Military threatens Bilar 5 families to withdraw autopsy plans

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Karapatan-Central Visayas condemned state forces for its relentless intimidation and harassment against the families of New People’s Army (NPA) Red fighters who were martyred in Bilar, Bohol on February 23. A police officer identified as Misael Nicolas Asumbrado, from the Inabanga Town Police, repeatedly “visited” the family of martyr Perlito Historia to force them to withdraw their planned autopsy of the victim’s remains.

Karapatan-Central Visayas says the police “visits” aims to convince the family to withdraw their request before the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR) to conduct an independent investigation and autopsy on Historia’s remains. They say the police even tried to bribe Historia’s family and promised them a scholarship and a job under the local government, and to receive ₱60,000 upon withdrawal of their case before the CHR.

The police officer also issued threats by saying the family’s safety cannot be assured if they continue to cooperate with the CHR. He also made claims that relatives of other martyred revolutionaries already agreed to the cash offer for the sake of “maintaining the peace.”

This pattern of harassment is similar to the ordeal of Hannah Cesista’s family. Her father was approached by Romeo Teruel, Executive Assistant of the PTF-Elcac Cooperative Development Office, at the funeral home in Tagbilaran City to prevent him from working with progressive groups and human rights defenders.

“We will not tolerate such measures by the AFP-PNP and the local government of Bohol that only heighten suspicions and prevent the truth from coming out,” according to Karapatan-Central Visayas. The group demanded for the state forces to immediately stop harassing the relatives and families of the Bilar 5 because it terrorizes and openly silences them.

“If the military and police officers have nothing to fear or hide, let it be proven with autopsies and investigations if there was indeed an armed encounter…or if was a case of massacre and torture which are clear violations of international humanitarian law,” the group concluded.

AB: Military threatens Bilar 5 families to withdraw autopsy plans