Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate slammed as “full of falsehood” the military claim that troopers killed three New Peoples’ Army (NPA) rebels in Paquibato district in Davao City during a legitimate military operation on June 14.
` 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. He said the victims were farmers.
He 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. The 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 abuses committed by the military remains unpunished, resulting to the continuing violations of human rights, particularly of hapless civilians.
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.
Duterte to conduct own probe
Mayor Rodrigo Duterte will conduct his own investigation on the killing in Paquibato of three people the military said were members of the New People’s Army (NPA).
The human rights group Karapatan claims the victims were farmers.
On Monday night, June 22, during a Command Conference with officers of the Davap City Police and Task Force Davao, Duterte said he wants to find answers to his own queries about the incident with military and Karapatan giving differing versions.
` Karapatan has described the dawn killing by troopers of the 69th Infantry Battalion on June 14 of Datu Ruben Enlog, Randy Carnasa and Ologario Quimbo as a “massacre.”
The military said the three were NPA rebels and were killed in a legitimate operation as the troopers were about to serve a warrant of arrest on NPA leader Leoncio “Parago” Pitao. Parago heads the NPA First Bagani Command which calls Paquibato its base.
According to the Bayan Muna Representative Karlos Isagani Zarate, the victims were civilians in a birthday party at the house of Aida Seisa, a peasant leader, when they were strafed by the soldiers.
The military claims that the troopers were serving a warrant of arrest for Parago and another rebel, Nestor Angoy alias “Ka Opaw,” when they were fired upon by the rebels.
I want to be fair so I will conduct my own investigation, Duterte said adding he would himself go to Paquibato to make inquiries about the incident.