According to a report from Abante Tonite and as corroborated with our contacts in Dolores, Quezon, three persons, namely Robert Villapando, Hadjie Rebandao, and Joey Rebandao were shot dead while resting on a tent in Sitio Banca, Mt. Banahaw, in Dolores, Quezon. There are no statements yet from the police as to whether this act was perpetuated by elements of the New People’s Army (NPA).
Some mountaineers have told informed us, through email and through the PinoyMountaineer Facebook page, that they have met these persons, or have contracted their guiding services in Mt. Cristobal and Mt. Banahaw in the past.
Concerns regarding the safety of mountaineers in Mt. Banahaw have been expressed. The mountain is still officially closed to the public though permits have been issued since last year, and ‘backdoor’ entries are in vogue. We are still awaiting the reaction of Ms. Sally Pangan, PASU of Mt. Banahaw- San Cristobal National Park, regarding this incident.
Even before conclusions as to the nature of the crime can be drawn, we strongly condemn this act. No person, no matter how bad, deserves to be murdered, and the rule of law must prevail and be enforced even on the mountains.