Rep. Cullamat files complaint with CHR for ‘disrespect’ of daughter’s remains by soldiers

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 3 December) – Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat filed Tuesday a complaint against the soldiers who she said showed disrespect towards the remains of her 22-year old daughter Jevilyn, who was reportedly killed in an encounter on Nov. 28 with the Philippine Army’s 3rd Special Forces Battalion.

In the letter-complaint submitted to the Commission on Human Rights and written in Filipino, Cullamat said the soldiers treated Jevilyn’s body like a war trophy by parading it with them marching behind it.

Worse, she said, the photos, which were posted on social media and other media outlets, were used in the “continuing Red-tagging and terrorist-tagging against me, my family and the whole Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives.”

Cullamat added the military not only trespassed her rights as the mother of her slain daughter but also violated International Humanitarian Law, which provides for respect for persons killed in relation to an armed conflict.

She cited that the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law prohibits the “desecration of the remains of those who have died in the course of the armed conflict or while under detention.”

Brig. Gen. Allan Hambala, commander of the 401st Infantry Brigade commander, said a 12-man team from the 3rd Army Special Forces Battalion managed to sneak into the temporary camp site set up by the rebels in the mountains near Marihatag town in Surigao del Sur last Saturday.

“The rebels numbering around 30 put up an intense firefight for 45 minutes before withdrawing,” Hambala told MindaNews in a telephone interview.

The military released a photo of the alleged body of Jevilyn with an M16 rifle clinging to her chest.

Hambala said the soldiers brought Jevilyn’s body to Barangay Mararag in Marihatag where a younger brother and relatives claimed the remains.

He said the soldiers seized three AK-47 rifles, one M14 rifle, and one M653 5.56 caliber rifle; four improvised explosive devices, phones and backpacks containing foodstuff.

He said Jevilyn served as medic of a Sandatahang Yunit Pampropaganda of Guerrilla Front 19 of the New People’s Army.

Rep. Cullamat, speaking before the Senate hearing on Red-tagging Tuesday, said Bayan Muna had nothing to do with her daughter’s decision.

“You can’t use her as evidence for Red-tagging against our organization, as she followed a personal decision. Not mine. Much less Bayan Muna’s,” she said in Filipino.

“You want Bayan Muna to condemn Jevilyn? No,” she said.

“Understand first the hardships that we Lumad suffer daily. My child wasn’t the first Lumad to take such path, nor will she be the last. You’re the ones who are pushing them to fight. With the cruelty you have done to my child, are you still wondering why there has been no end to the armed conflict in our country?” she said, alluding to the military. (MindaNews)