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FGN praises the impartiality of CHR findings on Sulu ‘massacre’ PDF Print E-mail

Future Global Network (FGN), a network of Malaysia-based non-governmental organizations (NGO) for human rights, peace and justice of humanity, welcomes the findings of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines and praised its impartiality on the alleged ‘massacre’ of eight Moro Muslims in Ipil, Maimbung, Sulu last February 4, 2008.
 
Jose Manuel Mamauag, director of the Commission on Human Rights for Western Mindanao, has released the CHR findings, which recommended that charges be filed against the officers and men of the Philippine Navy Special Warfare Group (SWAG) and the Army’s Light Reaction Company (LRC) involved directly or indirectly in the mission, planning, operation, intelligence gathering, command and control of the incident, that led to the deaths of eight residents of Barangay Ipil under the principles of direct participation and command responsibility.  

Mamauag transmitted the six-page report to the CHR’s national office, which stated that:  “The February 4, 2008 Barangay Ipil incident is a clear case of grave breaches of human rights of the victims – a violation of human rights.”
 
The CHR report detailed how the troops attacked the village from sea and land positions and plundered the victims’ houses.  Mamauag pointed out that the Maimbung incident happened on the same day a year ago when a directive on “strict adherence to the doctrine of command responsibility was issued by Armed Forces chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon Jr.”
 
Maj. Gen. Ruben Rafael, chief of Joint Task Force Comet, however, said although they respect the CHR’s findings they are still awaiting the result of the Armed Forces Inspector General’s investigation. “We have to follow the military justice system,” he said.
 
Rafael had earlier issued a statement that the incident was a legitimate encounter with the Abu Sayyaf gunmen in which two of its soldiers were killed. The civilians were reportedly killed in the crossfire.

The CHR report also called on concerned national government agencies and local government units to extend all possible assistance, including compensation, rehabilitation, psychological and traumatic therapy, stress-debriefing, counseling or any form of assistance, to the families of those killed and those who survived the incident.

The report also disclosed that the deaths of the two soldiers could be the result of self-defense reflex by vacationing Army Cpl. Ibnul Wahid to the first salvo of gunfire. 

“By self-preservation, it was the strategy of the victim (Wahid) because in the first burst of fire he might not have recognized the marauders, until such time that he came to know that they were government troops, (which explains) why he was shouting ‘Papa Alpha!’(Philippine Army),” Mamauag said.
 
Wahid’s wife had already testified that her husband was hogtied although he had introduced himself as an Army soldier, but was shot from point blank after being kicked and stomped on the back several times while being made to lie on his belly.
 
Other victims include 4-year old Marisa Payian, 9 year old Wedme Lahim, teenagers Alnalyn Lahim, 15 and Sulayman Hakob, 17. The three other civilians killed were Kirah Lahim, 45; Eldisim Lahim, 43 and a pregnant housewife, Narcia Abon, 24.
 
FGN also praises the Sulu provincial government and other officials for spearheading the peaceful resolution of the incident in behalf of the people to avoid any further breach of peace and to pave the way for the wheel of justice to take its course.
 
Meantime, everyone is encouraged to wait for the findings of the Armed Forces Inspector General’s investigations and to seek justice for the victims through legal means.
 

 


AHMAD AZAM ABDUL RAHMAN
Chairman, Future Global Network