Human rights groups and people’s organizations joined families of the victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in a protest picket to underscore the war crimes committed by the government and the AFP against the people of Lacub, including the gruesome killing of seven members of the New People’s Army killed in a military operation in September.
“In each case of human rights violations, it becomes clear on whose side this government is in,” Palabay said. “While the BS Aquino government defends the anti-Filipino Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), it violates the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) in the implementation of the US-patterned Oplan Bayanihan,” she added.
“The pro-US imperialist and anti-people stance of the BS Aquino government is clearly manifested in this case. The Aquino regime stands by the VFA despite clear violations of the country’s sovereignty and independence while repudiating the validity and importance of the CARHRIHL that would be a step towards achieving genuine and lasting peace for the Filipino people,” she said.
Palabay explained that the war crimes committed against the people of Lacub and in the torture, killing, and mutilation of the remains of the seven members of the NPA violate the CARHRIHL, an agreement signed between the GPH and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in 1998.
The National Solidarity Mission conducted in September 28-October 1 cited as initial findings the following war crimes committed by the AFP:
- The use of civilians to render the AFP operating troops immune from military attack;
- Intentionally embedding a military detachment near a clinic, an elementary and high school and inside a residential area in sitio Bantugo;
- Intentionally directing attacks against civilians of Talampac on September 5 by shooting their guns towards the residential areas.
- Extrajudicial killing of Engr. Fidela Salvador, personnel of Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (CorDis-RDS) who was in Lacub for project evaluation. Salvador died of severe loss of blood secondary to gunshot wounds with a strong indication that she was also tortured.
- Crimes committed against NPA combatants such as the willful killing of Recca Noelle Monte whose autopsy report indicates no gunshot wound and instead died of blunt traumatic injuries, massive head, face and chest, and the mutilation/desecration of bodies of dead NPA members.
The CARHRIHL is the first of the four substantive agenda laid out at the start of the peace negotiation between the GPH and NDFP in 1992. A monitoring mechanism, the GPH-NDFP Joint Monitoring Committee (JMC) was in place since 2004 to ensure that both parties comply with the agreement. “But since 2011, the GPH refuses to convene it because there was no formal talks, which is also the GPH’s own doing,” said Palabay.
The victims’ families are set to file complaints at the GPH section of the JMC on October 24.