DAVAO CITY, Philippines — A progressive Moro group, on Tuesday, was enraged when President Rodrigo Duterte visited and honored the 14 soldiers involved in the killing of seven Tausug youth in Patikul, Sulu, saying it insults and adds to the emotional injury suffered by the families of the slain civilians.
“This callous maneuver of the government is a desperate attempt to wash the blood off the hands of the offending soldiers. This charade of making heroes out of murderers went on despite the findings of a government investigation testifying to the innocence of the seven victims of the massacre,” said Jerome Aba of Suara Bangsamoro.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte conferred military honors to the Scout Rangers wounded during a skirmish with the alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group last September 14. The conferment of military honors coincided with Duterte’s visit to Camp Teodulfo Bautista Station Hospital in Jolo, Sulu on September 24, 2018.
President Duterte led the ceremonial turnover of caliber .45 pistols to the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) with AFP Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez Jr. and Secretary Christopher Lawrence ‘Bong’ Go of the Office of the Special Assistant to the President.
The chief executive, however, did not spend time to visit the bereaved families of the seven Tausug youth allegedly massacred in Patikul, Sulu on September 14. Soldiers claimed that the slain Tausugs were Abu Sayyaf members killed in a legitimate encounter.
But Aba viewed the conferment of military honors to the soldiers involved in the killing of seven Tausug youth as an “aggressive cover-up campaign of the military.”
With this, the Moro group is urging the Commission on Human Rights to take legal action against the soldiers as the they welcomed the probe to look into the reported killing.
“We call on the CHR to immediately file legal action against the perpetrators of the massacre,” the group said.
Just recently, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and Regional Human Rights Commission – ARMM (RHRC-ARMM) sponsored a joint investigation on the massacre of the young men in Patikul, which concluded that they were all civilians, contrary to the claim of the military that they were armed members of Abu Sayyaf Group.
Aba said a full-blown inquiry is underway as the families of the slain Tausugs gave an approval last week to a team of investigating body composed of personnel from the Commission on Human Rights to exhume and subject the dead bodies for autopsy that could aid the families’ efforts to seek justice for the slain Tausug youths.
“We hold President Duterte accountable for the bloodshed across Mindanao under his dictatorial rule. The ensuing violence by state forces against the Bangsamoro is further emboldened by Duterte’s martial law in Mindanao,” Suara said. (davaotoday.com)