Karapatan belies military’s claim that NPA bullet killed Grecil

Jun. 19, 2007

DAVAO CITY –Karapatan Southern Mindanao Region belied today the claim of the 101 ST Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier General Carlos Holganza of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that the bullet killed the 9 year-old Grecil Gelacio, in New Bataan, Compostella Valley Province on March 31 came from New People’s Army (NPA).

“Obviously, the military’s claim has no consistency at all. After initially tagging Grecil as child soldier which they retracted their statement later. Now what? Fabricating evidences to point it’s the revolutionary armed group who killed the child. The only factual truth in military’s pronouncement is their statement that they indeed shot and killed the girl contrary to their statement recently,” Karapatan for Southern Mindanao region spokesperson Karla Hyasmind Apat said.

Apat recounted when the group along with the child rights advocate organizations had initially conducted an investigation to prove that the military’s claim has no factual basis. The group found out that the military’s claim before that Grecil is child soldier of NPA is purely propaganda and even up to now their pronouncements in their investigation that it was NPA who killed the girl could not even manifest the whole truth.

“Feeding the public with vicious lies could not absolve them and now they’re fried in their own lard,” Apat said.

“How could they arrive to such ‘factual result’ where in fact their evidences were obviously planted in their own ground?,” Apat asked.

Apat furthered that if the military is sincere enough in the pursuit of seeking justice for Grecil. They should have accepted the truth that they indeed killed the girl and it was not the NPA and definitely Grecil was not killed due to a “legitimate encounter” as CHR proclaims.

Grecel’s parents, Apat added, even recounted their daughter’s closing ceremony last March 27, 2007 where she received two (2) ribbons in Simsimin Elementary School, New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province.

The group added that the neighbors and the Barangay Capt. Eulogio Almasa attested that there was no rifle and ammunitions seen in Grecil’s remains.

The group lambasted also CHR’s probe result last May that Grecil was killed in the crossfire during a “legitimate encounter”.

“Our group were discontented and dissatisfied with the CHR’s investigation result on Grecil’s case and we could merely say that even the agency that will for one shall protect and vowed to assert the rights of every Filipino is no longer effective and not even in service anymore in protecting the victims of human rights violations (HRVs). We think CHR now is military infested,” Apat said.

“This is not the first case that the military killed civilians in the countryside and this is not first time that military tries to save its face out of the inhuman deed they’ve committed. It seems to us that is already normal to them – treat civilians as their enemy especially in areas they perceive as strongholds or influenced by the NPAs. This mode of operations grossly violates the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Geneva Conventions-Protocol 1 and 2 mandating armed parties to distinguished civilians and combatant. To stress with, Civilians and its properties must at all times not subjected to attacks,” Apat added.

“The ongoing military operations and troop deployments continue to terrorize civilian communities and in effect curtail human rights in the area. We strongly call the attention of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to urgently review its investigation and provide concrete actions to the killing of Grecil and may justice must be served,” Apat concluded.###

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