CHR probes slay of 6 rebels | Inquirer News

CHR probes slay of 6 rebels

/ 05:36 AM August 29, 2018

ILOILO CITY—The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is conducting a separate autopsy on the bodies of six communist rebels killed in a clash with police and military in Antique on Aug. 15 but who their relatives said were victims of a massacre.

A forensic team from the CHR arrived here on Sunday and was set to conduct the autopsy on Monday on the request of the rebels’ families, according to lawyer Jonnie Dabuco, CHR Western Visayas investigator.

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The examiners were going to inspect the bodies of six of seven rebels killed in the clash, as the body of one of two women in the group, Karen Cagampang-Ceralvo, was cremated last week and the ashes brought to her hometown in Kalibo, Aklan.

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The other slain rebels were Felix Salditos, Eldie Labinghisa, Peter Mecinas, Liezl Nadiola, Jason Sanchez and Jason Talibo.

Their remains, except those of Sanchez and Talibo, would be cremated after the CHR autopsy.

The families of the seven rebels were disputing police and military claim that the men and women were killed in a 30-minute gunfight.

Families of the rebels said they were unarmed and police planted the explosives, guns and bullets that were found in the rebels’ possession.

They said evidence of the massacre was where the rebels were shot–in the chest and head.

The underground rebel umbrella organization National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) said those killed were noncombatants and members of the NDFP’s regional and education propaganda staff.

No gunpowder residue

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Dr. Owen Lebaquin, head of the Western Visayas crime lab of the Philippine National Police, said results of an autopsy he conducted on the bodies were inconclusive.

But he said autopsy results alone could not determine if the rebels were armed or not, and whether they were summarily killed.

He said, however, that there were no gunpowder traces on the rebels’ bodies, indicating that they were shot from a distance of more than a meter.

He said the downward trajectory of bullets suggested that the rebels were shot while they were crouching forward, or those who shot them were in an elevated position.

Police and military officials, however, insisted that the rebels were killed in a clash in the village of Atabay in San Jose, Antique province.

Tax collectors

Officials accused the rebels of collecting revolutionary taxes from businesses.

Chief Supt. John Bulalacao, Western Visayas police director, said police were open to an investigation.

“We want justice because we know they were unarmed,” said Ruth Salditos, widow of Felix, an artist and one of those killed.

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TAGS: autopsy, Commission on Human Rights, communist, International news, Philippine insurgency, Philippine news updates
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