[Case Update] Gaily Miraato, a victim of indiscriminate firing in Officer’s Lane, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur -TFDP

CASE UPDATE
June 19, 2015
(PHILIPPINES) Gaily Miraato, a victim of indiscriminate firing in Officer’s Lane, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur
ISSUES: Right to life

Dear friends,

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) writes to inform you about the case of Gaily Miraato, a 6 year old victim of indiscriminate firing in Officer’s Lane, Marawi City, Lanao del Sur.

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CASE DETAILS:

On August 8, 2012, around 10:00 p.m., Gaily D. Miraato, a six-year old girl, was hit by stray bullets as she was running towards the bedroom on the second floor of their home to watch her favorite television show.

The Miraato family had already heard gunshots minutes before Gaily was hit. Her grandfather Yusoph Miraato (registered as Gaily’s parent in her birth certificate) called his wife Elizabeth and their children to come down and take cover when they heard the first round of gunshots. The family however returned to the second floor as one of the children said that the gunshots were coming from Marawi State University. As Gaily entered the bedroom, she collapsed and was caught by Abigail Domantay, her biological mother.

It turned out that Gaily was hit during the second round of firings. The bullets entered her back – one exiting through the left chest, and one with no point of exit. Abigail started screaming when she saw blood coming out of Gaily’s mouth. Yusoph carried Gaily and ran out of their house. Elizabeth called for the neighbors’ help and hailed cars that passed by. Gaily was taken to Amai Pakpak Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival. It was unclear if Gaily died on their way to the hospital or when they got there.

On August 12, 2012, following the principle of command responsibility, the Miraato family formally filed a case against Brig. Gen. Daniel A. Lucero (+) and Lt. Col. Siegfred J. Espina, heads of the 65th IB, 9th ID. The military member who actually fired the gun which resulted in Gaily’s death was never identified.

Despite the family’s persistence in seeking justice for Gaily, the case has had very little progress in the months and years that followed. On September 1, 2013, Elizabeth filed a police blotter against an armed group believed to be under the Philippine Army, for visiting their home and allegedly asking Yusoph to sign an Affidavit of Desistance. There were several other occasions when different members of the military allegedly sent by Brig. Gen. Lucero and Lt. Col. Espina visited the Miraato residence.

Even at work, Yusoph allegedly experienced harassment and intimidation. Yusoph’s superior (unnamed) who was believed to be the friend of Lt. Col. Espina allegedly demoted Yusoph after he declined to settle the case.

CASE BACKGROUND:

On the night of Gaily’s death, there was in fact an encounter between members of the Philippine Army and “lawless elements” at the Marawi State University (MSU). However, the physical location of the MSU was too far from the Miraato residence to consider it as the source of the stray bullet. Based on the counter affidavit presented by the accused, there was also an attack in the nearby barracks of the 65th IB, 9th ID and the National High School located at the back of the Miraato residence and it was during the exchange of gunshots when Gaily was hit.

Yusoph and Elizabeth expressed their doubts regarding this story. They had gathered signed affidavits of witnesses as proof that there was no encounter at the barracks and the school. According to them, the surrounding area was quiet except for the rounds of firing that killed Gaily. The family argued that the firing was indiscriminate – done as an “acting out”, or was an emotional release or perhaps as “vengeance” for the military men who were injured and killed at the MSU. They said that what happened was clearly the murder of a child.

REQUESTED ACTION:

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO THE CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO BRING TO JUSTICE THE PERPETRATORS OF THE DEATH OF GAILY MIRAATO IN OFFICER’S LANE, MARAWI CITY, LANAO DEL SUR.
Thank you.

Task Force Detainees of the Philippines
SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear,

Greetings!

This is to express my grave concern regarding death of Gaily Miraato in Officer’s Lane, Marawi City, Lanao Del Sur.

I have learned that Gaily Miraato, a six year old girl has been killed by indiscriminate firing allegedly by a member of the 65th IB, 9th ID on August 8, 2012, but that the suspect has not been named and therefore by the principle of command responsibility, a case was filed against Brig. Gen. Daniel A. Lucero (+) and Lt. Col. Siegfred J. Espina, heads of the 65th IB, 9th ID.
I have also learned that the case has had very little progress in the past 3 years despite the Miraato Family’s effort to seek justice for Gaily.

I have also learned that the Miraato Family especially Gaily’s grandmother Elizabeth and her grandfather Yusoph have experienced harassment and intimidation wherein their home was visited by armed military personnel and were asked to sign an Affidavit of Desistance. There were several other occasions when different members of the military allegedly sent by Brig. Gen. Lucero and Lt. Col. Espina visited the Miraato residence.Yusoph also allegedly experienced harassment at work where his superior who was believed to be the friend of Lt. Col. Espina allegedly demoted Yusoph after he declined to settle the case.

I am writing to ask for immediate action in favor of the Miraato Family:
1. For the security and safety of the Miraato family.

2. For the immediate and impartial investigation on Gaily’s case.

3. For the perpetrators be held accountable for Gaily’s death.

Thank you.
Respectfully yours,
_______________________

PLEASE SEND LETTERS TO:
1. His Excellency Benigno Simeon Aquino III
President, Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel, Manila
1005 Philippines
Tel: +6327356201/5641451 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. 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 2 929 0102

4. Lt. Gen. Gregorio Pio Punzalan Catapang, Jr.
Chief Of Staff, Armed Forces of the Philippines
Camp E. Aguinaldo, 1110 Quezon City
Tel: +63 2 911 7907, +63 2 911 6436

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