‘No crossfire’ on death of top botanist

ON the eve of 100 days of the death of top botanist Leonard Co, forester Sofronio Cortez and guide Juilio Borromeo, a witness on the ongoing hearings of the Commission of Human Rights said that a joint task force concluded that there was probable cause in the deaths and that there was no crossfire during the eventful date.

Atty. Jose Sosito, PNP provincial director of Leyte at the time of the incident, said that this was the gist of the report that they submitted to the the PNP Regional office of Region 8. Sosito had since then been reassigned to a PNP instruction and training division related to human rights. He said that the team of Leonard Co was probably mistaken for the NPA by the military.

Ronino Gibe, a survivor during the incident, also affirmed this in his testimony in front of the Commission. He said that it was “raining with bullets” when they dropped down to the ground. They were shouting “tama na sir! Hindi kami kalaban” while they were being fired upon by the military.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang of Justice for Leonard Co Movement said that this was the strongest official report that pinned down who was to blame for the death of the three.

“It is now clear that even the PNP joint task force cannot escape the physical evidence and the strong credible testimonies of the survivors. We hope that the ongoing investigations at the DOJ do not end up like its first report where the DOJ NBI team ignored the very same facts and testimonies”, said Dr. Tapang.

The Justice for Leonard Co Movement will hold a picket at the DOJ on February 22, 2011 to call for a faster investigation and a revamp of the investigating panel. A hearing at the House of Representatives will also folow in the afternoon. A fund raising event cum lugawan will also be held on Thursday, February 24, 2011 where updates on the case will also be given.

On the eve of 100 days of the death of top botanist Leonard Co, forester Sofronio Cortez and guide Juilio Borromeo, a witness on the ongoing hearings of the Commission of Human Rights said that a joint task force concluded that there was probable cause in the deaths and that there was no crossfire during the eventful date.

Atty. Jose Sosito, PNP provincial director of Leyte at the time of the incident, said that this was the gist of the report that they submitted to the the PNP Regional office of Region 8. Sosito had since then been reassigned to a PNP instruction and training division related to human rights. He said that the team of Leonard Co was probably mistaken for the NPA by the military.

Ronino Gibe, a survivor during the incident, also affirmed this in his testimony in front of the Commission. He said that it was “raining with bullets” when they dropped down to the ground. They were shouting “tama na sir! Hindi kami kalaban” while they were being fired upon by the military.

Dr. Giovanni Tapang of Justice for Leonard Co Movement said that this was the strongest official report that pinned down who was to blame for the death of the three.

“It is now clear that even the PNP joint task force cannot escape the physical evidence and the strong credible testimonies of the survivors. We hope that the ongoing investigations at the DOJ do not end up like its first report where the DOJ NBI team ignored the very same facts and testimonies”, said Dr. Tapang.

The Justice for Leonard Co Movement will hold a picket at the DOJ on February 22, 2011 to call for a faster investigation and a revamp of the investigating panel. A hearing at the House of Representatives will also folow in the afternoon. A fund raising event cum lugawan will also be held on Thursday, February 24, 2011 where updates on the case will also be given.

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