Issue: The accusation of KARAPATAN-Bicol that the AFP is behind the 'trump up' charges against militant leaders in the Bicol Region
I deny that that the AFP as an organization, is behind the filing of cases against the militant leaders.
The complainants are individual soldiers who were maimed and injured as a result of the actions of the accused persons who allegedly planned, supported and carried out the "Pawili Raid" as it is now known.
The case is filed after gathering all credible witnesses and material evidences.
Some of the witnesses are former rebels who were with them in all phases of the mission: from the planning phase up to the actual attack against our soldiers.
I believe that the complainants have taken the right path, that is, they filed criminal cases before the court of law because they have rights to do so. This action does have legal basis and the accusations must be answered through this country's legal system.
The filing of cases is the correct way to seek justice than to take the law into our own hands e.g. liquidations/extra-judicial killing of the accused persons. By this action, the accused persons are given the opportunity to present their own evidences and answer the allegations.
As we can see, our soldiers and CAFGU personnel are victims of the murderous killing spree perpetrated by the NPA assailants against our unarmed soldiers. This year alone, we have lost 4 soldiers and 8 CAFGU personnel from these extra-judicial killings.
Despite these killings that have claimed the lives of our soldiers, we will remain to be the protectors of human rights and will not go down to the level of these bandits who do not respect the rule of law.
We call on the accused persons to answer the charges filed against them. This means that they have to appear before the courts and execute counter-affidavits to air their side pursuant to the due process of law. It is now up to the courts to determine the merits of the case.
We also call on KARAPATAN-Bicol to fight for the right of the victims of extrajudicial killings perpetrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Major Harold M Cabunoc (INF) PA
Spokesman, 9th ID, PA