Philippines: Children’s Group Lauds Cayetano for Backing Grecil Autopsy

May. 02, 2007

DAVAO CITY — KABIBA Alliance of Childrens Concerns in Mindanao, a coalition of 51 child-focused and child-friendly groups, commended today Sen. Pia Cayetano for supporting the clamor on the conduct of an impartial autopsy on the remains of Grecil Buya whom the military misrepresented as NPA child combatant

This is a positive development after the conduct of National Interfaith Psycho-social First Aid Mission (NIPFAM) last 14 April in New Bataan, Compostela Valley and sustaining campaign efforts in the local and international communities for the attainment of justice for Grecil, said KABIBA Executive Secretary Honey May Suazo.

Child-focused groups are glad that Sen. Cayetano has sent formal letter address to Commission on Human Rights (CHR) chair Purificacion Quisumbing and commissioner for Mindanao Dominador Calamba II calling on to exhume Grecil’s remains and initiate an autopsy by an independent forensic expert who was neither connected to the military nor the police.

Child-focused groups are reiterating the NIPFAM recommendation that an impartial autopsy be done to verify or dispute reports whether Grecil was summarily shot in close range or was hit in the crossfire, as the military claimed later after their propaganda spin and lies had been exposed and condemned by the public, added Suazo.

She stressed that only through an impartial investigation via autopsy could support the family and relatives efforts to seek justice for the slain girl-child.

Meanwhile, child-focused groups lambasted the claim of Gen. Carlos Holganza, 101st Infantry Brigade chief, on latest military investigation presented in local broadcast news that Grecil was hit by the NPA. This is another media spin of the military of desperately trying to influence the impending impartial probe and to exonerate themselves from their criminal and administrative accountabilities. No amount of military spin and lies could save their face amidst the local and international outrage over the brutal murder of Grecil, she said.

We would like to remind Gen. Holganza that Lt. Gen. Rodolfo Obaniana, chief of the AFP Eastern Mindanao Command, had said to the media by citing official military report on the ground that the troops had to shoot her (Grecil) because she was firing at them and she was good at using M-16. It seems like Gen. Holganza and his ilks are nothing but habitual liars and unprofessional military officers, Suazo stressed.

Sen. Cayetano has promised to the victims family and child-focused NGOs that shell raise Grecils case to her fellow legislators in other countries on the 116th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Bali, Indonesia on 29 April to May 4. We are hoping that IPU could come up with resolution and direct action through the efforts of Sen. Cayetano as IPUs First Vice President of Coordinating Committee on Women Parliamentarians of which one of its thrusts is protecting the rights of girl-child and children caught in armed conflicts, she added.

Kabiba Foundation is the current vice chair of the inter-agency Regional Sub-Committee for the Welfare of Children (RSCWC) which is being chaired by the regional Department of Social Welfare and Development.##

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