Karapatan calls for the immediate release, humane treatment of hors de combat Zaldy Cañete

Human rights group Karapatan today echoed the calls of the family of wounded combatant Zaldy Cañete, reportedly an official of the New People’s Army Pulang Bagani Command, and that of the Exodus for Justice and Peace for his immediate release and humane treatment.

According to initial reports, Cañete was critically wounded in an encounter with the military in Kitaotao, Bukidnon on May 10, 2018. He was taken for treatment to the Don Carlos Doctors Hospital in Bukidnon. On May 12, 2018, government forces announced his arrest in the said hospital, while he was recuperating. Members of his family, assisted by Karapatan paralegals, were barred from seeing him last Sunday, May 13.


*Photo of Cañete at the Don Carlos Doctors Hospital in Bukidnon

“Cañete, a former political prisoner, was previously charged with numerous trumped-up cases that did not hold water in the local courts. His re-arrest is proof that the Duterte regime continues to violate the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), especially its provisions on the non-criminalization of political offenses and those that apply to hors de combat like Cañete,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor.

Karapatan also called for the humane treatment of Cañete, citing his right to appropriate medical care and attention, as it monitored social media accounts purportedly by military officers inciting further violence against him.

“Also, there have been several documented cases of summary execution, torture and forms of violence inflicted by government soldiers on their wounded and sick adversaries, in blatant violation of international humanitarian law. One cannot discount the possibility that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) can inflict the same harm to Cañete,” Clamor added.

As the peace talks between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) continues, Karapatan said that it is imperative that both parties, especially the GRP, reaffirm their commitment to the CARHRIHL, as they cited doubts on the GRP’s sincerity to respect previous agreements in the negotiations.

“Instead of releasing all political prisoners, an obligation under the CARHRIHL, the Duterte regime has illegally arrested 173 individuals, who face fabricated charges and are still detained up to this time. Instead of putting a stop to extrajudicial killings, Duterte and his fellow murderers in the police and military have continued with their murder spree through his war on drugs and counter-insurgency program,” Clamor concluded.# 

Reference: Roneo Clamor, Karapatan Deputy Secretary General, 0999-7721233

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580