By ALDWIN QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — In a wired press statement, the Agustin Begnalen Command of the New People’s Army in Abra Province (ABC-NPA-Abra) said that the soldiers belonging to the 503rd Brigade and the 41st Brigade of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) desecrated the bodies of eight NPA guerillas after the latter were killed in an encounter in Tineg, Abra last October 10.
NPA’s ABC spokesman Diego Wadagan said that “except for the remains of ‘Ka Rencel/Winnie’, the bodies of the seven victims bore evidence of torture, overkill and mutilation.” Wadagan tagged the Tineg clashes between the government forces and the NPA fighters as “marked with inhumanity.”
Wadagan decried violations to the international humanitarian law and to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) that prohibit the inhumane treatment of hors de combat or those who are already incapable of fighting and the desecration of bodies. Wadagan cited the following:
Edgardo “Ka Recti” Balbin – eight major observable wounds that crushed his skull severing the upper portion, wounds, abrasions and fractures. A survivor said that Ka Recti was still alive but hors de combat when soldiers peppered him with bullets. Other injuries were caused by physical blows and not from gunshots.
Reynaldo “Ka Kris” Masadao – four observable major wounds which include a gunshot wound in front of the left ear fired at close range as evidenced by gunpowder wounds around the major wound, a large wound at the right part of the neck nearly severing the head, and the crushing of the bones of the lower right leg into fragments, almost severing the lower leg. According to a survivor, Ka Kris was wounded during the first volley of gunfire and was already down but managed to fire back at a certain Cpl. Lloyd Tega, the sole fatality from the AFP. The other soldiers ganged up on Ka Kris, kicked and hacked him, and killed him at close range.
Miguel “Ka Oxy/Alon” Anggaboy – four observable wounds which include two head wounds and abdominal wounds. The upper cap of his skull was blown out and his brains were scooped out of the skull. Ka Alon was the first to be wounded as he led his team during the first volley of gunfire, and was still alive as he fell in the river. His remains were clad in short pants, but were in pants during the firefight.
Reyna “Ka Ogie/Arbis” Villacarlos – four observable major wounds among which is a gunshot wound in front of the right ear and a large wound on the body. Her short pants and her panties were torn in the crotch area; some residents claimed to have found her naked.
Rodel “Ka Bunso” Corpus – six observable major wounds which include two gunshot wounds in the head, blowing off the upper cap of the skull, long incisional wounds on the left part of the body, and wounds on arms and leg.
Ka Omeng – four observable major wounds that include 2 body wounds and blackened area in the neck.
Ka Berlin – two major observable wounds in the face, flattening the nose.
“The eight comrades who were casualties in the Tineg October incident were already deemed hors de combat with their serious injuries, yet some were tortured and overkilled. Already dead, fascist troops still proceeded with their mutilation spree,” Wadagan said.
Wadagan said that these are clear violations of Article 3 of the International Humanitarian Law, which states: “Persons no longer taking active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and thus place hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause shall in all circumstances be treated humanely.” The law applies to both parties in an internal armed conflict, which is the case of the ongoing armed conflict between the AFP and the NPA.
“The images of the falled NPA fighters—the martyrs of Tineg thoroughly shatter the ‘peace’ and ‘human rights’ rhetoric of the Aquino regime and the AFP,” the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) said in a statement posted at its website.
Wadagan also clarified that contrary to AFP’s statement that the bodies were immediately taken to the town center of Bangued, Abra, the bodies were left out in the open. Wadagan said the residents were the ones who transported the bodies and it was only because of pressure from some humanitarian and people’s organizations that the local government helped in retrieving the bodies.
“This incident further shows the fascist character of the AFP and the kind of training and indoctrination that they give their troops, which strips them of their dignity and humanity and transforms them into inhuman killing machines,” Wadagan said, citing that the Philippine Army Officer Candidate School (PAOCS), like the Philippine Military Academy, “develops fascist killing machines.” Capoqiuan is a member of PAOCC 29-06 “Matingala” class, said Wadagan.
“All their talk of ‘human rights’ under the Oplan Bayanihan is mere rubbish, for they cannot hide their barbaric orientation,” the NPA spokesman said.
The CPP called on human rights advocates, lawyers’ organizations, religious groups, international humanitarian agencies and the Joint Monitoring Committee which oversees both the GPH and NDFP’s compliance with the CARHRIHL to conduct their own investigations into the October 10 Tineg incident. It urged pathologists and other experts to expose the facts behind the October 10 incident.
The NPA-ABC command criticized Governor Eustaquio Bersamin for awarding a certificate of commendation to Lt. Jeson Capoquian who led the AFP team. The group said Capoquian should instead be held liable for violations of the international humanitarian laws and of the CARHRIHL.
Wadagan said that in contrast, the NPA treats enemies wounded or taken prisoner in combat humanely even at the point of treating their wounds when necessary. “Almost all of the forces of the enemy taken as prisoner-of-war by the NPA can attest to the fair and humane treatment given by the NPA to them,” he added.
“Despite our sorrow, we clench our fists and our teeth in our burning anger against the rotten system. We will continue to fight for the people. We will continue to wage this war until the whole reactionary and fascist ruling system tumbles down,” he said.
We will continue to fight for the revolution and for the memory of our fallen comrades. We will continue the revolution until a just and lasting peace is achieved and all forms of brutality and barbarism by the reactionary state has been wiped out”, Wadagan said. (Northern Dispatch/with reports from Bulatlat.com)