31st IB kills civilian in roadside shooting

This article is available in Pilipino

Soldiers from the 31st Infantry Battalion (IB) shot dead civilian Niño Henera while he was hanging out by the roadside in Barangay Trese Martires, Casiguran, Sorsogon on June 26 at around 10 PM. The 31st IB and Casiguran police are claiming that Henera was a Red fighter and was killed in an armed encounter.

Residents say that they heard 8 to 10 gunshots before seeing the victim’s body lying on the ground. They denied that an encounter took place, a fact also refuted by the New People’s Army (NPA)-Sorsogon (Celso Minguez Command) in a statement.

“Contrary to the Casiguran MPS and 31st IB’s fabricated report, Henera was not a member of the NPA or any revolutionary organization,” Ka Samuel Guerrero, spokesperson of the NPA in the province, said. Residents also said they knew Henera as a construction worker in Casiguran, and was even drinking with others before the incident.

To cover up the crime, the 31st IB and police are insisting that Henera was a member of the people’s army and they allegedly recovered a .38 revolver, ammunition, blasting caps, a grenade and other military items from the crime scene. Planting evidence is a common tactic used by units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Meanwhile, Ka Samuel shared that the NPA-Sorsogon is already conducting an investigation into the soldiers’ crime. He condemned the cowardice of the AFP and police in “attacking defenseless civilians in fabricated encounters, instead of facing their real enemy, the NPA.”

He said targeting civilians in the midst of the ongoing civil war in the country violates international humanitarian law and is a crime against humanity. This is also part of a desperate attempt to crush the people’s armed resistance, he added.

Ka Samuel called on media practitioners to be vigilant and critical of reports released by the AFP and PNP, and to listen to the voices of the oppressed and exploited. He challenged them to uncover and reveal the truth.

AB: 31st IB kills civilian in roadside shooting