Regional CHR probes executions
COTABATO CITY, Philippines—The story of four men executed by firing squad on suspicion of raping, killing and burning a 14-year-old girl in Marawi City last month in Lanao del Sur province refuses to die down.
Gov. Mujiv Hataman of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has ordered the Regional Commission on Human Rights (RCHR) to investigate the killing of the four in connection with the gruesome crime in Barangay Basak in Marawi on Aug. 14. The girl was brutalized while her family went to a mosque for the Friday prayer.
Police took the suspects—Salman Udag Sambitory, Jabbar Rikta Macacua, Elias Kamote Pimping and Jalil Alilit Sani—into custody but released them after the victim’s relatives refused to file charges against them. They were eventually executed, according to reports reaching Hataman.
ARMM Vice Gov. Haroun Al-Rashid Lucman Jr. said that based on his investigation, the execution was a mutual agreement reached by the families of the victim and the suspects.
Lawyer Rasol Mitmug, Hataman’s chief of staff, said a team from the RCHR were sent to Marawi to look into the matter, but this early, its members had been receiving text messages telling them to halt their activities. Even Hataman received a similar message, Mitmug said, but the governor’s response was to continue the probe.
In any case, Regional Interior Secretary Anwar Malang, a former human rights lawyer, said a probe could not depend solely on testimonial evidence, but had to be supported by a corpse recovery. Until bodies are found, there could be no “air-tight conclusion” that the execution took place, he said.
“That would entail a long process, and needs the intervention of forensic experts and modern laboratory facilities,” Malang said. Nash Maulana, Inquirer Mindanao
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