On the desecration of the remains of Jevilyn Cullamat

Karapatan expresses our condolences to Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, her family and their community on the recent death of her daughter Jevilyn in Surigao del Sur.

We call on the public to accord respect to Rep. Cullamat and her family for them to properly grieve for Jevilyn, as we denounce the despicable and malicious rhetoric by members of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) against Cullamat during these difficult times. Itigil ninyo ang paggamit sa isang trahedya para lalo pang maglubid ng kasinungalingan ninyo.

There is a need to hold State forces accountable for the blatant desecration of the remains of Jevilyn through the brandishing of her body like an object or trophy for photo opportunities of the military. Such practices have been likewise apparent in the cases of Rona Jane Manalo and Andrea Rosal together with their colleagues who were killed in Palawan and many other so-called combatants, or civilians who have been felled by State forces in the course of the drug war and counterinsurgency programs, as if they are wild animals for display.

Such acts however are not surprising with a government which clearly has this mad fetish for trophying and disrespecting the dead. The numerous accounts of families of the sham drug war on the mutilated bodies of their killed loved ones, the agonizing days of the family of Randall Echanis when the police kidnapped his remains from his family, the whisking off of Baby River’s coffin with her remains from her grandmothers and family during her funeral – only a cruel, murderous, barbaric government can do such things.

We should never let these atrocious war crimes pass. We demand accountability and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law (IHL). We demand an end to the government’s counterinsurgency program as undertaken by the NTF-ELCAC and State forces that result in human rights and IHL violations.