KARAPATAN (Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights)
“All along, the whitewashing of the massacre of anti-mining activist JuvyCapion and her two sons is the intent of the Armed Forces of the Philippines as they compromised the physical evidence and crime scene, and desecrated the remains of the victims to justify the massacre and the continuing military operations against the indigenous people’s defending their ancestral lands.”
Karapatan, through its secretary general Cristina Palabay issued the statement after the Office of the Provincial Prosecution in Digos City, Davao del Sur, in a resolution, found no probable cause against the soldiers led by Lt. Col. Alexis Bravo, Lt. Dante Jimenez and 14 other members of the 27th Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army for the murder of Capion and her sons.
Karapatan said that the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor disregarded the statements of several witnesses who were at the site of the massacre shortly after it happened, which are vital testimonies to establish the liability of the AFP troops.
“One of the witnesses even heard the soldiers talk about ‘finishing off’ a child who survived the massacre so no witness remains. Witnesses attested how the military cordoned off the area, having sole control over the crime scene and the lifeless bodies,” Palabay said.
Karapatan said the resolution came as “no surprise as the BS Aquino government has been consistent in exonerating perpetrators of human rights violations.”
“Impunity reigns. The BS Aquino regime has gone berserk in its attacks against the lives and livelihood of the people, in favour of murderers and plunderers. The Capion massacre showed the extent of protection the government grants plunderers like the SMI-XStrata Corporation, a large-scale mining company. The subsequent dismissal of the case against the perpetrators from the Armed Forces illustrates how lopsidedour justice system is in favour of those in power,” she added.
“This is not the first, and definitely not the last. Cases of extrajudicial killing, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest, illegal detention and torture continue to increase as the BS Aquino government dash to the finish line of OplanBayanihan’s Phase 1 by year end,” Palabay said.
Earlier Karapatan opposed the dropping of charges against Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año, Lt. Col. Melquiades Feliciano, Lt. Gen. Romeo Tolentino, Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, Lt. Gen. Alexander Yano and Dir. Gen. Avelino Razon Jr. who were charged with arbitrary detention, murder and obstruction of justice on the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos. In September, Brig. Gen. Eduardo Año was confirmed by the Commission on Appointments to assume the post as Intelligence chief.
“Similarly, perpetrators who were already charged in court like Gen. Jovito Palparan and the Reyes brothers remain free and unpunished. BS Aquino has no qualms about being repressive and corrupt. And, he does it with his haciendero-style of arrogance, unmindful of the growing people’s resistance against his regime. But, history has shown us where his kind ends up,” concluded Palabay.
Cristina “Tinay” Palabay
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK