Family of slain Blaan woman leader pursues criminal case against military

Mar. 10, 2013

“Pinaagi sa gifile nga kaso batok sa mga sundalo, hinay-hinay na mahatagan og hustisya ang kamatayon ni Juvy ug sa iyang mga anak (Through the filing of case against the soldiers, Juvy’s and her sons’ death will slowly be given justice).” – Pastor Sadrach Sabella, Karapatan-Socsksargen spokesperson

Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — It took nearly five months before the family of slain Blaan leader Juvy Capion and her two sons filed formal murder charges against the perpetrators of the massacre.

Iglesia Filipina Independiente Pastor Sadrach Sabella of the human rights group Karapatan-Socsksargen told that they were delayed in filing the case because they had to make sure that the data including the autopsy report could prove beyond reasonable doubt the culpability of soldiers who raided the Capion house on October 18 last year.

The report from the Commission on Human Rights was also only released last February 21 following the autopsy last year.

Sulim Malid, father of Juvy, filed murder charges against Lt. Col. Alexis Bravo of the 27th Infantry Battalion, as well as Lt. Dante Jimenez, head of the 27th IB’s Bravo Company, and 14 other John Does on Wednesday at the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Digos City, Davao del Sur.

In November last year, Major Jake Obligado, chief of the 10th Infantry Division’s Civil Military Operations Battalion said those involved in the “Kiblawan shooting incident” were 1st Lieutenant Dante Jimenez, Sergeants Dennis Murillo andRommel Ballenas, Corporals Robert Godio, Ahiyal Namla, Bruce Khan Sahali, Bashir Said, Julah Majid and Jemson Jadjuli, and Private First Class Marlowe Gamayot.

The Board of Inquiry, Obligado said, has found that the said soldiers have violated the Rules of Engagement.  They will face the Military Court Marshall as recommended by 10th ID Commander Brigadier, General Ariel Bernardo, to the Commanding General of the Philippine Army.

But in a text message Sunday, Obligado said he “will have to get first the schedule (of the Court Martial) when it will start” as he noted that he has no information yet on the criminal case filed by Juvy’s father.

The Philippine National Police in Kiblawan only conducted a spot report and not a thorough investigation, said Sabella.  The Scene of the Crime Operatives, he added, did not also conduct an investigation on the massacre.

Karapatan which has been assisting Juvy Capion’s family said they were also preparing the affidavits of the witnesses.

Pinaagi sa gifile nga kaso batok sa mga sundalo, hinay-hinay na mahatagan og hustisya ang kamatayon ni Juvy ug sa iyang mga anak (Through the filing of case against the soldiers, Juvy’s and her sons’ death will slowly be given justice),” Sabella, Karapatan spokesperson, said.

Apan dili pa kana ang paglaom nga mahatagan hustisya ang mga biktima tungod ang justice system sa Pilipinas dili ingon niana nagaprotekta sa mga biktima, kundili ginaprotektahan na hinuon ang mga perpetrator (But we can’t hope that it will really serve justice to the victims as the justice system here in the Philippines does not protect the victims but the perpetrators instead),” he added.

Sabella lamented that under the administration of Benigno Aquino III, many have become victims of extrajudicial killings (EJKs).

Karapatan recorded a total of 138 EJK victims, women and children included, under Aquino’s watch.

Daghan na ang nangamatay wala gayod aksyon si PNoy ug sukad sa miaging mga Presidente walay bisan usa ang nahatagan og tinuoray nga hustisya (Many have been killed but PNoy has not taken concrete actions, and even the Presidents who came before him haven’t gave genuine justice to the victims),” he said.

It can be recalled that Juvy and her two minor sons were massacred by government troops under Lt. Col. Bravo last October 18 in Fayahlob, Sitio Datal-ayong, Danlag village, Tampakan town in South Cotabato.

During the filing of criminal case against the government troops, activists under the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) trooped in front of the Hall of Justice in Digos City to express their support to Juvy’s family.

“We support the family’s resolve in their quest for justice.  The evidences and the credible testimony of the witnesses are strong enough to put the perpetrators behind bars,” said Ryan Lariba, spokesperson of Bayan-Socsksargen, in a statement.

Lariba said the 27th IB should be punished “for its barbaric act” against Juvy who was three months pregnant when she was murdered, and for the death of her two sons.

Juvy was an anti-mining woman leader under Kalgad.  Her husband, Daguil, is also a leader who’s currently waging a tribal war against large-scale mining company Xstrata-Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI).

Bayan-Socsksargen also scored the alleged collusion of Xstrata- SMI with the Aquino government as it criticized the “continued presence of military and paramilitary troops in the mine site which instigates gross human rights violations.”

“The killings and other human rights violations in the area could be prevented if the company did not encroach the Blaans’ ancestral lands,” he said.

The Xstrata-SMI mining area covers the ancestral domain of the Blaans.

Lariba also noted that during the Congressional Inquiry last February 21 in Koronadal City, the military confirmed that SMI-Xstrata has been giving allowances to Cafgus.

Col. Flores of the 39th Infantry Battalion reportedly admitted that 60 Cagus receive PHP 2,500 each and regular gasoline allowance from Xstrata-SMI.  Kiblawan Mayor Marivic Diamante also revealed that the company allocates PHP 7,500 each to 12 Cafgus.

“That is why military and paramilitary troops are hell-bent in wiping out opposition and worse, commit brazen abuses,” Lariba said.

Bayan also expressed fear that the situation in the Tampakan mine will result to more rights abuses after the Aquino administration granted the Environmental Compliance Certificate to Xstrata-SMI even with the strong opposition of the lumads(Irene V. Dagudog/

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