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EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING OF

REV. ISAIAS STA. ROSA


(United Methodist Church)

SUMMARY OF FACTS

Rev. Isaias Sta. Rosa was a member of United Methodist Church in South Bico
l District, Legazpi City, a freelance writer, project consultant for non-govenrm
ent organizations and the Executive Director of the Farmers’ Assistance for R
ural Management Education and Rehabilitation, Inc., a non-govenrment organ
ization that gives assistance to famrers in improving their economy. He was
also an active member of the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Bikol (B
icol Peasant Movement) an affiliate organization of the Kilusang Magbubukid
ng Pilipinas (Philippine Peasant Movement) which groups are very active for a
genuine land reform and for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

On 3 August 2006, at around 7:30 p.m., three hooded armed men who except
for one who appeared to be the leader and was wearing a maroon shirt and bl
ack short pants, were wearing army issue camouflage pants, combat boots, a
nd dark long-sleeved t-shirts, barged into the house of Ray-Sun Sta. Rosa and
Jonathan Sta. Rosa. They were looking for their brother Pastor Isaias Sta. Ros
a. They were told to lay prone on the ground while the armed men stepped o
n their heads and poked their guns on them.

Ray was able to observe the presence of more armed men positioned amidst
the bushes. Jonathan was hit with a gun barrel on his head when he tried to lo
ok around.

The armed men then accused the two brothers of being members of the New
People’s Army which the two denied. Thereafter, Jonathan was dragged at gu
npoint to the house of his brother Pastor Sta. Rosa which was situated just a f
ew meters from his own.

At about the same time in the house of Pastor Sta. Rosa, his wife Sonia heard
a commotion outside; she checked what the noise was about by peering thro
ugh one of their windows, but saw nothing. Isaias Sta. Rosa and their children
Demdem, Philip and Mikko were also in the house.

Thereafter, there was a knock on the door. Sonia heard the soft voice of Jonat
han calling for Isaias. She opened the door and saw Jonathan looking pale. As
she was calling out Isaias, a short and stout man wearing a bonnet, a maroon
t-shirt, short pants and armed with a .45 pistol barged inside and ordered the
m to drop to the floor. He was followed by about six to ten armed men who w
ere hooded with bonnets, wore black t-shirts, camouflaged pants and combat
boots.

Pastor Sta. Rosa was then tied with his hands at the back. He was mauled whi
le he was being forced to admit that he was the “Elmer” that they were looki
ng for and that he had a gun.
They herded Jonathan, Sonia, Demdem, Mikko and Philip into one of the room
s while Isaias was brought to the other room where he was severely beaten a
nd mauled. Ray was then also brought inside the room where Sonia and her c
hildren were. The soldiers then left the house taking with them Isaias, who wa
s then tied and already bloodied, his laptop computer as well as the cellular p
hones of Isaias and Mikko were taken by the armed men.

Sonia then rushed outside and called for help from her sister Madelyn who wa
s staying near their house. The neighbours were awakened as Madelyn shout
ed for help.

Then, gunshots were heard – six shots then another three after a pause.

Ray, Jonathan and their neighbours immediately went in the direction of the o
rigin of the gunshots.

They found the body of Pastor Sta. Rosa along a creek about 50 meters from
his house.
They also found another body wearing a bonnet, a maroon t-shirt and short p
ants about five meters from the body of Pastor Sta. Rosa along with a .45 cali
ber pistol fitted with a sound suppressor or silencer.

A few minutes thereafter, a group of policemen led by Colonel Capinpin, the C


hief of Daraga Police Station, arrived along with the baranggay (village) chief,
Artita Padilla. The police recovered from the scene the pistol as well as one
(1) spent shell from calibre .45 pistol and one (1) .45 caliber slug. Also recove
red by the police from then unidentified body were a Philippine Army identific
ation card of one PFC Lordger Pastrana, with expiration date 9 December 200

8 and a mission order issued in the same name by the 9th Military Intelligenc

e Batallion of the 9th Infantry Division, Philippine Army based in Camp Weene
e Martillana, Pili, Camarines Sur. Signed by Major Ernest Marc Rosal, the orde
r was dated 11 July 2006 and to expire on 30 September 2006.

The other dead body was confirmed to be that of PFC Lordger Pastrana of the

Military Intelligence Batallion of the 9th Infantry Division.

Autopsy reports showed that Pastor Sta. Rosa died after sustaining six gunsh
ot wounds while Pastrana sustained one gunshot wound which caused his inst
ant death.
Forensics examination later revealed that the above mentioned spent shell w
as fired from the pistol near the body of Pastrana and that the slug recovered
from the body of Pastor Sta. Rosa was not fired from the same pistol.

There is no progress in the investigation of the case as the Philippine Army co


ntinues to deny access to relevant data. The PNP declared the incident as a si
mple case of robbery; the PNP was reluctant in pursuing a deeper investigatio
n of the case particularly on the participation of Philippine Army soldier Pastra
na in the abduction and killing of Pastor Sta. Rosa. To justify Pastrana’s partici
pation in the killing of Sta. Rosa, the Philippine Army declared Pastrana on A
WOL and that he was in the place to woo somebody.

Sonia and her children are now living in constant fear while Ray and Jonathan
rarely stay in Malobago, Daraga. Sonia is afraid of filing charges against the p
erpetrators for fear of reprisal.

CASES

The first criminal case of Murder was filed by Police Inspector Atty. Rubem
Azanes against Major Ernest Marc Rosal of 9th Military Intelligence Battalion,
9th Infantry Division Philippine Army and Amaldo Manjares and ten (10) John
Does for the killing of Isaias Sta. Rosa on August 3, 2006. However, despite
all the affidavits and pieces of evidence forwarded by the complainants, the
Office of the Provincial Prosecutor dismissed the case.

On October 10, 2007, Sonia Sta. Rosa, widow of Isaias, filed another case of
Murder against Major Ernest Marc Rosal and several John Does, all belonging
to the 9th MIB 9th ID of Philippine Army. The case was endorsed to Regional V
Task Force on Human Rights Violations and Extra Judicial Killings. Its
Chairperson Regional State Prosecutor Mary May De Leoz formed a team of
prosecutors to conduct preliminary investigation. Unfortunately, the Task
Force dismissed the case stating that there are no convincing reasons to
continue with the investigation.

Last February 15, 2010, Undersecretary Ricardo Blancaflor of the Department


of Justice sent a letter addressed to Bishop Solito Tuquero, Presiding Bishop
of the United Methodist Church, requesting the former to furnish the
Department any information that would help in resolving the Sta. Rosa case.
No developments on the case were recorded since then.