Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Detained lawmaker demands court-martial for commander and members of AFP's 101st IB behind killing of 9-year old in Compostela Valley

Tuesday , April 10, 2007

Detained lawmaker demands court-martial for commander and members of AFP's 101st IB behind killing of 9-year old in Compostela Valley

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today demanded justice for the slain nine-year Grecil Galacio who was killed in cold blood by the Armed Forces of the Philippines' 101st Infantry Brigade in Compostela Valley. Grecil had just finished Grade 2 at the Simsimen Elementary School. He said that the national and international human rights community should condemn Grecil's killing.

Last March 31 as Grecil was pacing between her parents' house and the nearby river, she was shot by members of the 101st IB. A bullet went through her right elbow and another bullet entered her skull, practically oblitering it.

Beltran demanded the immediate sacking of Brigadier General Carlos Holganza, commander of the 101st IB who defends the brutal shooting of the child by saying that it was part of a legitimate encounter with communist insurgents. He charged AFP chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon to immediately court-martial Holganza as well as all the members of the 101st IB.

"These men deserve to rot in jail for killing an innocent child and subjecting her family to such terrible depths of anguish. In the twisted logic and blind desperation of the AFP to defeat the New People's Army (NPA) it has long taken to targeting innocent civilians including children and justifying their execution as part of the anti-insurgency campaign. Grecil's killing should not be allowed to be swept under the rug, the child's death must not be allowed to be dismissed as yet another statistic in the military's long list of victims," he said.

Beltran, a grandfather and great-grandfather, said that the brutality of the AFP's 101st IB deserves national and international condemnation. He also said that Holganza should be pilloried for his lackadaisical justification for Grecil's killing.

"Where's their proof? How dare they shoot and kill civilians without clear, concrete and indisputable proof that she was a member of the NPA? There are international laws governing the involvement of children and minors in liberation movements and armed revolutionary groups including the NPA. Holganza is trying to justify the fatal mistake his men made by hiding behind the allegation that Grecil was an NPA and that the NPA have child soldiers," he said.

"The main problem with the AFP is not only is its leadership rotten with corruption, its ranks have become nothing but unthinking, unfeeling killing machines who have no respect for civilian authority much less the life of civilians. Esperon should be burdened with the responsibility of investigating this brutality of the AFP troops. He should not be allowed to simply take the word of Holganza that the shooting was all in the line of duty," he said. #


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