AFP-led “fact-finding mission” killing of Catubig children a whitewash

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The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas calls as “whitewash” the military-led fact-finding mission involving soldiers of the 20th Infantry Battalion who strafed three civilians, including two children in Barangay Roxas, Catubig, Northern Samar last February 8.

“It is more appropriate to call it a whitewashing mission than a fact-finding mission because it was aimed at clearing the 20th IB, the 803rd Infantry Brigade and the 8th Infantry Division from being held accountable. The fascist AFP wasted no time to wash away and the distort the truth that they intently strafed at and killed the Catubig children,” Fr. Santiago “Ka Sanny” Salas, spokesperson of NDF-EV, said.

Based on media reports, the “fact-finding mission” was composed of 20th IB personnel, Catubig Municipal Task Force-Elcac, and the police, all of whom are part of the reactionary government’s counter-insurgency campaign.

“There is no hint of credibility in the results of the investigation based on the composition of the investigating team alone. You do not expect murderers to incriminate their own,” Salas remarked.

“The truth is, it is geographically impossible for the military to claim that the boys were caught in crossfire because the NPA counterattack and the 20th IB strafing of civilians are two different incidents which happened in entirely different locations. The only way for the military to get away from this is for them to tamper physical evidence in the guise of a so-called fact-finding mission.”

Instead of surfacing the truth, the mission was meant to hide the military’s criminal liability by pinning liability to the New People’s Army. Fr. Salas said a genuinely independent onsite investigation will surely point to the military as culprit of the crime.

“We urge the SOCO team to preserve evidence, release the truthful results of their investigation, and not be swayed by the pressures of the military,” Fr. Salas said.

“We call on all peace-loving individuals, religious and rights-based institutions, and people-oriented groups to conduct fact-finding missions to help expose the truth regarding the killing in Roxas, assist the families in their pursuit for justice, and fight the worsening culture of impunity especially under the Duterte regime,” Salas ended.

AFP-led "fact-finding mission" killing of Catubig children a whitewash
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