One detainee suffers lockjaw - lawyer
MANILA (UPDATED) - It took three days for a farmer to learn that his son was among those killed in the violent dispersal of protesting farmers in Kidapawan City.
Ebao Sulang told the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights that he had been looking for his son, Darwin, but could not find him after the bloody dispersal. Both father and son were among the protesting farmers.
Sulang, in a translation by Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, said he went to the United Methodist church but was unable to find his son. Nobody knew where he was. It was only through a video he watched that he learned about his son's fate.
"Nakita mo na lang sa video na nakadapa at may nakalagay sa likod na DOH," Cayetano said.
It was on April 3 when he found out that his son's body was in a morgue in Kidapawan. He told the Senate probe that his son's head "had saw wounds."
Ephraim Cortez of the National Union of People's Lawyers (NUPL), acting as counsel of the witnesses and those detained, said autopsy reports revealed that the 22-year old Sulang died of blunt trauma to the head.
"Pero we have evidence na hindi blunt trauma kundi bullet wounds and we are arranging actually for an autopsy and I believe the CHR (Commission on Human Rights) already conducted an autopsy," he said.
According to Alejandro Gunao of the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO), autopsy results did show that the younger Sulang had a gunshot wound in the head.
But he told the Senate panel they could not verify the type of firearm used since they did not recover the bullet.
Cayetano, however, asked why the details on the SOCO report were different from those on Sulang's death certificate, which says he died due to a punctured wound and not a gunshot wound.
Gunao said he does not know but will look into the matter.
The elder Sulang sought help from Arakan Mayor Rene Rubino to bring his son's remains from the morgue to his home.
Another witness, farmer Roger Emoy, told the hearing that he also sustained a gunshot wound in the arm during the dispersal.
"Lumaban kami, di ko namalayan na may tama na pala ako. At nung nakita ko, umatras na ako papunta ng Methodist. Ang mga kasama ko, ang iba tinamaan, nagsitakbuhan na kami," he said.
Some of those injured also had gunshot wounds, he said.
Cortez said they will submit all affidavits they were able to prepare to the Senate committee.
BAIL FOR ALL
When asked by Sen. Koko Pimentel why those detained have not posted bail, Cortez explained that the bail is set at P12,500 each or around P900,000 for all the detainees, including three pregnant women and senior citizens charged with direct assault.
The bail was later reduced to P2,000 or about P100,000 for all detainees.
"Karamihan sa mga babae, ang sinabi sa kanila pauuwiin na sila. Pinasakay sa sasakyan, dinala sa gym, pinakain ng spaghetti and then all of a sudden biglang kinasuhan," Cortez said.
He also added that one female detained at the Kidapawan City Jail was rushed to the hospital because of tetanus.
Jennylyn Dagohoy, they learned, suffered lockjaw. "She was never given medical attention at the Kidapawan city jail," Cortez said.
Cortez said she was one of the missing persons they were looking for after the dispersal. She is now at the Cotabato Provincial Hospital.
"Unfortunately, we were denied access to information the whole time that we were here," he said.
Cortez said the NUPL is negotiating for a motion for recognizance for the pregnant women and the senior citizens, "and hopefully some of the church leaders will agree to be the custodians."