Evidence in boy’s killing altered, step pa says

Apr. 11, 2013

“One set of bullet shells was found where the soldiers positioned when they fired.  But another set was suspiciously placed opposite of them.” — Sonny Cortes

Davao Today

MABINI, Compostela Valley, Philippines — Evidence found at the crime scene where Roque Antivo, the eight-year old boy killed in a strafing incident allegedly by military forces, had already been altered.

This was the strong belief of Sonny Cortes, stepfather of Antivo, who happened to witness the military strafing last week in Kidaraan village, this town.

Gihilabtan na to (it is already altered),” Cortes said, adding that during the police investigation, two sets of bullet shells were already found.

“One set of bullet shells was found where the soldiers positioned when they fired.  But another set was suspiciously placed opposite of them,” Cortes told davaotoday.com.

Police Senior Inspector Michael Uyanguren, station commander of the Mabini Police, however said they have not noticed any alteration in the crime scene.

“Soco (Scene of the Crime Operatives) will know (if there is an alteration),” he said adding that they cannot give conclusions yet since the investigation is still ongoing.

Cortes’s belief stemmed from an incident, a day after Antivo was killed.

“On April 4, we tried to enter the area but later on we decided not to because one of the soldiers under 2nd Lt. Llorca was present,” Cortes said, referring to the head of the team of government troops who opened fire against his children April 3 evening.

Family members with advocacy group Children’s Rehabilitation Center, rights group Karapatan, the chairwoman of Kidaraan village, a representative from the provincial government and journalists have planned to conduct an ocular inspection and documentation that day, when Cortes allegedly saw one of Llorca’s men.

They decided not to push through with the plan “because we feared that they might do something bad against us,” Cortes said.

However, Uyanguren denied any knowledge on the said incident.

“We don’t have information about that.  We could not say that the man they saw had altered the crime scene or not.  He might have another mission,” he explained.

Cortes’s suspicion became stronger knowing that the investigation team arrived only on April 9, six days after the incident.  Uyanguren confirmed this, saying they could not immediately go to the area because of “security considerations.”

Meanwhile, Antivo, was laid to rest Wednesday in a public cemetery following a funeral march.

His family, relatives and support groups have called for a swift investigation as they slammed the “atrocities” committed by the 71st Infantry Battalion and the military in general.

A soldier from the 71st IB was held responsible over the death of Sunshine Jabinez in 2011.  Meanwhile, the 101st Brigade was held responsible for the death of Grecil Buya in 2007.  (John Rizle L. Saligumba/davaotoday.com)

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