NDF-EV condemns whitewash of 19th IB massacre*
CPP Information Bureau
January 21, 2011
The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today assailed the Department Of Justice for clearing the 19th IB of responsibility for the massacre of botanist Leonardo Co and two others last Nov. 15 in Kananga, Leyte. "The DOJ ruling absolving the 19th IB and shifting the blame to the New People's Army is pure hogwash because there was no NPA unit anywhere near the massacre site," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. "Furthermore, the DOJ ruling stands in solitary contradiction to the physical evidence and eyewitness testimonies uncovered by concerned organizations, that the line of fire came from the military and there was no answering fire whatsoever. It is deplorable that the so-called DOJ "fact-finding" consisted of swallowing the military's alibi of a "crossfire" and then spewing a whitewash on the public."
Fr. Salas said the DOJ ruling sent a clear signal to the public that the military's impunity for human rights violations is alive and well under the Aquino regime. "The 19th IB committed two massacres under the Arroyo regime for which it was never brought to account. By absolving the 19th IB yet again for the massacre of Leonardo Co, Sofronio Cortez, and Julius Borromeo committed under Oplan Bantay Laya, the Aquino regime failed in its promise of change and virtually encourages the continued impunity of the state security forces under their new Oplan Bayanihan."
The NDF-EV spokesperson said that the DOJ ruling is an outrage to the people, and urged them to press for justice for Leonardo Co and his companions and all other victims of the 19th IB and fascist state terrorism. "We hope that the peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDFP in February will address concerns such as this massacre in Leyte, especially with the reconvening of the Joint Monitoring Committee of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, which has so woefully been trampled by the military. There can be no peace without justice for the human rights violations suffered by Co and so many of the people under fascist state terrorism. Let us continue the fight for justice for Leonardo Co and all other victims of human rights violations."