By Joey Natividad
IRIGA CITY, Camarines Sur (BicolToday.com/13-Sept-2012) – A human rights investigation report confirmed that the wounded person confined in a Camarines Sur hospital is a “buy-and sell” dealer, and not a rebel. This finding was contrary to Army claims that the wounded victim, together with two others who were slain, were members of the New People’s Army rebels operating in the hinterlands of Iriga City.
KARAPATAN-Bicol, a human rights based in the Bicol Region, said the wounded person Edgardo Sevilla was a “buy- and- sell” dealer who was carrying Php99,000 and several cellphones when he, with two others were shot at by Army soldiers whom they met at a road while riding on a motorcycle.
Sevilla was wounded on his leg and suffered a broken bone, while his alleged two companions were shot dead by Army soldiers on Wednesday afternoon, September 5, at a mountain village in Iriga City. The dead victims were only identified as “Ka Tony” and “Ka Jesse”, based on flash media reports.
“Sevilla’s claim was attested by his daughter, Josephine, who said that his father the day before, had told her mother that he was planning to buy a piece of land,” KARAPATAN informed BicolToday.com on Tuesday, September 11.
According to the human rights group, Sevilla almost lost his injured leg with broken bones after he was given only medical treatment two days after the incident.
The soldiers brought and left him at the hospital with no clear instructions to the hospital medical staff to treat him, said the rights group in its findings.
The three victims were riding on a motorcycle when they were fired upon by the soldiers. Sevilla was wounded and fell on a ditch while his two companions were shot dead while trying to flee for safety.
“There are clear violations of human rights in this incident. If they are rebels, according to Army reports, then the wounded Sevilla is entitled to legal protection as “prisoner-of-war” and other provisions based on the international agreement on respect for human rights between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front,” said KARAPATAN.
“On the other hand, if the victims were civilians, including the wounded Sevilla, the government should provide assistance for the families of the dead victims, and should pay for the medical needs of the survivor,” the rights group added.
Reports reached Bicol Today.com on Tuesday that the dead victims might undergo autopsy, upon request by their families, if the victims were shot at the back, or they figured in a firefight, as claimed in Army reports.
The findings also said that there was no evidence showing that they were involved in alleged extortion activities, nor they engaged the soldiers in a firefight. [BicolToday.com]