[Urgent Appeal] About the killing of family members of a B’laan tribe leader opposed to the entry of SMI in their ancestral domain area -TFDP

[Urgent Appeal] About the killing of family members of a B’laan tribe leader opposed to the entry of SMI in their ancestral domain area -TFDP

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the killing of family members of a B’laan tribe leader opposed to the entry of Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) in their ancestral domain area. This happened during a raid conducted by the military in their farm house in sitio Fayahlob, barangay Datal Aliong, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Mindanao.

Name of the victims:
1. Juvy Capion,27 years old (killed), mother of the children who was said to be three (3) months pregnant
2. Jordan Capion, 13 years old (killed)
3. John Capion, 8 years old (killed)
4. Vicky Capion, 4 years old (wounded) the youngest
5. Ressa Piang, 11 years old (relative of the victims) escaped unhurt but was traumatized

CASE DETAILS:

Family members of a B’laan tribe leader opposed to the entry of Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI) in their ancestral domain area were killed during a raid conducted by the military at their farm house. Three (3) members of Capion family died while the youngest daughter was wounded. The massacre happened on October 18, 2012 at about 6:30 in the morning in Sitio Fayahlob, Barangay Datal Aliong, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Mindanao. The perpetrators were members of 27th Infantry Battalion of Philippine Army led by 1Lt. Dante Jimenez the commanding officer of the Bravo Company and under the command of Lt. Colonel Noel Alexis Bravo, Battalion Commander.

The victims were identified as; Juvy Capion, 27 years old, mother of the children who is said to be three (3) months pregnant, Jordan Capion, 13 years old, John Capion, 8 years old and Vicky Capion, 4 years old the youngest. Vicky sustained a wound at her left ear while the three victims were killed. Another victim Ressa Piang, 11 years old (relative of the victims), escaped unhurt but was traumatized as she and Vicky experienced threat and intimidation by the military, as guns were poked at them and they were threatened to be killed.

During the interview with Aileen Capion (the one who responded to the incident), she revealed that the family was in their farm house two days before the incident. At about 6:30 in the morning of October 18 they heard a burst of gunfire (first spray of bullets) coming from the farm house of Daguil (about 30 minutes walk from their place). She hurriedly ran to the area together with Christina Diapal.

Aileen said, when they arrived in the area she saw the two (2) children, Vicky Capion and Ressa Piang, 11 years old (relative of the victims). The two children were able to run and take refuge at the adjacent house some 30 meters away from the crime scene. Aileen saw Ressa cover Vicky while the military poked their guns at them. There were four soldiers; two of them were at the front while another two soldiers were at the window.

Aileen said, she told the military “ayaw ninyo unsaa ang mga bata, akoa na ng mga bata” (don’t harm the children, I will take custody of the children) but the soldiers replied “mas maayo nga tiwason ang mga bata para wala’y witness” (better to finish off the children, so that there will be no witnesses). She heard the children shouting, and she told the soldiers “ayaw ninyo hulgaon ng mga bata, kay bata na sila ug dili na sila apil” (don’t threaten the children, they are only children and they are not involved). Aileen further said, “kong makita ninyo si Daguil mao gyod ang dapat ninyong gukdon, ug wala man pod ang wanted dira, mga inosente pod ng mga bata” (if you saw Daguil then he should be the one to be pursued, but the wanted person was not there, and the children are innocent).

Aileen revealed, she heard that Juvy (the mother) was shouting “tama na ayaw namo sige ug pabuto kay naigo nako” (please stop firing your guns because I’m already wounded). But the military strafed the house again where Juvy and John lay wounded. Aileen said that the distance of the military who strafed the house was about 20-25 meters away. Reportedly, Juvy and John were still at their bed sleeping when the military started firing their guns aiming at the house.

Thereafter, Aileen wanted to go inside the house where Juvy and John lay. But seven (7) military men blocked her way and even told her not to come closer to the slain victims. The military even took hold of her but she resisted and so she was able to go upstairs.

Aileen said, when she was upstairs, there were already soldiers taking steps to remove the slain bodies and put them on the ground. Aileen shouted to the military “ayaw lang ninyo ipababa, kay pamilya lang niya ang maghipos” (don’t put the bodies to the ground just let the families do it).

The dead body of Jordan was seen lying face down on the ground a few meters away from the house where his mother and younger brother were slain. He was already taking his coffee when he was shot.

Juvy sustained gunshot wound at her chest and her left leg was broken. Jordan had a gunshot wound at his back that also damaged the back of his head. John was reportedly sleeping at the right side of his mother and had a gunshot wound at the right side of his head which exploded towards his right ear.

Aileen together with Christina brought the two children to Datal Biao. Vicky was brought to the health center for treatment of her wound while Ressa was turned-over to her family. The two (2) children Vicky and Ressa were traumatized and could not be interviewed.

According to Aileen when they went back to the crime scene, together with the relatives of Daguil, they saw that the crime scene was already cleaned-up by the soldiers – they already washed the blood with water and the clothes of the victims were thrown outside the house. When the police investigators arrived, the crime scene was already in order. But the police investigators still saw the scattered brain remains and bloodstains on the wall.

Aileen further narrated, when they first responded she saw thirteen (13) soldiers near the house (excluding Lt. Jimenez). Lt. Jimenez was the team leader of the group and she saw his nameplate (she was also familiar with the soldier because he was always visible to the residents in the area). She counted about fifty (50) soldiers within the vicinity just standing.

The slain victims were finally brought down to their home in Datal Biao at about 2:00 PM, because the soldiers were trying to keep custody of the dead bodies. On October 19 in the afternoon the three (3) victims were laid to rest near their house.

Some witnesses said, the firearms used by the military are called “minimi” – a machinegun type of firearms. They were familiar with the said firearms because this is usually the firearms of the soldiers they have seen in the area.

Some residents in the area said that at dawn or even the night before the incident there were already military troops within the vicinity. They were pursuing Daguil Capion, as he was the suspect in a 2010 ambush of three (3) construction workers of Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) and reportedly, they were there to serve the warrant of arrest.

In the news report (ABS-CBNnews.com) dated October 20,2012, the headline states “8 soldiers sacked over ‘crossfire’ deaths

The Philippine Army has relieved 8 soldiers over the death of a woman and her two sons allegedly caught in a crossfire in Davao del Sur Thursday. Lieutenant Dante Jimenez, 27th Infantry Battalion’s Bravo Commander, and 7 of his men have been relieved while an investigation into the death of Juvy Capeon and her children, Pop and John is ongoing.

Meanwhile, 27th IB commander Lt. Col. Noel Alexis Bravo was also placed under investigation but was not relieved. It was Bravo who claimed that the three were caught in a crossfire between government soldiers and alleged NPA rebels, led by Daguil Capeon, the victims husband and father.

SOME ISSUES AND CONCERN REGARDING THIS CASE:

1. Daguil Capion is not an NPA rebel, he is the tribal leader of a B’laan tribe and the head of their organization called B’laan foundation which was formed since 1990s. He is opposed to the entry of a mining firm in their ancestral domain area called Sagittarius Mines Incorporated (SMI).

2. The residence in the area testified that they did not hear any exchanges of gunfire, they only hear two gunburst of fire, which would be validated according to the detailed account of the witness who was interviewed.

3. The witness claimed that the 2nd strafing of the military was done 20-25 meters away from the house were the mother and her child lay wounded, so the claim of the military that the victims were caught in a crossfire is false and cannot be substantiated.

4. The witness said that she saw the two children, Ressa and Vicky being poked with guns by the military as they want to finish off the children so that there were no witnesses should be investigated properly.

5. The excessive use of force by the military should be thoroughly investigated, because they have known already that the people there were civilians as the place and the farm house is visible (pls. refer to the photo).

6. The military should be charged with Obstruction of justice, as the witnesses said that they already clean the crime scene by washing the bloodstains when the Police arrived to conduct investigation. The crime scene was already contaminated.

7. There was a violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), particularly Protocol 2 of the Geneva Convention.

8. The military is task for counter-insurgency only, they are not allowed to serve warrant of arrest, so maybe that is the reason that they charged Daguil as NPA so that they can escape whatever sanctions for this violations.

REQUESTED ACTION:

1. Call upon competent authorities to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough, independent and impartial investigation into the killing of the victims and ensure that adequate, effective and prompt rehabilitation and assistance will be granted to the survivors.

2. To conduct thorough and impartial investigation and ensure that the perpetrators will be brought to justice. All the military involved in this operation will be investigation and command responsibility should be meted out against Battalion commander for his arbitrary statement even without conducting investigation on what really transpired during the incident.

3. To call for an immediate pull-out of the military detachment in the area, as the community feared more violations may happen after the killing of Daguil’s family.
Thank You,

Rita M. Melecio
Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear___________:

Greetings of peace!

I am writing to express my grave concern regarding the killing of a B’laan family during a raid conducted by the military in sitio Fayahlob, barangay Datal Aliong, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur, Mindanao.

I have known that the victims were Juvy Capion, 27 years old, the mother is three months pregnant. She sustained gunshot wound at her chest and her left leg was broken. Jordan, 13 years old was seen lying face down on the ground a few meters away from the house where his mother and younger brother slain. He sustained a gunshot wound at his back that also damaged the back of his head. John, 8 years old was reportedly sleeping at the right side of his mother and had a gunshot wound at the right side of his head which exploded towards his right ear. The youngest child, Vicky 4 years old sustained a wound at her left ear.

I have also known that, the soldiers tried to finish off the two children (Ressa and Vicky), who were able to take refuge in an adjacent house. They were poked with guns and still traumatized because of the incident.

I was informed that Juvy, the mother was able to talk and asked the military to stop firing their guns because she is already wounded, but instead both of them (John and Juvy) were strafed.

Further, I was informed also that the military already clean the crime scene before the Police investigators arrived, so all the vital evidences were already contaminated.

Therefore, with this vital evidences and information, I am calling the military and the Police to conduct thorough and impartial investigation and sanctioned all the military involved in this operation. The Battalion commander should be meted out with command responsibility because of his arbitrary statement without even conducting investigation regarding the incident.

I am also urging the concern government agencies to give full protection to the witnesses and rehabilitation to the traumatized children.

I trust that you will act favorably. Thank you.

Sincerely,

PLEASE WRITE TO OUR RESPECTIVE AGENCIES OF THE GOVERNMENT:

Please send your letters to:

1.His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street , San Miguel
Manila 1005
Philippines
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80
Email: corres@op.gov.ph /opnet@ops.gov.ph

2. Hon. Leila M. De Lima
Secretary, Department of Justice (DOJ)
Padre Faura Street
Ermita, Manila, 1000
Philippines
Fax: +63 2 523 9548
Tel: + 63 2 521 1908
Email: lmdelima@doj.gov.ph / doj.delima@gmail.com

3.Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales
Commission on Human Rights (CHR)
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
Philippines
Tel: +63 2 928 5655, +63 2 926 6188
Fax: +63 2929 0102
Email: rosales.chr@gmail.com

4. Police Director Nicanor Bartolome
Chief, Philippine National Police
Camp General Rafael Crame
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: +63 2 724 8763/ +63 2 723 0401
Tel: + 63 2 726 4361/4366/8763
Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

5.Hon. Emilio Gonzalez
Deputy Ombusdman
Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for the Military
And other Law Enforcement Offices
3rd Flr., Ombudsman Bldg.,
Agham Road, Diliman, 1004 Quezon City
Fax: +63 2 926 8747
Tel: +63 2 926 9032

6. Lt. General Ricardo A. David, Jr.
Chief of Staff
Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP)
AFP-GHQ office, Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo
Quezon City, Philippines
Fax: +632 9116436

7. Colonel Domingo J. Tutaan, Jr.
Head, Human Rights Affairs Office
Armed Forces of the Philippines
Tel: +632 9116001 to 50

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One thought on “[Urgent Appeal] About the killing of family members of a B’laan tribe leader opposed to the entry of SMI in their ancestral domain area -TFDP

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