CHR condemns ‘photo-op’ of Army men with Cullamat’s remains
MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) called out members of the military on Monday for posing for a picture along with the lifeless body of Jevilyn Cullamat, daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, who died following an encounter between the Philippine Army and the New People’s Army.
In a statement, CHR spokesperson, Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia said the Commission found objectionable the action of soldiers, saying “[i]t is a cause for concern when representatives of the government treat the death of another Filipino as victory.”
“Time and again, we have condemned armed conflict because, in the end, nobody really wins, especially when it leads to ruined lives and communities. However, in instances when armed atrocities are inevitable, we trust that all involved parties adhere to international humanitarian law (IHL) in limiting the effects of armed conflict,” De Guia said in a statement.
The CHR further said that it “cannot find good reason in posing for photos with the lifeless body of Jevilyn Cullamat, alongside seized firearms and communist flags.”
A picture of militarymen beside Jevilyn’s remains while holding communist flags circulated after it was shared to a media viber group. The picture was later on deleted. Seized firearms following the encounter were also seen in the photo.
Jevilyn’s mother, Rep. Cullamat, claimed the photo disrespected her family, and has called on the military not to use the remains of her daughter as a trophy for its propaganda.
For his part, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has said that his order to the the responding units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was to ensure that Jevilyn’s remains was treated with dignity,
“At the same time, we continue to encourage the government to genuinely respect the human rights of all—at all times, in all places—as it has claimed to do so in different domestic and international platforms. We express our sympathies to the family and loved ones left by Jevilyn,” De Guia said.
“The Commission on Human Rights is set to also investigate this case,” she added.
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