MANILA - Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday told soldiers to stop taking photos with the remains of slain rebels amid the flak the military is getting after it released photos of the slain daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat.
Cullamat's daughter, Jevilyn, died in an encounter with the military in Surigao del Sur last Saturday.
According to Lorenzana, Cullamat has a point when she condemned the military for allegedly desecrating her daughter's remains when they posed for photos behind her body.
"Well, mayroon siyang punto diyan. (Well she has a point there on that). That's why we are coming up with directives again to the GHQ (general headquarters of the AFP), to the people, to the troops not to do this again," Lorenzana said.
Photos released by the Philippine Army showed Jevilyn's body, along with recovered firearms and other paraphernalia from the clash site.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it could not make sense of the military's decision to pose with the dead body of Jevilyn.
"That was wrong. I don't approve of that action. Hindi dapat gawin 'yun (That should not be done). They could pose behind firearms or any other equipment, but not from behind bodies of fallen fighters," Lorenzana said.
"It was uncalled for, it was wrong to do that and I understand the feeling of Congresswoman Cullamat."
Lorenzana, however, maintained the soldiers did not mean to desecrate Jevilyn's remains.
"Our soldiers have always respected fallen fighters, NPA, Abu Sayyaf," Lorenzana said, adding that the military was used to taking pictures of slain rebels, which they have been doing since the 1970s.
"That has always been the practice of the soldiers ever since, its happening long ago," Lorenzana said.
"This picture is for our (military) consumption only and for some reason the picture of Jevilyn Cullamat found itself with the media and that's what (critics) saw."