DAVAO CITY — Three days after news on the killing of a high-ranking Communist leader in Magpet town, Cotabato province broke out, photos of a New People’s Army member seen mutilated with eyes gouged out circulated on Facebook Monday, July 4.
The photo was posted at 9:09 am by radio broadcaster, Abner Francisco, on his Facebook account. The photo has been shared 156 times as of 1:37 PM on Tuesday, July 5. Another batch of photos was posted by Francisco on the same day. However, the photos are not anymore available online as of Tuesday night.
The caption on the photo read that the family of the slain rebel is angry over the brutal way of killing “Ka Jepoy”, Noel Gulmatico’s nom de guerre.
“Dinukot ang dalawang mata, pinutol ang dila, nilaslas ang leeg. Tanggap nila na mamatay ang kanilang kapatid dahil sumapi ito sa rebolusyon pero hindi nila matanggap ang paglapastangan sa bangkay nito na kagagawan daw ng mga kasapi ng 39th IB ng Philippine Army (His two eyes were gouged out, his tongue was cut, his neck was slit. His siblings have accepted the fact that their brother died because he joined the revolution, but they cannot bear the way how his cadaver was treated allegedly by members of the 39th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army),” the caption reads.
Captain Danny Boy Tapang, 39th IB spokesman, said they strongly denied the accusation that the military mutilated the NPA’s cadaver.
“Mariin po naming tinatanggi yan, itong sinasabi nila (We strongly deny that accusation),” Tapang told Davao Today in an interview on Tuesday.
Tapang said based on the Scene of the Crime Operatives accounts, Gulmatico sustained a shot to his left temple with an exit wound on his right chin.
“His eyes were affected because those were soft tissues. Probably what hit his eyes was our new bullet of R4 and Ora machine gun,” Tapang said in vernacular.
He said they have a picture of the cadaver taken after the encounter which shows that the eyes were still “intact”.
The Army said Gulmatico was killed in a series of armed encounters between the soldiers of the 39th IB and the NPA in Barangay Balite, Magpet town, Cotabato province on Friday morning, July 1. He was killed along with Rino Vinson.
In a statement, the 10th Infantry Division, said they will look at the alleged mutilation of the NPA fighter.
“If true, these actions are unacceptable and deserve the highest condemnation. We express our deepest sympathy to the bereaved family of Jepoy and assure them of our resolved to seek the truth about this incident and give the commensurate punishment to any member of our command who will be proven to have committed this despicable act,” said Capt. Rhyan Batchar, spokesperson of the 10th ID.
A Board of Inquiry (BOI) is now put up to investigate and determine whether the soldiers are responsible.
“The BOI will not prejudice any investigation that other authorities may conduct. The Command will likewise fully support and cooperate with any investigation that duly constituted authorities may conduct,” the Army said.
Davao Today is still trying to get the accounts from the family as of press time.(davaotoday.com)