An Army soldier accused of killing a farmer in 2011 has been found guilty of homicide by the Regional Trial Court, which sentenced him to a jail term ranging from eight years and one day as minimum to 14 years, eight months and one day as maximum.
Pvt. Richard Makingangay Paran of Buburaydimat Aleng, Zamboanga del Sur, was likewise ordered to indemnify the heirs of Nazer Oturdo the sum of P75,000.00 for his death, another P75,000.00 as moral damages, and P162,030.83 as actual damages.
RTC Branch 42 Judge Designate Mamerto Buban Jr. said in his decision issued Feb. 3 in Tabaco City that the period of detention that Paran underwent would be credited to his favor.
The victim’s wife testified that at shortly before 5:30 P.M. of Sept. 2, 2011, she saw Paran talking with her husband, who was feeding the pigs. She was at the hammock cleaning rice when she saw the soldier drawing his gun, poking it at the 32-year old Nazer and then firing it.
Witnesses later saw Paran sitting asleep inside the Oturdo house, with his head on the sofa and a firearm held between his legs. Another man told police that he and the soldier had a drinking spree after which Paran, who had followed him to the “karnabal”, became aggressive and challenged people to a fight. Unconfirmed reports claimed the farmer was being suspected of being an informer (poste) of the New People’s Army in the barangay.
Responding policemen led by Inspector Rene Bea recovered an empty shell near the piggery while Army soldiers from the nearby detachment went to the house and bodily carried the sleeping Paran back to the quarters. Lt. Jerry Doldol later turned over Paran and a Cal. 45 Colt Mark IV pistol to the police station.
In his defense of denial, Pvt. Paran claimed he went to the Oturdos to buy broiler chicken for food and waited as Nazer fed the pigs. He said he asked Nazer if he (Paran) could rest in the sala as he felt dizzy and it was later that he noticed that he was already inside the camp, with his companions telling him that he had killed somebody.
Paran’s claim was dismissed by Judge Buban, who gave weight to the testimony of Melissa Oturdo as well as the ballistic examination which proved that the bullet recovered from Nazer’s body was indeed fired from Paran’s pistol.
Citing examination of evidence, the Court found that while the attack was sudden, yet nothing on record proved that the means of execution were deliberately and consciously adopted, leading Judge Buban to conclude that Nazer’s killing would not qualify to one of murder but homicide.
Incidentally, the Oturdo killing spawned an NPA ambush of Insp. Bea’s team as they were bringing his body from Pandan district hospital, where the autopsy was performed, back to Milaviga at 11 P.M. that same day.
The eight-man team was on their way back to the poblacion at 12:30 A.M. of Sept. 3 and had just crossed a concrete bridge along the national road at barangay San Jose when they were fired upon by a group of communist guerillas nestled on top of a small hill at the left side of the road.
“Fortunately, we were on alert and immediately fired back at them,” Insp. Bea said. Their patrol car managed to get some distance away before the driver, who had ducked to avoid a hail of bullets from the rebels, ran the car off the road and into a creek.
Bea ordered the driver to switch off the lights and kill the engine. They went out of the car and spread out to secure the perimeter, exchanging fire with the NPA rebels for about 30 minutes.
At 2:30 A.M., with the guns now silent and the rebels presumed to have made their getaway, Bea and his men flagged down a passing bus, whose passengers became alarmed by the sight of the policemen, several of whom were bloodied. He pleaded with the driver to bring them to the Caramoran municipal hospital in barangay Datag about eight kilometers away. After being given emergency care, they boarded another passenger bus to Virac, reaching the provincial hospital at 6 A.M.
When all was quiet an hour later, five of the eight cops were wounded - Insp. Bea, PO1 Rene Payongga, PO1 Edcel Brutas, PO1 Rommel Cardel, and PO1 William Bagasbas.