Rights group accuses ‘state agents’ of killing father of girl slain in military operations | Inquirer News
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Rights group accuses ‘state agents’ of killing father of girl slain in military operations

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The human rights group Karapatan in Southern Mindanao has claimed that “state agents” were most likely behind the July 19 murder of Gregorio Gelacio, the father of the 9-year-old girl killed during a military operation in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, about seven years ago.

Hanimay Suazo, Karapatan spokesperson for Southern Mindanao, said aside from being the father of Grecil Buya, Galacio had openly accused soldiers of murdering his daughter and had been active in human rights works as well.

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Suazo said that since accusing soldiers of killing his daughter on March 31, 2012, Galacio, 38, had been receiving death threats.

“Gorio Galacio recently returned to their old house after years of eluding threats following the death of her daughter,” Suazo said.

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Galacio was sleeping inside his home in New Bataan when six armed men barged in at around 3:45 a.m. and peppered him with bullets, Senior Supt. Abraham Rojas, director of the Compostela Valley police office.

Rojas said to date, the police had no clear leads on the killing of Buya’s father.

Col. Lyndon Paniza, spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command based here, has urged Karapatan and other human rights group to investigate before accusing the military of sinister acts.

“It would be unfair to make conclusions without any investigation. What would the military gain from that?” Paniza paused.

But Suazo said Galacio’s death was just among the growing list of victims of state agents’ abuses.

Pastor Sadrach Sabella, another Karapatan official, said “elements of the state” were also responsible for the recent deaths of two civilians in Malita, Davao Occidental.

Sabella said a two-day fact-finding mission to Barangay (village) Lagumit in Malita starting July 17 found out that Tony Bago and Arnel Tanduya were killed for their alleged involvement in the communist movement.

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Bago, a fish vendor was killed last June 21 by two men wearing ski masks. Prior to the killing, the victim was summoned twice by the Army for interrogation and persuaded him to convince his rebel-son to surrender. Bago was also accused of being an NPA supporter and received threats before he was gunned down, Sabella said.

He said Tanduya, who was also accused by soldiers of being an NPA supporter, was killed on May 7.

“The victim had received a report that he was one of the targets of the military,” Sabella said.

Davao del Sur Gov. Claude Bautista, who still has supervision over Davao Occidental, said he would have the claims of Karapatan investigated.

“But I also want the killing of an alleged military asset by suspected rebels probed,” he said, citing the July 17 killing of Henry Dasal in Barangay Palian in Malita.

Senior Supt. Michael John Dubria, Davao del Sur police chief, said Dasal was brutally murdered – with his face mutilated – and his relatives were supposedly informed by the NPA that it killed him.

“We want justice for all victims regardless of their supposed affiliation. We hope to establish the exact identities of the perpetrators so that we could file charges against them in court,” Bautista told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

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TAGS: activism, Armed Forces of the Philippines, Claude Bautista, Crime, Davao del Sur, Davao del Sur police, Eastern Mindanao Command, Governor, Grecil Buya, Gregorio Gelacio, Hanimay Suazo, Human rights, Karapatan, Lyndon Paniza, Michael John Dubria, Military, Murder, News, Philippine Army, Police, police investigation, Regions
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