THE Commission on Human Rights (CHR)- Northern Mindanao said it will investigate the alleged atrocities inflicted by New People's Army (NPA) rebels on the three soldiers who were killed on February 1, Wednesday, at Sitio Kaleb, Barangay Kibalabag, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.
While its mandate does not include the monitoring of violations under the ceasefire agreement, Lawyer Jeanne Ivy Abrina, CHR regional director, said they will act on President Rodrigo Duterte's pronouncement urging the human rights watchdog to investigate the way the soldiers were killed.
"Actually, dili na apil sa among mandate ang pag-monitor sa violations sa ceasefire agreement (It's not in our mandate to monitor the violations of the ceasefire agreement), but kung naay mudangop sa amo (if someone comes to us) we will investigate, we see it as a complaint filed by President Duterte himself," Abrina said.
"Una nato nga pangutana ana (The first question here is), was there a violation of the humanitarian law? Kay ang Pilipinas (Because in the Philippines) we have our own domestic law that punishes nga nanglapas sa tawhanong katungod," she said.
Duterte, during his visit on Saturday at the wake of the soldiers in 4th Infantry Division's (4ID) Camp Evangelista, Barangay Patag, urged the CHR to investigate the alleged overkill of soldiers Corporal Owen Yee, Private First Class (PFC) Pat Non, and PFC Niño Christopher Talabon.
According to a report from the Scene of the Crime Operatives in Bukidnon, it noted that individually, the soldiers sustained 24 gunshot wounds. A total of 72 gunshots were fired by rebels against the unarmed soldiers.
Duterte also called the NPA rebels as terrorists.
"Why do you kill government soldiers 73 times? Why do you do that? Anong tingin ninyo sa sundalo, aso (Do you think soldiers are dogs)?" Duterte said in a press conference with the media on Sunday, February 6.
The 4ID earlier in a statement said the way the soldiers were killed was "inhuman and overkill in nature."
The investigation will also answer if the rebels will be held accountable of the killing incident, she said.
She added the probe will also include and discuss "any incidental matter pertaining to the revocation of unilateral ceasefire."
She said the results of the investigation will be forwarded to the joint monitoring committee of the peace process.
Abrina added that a team of investigators will be dispatched to the area to look into the matter.
Abrina said the CHR is still hoping that peace talks will resume as civilians will be most affected if firefights continue.