Results of probe into ‘Kiblawan massacre’ out Monday
Victims’ kin ready charges vs militaryInquirer Mindanao
DAVAO CITY, Philippines—The result of the military’s investigation into the killing of the wife and two children of B’laan anti-mining activist Dagil Capion in Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, will be released on Monday, a military spokesman said, as relatives of the victims said they were preparing to file murder charges against the soldiers involved.
Lieutenant Colonel Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the 10th Infantry Division, the Army command that has jurisdiction over the soldiers involved in the October 18 killing of Juvy Capion, who was two months pregnant, and her children, Pop, 13, and John, 8, would not say what the findings of the military’s own investigation into killings were.
Brigadier General Ariel Bernardo, 10th ID commander, earlier formed a board of inquiry in the wake of protests against the killings by members of the Capion clan as well as various human rights, anti-mining and environmentalist groups. Capion’s relatives charged that, contrary to the military’s claim of an armed encounter, Juvy and her sons were treacherously shot dead from close range.
Paniza, in a statement sent to the Inquirer on Friday, said that whatever the result of the investigation is, it will set the record straight, especially by way of identifying the people to be held responsible for the killings.
As this developed, the Capion clan, assisted by the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel, said it was preparing charges against soldiers of the 27th Infantry Battalion involved in the shooting, which occurred after soldiers arrived at Capion’s farm supposedly to serve a warrant for his arrest on murder charges arising from attacks on government security forces as well as facilities of a mining company in the area.
Rita Dialang, a sister of Dagil Capion, said they were now consolidating statements that would support the filing of murder charges against the soldiers involved.
Major Jacob Obligado, commander of the 10th Civil and Military Operations battalion, said the military wanted to emphasize that “the three victims were not massacred.”
“They were killed because of possible violation of our rules of engagement, the exact reason the BOI was created,” he said.
Obligado said the military was also coordinating with the Bongmal Tribal Council to prevent more violence as an offshoot of the killings.
“We are one with everybody in the pursuit of truth and justice,” he said.
Obligado said soldiers in various parts of Mindanao under the supervision of the 10th ID have been reminded anew to carry at all times plastic-laminated copies of the military rules of engagement (ROE) issued them.
“This will serve as reminder to all that incidental injury or death of civilians and unintended damage should be avoided during conflict,” he said.
In January, Philippine Army commander Lieutenant General Emmanuel Bautista ordered the issuance of two ID-sized laminated ROE cards to each soldier. The cards contain an English version of the ROE and a translation in the local vernacular.
“This will give our men, especially those in the field, direction during operations and confidence to take action,” Obligado said.
Meanwhile, Ryan Lariba, secretary-general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Southern Mindanao, said his group was dismayed at the silence and “apathy” shown by local officials toward the case.
“The massacre has generated outrage nationwide. It’s all over the news and the Internet, but not a single local government official, or a political candidate for that matter, has spoken to condemn it,” Lariba said.