AFP-staged discovery of "graves" raises many questions

As far as our records are concerned, there are no incidents involving NPA units in checkpoints, arrests or captives in Bukidnon around August 2017.

The so-called “discovery” of a “mass grave” by the military the other day in Kitaotao, Bukidnon raises many questions. It appears to be a second-rate drama staged by the AFP for the media. Even before they could do proper forensic examinations, the military was quick to claim that the skeletal remains exhumed from the graves belong to a retired policeman, an army sergeant and a tribal leader who were supposedly taken in by the NPA in a checkpoint in San Fernando, Bukidnon.

We have no records of the names Joel Rey Miqu, Dionisio Camarullo Havana and Sgt. Reynante Havana Espana. The AFP itself has not made public any reports regarding these individuals, something they usually do to score propaganda points. Neither will an internet search reveal information that these people were missing or arrested by the NPA.

The stories weaved by the AFP around the so-called “mass graves” are faulty at best. The more details the AFP reveals, the more incredulous the critical observer becomes. For instance, the military script challenges the public’s common sense when the families of the said individuals claim that they have been giving money to the supposed abductors of their loved ones up until last month despite not having proof of life. It was also not clear how they communicated or much money they provided.

In fact, it is against the policies of the NPA to demand money for the freedom of its captives, whether prisoners of war or those arrested for trial. This is publicly known.

We can only speculate as to the true story behind the supposed “discovery” of the graves. Based on past experiences, it is not beyond the AFP to concoct stories of “mass graves” in its desperation to vilify the NPA. With their communities occupied by armed soldiers, it is not surprising that some local residents are forced to play along with the AFP drama.

AFP-staged discovery of "graves" raises many questions