DAVAO CITY – Days before marking the 1st year death anniversary of her son, the mother of an 8-year old boy killed in a strafing incident involving state forces said that the dismissal of their case by government prosecutors was “deliberate.”

Evelyn Antivo, mother of Roque Antivo who was killed last year during a military operation, accompanied human rights groups in protesting the Provincial Prosecutor’s office in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley Monday. The group slammed what they called as “deliberate dismissal” of complaints so that the military can evade the bars of justice.

The 71st Infantry Battalion Army troops encountered Roque, his brother Earl Jhun, 12 and uncle Jefrey Hernan, 13 in Crossing Kidaraan, Barangay Anitapan, Mabini, Compostela Valley on April 3, last year. Roque died from several gunshot wounds while the two boys were wounded.

Evelyn Antivo said that their sets of evidence “are strong enough for the filing of case in court” and that the fiscal’s dismissal “clearly shows that the justice system in the Philippines does not favor the poor victims especially if the perpetrators are the military or representatives of the state.”

The complaint was dismissed by Provincial Prosecutor Graciano Arafol, Jr. in a resolution dated September 17, 2013, which said “the fact of killing the victim by the respondents herein is not sufficiently established.”

The family and their lawyers filed a motion for reconsideration last October  before the Provincial Prosecutor’s office accompanied by three more witnesses who executed their joint-affidavits.

The Army had since denied the allegations and claimed that Roque was killed in an “encounter” between them and a unit of the New People’s Army.

For Rius Valle, advocacy officer of the Children’s Rehabilitation Center–Southern Mindanao Regional Office (CRC-SMRO), the case of Antivo is “clearly, an obstruction of justice.”

Valle likened Antivo’s case with that of Grecil Buya.

Buya, said Valle, was a nine-year old Grade two pupil who “was brutally killed” in 2007 by the 28th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army in  Barangay Kahayag, New Bataan, Compostela Valley Province.

To “avoid accountability for her death” the army “branded” Buya as an “NPA (New People’s Army) child soldier” brandishing an M16 soldier when she was killed by the Army during its military operation, according to Valle.

Valle said that Provincial Prosecutor Graciano Arafol “was the same prosecutor who dropped Grecil’s case.”

“If this is only what our justice system is capable of doing, then, our children are living in the most dangerous place we could ever imagine,” said Valle.

Valle said that upon their follow-up of Roque’s case Monday, the Provincial Prosecution Office said they already transmitted their response to the family’s lawyer. No communication has been received by the lawyer, according to the Antivos.

Antivo said that they are pursuing the case not only to obtain justice for Roque but for other children victims of militarization, as well.

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