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Who were the 7 who died in the Luisita Massacre?
Jhaivie Basilio, 20
Jhaivie was the youngest of the victims who died. He worked part-time at Central Azucarera de Tarlac, cleaning sugarcane every Monday, to earn money after he stopped going to college when his father died six months before the massacre. His mother said Jhaivie was a homebody, but he went to support the strike because almost all the children in his barangay were children of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita, and he understood what they were fighting for.
Jhavie was shot when he tried to climb up one of the fire trucks after the military tank broke through the gate of the sugar mill. He was hit on the thigh. As he tried to crawl away, soldiers went to him and hit his face with a rifle butt. A soldier tied barbed wire around his neck, hung his body on a fence, then shot him in the chest. His body was found at 3:00 am the next day along with two other victims. A photo of Jhaivie holding a gun was released. He and the two others were accused of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Jhune David, 27
Jhune came from a family of farm workers in Hacienda Luisita. His late father and 3 of his 9 siblings were farm workers. He started working in the sugarcane fields at age 18. Jhune worked at the sugar mill for 9 years and was a member of the workers’ union until his death. He was shot on the right shoulder, and was taken to the hospital in the sugar mill compound. His body was later found outside the compound. During the wake at the sugar mill, an unidentified couple went to his coffin, lifted his shirt, and took photos. He was later shown in the news as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA).
(On November 24, 2004, a report in the Philippine Daily Inquirer on the statements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) about the massacre said that “The NPA angle surfaced after one of the fatalities, Jun David, was found to be a member of the group which is the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.”)
Jhune left behind a wife and one child.
Jesus Laza, 34
Jesus was a farm worker in Hacienda Luisita from 1984 to 1990. Unable to make ends meet, he tried working in Manila. He returned to the hacienda in 1991 to work as a sugarcane cutter and sell dried fish during milling season. For more than a decade, Jesus sold food in buses plying the San Fernando-Tarlac route, until he decided to return to the hacienda, his true home, with his family of farm workers. Instead of selling food in buses, he sold food at the picket line near the gate of the sugar mill. This was where he died when he was shot on the back of the leg and on the right chest while running away from the shooting.
Jessie Valdez, 30
Jessie tried working in Sanyo, UFC, and Kawasaki at the Luisita industrial park, but went back to his true calling as a farm worker. He was shot by snipers positioned on the sugar mill’s water tower. Jessie was taken to Camp Aquino before being transferred to a funeral home. His family was able to retrieve his body only on the day after the massacre. The autopsy showed marks on his fingers and hips that indicated torture. The report showed he bled to death. His wife was pregnant with their fourth child when he died.
Juancho Sanchez, 20
Juancho was a college student at the State University of Tarlac who temporarily stopped schooling and worked as a jeepney driver to help with the tuition of his two younger sisters. His father was a former farm worker who became a pastor. Juancho himself was an active member of a Christian youth fellowship. He went to the picket line to sympathize with the hardship of the workers. On the day he died, Juancho still drove his jeepney in the morning and had lunch at home in Barangay Balete inside Hacienda Luisita. He then said goodbye to his father to go to the picket line. That was the last time his father saw him alive. The autopsy report showed Sanchez died from a gunshot that exited from his lower back, but his family said his face and feet had indications that he was first taken alive and beaten.
Adriano Caballero, Jr., 23
Adriano was born and raised in Hacienda Luisita. He and his father were caddies at the golf course owned by the Cojuangcos. One of his siblings worked at the sugar mill and was a member of the Central Azucarera de Tarlac Labor Union (CATLU). Adriano had gone to the picket line to support a friend. Adriano’s wife was five months pregnant when he died.
Jaime Pastidio, 46
Jaime became a farm worker in Hacienda Luisita in 1974. His father and 3 of his 7 siblings were also farm workers. Jaime was shot while running for cover when gunfire broke out after the tank broke through the gate of the sugar mill. Some protesters tried to run back and help him, but soldiers fired at their feet before they could reach Jaime. They saw the military take him inside the hacienda’s hospital, which was then shut down by soldiers. The next day, his family was told that he was dead. Jaime had been working in the hacienda for 30 years.
(From a report by Lisa Ito, and interviews with the victims’ relatives by members of the International Solidarity Mission. The International Solidarity Mission was a group of 80 foreign human rights advocates that visited various areas in the Philippines, including Hacienda Luisita, in August 2005 to look into human rights violations.)
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