KARAPATAN asks Secretary de Lima to junk the NBI-DOJ panel findings on Co slay

Human rights group describes the DOJ-NBI fact-finding team report on Lenard Co and company as another piece of garbage that shields the military in their culpability in the massacre of respected botanist Lenard Co and staff last year in Kananga, Leyte.  

How can two assistant state prosecutors and an NBI lawyer forming a three-man team of government investigators refute the facts and invent a story that the NPA killed Leonard Co and his two companions which absolves complicity of government authorities in the crime?”, thus asked human rights group KARAPATAN about the recent DOJ panel findings on the November 2010 slaying of the country’s top botanist.

The joint DOJ-NBI team is like a team of street magicians and illusionists that not only disregarded the facts  but twisted also the testimonies of the survivors that there’s no NPA, no encounter and the gunfire come from just one direction, and they only saw military men”,  an outrage acting secretary general of Karapatan Jigs Clamor said.   
“Don’t let your credibility be tainted by the military’s bloody record on human rights violations. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima should thoroughly study the report and the facts before and better else compare it with the report of the independent fact-finding team last December that conducted on-site investigation and interviews of survivors and officials from EDC”, said Clamor.

“If all else fail, we shall pursue this in the international community.  People are losing faith on state authorities when it comes to the defense of human rights,” Clamor added.

KARAPATAN joined last December an independent, scientific and civilian fact-finding mission recognized by Co’s family to investigate the killings.  Their report holds the AFP solely responsible for the death of Co and his two companions, forest guard Sofronio Cortez and farmer Julius Borromeo, based on firsthand eyewitness accounts of two survivors, and material and physical evidence relating to the deaths.

“Now three government-hired men, after two months, conveniently disregarded the facts, defended the AFP, maliciously blamed the NPA and even the Lopez-owned Energy Development Corporation who was the private employer of Co,” Clamor said.

ARAPATAN also questioned the ballistic tests conducted by the government team.  “Of course the bullets found on the bodies wouldn’t match the guns offered by the military.  A killer wouldn’t implicate himself.  It was a cover-up.  The 200-meter peripheral investigation overlooks the supposed close-quarter combat while the trees themselves spoke of ballistic fire from the AFP position,” KARAPATAN said.

Co’s two other companions, Policarpio Balute, a member of a local peasant association, and Roniño Gibe, a contractual forester with EDC’s corporate social responsibility department, survived the attack and gave their testimonies.