Police’s claim vs slain activists ‘lies and deceit’ – rights group

“If their claims that they were killed in an encounter were true, then why can’t they show the body to the family? Why are they so adamant in insisting that they have already buried the two while claiming they are still unidentified?” asked Karapatan in a statement.

By JUSTIN UMALI
Bulatlat.com

SANTA ROSA, Laguna – No evidence has been presented to prove claims by the police and military of a successful operation last January 19 in sitio Balot Kahoy, barangay San Antonio, Kalayaan, Laguna, according to human rights group Karapatan Southern Tagalog.

According to an article published January 21 by Pilipino Star Ngayon, a Regional Mobile Force Battalion 4A team led by police captain Paul Bobadilla led operations in Kalayaan, resulting in two deaths. The alleged encounter happened on January 19, 1:30 p.m. and lasted a few minutes.

A report by the state-owned Philippine Information Agency dated January 31 also stated that the two dead were indigenous people and were buried after the incident.

Karapatan-ST challenged these claims, identifying that one of the two victims in the January 19 incident was Emerito Pinza, an activist for peasants and indigenous people. Emerito’s wife Mirabel approached Karapatan two weeks ago to seek assistance in finding her husband.

Since February 1, Mirabel and Karapatan-ST sought information on Emerito to no avail. Requests from Kalayaan PNP, Laguna Provincial Police Office, and Camps Vicente Lim and Macario Sakay were met with conflicting reports.

Karapatan ST is currently demanding that the military release the whereabouts of Emerito and his companion.

“If their claims that they were killed in an encounter were true, then why can’t they show the body to the family? Why are they so adamant in insisting that they have already buried the two while claiming they are still unidentified?” asked Karapatan in a statement.

Karapatan ST also castigated Brigadier General Antonio Parlade for frustrating the family’s attempts at identifying Emerito’s status. According to the group, their team was repeatedly given the run-around when they requested information on Emerito.

Parlade is currently the commander of the South Luzon Command (Solcom), which operates in the Calabarzon region as well as the provinces of Bicol, Marinduque, Masbate, and Oriental and Occidental Mindoro.

“Ever since Antonio Parlade was assigned military commander in South Luzon, he has been busy proving that he is nothing but a disingenuous troll with no aim to secure peace,” the statement by Karapatan ST read. “He has twisted the meaning of peace by rehashing old tactics of red-tagging, extrajudicial killing, and disappearance to satisfy Duterte’s bloodlust.”

Karapatan-ST said Solcom is also responsible for the murder of Jay-ar Mercado, who was killed on January 31 by suspected elements of the 4th Infantry Battalion. Mercado family’s request to see Jay-ar’s remains is also being frustrated by local government officials and the military.(https://www.bulatlat.com)

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