CHR denies anew military’s request for closed door session

Earlier in the morning, the CHR denied the request of Maj. Gen. Reynaldo Mapagu, contained in a letter dated March 29, asking that they be allowed to present the soldiers in a closed-door or executive session.

“We maintain our position that this hearing is a public inquiry,” but added they would address some of the issues raised. Hence, “in consideration of the concerns of Maj. Gen. Mapagu that the presence of the media and their video and audio recording equipment or cameras will unnecessarily put at risk the security of the concerned military personnel, it is hereby likewise ordered that everyone present in the public hearing, particularly members of the media, are hereby enjoined from taking any video or audio recording or any photographs throughout the duration of the testimony of the military personnel.”

After yet another verbal manifestation and after the CHR commissioners again deliberated on the matter, CHR chair Leila de Lima said that while “national security issue/concern is definitely not a justification to hold testimony in executive session, we are receptive and mindful of your argument.”

De Lima then said that only the Commissioners would be able to see the soldiers’ faces. She said they would put a screen to shield the soldiers from the public.

De Lima gave Mapagu an hour to present his soldiers, who, he said, were in his camp in Panacan, some 14 kilometers away.

Rebelyn’s mother, Evangeline, and elder sister, Rio, narrated their life under military surveillance and the day Rebelyn was abducted.

Evangeline said her family has been under surveillance since her husband

Leoncio, alias Parago, chief of the Pulang Bagani command, was arrested in their residence in Bago Gallera on November 1, 1991. Pitao was freed as part of the peace process with the National Democratic Front in 2001.

Pitao initially named four suspects from the military intelligence to be behind his daughter’s killing. He later added nine more names.

Mapagu told the CHR that  nine of those in  the list are under his command.

The CHR also asked Karapatan’s Kelly Delgado and Marie Hilao Enriquez.

The afternoon session resumed at  1:26 p.m. with the announcement of the order denying  the motion for reconsideration.

While waiting for the soldiers to come, the CHR called on tricycle driver Danny Pelicano.  Pelicano drove the tricycle which ferried Rebelyn  towards Bago Gallera from the terminal along the national highway and which was stopped by the abductors some 300 meters from the highway. (Carolyn O. Arguillas/MindaNews)