AFP-PNP hiding the truth by refusing to cooperate with CHR-Negros

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Human rights group Karapatan condemned the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) forces and units for refusing to cooperate with investigations being conducted by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR)-Negros into “encounters” that killed farmers it labeled “communists.” Vincent Parra, head of the CHR-Negros, disclosed this denial by the AFP and PNP in a radio interview on March 8.

According to Parra, the military and police have refused to provide the CHR the necessary and crucial documents in their cases, especially those related to the “encounters” where the victims were all farmers. He said, “the AFP and PNP are not transparent in their reports about the deaths…”

The AFP-PNP previously declared they will cooperate with groups that will conduct an “independent investigation,” but Parra insisted that the AFP-PNP’s respect for the CHR’s mandate seems to be only on paper.

He wonders why they were being denied records related to the investigation. He said, they should not be afraid if the reported encounters are legitimate. Spot reports, battle reports and investigation reports, which are public documents, are not provided to the commission.

“This action of the AFP-PNP is fanning …suspicions that it is desperately trying to cover up the truth and they are responsible for the prevalence of impunity that prevents justice and accountability,” according to Cristina Palabay, general secretary of the Karapatan.

In the records of Ang Bayan, there are at least 345 cases of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by the military and police forces in Negros island from December 2022 to December 2023. During this period, 35 were summarily killed. This includes the massacre of the Fausto family by the 94th IB in Barangay Buenavista, Himamaylan City in June 2023.

Karapatan also wrote to the national office of the CHR and to its chairman, Richard Palpal-latoc, calling for an investigation into to the non-cooperation of the AFP-PNP with its local agency in Negros. He also challenged the agency to pursue investigations related to the alleged encounters and give justice to its victims.

AB: AFP-PNP hiding the truth by refusing to cooperate with CHR-Negros