Fact-finding confirms massacre of Capion family, points to accountability of AFP, LGU and Mining Co.

The recently concluded fact-finding mission in sitio Alyong, Kimlawis, Kiblawan, Davao del Sur affirmed Karapatan’s claim that the Capion family was massacred and not killed in an encounter; and Daguil Capion, the supposed target of the military attack, was not with his family in the farm hut as the military claims.

The mission also confirmed earlier reports on the involvement of Mr. Dan Balandra, a security consultant to Sagittarius Mining, Inc.(SMI)-XStrata-Copper  and a former colonel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Karapatan reiterates its call to the AFP to go after those who were responsible for the massacre and charge them in court, as it challenges the Aquino government to discontinue the operation of the SMI-Xtrata. “We call on the AFP to file in civilian court charges against Col. Alexis Bravo and members of the 27th IB.

It is not enough that they are contained in the barracks of the 10th ID enjoying the perks of their position,” said Marie Hilao-Enriquez, chairperson of Karapatan. Hilao-Enriquez joined the National Peace and Solidarity Mission led by the Justice for Capion Family, Justice for All Network at Sitio Alyong, Barangay Kimlawis, last November 17.

According to the mission report, Dan Balandra visited the Capion family for three consecutive days immediately before the massacre.  The witnesses believed that Balandra knew of the military’s plan to wipe out the Capion family and has provided the military information of Daguil’s supposed presence in the hut. It was known that Balandra was trying to convince Daguil to surrender.

Another witness told the mission that after the massacre of Juvy and her two sons, a soldier, known as Murillo, and Lt. Jimenez wanted to shoot the two survivors, ages five and 13, to leave no witnesses.

Daguil Capion, with other members of the Blaan tribe, waged a pangayaw against the intrusion of the SMI-Xstrata into their ancestral lands. Both the AFP and the mayor worked to discredit the pangayaw, a traditional practice of waging war against the enemies of the tribe. Daguil was declared a bandit and a PhP300,000 reward money was offered for his capture, dead or alive.

People in the community knew of Col. Alexis Bravo’s  boastful statement that Daguil would be captured or killed in three months after the issuance of the bounty.   “Thus, it is very clear that the massacre was a planned attack and not just a ‘lapse in judgement’ on the part of the military.  It is also clear that that the mayor, the AFP and X-strata-SMI, through ex-colonel Baladad, connived to capture Dagil and kill his family,” said Hilao-Enriquez.

Hilao-Enriquez added that, “interviews revealed that Jordan Capion, 13, with one of the victims, was already in his school uniform, sipping his coffee a few meters outside of the house when the military opened fire. The military could clearly see that he was not Dagil but a child ready to go to school.”

“The Capion massacre highlights the government’s connivance with the SMI-Xtrata.  From the LGU to the national government and through the AFP, it is obvious that the Aquino government is protecting the interest of the  mining company to the detriment of the Blaan and other residents of the areas covered by the mining operations.  Pres. Aquino’s silence on the massacre speaks of his bias,” added Hilao-Enriquez.