CHR wants autopsy on slain B’laan family

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 06 November) —The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) wants to exhume the bodies of the mother and her two sons who were killed in the mines development site of foreign-backed Sagittarius Mines Inc. last month.

Atty. Christina H. Jovero, CHR-Region 12 director, told reporters Monday afternoon the agency has started investigating the incident involving the family of a tribal leader waging an armed resistance against the mining company.

“We are seeking permission from the family of the victims to exhume their bodies for autopsy,” she said.

On October 18, Juvy Capion and her sons Jordan 13, and John Mark, 8, were killed in an alleged encounter in a village in Kiblawis, Kiblawan town in Davao del Sur between soldiers and the group of Juvy’s husband, Daguel Capion, who is facing murder and grave coercion charges.

The military claimed there was exchange of gunfire between the soldiers and Capion’s group that led to the death of the civilians. Environment and militant groups condemned the incident and described it as a “massacre.”

Jovero said that CHR investigators have already inspected the scene of the incident but she declined to give additional details to avoid preempting results of their investigation.

She also did not give a deadline when the findings of CHR, an independent body, would be completed.

Jovero noted the CHR, depending on the results of its probe, would either initiate or recommend the filing of criminal and administrative cases even if they involve state actors, referring to the soldiers.

The 13 soldiers, headed by 1Lt. Dante Jimenez, have been recommended by the Board of Inquiry (BOI) formed by the 10th Infantry Division to be subjected to a General Court Martial.

Maj. Gen. Ariel Bernardo, 10th ID commander, citing the findings of the BOI, said the soldiers may have violated some provisions of the Articles of War and the Rules of Engagement.

Bernardo also said that “based on the presumption of the regularity in the performance of official duties of the Kiblawan police, there indeed was a firefight.”

The mines development site straddles the towns of Tampakan in South Cotabato, Columbio in Sultan Kudarat and Kiblawan.

It was reportedly the Kiblawan police that immediately responded and investigated the October 18 incident.

Bernardo added that “the result of the laboratory and ballistic examinations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) will further validate the result of the local PNP investigation.”

The 13 soldiers, all under the 27th Infantry Battalion, are currently restricted to the 10th ID headquarters in Compostela Valley.

The 27th IB commander, Lt. Col. Alexis Noel Bravo, relinquished his post Monday to Lt. Col. Shalimar Imperial.

Bravo said he resigned from his post “with my conscience crystal clear.” (Bong S. Sarmiento/MindaNews)