Estrada: Death penalty for 2 soldiers in massacre
() - April 6, 2000 - 12:00am

President Estrada ordered government prosecutors yesterday to seek the death penalty for two Army soldiers who massacred seven people and wounded two others in Victoria, Mindoro Oriental last Monday.

not_ent"Sisiguraduhin natin na madesisyunan ng bitay ang mga taong ganyan (We'll make sure that these people get the death penalty)," said the President who personally condoled with the victims' families in Victoria town the other day.

Mr. Estrada reminded Armed Forces chief Gen. Angelo Reyes and Philippine National Police chief Director General Panfilo Lacson that they still have 48 hours to capture one of the suspects, Sgt. Marcial Ambulo, who escaped hours after he and fellow suspect T/Sgt. Jove Rubio, along with civilian informer Jaime Gilboy, were arrested.

Ambulo and Rubio, who were both drunk, went on a shooting rampage inside a billiard hall in Victoria town. Both belong to Task Force Seagull, a counter-insurgency unit based in Mindoro Oriental.

The military has acceded to the request of Victoria Mayor Alberto Ortega to pull out the Army's 49th Infantry Battalion from the town following the massacre.

Reyes, who flew to Victoria last Tuesday, said the unit will be transferred to Camp Capinpin in Tanay, Rizal. Lt. Col. Romeo Gapuz, the battalion commander, and Col. Carlito Gamit, head of Task Force Seagull, have been relieved due to command responsibility.

"The Armed Forces deplores and condemns this heinous crime. This is the worst that any member of the AFP can do, which is to inflict harm on innocent civilians," Reyes said.

Mindoro Oriental officials led by Gov. Rodolfo Valencia welcomed the withdrawal of the 49th IB. - Marichu Villanueva, Joe Leuterio and Paolo Romero

AMBULO AND RUBIO ANGELO REYES AND PHILIPPINE ARMED FORCES CAMP CAPINPIN CARLITO GAMIT DIRECTOR GENERAL PANFILO LACSON INFANTRY BATTALION JAIME GILBOY MINDORO ORIENTAL TASK FORCE SEAGULL
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