Probe Negros killings – AFP

First of all, thank you for publishing this opinion letter of mine in response to the spate of killings in Negros Occidental Province.

It is alarming that in less than a month, these incidents tragically claimed at least eight (8) lives of innocent civilians and were admittedly perpetrated by the communist terrorist groups (CTG), the New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

These innocent civilians were mercilessly killed for the sole reason that they were suspected by the NPA rebels to be military or government informants. These innocent civilians are entitled to justice for their deaths.

The NPA rebels have no right to kill them. For one, no court in Philippine history has ever recognized the kangaroo court of the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

They do not have the power and authority to put judgment into their hands, much less the right to execute innocent civilians. The NPA rebels are still Filipinos covered by the 1987 Constitution and they are not above our Philippine laws.

The Commission on Human Rights’ (CHR) initiative to conduct an official investigation into this series of killings is laudable as these killings raise serious human rights concerns in the province.

The New People’s Army’s admission on the matter shows their clear violation of the provision under the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) which states that “everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.”

With these incidents, the AFP Visayas Command is challenging the human rights group KARAPATAN to also investigate these vicious killings and condemn the irreversible atrocities of the CPP-NPA. As a human rights group claiming to be the defender of the oppressed, it is expected that KARAPATAN should clamor for justice for those who have died in the arms of the CPP-NPA.

The CPP-NPA-NDF has flagrantly violated the principles of distinction and precaution. In essence, the principle of distinction mandates that parties engaged in armed conflict must differentiate between civilians and combatants.

Attacks should never be directed at civilians. Conversely, the principle of precaution compels parties to exercise constant care to spare civilians from harm. Regrettably, the NPA failed to adhere to these principles, resulting in deliberate human rights violations against innocent civilians.

These actions constitute crimes against humanity and are expressly prohibited under RA 9851. This undeniable evidence underscores the CTG’s (Communist Terrorist Groups) complete disregard for human rights, and the CPP-NPA-NDF must be held accountable.

Signed

Maj Joe Patrick A Martinez PA

Group Commander, 3CRG

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