Marchers chant "Justice for Rebelyn"

Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, a friend of Rebelyn's father, Leoncio Pitao alias Parago of the Pulang Bagani Command of  the New People’s Army (NPA), was already at the Davao Memorial Pak when the hearse and the marchers arrived at around 3 p.m.

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Rebelyn's mom, Evangeline (center) flanked by her daugther Rio, and youngest son, Redford. MindaNews photo by Froilan Gallardo

Gabriela partylist Representative Luzviminda Ilagan said she had already sent a letter asking Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chair Leila de Lima to investigate the murder of Rebelyn.
She said de Lima had agreed and has scheduled an entire day to hear the witnesses during the public hearing on the extra judicial killings in Davao City on April 1.

"The murder of Rebelyn is definitely an extra judicial killing. Her father is Leonar Pitao, an NPA commander. That makes this a political killing," Ilagan said.

Former Bayan Muna partylist Representative Joel Virador said the family of Rebelyn and militant groups will fully cooperate with the investigation initiated by the CHR.

He said they will try to find credible witnesses who would bolster their allegation that Rebelyn was abducted and murdered by military agents.

"Rebelyn no doubt was a victim of Oplan Bantay Laya II of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It is a matter of finding the witnesses," Virador said.

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Some 2,000 persons joined the funeral march. MindaNews photo by Carolyn O. Arguillas

Virador said Oplan Bantay Laya II, the AFP counter insurgency programmed, has targeted activists and leaders of organizations suspected by the military of helping the communist New People's Army.
Leoncio Pitao, Rebelyn's father, had identified four soldiers whom he alleged were responsible for the death of his daughter.

Two of the soldiers identified as Sgt. Henry Bitang and Cpl. Orly Pedrigoza, assigned with the Military Intelligence Battalion (MIB), had been ordered restricted to the camp of the 10th Infantry Division in Panacan, Davao City.

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Framed photograph of Rebelyn atop her casket. Rene B. Lumawag/Pixels and Cutlines

Duterte, however, would not categorically blame the military for the murder of Rebelyn.

"It would not be fair to accuse them without any evidence," he said.

Duterte and the Army soldiers have a row after unidentified men killed one of his political leaders, a certain Uriel Emata, in the Paquibato district, Thursday night.

Duterte had earlier warned the Army against committing abuses. In a press conference  Friday afternoon, he withdrew his support from the AFP’s counter-insurgency program in the Paquibato district, claiming he has been rendered ineffective by the military’s posture in Paquibato. “You are acting like an occupation army here,” he said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)

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