Forensic pathologist: Lumad teacher Chad Booc's death a 'homicide'

Annie Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 11 2022 05:24 PM | Updated as of Mar 14 2022 12:01 PM

 Members of the University of the Philippines student council and Save our Schools Network light candles near the UP Oblation to pay tribute to volunteer teacher and human rights advocate Chad Booc who was killed by the government troops along with 4 others during an alleged encounter in Davao de Oro on February 24, 2022. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/file
Members of the University of the Philippines student council and Save our Schools Network light candles near the UP Oblation to pay tribute to volunteer teacher and human rights advocate Chad Booc who was killed by the government troops along with 4 others during an alleged encounter in Davao de Oro on February 24, 2022. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA (2nd UPDATE)—A forensic pathologist has released the result of autopsy she conducted on the body of Lumad teacher Chad Booc, whom the military claimed was a communist rebel killed in an alleged encounter in New Bataan, Davao de Oro last month.

Based on the examination of Dr. Raquel Fortun, there were multiple gunshot wounds and abrasions found in the body of Booc.

His spleen was also lacerated along with other major parts of the body, such as the adrenal gland and spinal cord.

"Even if he had been attended to, he would not survive. It was a homicide," said Fortun. 

Booc was killed with 4 others in an alleged clash between army soldiers and a group of communist rebels in Davao de Oro last month.

The military has branded Booc a communist rebel himself, but various groups have denied this.

In an interview with ANC's "Rundown" Monday, Fortun said the victims were shot with an intent to kill.

"If you're thinking of an encounter wherein 2 individuals were shooting at each other, you'd expect for one thing that shots are frontal because you're facing the other person. So far that doesn't seem to be the case," she said.

She said it raised the question that the victims were "purposely" killed.

Fortun also lamented information about the incident was "very limited".

"Apparently, it's being controlled by the people who did the killing," she added.

Fortun called on the government to have a system where any death from violence should automatically be investigated.

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COMPREHENSIVE PROBE

Protests were held in Quezon City, Cebu, and Davao last week to call for justice for what demonstrators called the "New Bataan 5." 

Save Our Schools Network led the protest in Quezon City, which was held at the Philcoa area. The protesters said they want justice for the death of Booc and four others.

Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Eufemia Cullamat called the death of Booc and his companions a "massacre". 

“Walang mapagsidlan ang aming kalungkutan, hindi namin ito titigilan, sisingilin namin ang pumaslang kina Sir Chad at sa New Bataan 5 at sa lahat ng pinatay ng mga berdugong militar na walang ibang layunin kundi pagsilbihan kami na matagal na kaming pinagkaitan ng serbisyong panlipunan," Cullamat said. 

"Kahit ano pa man ang mangyari sa amin, titinding at titindig kami. Ang pagkamatay nila Sir Chad Booc, hindi kami panghihinaan ng loob, bagkus ito ay parang apoy na lumalaglab para sa aming patuloy na pakikibaka upang depensahan ang aming lupang ninuno," she added. 

The lawyer of Booc family also called on the Commission on Human Rights for "a more comprehensive, wide-ranging investigation of these deaths".

"The worst I thought that could happened to them was that they would be arrested again," lawyer Tony La Viña also told ANC.

He believed there was "serious injustice" as the victims were noncombatants. There were also a lot of holes in the military's story of the alleged encounter, he added.

The Communist Party of the Philippines has denied its New People's Army fighters in New Bataan, Davao De Oro had an armed encounter with government forces on Feb. 24, 2022. 

Napoleon Booc, father of Chad, expressed dismay and is contemplating on whether to file charges. 

"I'm not sure yet but I will seek advice,” he said.
 

Booc was laid to rest last Wednesday in Cebu City.

- With a report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News. 

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