Army officials not off the hook on torture, says HR group

EVANGELISTA BATCHAR

DAVAO CITY- Don’t just arrest the Cafgus, but the Army officials as well.

This is what the human rights group Karapatan said after four Cafgu members were charged for abusing an indigenous farmer in Malita, Davao Occidental last week.

The group said there is accountability from the higher command of the Armed Forces in Mindanao over the incident.

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan – Southern Mindanao, said the Cafgu were sacrificial lambs.

“These armed auxiliaries and Corporal Batolbatol have become the sacrificial lambs, in order for the 10th Infantry Division to project themselves as an agency who respect human rights. But the truth is, this division must be held accountable as well. They are the ones who placed these elements in the field in the first place,” Suazo said.

“These officers have willingly let loose their dogs which are the paramilitary to prey upon the people. This is not a simple case of lack of oversight; this harassment and physical assault is part of the systematic war against the people, Oplan Bayanihan.” Suazo added.

For this, Suazo reiterates the call to scrap Executive Order 546, the act that legalized the use of armed auxiliaries by the AFP.

Suazo also condemns that cases involving the military have been moving on a slow pace, at worse being dismissed.

“Till now, the cases of Fr. Fausto “Pops” Tentorio, Roque Antivo, Juvy Capion, and the Paquibato farmers remain bereft of justice, even when the military’s bloody hand into these killings have been established in several occasions,” Suazo said.

She added that aside from hiding away from justice, the AFP is hiding also from issues of corruption based on Commission on Audit reports.

Karapatan urged the local government units and the Commission on Human Rights to stand up for the victims of human rights violations, that they should stay in their mandate to serve the people.

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“We were used by the military to join rallies”- Talaingod Bakwit

PUPPET MASTERS Lumads from Talaingod were coerced into protesting for the military at Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City, last June 12. Out of fear, they willingly complied to the orders of the military. (Photo by Ace Morandante of Davao Today, Caption by Samuel dela Cruz).
PUPPET MASTERS Lumads from Talaingod were coerced into protesting for the military at Naval Station Felix Apolinario in Panacan, Davao City, last June 12. Out of fear, they willingly complied to the orders of the military. (Photo by Ace Morandante of Davao Today, Caption by Samuel dela Cruz).

DAVAO CITY- Some lumads from militarized Sitio Laslasakan, Talaingod, Davao del Norte reported that they have been coerced by the military to join protests in Tagum and Davao City.

According to Niño (Not his real name), he and his companions in Sitio Laslasakan were harassed by the military, then coerced to falsely admit that they were NPA.

“Nahadlok na jud mi ato, mao napugos na lang mi ug tug-an, maski dili tinuod, na NPA mi,” (We were really afraid, so we were forced to admit, even when it was not true, that we were NPA’s”) Niño said.

Days later, Nino was brought to JBL in Talaingod, where they were presented as rebel returnees to the public.  A sack of rice was promised to them after their participation in the said conference, which lasted for three days.

On June 12, they boarded trucks and were sent to the Radyo ni Juan station in Tagum City, where they were told to rally gainst the said station.

“Gi-ingnan mi sa sundalo ‘Shagit mo na tarungon sa RnJ (Radyo ni Juan) ang ilang pagbalita, dili na tirahon ang mga military’” (“We were told by the soldiers ‘Shout out to RnJ that they should do right their reportage, to not anymore make bad remarks about the military’”), Niño said. They boarded the trucks once more, and were brought to Camp Panacan in Davao City.

“Pag-abot sa Davao, gipa-rally na pud mi didto sa Panacan. Ingon ang sundalo manawagan daw na ibalik ang PDAF, nya pahawoon ang mga eskwelahan sa Salugpungan, ug ipabilin ang military sa Talaingod (“Upon arrival in Davao, we were made to protest once more in Panacan. The soldiers said that we should call for the return of PDAF, for the removal of the Salugpungan schools, and for the military to remain in Talaingod”), Nino said.

Asked whether he knew what PDAF meant, Niño said “wala ko kabalo unsa jud na. Unsa diay na?” (“I do not know what that is. What is that?”).

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, said that the case of Nino and several others are again another glaring example of the military’s tactic of pitting the lumads against each other.

“Lt.Col. Vicente Edgardo de Ocampo of the 68th IB and Col. Ricardo Nepomuceno of the 1003rd have been making puppets of the Talaingod Manobos. It is clear that their presence and hand in Talaingod bring nothing more but even greater hardships for the people.”

“If the 68th IB continues to encamp in their houses and communities, it means that there will be more Nino’s in the future. The victims of scenarios like these are not just the Talaingod Manobos, but the public as well, who have become helpless lambs in the ill propaganda propagated by the military.”

“With Niño’s story, it is clear that it is the military who is manipulating the lumads, capitalizing on their fear of them and their poverty,” Suazo concluded.

 

AUGUST 10, 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

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Groups Protest AFP Massacre of Civilians

JUNE 17, 2015
PRESS RELEASE
KARAPATAN-SOUTHERN MINDANAO REGION
CONTACT PERSON: HANIMAY SUAZO
0932-198-6728

Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, slammed the 69th IB and Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP in a protest in Camp Felix Apolinario, Davao City. Suazo decried the accusations of the military, saying that the victims of the Paquibato massacre were civilians. (PHOTO AND CAPTION BY LAZ OLALO, KARAPATAN-SMR)
JUSTICE FOR THE PAQUIBATO 3 Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR, slammed the 69th IB and Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP in a protest in Camp Felix Apolinario, Davao City. Suazo decried the accusations of the military, saying that the victims of the Paquibato massacre were civilians. (PHOTO AND CAPTION BY LAZ OLALO, KARAPATAN-SMR)

DAVAO CITY- Militant groups stormed the Eastern Mindanao Command today, decrying the killings of the 69th IB of three peasants in the Paquibato Massacre.

The groups condemned how the military distorted the civilian identities of the three farmers killed, claiming them as members of the NPA.

“The AFP’s statements are all lies. Barangay leaders and residents in Paquibato can all attest that Datu Ruben Enlog, Randy Carnasa, and Oligario Quimbo are civilians, not combatants of the New People’s Army,” said Hanimay Suazo, secretary-general of Karapatan-SMR.

Yesterday family members of the victims were given time to speak before the city council to assert the civilian status of their slain kin.

In his privilege speech,  Coun. Karlo Bello presented the families of the victims. “Ang akong papa isa ka kaabag sa simbahan, former purok leader, unya panday, unya trabahante sa kompanya sa Puyod,” (“My father is a lay worker at church, a former purok leader, a carpenter, a worker in the company of Puyod [a banana factory])JB Carnasa, son of Randy Carnasa, told the councilors of the city.

“Nganong mag-ingon man sila na ang akong bana NPA? 36 ka tuig na mi nag-ipon sa akong bana, ang iyang trabaho yanong mag-uuma, dili NPA,” (“Why would they say that my husband is an NPA? We’ve been wed for 36 years, his job is as a simple farmer, not an NPA”) said Josefina Enlog, widow of tribal leader Ruben Enlog.

“Ang akong bana dili NPA, sumala sa mga propaganda nila, na ang namatay miyembro sa New People’s Army. Dili na tinuod,” (My husband is not an NPA, (contrary to) what their (military’s) propaganda is, that the dead were members of the NPA. That is not true,” she added.

Ultimately, the victims demanded that justice be dispensed for their massacred kin. “Unta matagaan ug saktong hustisya ang nahitabo sa akong bana ug sa iyang mga kaubang sibilyan. Unta mahatagan ug hustisya ang ilang kamatayon,” (“I hope that my husband and his civilian companions will be given the right justice. I hope their deaths will be given that”), said Josefina Enlog.

A fact-finding mission that will be participated by various groups on June 19-20  was also brought up during the session, where the support of the city councilors was sought.

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