Grecil’s Parents File Raps Vs Soldiers; Holganza Doubts Girl Was Child Warrior

Apr. 28, 2007

Justice . Relatives, friends, neighbors and activists march in New Bataan on April 18 to demand justice for Grecil Buya. ( photo by Barry Ohaylan)

MANILA — The parents of Grecil Buya, the nine-year-old girl killed by the army during a firefight with communist rebels in New Bataan, Compostela Valley, on March 31, filed charges against the military before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Gregorio Galacio and Virginia Buya went to the ombudsman on Friday to file administrative charges against 2nd Lt. Francis John Gabawa and his men in a platoon belonging to the 67th IB who were responsible for Grecil’s death.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro, meanwhile, said the investigation into the killing is ongoing and that the soldiers involved are restricted to camp.

“The provision of the restriction is they cannot go out of the camp without permission. The purpose is to ensure that they will be available during the conduct of the investigation,” Bacarro said Friday.

Earlier this week, Brig. Gen. Carlos Holganza, the commanding officer of the 1001st Brigade to which Gabawa’s platoon belonged, announced that he was suspending the investigation the killing because Gregorio was not cooperating with the military. He maintains that Gregorio is a member of the NPA.

Holganza said he had no other choice but to suspend the probe because Gregorio was not cooperating with military investigators and has even gone on forum shopping in Metro Manila.

Gregorio joined a picket staged by the leftist womens group Gabriela and the Salinlahi-Alliance for Childrens Concern in front of the militarys general headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo to protest Buyas killing.

I have to suspend the investigation because the father is not cooperating There are some questions that I wanted to clarify with him, said Holganza, adding that Gregorio has not signed the affidavit he earlier prepared.

What he (Gregorio) is doing is he engaged himself in forum shopping in Manila instead of ironing things out here (in Compostela Valley) The father has not been cooperating in the investigation, the official said.

Among the questions Holganza wants to ask Gregorio was that why he allowed her daughter to take a bath when there are NPA rebels near their house. When there are armed elements, you are going to ask your child to stay beside you, he said.

I want to know what really happened, why she was in the company of the armed elements, said Holganza, adding that Buya was even seen by the operating soldiers holding an M16 rifle before the encounter.

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