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Karapatan calls for civil society-led probe on the death of Blaan family

Nov. 05, 2012

Press Release
2 November 2012

DAVAO CITY — The human rights group Karapatan Southern Mindanao is now calling for a civil society-led independent investigation as an objection and response to the result of the probe of 10th Infantry Division’s Board of Inquiry (BoI) on the death of a pregnant Blaan woman and her two sons in Tampakan, South Cotabato, which tends to justify the killings and exonerate the military officials and personnel from accountability.

Karapatan reacted to the statement of 10th ID spokesperson Lt. Col. Lyndon Paniza that their investigation showed the 13 soldiers under 27th Infantry Battalion ‘did not follow the rules of engagement’ in a gunfight between them and Dagil Capion, the husband of three-month pregnant Juvy Capion, 27, who was killed together with her two sons, Jrodan, 13 and Jan-jan, 8, last October 18 at Sitio Datal-Alyong, Danlag village, Tampakan, South Cotabato.

“What gunfight?  It did not happen.”  One of the witnesses and relatives, Aileen Capion, has told human rights groups and the Social Action Center of the Diocese of Marbel that there no gunfight happened.  In fact, when she reached the hut, she saw Juvy’s daughter Vicky and Risa, a relative, were able to run to a neighbor’s house for safety,” said Karapatan Southern Mindanao spokesperson Rev. Jurie Jaime.

“Vicky, 4, was bleeding as a bullet hit her right ear while Risa was covering her when the military men poked their guns at them.  Aileen shouted at the military “Ayaw ninyo unsaa ang mga bata, ako na ng mga bata” (Don’t harm the children,  I will take custody of the children).  However, the soldiers replied, “Mas maayo nga tiwason ang mga bata para wala’y witness” (Better to finish off the children, so that there will be no witnesses),” Jaime said.

“Another relative and witness, Erita Capion-Dialang, said that after the shooting, the soldiers brought the bodies of Juvy and her sons outside the house to compel Dagil, who was 200 meters away from the site of their house, to surrender.  After eight hours, the soldiers finally allowed Erita and other relatives to attend to the remains,” he added.

Contrary to the claim of the military, Juvy and her husband Dagil Capion have been active in Kalgad, a Blaan tribal organization opposing the entry of USD 5.9 billion open-pit mining of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI)-Xtrata on their ancestral lands.  Kalgad has also been campaigning against militarization under Aquino government’s Oplan Bayanihan that is apparently protecting the extractive interests of the said corporation.

“The military is vilifying the Blaan struggle for land rights against mining aggression as ‘banditry’ to justify militarization in the areas claimed by SMI-Xtrata and now they are peddling the term ‘operational lapse’ in an encounter that never happened to cover up the massacre of Blaan family,” Jaime said.

The Karapatan spokesperson stressed that a civilian-led investigation would ferret out the truth because we have to consider the accounts of the witnesses that pointed out that the incident was a massacre.  The witnesses do not lie unlike the military who wants to save their faces from public condemnation.

“Karapatan is also urging Philippine authorities to pursue accountability not only to 13 soldiers but also to the commanders of the 27th IB and 10th Infantry Division based on the principle of command responsibility,” he ended.

For reference
Rev. Jurie Jaime
Spokesperson, Karapatan Southern Mindanao
Contact Number: 0921531189

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