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Cullamat asks CHR to probe military ‘desecration’ of daughter’s remains

Bayan Muna Representative Eufemia Cullamat on Tuesday, December 1, formally asked the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to probe the military’s alleged “desecration” of the remains of her daughter Jevilyn.

In a complaint filed with the CHR, Cullamat said the Philippine Army’s 3rd Special Forces violated International Humanitarian Law (IHL) when they posed for photos with Jevilyn’s body following an encounter with New People’s Army (NPA) rebels in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur, on November 28.

Jevilyn, 22, was the lone casualty in the clash.

In one picture circulated by the military, soldiers posed for the camera in front of Jevilyn’s remains placed alongside seized firearms and communist flags.

In another photo, a rifle was slung over the shoulder of the lifeless Jevilyn as if she were holding the weapon.

Cullamat said the soldiers’ acts violated the IHL and the 1998 Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law, which bans the "desecration of the remains of those who have died in the course of the armed conflict.” 

“Batay sa mga ito, malinaw ang paglabag na ginawa ng mg elemento ng 3rd SF, Philippine Army sa kanilang pagsalaula sa bangkay ng napaslang kong anak na si Jevilyn,” said the grieving mother. 

(Based on the foregoing, the elements of the 3rd SF, Philippine Army committed clear violations in their desecration of the body of my slain daughter Jevilyn.)

“Ako po ay nananalangin at nananawagan na mainbestigahang pormal ng inyong Komisyon ang reklamong ito,” added Cullamat. (I am praying and asking for a formal investigation of the Commission on this complaint.)

Soldiers said Jevilyn served as a medic of the NPA. Her mother, who is also a leader of the Manobo tribe, believes Jevilyn might have joined the armed struggle after seeing the military’s atrocities firsthand. 

Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo, however, insisted that the pictures of Jevilyn’s remains were taken "for reporting and documentation purposes," a requirement after every encounter. – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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