Arrest soldiers who perpetrated Lake Sebu massacre, end martial law in Mindanao – Karapatan

Karapatan, today, welcomed the resolution of the Commission on Human Rights in Soccsksargen (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos) holding two military officers liable and accountable for the killing of seven Lumad leaders of the T’boli Manobo S’daf Claimants Organization led by Datu Victor Danyan Sr. Sitio Datal Bong Langon, Brgy. Ned, Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on December 3, 2017.
“The findings of the CHR regional office affirms the testimonies of indigenous peoples and peasants in Mindanao and elsewhere – that the Armed Forces of the Philippines and its troops are murderers and they are the ones causing terror and massive insecurity in the rural areas. With the martial law declaration in Mindanao, the AFP and State forces are on a rampage of killings, illegal arrests and other violations,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor.
From May 23, 2017 to November 30, 2018, with the imposition of martial in Mindanao, Karapatan documented 88 individuals killed by soldiers, police and paramilitary groups, including the seven massacred in Lake Sebu, while 128 individuals are victims of frustrated killings. At least 1,450 have been illegally arrested, while 139 have been detained on false charges. At least 148 individuals are facing trumped-up criminal charges. Moreover,  at least 346, 940 were also affected by bombings of communities by the military.
“Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, commander of the 33rd Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army (IBPA), Lt. Col. Benjamin Leander, former commander of the 27th IBPA, and all soldiers and members of paramilitary groups responsible for the Lake Sebu massacre should be immediately indicted and arrested for their crimes. Their excuse, invoking their performance of duty to ‘protect’ the population against Danyan and company, reminds us of the ‘nanlaban’ narrative of the police,” Clamor said.
This case, Karapatan said, disproves statements that martial law has provided ‘peace and order” in Mindanao. “The ones who trumpet these lies are the very ones who commit such dastardly crimes. The military and its whole gamut of mercenaries are the real danger to the Filipino people,  especially children in indigenous communities,” Clamor averred.
Karapatan also slammed statements of President Rodrigo Duterte and AFP Chief Carlito Galvez, who have repeatedly red-tagged and justified violations against former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro, and other people’s organizations.
“These statements are made by the biggest rumour- and war-mongerers like Duterte and Galvez to suppress dissent against martial law and other government schemes that violate people’s rights in Mindanao. They are pathetic and lying cowards who should be put to jail like Cabunoc and Leander,” Karapatan concluded.