ZARATE: Military lied on Paquibato massacre

indexBayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate slammed as “full of falsehood” the military claim that troopers killed three farmers in Paquibato o district in Davao City during a legitimate military operation.
Zarate labeled as “full of falsehood” the military’s earlier claim that lumad leader Datu Ruben Enlog, Randy Carnasa and Oligario Quimbo were killed during an encounter between the soldiers and New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

Zarate vowed to initiate a congressional inquiry on the “brutal slaying” of the civilians after coming back from a June 19 independent probe in far-flung mountain district of Paquibato that investigated the ” massacre.”

Zarate and 76 other participants joined the National Fact-Finding Mission to shed light on the military strafing on the residence of Aida Seisa, a peasant leader of the indigenous people where the civilians were killed.

11188151_947360338653417_1491781652426848549_nThe whereabouts of Seisa, who is said to have survived the incident together with her mother, husband and child, is unknown.

The military claimed that the three dead were allegedly NPA rebels who fought back while the troopers were in the course of serving a warrant of arrest around midnight against NPA leaders.

Zarate called as “very illogical and unbelievable” the service of the warrant “in the middle of the night” and other claims of the military after hearing the testimonies of the neighbors and kin of the victims residing near Seisa’s residence.

Zarate believed that the alleged “landmines” found near the victims’ dead bodies were planted in order for the military to claim them as NPA Members. “It’s a big lie. The victims’ neighbors could attest that they are civilians,” Zarate said.

Zarate lamented that that abuses committed by the military remains unpunished, resulting to the continuing violations of human rights, particularly of hapless civilians.
“This is why the military continues to speak lies: because the state of impunity continue to reign under this administration of Pres. Benigno Aquino,” said Zarate.

Karapatan-SMR secretary-general Hanimay Suazo, on the other hand, said that they are determined to pursue justice for the victims

“We will push the wheels of justice to pursue those responsible for this dastardly act, make them accountable for their crimes in all possible arenas.” Suazo said.

The Davao City Council committee on political, civil and human rights chaired by Councilor Kaloy Bello has yet a committee hearing to look into the incident.

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