Cebu group demands probe into deaths of 'Bilar 5' in Bohol

Bohol map.
Bohol map.

A CEBU-BASED progressive group has urged for a fair and independent investigation into the deaths of five individuals, including a bar passer who was allegedly a member of an armed group, killed in a police operation in Bilar, Bohol on Feb. 23, 2024.

Bayan Central Visayas has called upon the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), religious groups and human rights advocates to conduct an impartial investigation to uncover the truth behind the deaths of Hannah Cesista, Domingo Compoc, Perlito Historia, Marlon Omosura and Alberto Sancho.

The group has also raised concerns about the investigation conducted by the 47th Infantry Battalion and the Bohol Police Provincial Office, fearing potential military and police intervention in the investigation.

The state forces may have threatened and silenced witnesses to manipulate the narrative, Bayan Central Visayas added.

Encounter

On the early morning of Feb. 23, an encounter between government troops and the New People’s Army (NPA) resulted in the death of the alleged five rebels and a police officer at the Sitio Matin-ao 2, Barangay Campagao in Bilar town.

According to the police report, Compoc, also known as (AKA) Ka Silong; Segovia, AKA Aldrin, who served as a political guide and assistant squad leader; Omosura, AKA Darwin; Cesita, who went by the aliases “Maya” and “Lean” and who had recently passed the Bar exam, and an alias Juaning were involved.

The encounter occurred when the rebels allegedly opened fire against the police forces, who had gone to the area to serve an arrest warrant against Compoc.

Compoc was identified as the former squad head of the Bohol Party Committee and commanding officer of the Sandatahang Yunit Pangpropaganda, with a P2.6 million bounty.

Compoc was charged with robbery, homicide, attempted homicide, multiple murders, attempted murder and rebellion complaints.

However, Bayan Central Visayas refuted the police report, saying an image of Compoc being captured alive has been circulating online. This raises concerns about possible violations of human rights laws.

The group alleged that Compoc and the four others, including Cesista, were captured alive and tortured to death by the government troops.

Human Rights

It added that family members observed bruises, stab wounds and lacerations on the victims’ bodies.

“Kini nga mga posibleng pagpanglapas sa tawhanong katungod ug sa balaod sa pakiggubat mao ang kinahanglan nga tukion. Hilabihan nga hustisya ang labaw nga dapat ipatumaw sa maong panghitabo,” Bayan Central Visayas chairman Jaime Paglinawan said in a press release statement on Friday, March 1.

(The possible violations of human rights and the laws of war need to be investigated. The highest level of justice should be demanded for such incident.)

Bayan Central Visayas added that the killed individuals were not terrorists, but individuals committed to armed struggle against societal ills affecting Filipino people’s demands. / EHP

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