangay Ngan, Compostela town, and Mawab town, all in Compostela
Valley province. The Mission aimed to substantiate initial findings of summary execution, gather data from witnesses and residents, determine the
accountability of the military and the Mawab police, and inform the public on the result of the investigation.
II. Narration of the incident
A. Circumstances of the arrest
On August 2, 1999, around 1:00 pm, 13 soldiers under the 60th Infantry Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division of Philippine Army arrived at a
DENR-LGU checkpoint bearing the name Ngan Pagsabangan, Pananzalan Forest Reserved Development Cooperative (NPPFRDC) in sitio Upper Ambawan,
Barangay Ngan, Compostela town, province of Compostela Valley.
About one squad of soldiers, under the leadership of Lt. Rolando Cateel, did not wear nameplates. With the soldiers, according to witnesses, was one
Virgilio Tupas formerly known as Jerry who was an NPA rebel operating in the area until 1996. Tupas served as a guide for the military. They conducted
a checkpoint to force passengers of passing vehicles to alight and be interrogated for counter-insurgency purposes.
At around 2 pm, 46-year old Monina Villavicencio was held by the troops while she was enroute to sitio Bango, her place of residence. She was told
to get inside the checkpoint guardhouse where Jerry alleged her to be a member of the local district of the New People's Army. She was ordered to
draw the structure of the local NPA territory and to write down names of individuals connected to the revolutionary movement. She denied Jerry's
accusations and refused the order. The troops threatened her when she said that that is supposed to be the work of the local intelligence unit of the
A close friend of Villavicencio, Venus Cadorna, came later with town councilor Elwin Orendain to tend to Villavicencio. The military further
continued with their interrogation and even threatened them that the military will be hamletting the area.
A bystander Dario Roble, who was sitting at the nearby store was also forcibly brought to the checkpoint for questioning.
At 3:30 pm, two men on a motorcycle passed the checkpoint. Villavicencio, Cadorna and Orendain said they did not recognize the two, but overheard one
saying: "Nagsunod." A few minutes later they saw an approaching white pick-up where Godofredo Guimbaolibot, Mariano Diamante, Engr. Edwin Asion
and Rodolfo Jubahib were aboard. When the military saw the approaching vehicle, they suddenly went on alert position. One was overheard
exclaiming: "O ni-menor, mat-an ni si Paks!" (Look, the vehicle slowed down…this Paks (Guimbaolibot) has keen sense!). By the time the pick-up move
toward the checkpoint, the soldiers aimed their rifles at the vehicle.
Orendain saw that Engr. Asion immediately alighted when the vehicle was flagged down. When asked of their destination, Asion told the soldiers they
were going towards Balunos' tunnel in sitio Bango. The military asset and rebel returnee, Jerry, shouted to the soldiers that Ka Paking (Guimbaolibot)
was on the backseat.
Together with Jubahib, Guimbaolibot, who was seen donning a violet shirt and green jogging pants, got out of the car and raised his hands high (in
an act of surrender) and calmly said: "Wa koy mahimo sir, surrender ko." (I cannot do anything, sir. I surrender.) The military took his .45 caliber
pistol. Guimbaolibot told them he has P30,000 cash in the bag and P500 in his pocket. The military took the cash and ordered the four to lie
prostrate on the ground. Jerry tied Guimbaolibot's hand with a long blue-colored rope, behind the latter's back. Guimbaolibot told the witnesses
and bystanders to inform his family about his arrest.
Witnesses say Guimbaolibot did not show any sign of resistance. When one soldier warned that he has a .45 caliber pistol, Guimbaolibot calmly said:
"Sige, kuhaa ninyo ning akong pistola. (Go ahead, you may get my pistol.)" The rope was tied tightly by Jerry. They also heard one soldier ordering
him: "I-gaid sa bangko sa sakyanan! (Tie him on the seat of the vehicle.)"
Later, at 4:00 pm, Lt. Cateel, Jerry and six other soldiers took the four captives towards the direction from where the pick-up came from.
Guimbaolibot was placed in between two soldiers at backseat of the pick-up while Jubahib and the two civilians were placed at the rear. The pick-up
then sped off. Seven soldiers remained at the checkpoint. The witnesses saw one remaining soldier making a hand sign across his neck, a gesture
suggesting to kill the captives.
Later, witnesses Villavicencio, Cadorna and Orendain, plus Roble were freed. Thirty minutes later, the remaining seven soldiers manning the checkpoint
left the area.
At 5:30 pm, another witness (name withheld) saw a man wearing a violet shirt and green jogging pants and with hands tied at the back by a blue rope.
This was at the Bravo Company detachment of the 60th IB, in Sitio Colopogon, in between Montevista and Compostela towns. The witness did not see signs
of a white pick-up but saw one six-by-six Army truck along the highway.
At around 10:30 on that evening, a witness (name withheld as requested) spotted the white pick-up parked near the Philippine Army detachment in
New Sibunga, Nabunturan town. He saw the pick-up with passengers inside while soldiers were standing along the highway.
Later, at 11:00 pm, two persons (names withheld) in motorcycle from Tagum City, saw the same white pick-up with hazard lights on and in "emergency
parking" at the right side of the road along Kilometer 71, Mawab. All four doors of the pick-up were open.
It was only at 11:30 in the evening that Lt. Cateel reported to the Mawab police station that they found the dead bodies of the four victims at Km.
71, Mawab, along the national highway. According to the police blotter, the military said Guimbaolibot grabbed the rifle of his captors, prompting them
to open fire at the four victims. The Mawab police brought the bodies at the Patalinghug Funeral Home in Tagum City at about 2:00 on the morning of
August 3, 1999. It is apparent from the mission's data-gathering that the four victims were held captive by the soldiers for seven hours from the time
of their arrest until their deaths.
Photos of the victims' bodies taken at the funeral homes showed signs of the victims having suffered multiple gunshot wounds and bruises. Guimbaolibot's
head bore a huge hole on the upper part; his left ear seemed to have been crushed; his left cheek was severely bruised and his nose, right leg and
pelvic area were bloodstained; and his rights arms were covered with bruises. Diamante bore gunshot wounds at the left ear, at the left side of
the chest; his left leg bore two huge holes and was deformed. Asion's right side of the face bore deep lesions; his tow arms were bruised; and the skin
on his right shoulder shattered. Jubahib's left chest bore gunshot wound, while the other parts of the left side of his body were peppered with
Capt. Felix Mangyao, Commander of the Public Affairs for Southern Mindanao, Public Affairs Service of the AFP in Southern Mindanao, claimed in
a press statement that the four captives include two high ranking NPA leaders and two collectors/liaisons. The two, Engineer Asion and Diamante,
were civilians and noncombatants being employees of Candido, Marilou and Sons Explorations (CMS), a firm operating a lone gold mining tunnel in Bango
owned by Candido Balunos.
Workers at the CMS interviewed by the Mission, lamented the loss of Asion who was the CMS Operations Manager and Diamante who was the company's head
monitoring executive. A worker Gil Perez said the loss was sorely felt by some 500 co-workers who have been helped by Asion following the cessation of
mining operations since five months ago.
B. Situation in the area of incident
The Mission was made aware of the string of harassments and witch-hunting against civilians committed by government soldiers in the morning of August
Prior to the arrest and murder of the four victims, the military was already conducting intense counter-insurgency operations in the villages of barangay
Ngan. Guiding the military were former NPA rebels in the area: Reynante Maglasang and a certain Bert.
In Purok 26, Sitio Bango, some 30 soldiers of the 60th IB threatened, held and interrogated a certain tuba gatherer whom they alleged to be an NPA
member. They released him when his neighbors followed him to the quarry area where he was taken.
In nearby sitio Mambusao the soldiers continued with their counter-insurgency operations. Three families were threatened and harassed
by the 60th IB soldiers (who did not have nameplates). Marilyn Pitogo of sitio nursery said the soldiers threatened to kill her husband Eugenio and
her brother who is allegedly an NPA.
In Mambusao village, Rebecca Nabre, 39, said her house was surrounded by the soldiers and was later ransacked without a search warrant. The soldiers
looked for her husband Carlito Nabre, who is not an NPA, but a Purok official. The troops told Rebecca they will kill her husband even in front
of his family.
A neighbor, Amparo Zubiri said her son-in-law Nick Piad was also being hunted by the military. She and her family suffered the same plight like
the other two families whose husbands were being hunted down.
Two drivers, Cayetano Alisoso and Ramon Jamiro are also being hunted down by the military because of their alleged connections with the NPA.
Based on accounts of eyewitnesses, residents, and a check at the Mawab police station, the Mission was able to make the following findings:
1. That all the above-mentioned circumstances surrounding the arrest and death of Guimbaolibot, Jubahib, Asion and Diamante point to their being
summarily executed and, thus, the killing of the four constituted a massacre by the 60th IB.
2. That Guimbaolibot, Jubahib, Asion and Diamante died while in the custody of the 60th IB. It is clear that the four were arrested alive and showed no
signs of resistance. Lt. Rodolfo Cateel was positively identified by witnesses to have led the arrest of the victims and the turn-over of their
corpses to the Mawab PNP.
3. Inconsistencies in the military report point to foul play in the death of the four victims. The absence of bullet marks on the body of the white
Nissan pick-up is inconsistent with the multiple gunshot wounds on the four victims' bodies. The seven-hour time lapse between the time of arrest and
turn-over to the PNP also defies the logical travel time from the place of arrest to the local police station. The Mission, upon occular inspection at
the alleged vicinity of the killing where bloodstains were videotaped on the morning of August 3, found out that the said site was already burnt. Normal
operating procedures dictate that they should immediately bring the four to the local police station for proper turn-over and appropriate custody. When
turned over to the Mawab police station at 11:30 pm, the four were alreadydead with bodies mangled and bearing signs of torture and multiple gunshot
4. That the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) allegation that Guimbaolibot tried to grab the rifle of his captors is highly improbable,
illogical, and therefore constitutes a pathetic alibi, based on the circumstances surrounding his captivity. First, it is clear that the 60th IB
caught Guimbaolibot as a combatant who has expressedly surrendered to his captors, and therefore, since the beginning of his arrest, Guimbaolibot has
been effectively contained. Second, Guimbaolibot was positively seen on two separate incidents to have been securely tied at the hands with a blue rope.
Third, he was obviously heavily guarded beginning with adequately armed soldiers at the time of his arrest and with a truckload of soldiers from the
60th IB Bravo Company at Colopogon, between Montevista and Compostela at 5:30 pm.
5. That the manner of death of all the victims show signs of torture and excessive use of brute force by the 60th IB. Guimbaolibot suffered multiple
gunshot wounds and bruises. His head bore a huge hole on the upper part; his left ear seemed to have been crushed; his left cheek was severely
bruised and his nose, right leg and pelvic area were bloodstained; and his rights arms were covered with bruises. Diamante bore gunshot wounds at the
left ear, at the left side of the chest; his left leg bore two huge holes and was deformed. Asion's right side of the face bore deep lesions; his two
arms were bruised; and the skin on his right shoulder shattered. Jubahib's left chest bore gunshot wound, while the other parts of the left side of his
body were peppered with gunshot wounds.
6. The inability of the Mawab Philippine National Police to immediately investigate the crime scene and preserve evidence point to the possible
complicity of the PNP.
7. That the 60th IB violated all tenets of due process as guaranteed by the Constitution, basic human rights and international humanitarian law in the
treatment of combatants and civilians. Asion and Diamante were civilians, contrary to the claims of the military. Guimbaolibot and Jubahib, even as
members of the NPA, deserved to be accorded due process, respect of their human rights, and rights as prisoners of war as stipulated in international
humanitarian laws adhered to by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. The killing of the four victims are palpable violation to the
International Humanitarian Law and human rights according to the Geneva Conventions Protocols 1 & 2, and to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect
for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAR-HR-IHL), an accord signed by the Estrada government and the National Democratic Front.
1. Render justice and indemnification to all victims of the Mawab Four Massacre;
2. Investigate and punish the 60th IB for the summary execution of the Godofredo Guimbaolibot, Rolando Jubahib, Edwin Asion, and Mariano Diamante;
3. Hold accountable, investigate and prosecute, in line with command responsibility, Lt. Rodolfo Cateel, 60th IB Battalion Commander Lt. Col.
Herbert Avinante, and 701st Brigade Commander Col. Generoso Senga;
4. Pull-out of the 60th IB troops from Compostela Valley province and Southern Mindanao;
5. Stop military operations in the countrysides and harassment of residents;
6. Indemnify all victims of harassment and other counter-insurgency operations in Compostela town.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
August 2, 1999
7:00 am Thirty (30) soldiers of the 60th IB conducts intense military operations at Sitio Mambusao and Nursery, in Brgy. Ngan, Compostela town. Soldiers harass a tuba gatherer, illegally search the houses of residents,
and accuse them of being NPA members and sympathizers.
1:00 pm 60th IB elements hold GO checkpoint at Ngan Pagsabangan Pananzalan Forest Reserve Development Cooperative (NPPFRDC).
2:00 pm Monina Villavicencio, Venus Cadorna, town councilor Elwin Orendain, and Dario Roble--- all civilians--- are held and interrogated by the 60th IB
soldiers led by Lt. Rodolfo Cateel.
3:30 pm Motorcyle with two persons on board signals to the soldiers that a white Nissan pick-up was approaching with Godofredo Guimbaolibot inside.
Military asset and rebel returnee Virgilio Tupas, aka Jerry, informs soldiers that Guimbaolibot is at the backseat of the pick-up.
Pick-up arrives slows down but proceeds. Guimbaolibot, wearing a violet shirt and green jogging pants, alights from the vehicle with arms held up
manifesting surrender. Guimbaolibot's .45 caliber pistol and 30,500 cash are taken by soldiers.
Jerry ties hands of Guimbaolibot behind his back with a blue rope. Guimbaolibot is placed between two soldiers at the back seat of the pick-up.
4:00 pm Pick-up with four captives and 6 soldiers depart.
5:30 pm Another witness sees man in violet shirt and green jogging pants, with wrists tied with a blue rope behind his back, in the company of
soldiers at the Bravo Company detachment of the 60th IB at Sitio Colopogon, located between Montevista and Compostela towns. A truck-load of soldiers
are on guard.
10:30 pm Another witness spots a white Nissan pick-up parked near the Philippine Army detachment in New Sibunga, Nabunturan town. He saw the
pick-up with passengers inside while soldiers were standing along the highway.
11:00 pm Witnessses riding Motorcycle from Tagum saw the same white pick-up with hazard lights on and on "emergency parking" at the right side of the
road along Km. 71, Mawab. All doors of the pick-up were open.
11:30 pm Lt. Cateel reports to the Mawab police and turns over four dead bodies and a white Nissan pick-up bearing plate no. LCS-939. Cateel
explains, as recorded in the police blotter, that they were prompted to shoot the four after Guimbaolibot allegedly grabbed the rifle of one of his
2:00 am Mawab police brings the body to the Patalinghug Funeral Homes in Tagum City.