The Asian Human Rights Commission is forwarding information from the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) on killings of two teenage boys by army soldiers. Even though there was no crossfire between them and the alleged Waray-Waray Gang members (wanted criminals), the army soldiers distorted the incident, claming that the two boys were shot dead during an encounter with the gang members.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact TFDP.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
3 November 2003
Two young boys shot dead by army soldiers
The names of the victims: Mitchie Boy Vega Corong (16 years old), Nestor Vega Corong, Jr.(13 years old), and Nestor Corong, Sr., a witness as well as the victims’ father (42 years old)
Perpetrators: Elements of PA/CAA 803rd Infantry led by Major Dominggo B. Gobway in Catarman, Samar
Date of incident: October 19, 2003
Place of incident: Sitio Doqa Aniceta, Barangay San Roque, Catarman Samar
DETAILED INFORMATION (based on the statement from the victims’ father):
According to a witness as well as the victims’ father Mr. Nestor Corong, Sr., his two sons were shot dead by the element led by Major Dominggo B. Gobway on 19 October 2003.
At about 3:00am on 19 October, a fisherman Nestor Corong Sr., and his two sons Mitchie Boy Vega Corong (16 years old) and Nestor Vega Corong Jr.(13 years old) were on their way back home after finishing fishing in Sitio Doqa Aniceta, Barangay San Roque, Catarman Samar. Few steps away from the shoreline, they heard some noise from the grassy portion nearby on their right. They thought it might be a snake and continued to walk. When they went a few meters more and traversed the road, gunshots were fired directly at them. Nestor Corong Sr. ran after his two sons to shield them while shouting to cease firing. Nestor Vega Corong Jr. was shot first, followed by Mitchie Boy Vega Corong. Nestor Jr. cried out, “Adoy Tatay! (Father, it hurts!)” Instantly, the two boys died. Nestor Sr., who was not hit, continued shouting for help.
Then, an armed man, who was recognized later as Major Domingo Gobway, came to him and asked, “Who are you?” Nestor Sr. responded that they were fishermen heading home and asked him why they fired at him and his two sons. There was no answer from him. Nestor Sr. also found out that Major Domingo Gobway was drunk.
About one to two hours after the strafing incident, two police officers from the Barangay Police Station accompanied by a Barangay Councilor came to the place of incident. When they arrived, three more armed men, who later introduced themselves as members of Major Domingo Gobway’s element, came out from the dark. However, they were not wearing military uniforms. They claimed that the two boys were hit during an encounter with members of the Waray-Waray Gang (wanted criminals). However, Nestor Sr. testified that there was no encounter.
A spot report of the local police, which was signed by the Police Senior Inspector Antonio Villareal Artuz, defined the case as a killing incident by crossfire and/or misfires by mistake (sic) between the army soldiers and alleged Waray-Waray Gang members. In fact, these elements were ordered to conduct operation in Metro Manila, but they were harboring in Sitio Doqa Aniceta, Barangay San Roque, Catarman Samar. In an interview with Senior Inspector Artuz, he said that the military elements were out of their jurisdiction. The elements also didn’t inform the local police about a hot-pursuit operation against some suspected criminals.
Nearby residents said that they saw two vans, which were full of armed men, parked in the corner of the road where the incident happened. They also testified that the vans left immediately after the incident and returned several minutes later with only few armed men.
Send a letter, fax or e-mail to the addresses below and urge the Philippine government to:
1. Ask the local authorities to conduct an immediate investigation of this serious case.
2. Ask the responsible local authorities to provide compensation to the victims’ family.
3. Urge the local authorities to bring the perpetrators before the court and punish them.
4. Ask the Philippine government to develop guidelines to fully ensure the safety of civilians during any military operations.
Send a letter to:
1. Her Excellency Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
President, Republic of the Philippines
New Executive Bldg.
Malacaqang Palace Compound
J. P. Laurel St.
San Miguel, Manila,
Tel: +63 917 8398462 / (Cell Phone) +63 919 8984622
Fax: +63 2 929 3968
E-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Mr. Purificacion Quisumbing
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Ave.
U.P. Complex, Diliman, Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 929 0101 or 929 0102 /928 0848
3. General Angelo T. Reyes
Secretary of National Defense
Department of National Defense
Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo
Tel: +63 2 911 0488
Fax: +63 2 911 6419 / 911 6213
4. General Narciso L Abaya
Chief of Staff
Armed Forces of the Philippines
Camp Emilio Aguinaldo, Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 911 6436 / 911 6045
Fax: +63 2 911 7783 / 911 7953
5. Mr. Simeon A. Datumanong
Secretary of Justice
Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila
Tel: +63 2 523 84 81 to 98
6. Ms. Asma Jahangir
Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions
1211 Geneva 10
Tel: + 92 42 5763 234
Fax: + 41 22 917 9006 / 92 42 5763 236
Email: email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Stella Vasquez
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
Central/Eastern Visayas Region
3rd floor Booc-Virtudazo Bldg.
F. Martir St., Lapu-lapu City
Tel: +032 341 4207
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)