Solon wants clarity in Bukidnon clash

Solon wants clarity in Bukidnon clash

/ 05:06 AM April 18, 2024

Solon wants clarity in Bukidnon clash


MANILA, Philippines — Gabriela party list Rep. Arlene Brosas on Wednesday slammed the Armed Forces of the Philippines over the circumstances surrounding the death of a New People’s Army (NPA) leader in Bukidnon province, calling it an extrajudicial killing in violation of international humanitarian law.

In a statement, Brosas pointed out that the body of Kaliska “Kal” Peralta, 33, bore signs of torture and abuse, which were concealed because there was no autopsy conducted after her death on April 10.


Peralta, a former student of the University of the Philippines Diliman, joined the NPA in 2016, reports said. Initial information gathered by rights groups said Peralta was unarmed when she was captured by soldiers and police officers at Barangay Butong in Quezon, Bukidnon, and was taken to another part of the village where she was shot and killed.


READ: Army denies torture of 5 rebel fatalities in Bohol clash

READ: Police dismiss torture claim in deaths of 5 NPA rebels in Bohol

Killed in encounter

But the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command (Eastmincom) said Peralta was killed in an encounter between rebels belonging to the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee and soldiers from the Army’s 48th Infantry Battalion in Butong on April 10.

Peralta, whom the Eastmincom described as a political officer of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 57, was identified by former rebels who surrendered to the military. Her remains were taken to Davao City and then flown to Manila aboard a C-130 aircraft on April 13, upon the request of her family.

“We are one in grief with the parents of [Peralta],” said Lt. Gen. Greg Almerol, Eastmincom commander.

Marco Valbuena, chief information officer of the Communist Party of the Philippines, called for an independent investigation into the killing of Peralta, claiming “local witnesses attest that there was no gun battle, contrary to the statements issued by the military and police.”


‘Callous treatment’

Brosas also said that the AFP handed Peralta’s body to her family in a plastic bag, “showing a profound disregard for basic human dignity.”

“Such callous treatment is a clear sign of their inhumane tactics and proof that they are more like ruthless butchers than protectors of justice,” Brosas said.

“The International Humanitarian Law clearly dictates the treatment of unarmed adversaries in war, emphasizing the protection of prisoners of war and prohibiting harm to unarmed individuals. The AFP’s actions in this case constitute a blatant violation of these principles and must be met with swift accountability,” Brosas said.

Meanwhile, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) called on the Army to surface a missing labor organizer in Bukidnon who was allegedly snatched on the same day the clash in Butong happened.

William Lariosa, 63, was taken by soldiers from the area during an ensuing military operation, Romelito Pablo, KMU chair in Southern Mindanao, told the Inquirer.

Maj. Mark Anthony Tito, spokesperson for the Division Public Affairs Office of the military’s 10th Infantry Division, denied they had any knowledge of the missing KMU organizer.

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“We don’t have any information about that but there was a legitimate operation in the area participated in by the Quezon municipal police station,” Tito said. —WITH REPORTS FROM GERMELINA LACORTE AND RYAN ROSAURO

TAGS: Bukidnon, CHR, NPA, torture signs

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