Rebel leader meted 40 years for murder
A former New People’s Army leader was sentenced to reclusion perpetua, or 40 years imprisonment, by Negros Oriental Regional Trial Court Branch 32 Judge Roderick Maxino, for the murder of a civilian in Siaton town three years ago. Army 1Lt. Lito Orbita, chief of the 79th Infantry Battalion Civil Military Operations based in Brgy. 4, Siaton, Negros Oriental, said Maxino found Calixto Vistal, alias Cocoy, guilty beyond reasonable doubt of killing Basilio Casido on May 7, 2009 in Brgy. Tayak, Siaton, Negros Oriental.
A military press release said Casido was summarily executed by Vistal and his companions while a barangay session was being held. Judge Maxino ordered Vistal to pay the heirs of the victim P100,000 in civil indemnity and moral damages. Orbita said members of the Casido family, who attended the case promulgation Friday, broke down and cried when as they heard the decision of the judge, and said justice was finally served to them. Orbita said the conviction of Vistal was an enormous blow to the already depleted strength of the NPA in southern Negros Oriental.
Military records show that Vistal led the NPA in several violent actions in Bohol, the raid of a police outpost, and an encounter with the Army’s elite Special Forces troopers, that resulted in the death of 2Lt. Socrates Que and some of his men in 2000. When Bohol was declared insurgency-free by the military, Vistal was tasked to command an NPA unit in southeastern Negros, and his wife, Jimmyliza Badayos, served as head of the regional party technical head, the military said. Vistal and his wife were arrested October last year in Mandaue City, Cebu, it added.
100 Nepali workers stopped from holding protest over minimum wage
MUAR: About 100 workers from Nepal were arrested after information was received that they were planning to hold an illegal protest to demand for their wages. Police detained the workers at several places in town while others were picked up at roadblocks here Sunday. It was believed that the workers were upset that they had yet to receive their minimum wage for foreign labour. Muar police chief Asst Comm Mohammed Nasir Ramli said that the workers had planned to gather at several spots in the town to protest against their employers.
“We had to stop them before they gathered as they could have started a riot. Teams of policemen were deployed in town to stop their protest,” he said at a gathering with villagers in Kampung Kelantan here. He added that there were about 5,000 Nepalese workers in Muar. A check at the Jalan Maharani bus terminal Sunday showed it was almost empty of foreign workers except for a few Indonesian and Bangladeshi workers. All the detained workers were released later Sunday.
Prisoners riot after inmate ‘left to die’ of heart attack
A riot broke out briefly yesterday morning at a prison in Samut Sakhon after an inmate was refused emergency treatment for chest pain and died of apparent cardiac arrest. Angered at guards for ignoring their calls for help when Somchai Pheeranuwat collapsed at 2.30am and for leaving him in his cell unattended for four hours, some 50 occupants of Somchai’s block in Zone 4 were the first to cause a disturbance. They covered their faces with clothes and shirts before destroying several surveillance cameras and a door.
This group, led by Kittisak Yordwong, also demanded the immediate transfer of a guard, Wiroj Chumchuenjit. A team of 400 police and prison guards was mobilised and 50 of them remained on site even after the rioters negotiated with a group of guards they trusted and agreed to disperse. Chief warden Sophon Yimpreecha said Kittisak was convicted for drug-related crimes and was unhappy with Wiroj’s strict discipline and constant monitoring of drug-dealing activities at the facility.
The prison and the Corrections Department would jointly decide on whether to punish Kittisak and the other protesters and how. Somchai, 25, was serving a sentence of seven years and 15 months for drugs and firearms-related crimes. He was complaining about chest pain but the guards on duty did not immediately follow guidelines for health emergencies after hearing the cellmates’ calls. The guards declined to take the sick man out of the Zone 4 cell until dawn, citing safety concerns and insufficient manpower during their night shift. An autopsy will be ordered to determine the cause of death.
Residents protest police of killing three ‘Christian’ men
PETERSFIELD, Westmoreland — Public anger at the police killing of three male relatives in Shrewsbury on Friday afternoon escalated into a demonstration yesterday during which residents voiced strong condemnation of the police. “Police brutality! Murder! Murder! Murder!” shouted some demonstrators, most of them women. “Worse thing mi see happen inna life,” a male protester claimed.
The dead men, who lived at the Shrewsbury Housing Scheme in Petersfield, are 28-year-old firefighter Andrew Brydson, his brother Triston Brydson, 24, and their cousin, 38-year-old chef Kingsley Green, also called Bishop. Police say the men were killed during a firefight, and that a pistol and rifle were seized after the incident. But residents insist that the police are lying, and claim that the men were killed in cold blood. The Independent Commission of Investigation is conducting a probe. According to the residents, shortly after midday, the three men, who had taken a break from the construction of a restaurant they intended to operate in the community, went to a nearby shop to purchase drinks. After alighting from the fireman’s red Honda Integra motor car outside the shop, the residents said, the men were shot by the police.
The police had said they went into the community after receiving information that men, armed with firearms, were in the area. Yesterday, the police had to call in reinforcements to handle the demonstration which saw the angry protesters mounting huge blockades along the main road in Petersfield and at sections of the nearby Shrewsbury and Bullet Tree roads. One of the demonstrators said that the three men were Christians and as such could not have been in possession of a rifle and a pistol. “Dem wicked and lie. We want Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller and Security Minister Peter Bunting to intervene,” one elderly woman demanded.
She described Andrew Brydson as a man of few words, and a gifted player of musical instruments who used to display his talent in church. “You see the fireman one, him don’t talk. Just from work to house. Me belly mourn. And them mother just come here two weeks ago come bury them father,” a senior female member of the Church of God Mountain Assembly, which the three attended, told the Jamaica Observer. “Dem mother drop down in America when she get the news. When me call her yesterday she was at hospital. You don’t kill people like that. Dem (police) don’t have no heart,” the woman fumed.
One resident claimed that he saw the police take the two brothers to the side of the shop and shoot them in cold blood. “Me never see when dem shoot Bishop, but when I was coming, I saw dem (cops) leading the two brothers, who held each other’s hand, around the shop and shoot them. Triston first at the heap of sand, then the fireman,” the resident said, pointing to a large blot of dried blood on the ground. At the Jamaica Fire Brigade’s Savanna-la-Mar division, claims of police brutality were inscribed on placards mounted on the gate.
When the Sunday Observer got to the fire station, the chaplain was providing grief counselling to the staff. Meanwhile, fire, believed to be set by arsonists Friday night, razed the house of a man who irate residents accused of reporting to the police that gunmen were in Shrewsbury on Friday. The residents claim that the man, who is now homeless, caused the police to gun down the three men.