Members of CPP, NPA and NDF have rights under international humanitarian law

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) must be roundly denounced for trying to justify and cover-up the willful killing of Ericson Acosta and Joseph Jimenez in Kabankalan City by impugning Acosta’s role as a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

The web of lies being desperately woven by the AFP cannot obscure the fact that at around 2 a.m. of November 30, 2022: (a) Acosta and Jimenez were resting in the home of Ronald and Ronalyn Fernandez and their three children in Barangay Camansi, Kabankalan City; (b) that they were unarmed and in no position to fight; (c) that they were taken into custody by soldiers of the 94th IB and 47th IB; (d) that there was no NPA unit in the area; (e) that there was no gun battle; and (e) that Acosta and Jimenez were subsequently summarily executed by the soldiers; (f) that the Francisco family was taken by the soldiers and have been denied their rights to be visited by their relatives and be allowed legal representation.

The killing of Acosta and Jimenez violates international humanitarian law and constitutes a war crime. Being a member of the CPP/NPA, all the more that Acosta’s rights under the Geneva Conventions, and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), should have been respected. After being captured and their identities ascertained, Acosta should have been granted the status of a prisoner of war, and Jimenez, as a civilian.

According to initial gathering of facts, the victims suffered from stab and knife wounds suggesting they were hacked. An independent forensic examination will surely provide more details of their gruesome death and the criminal brutality of the perpetrators.

Acosta was an important leader of the CPP and NPA in Negros and, among his duties, was to perform his task as consultant of the NDFP to conduct social investigation and determine the worsening socioeconomic conditions of the people of Negros, especially those of peasants and farm workers.

The murder of Acosta and Jimenez is consistent with the pattern of crimes perpetrated by the AFP and PNP in willfully killing while in custody of members of the CPP, NPA and NDFP, as well as civilians who were with them at the time of their capture or arrest. More than one hundred have fallen victim to this campaign of killing, including Acosta’s wife Kerima Tariman (2021), Jorge Madlos or Ka Oris in 2021, his son Vincent and daughter-in-law Glorivic Campos Belandres (2022), Julius Giron (2020), Eugenia Magpantay and Agaton Topacio (2020), Antonio Cabanatan and Florenda Yap (2020), Juanito Magbanua (2022) and others.

We enjoin everyone to read the special report issued by Ang Bayan last October. We encourage the families of all victims to come together and raise their collective voice to demand for justice.

All these crimes must be investigated and exposed. The Filipino people deserve to know how their money is being used by the military and police in the continuing campaign of willful killings to silence and cow the people.

Members of CPP, NPA and NDF have rights under international humanitarian law