Slain botanist’s wife slams downgrade of murder case vs soldiers-A A +A
Monday, March 4, 2013
THE wife of slain botanist Leonard Co expressed disappointment with the resolution of the Department of Justice to file homicide charges instead of murder against soldiers involved in the killing.
"It wasn't a case of simple homicide. We were really appalled with the resolution. We didn’t expect it,” said Glenda Co in a phone interview with Sun.Star.
She said the DOJ ignored the results of the independent fact-finding mission led scientists and human rights advocates 10 days after the incident last November 15, 2010.
“We have waited this long, only to suffer another injustice. By ignoring the need for justice, they have also ignored the life of service that Leonard and his companions had done to their last breath,” she said in a separate statement.
Results of the independent mission belied claims by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) that Co and two others were killed in crossfire with members of the New People’s Army.
Led by physicist Dr. Giovanni Tapang, the mission's findings showed there was no firefight, and that the continuing bursts of gunfire that felled Co and company was one-sided, originating only from where the soldiers of 16th Infantry Batallion were positioned.
Co’s group was conducting field research for the Energy Development Corp. (EDC) at the time of their death.
For its part, non-government group Hustisya said the DOJ’s stand to downgrade the charges against elements of 16th Infantry
Battalion “manifests a slipshod attempt to whitewash the incident and free the soldiers of their accountability.”
Co said she has to talk to other members of the family and lawyers to map out their next legal step. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)