ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-126-2015

14 October 2015
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PHILIPPINES : Six-year-old child killed by stray bullets from alleged encounter

ISSUES: Extrajudicial killing; threat and intimidation
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Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) deeply regrets to inform you that a six-year-old child has been killed by stray bullets. The child sustained two gunshot wounds to her back. Since filing a complaint, the child’s family has been harassed by alleged elements of the military.

CASE DETAILS: (Based on the documentation by the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP))

On 8 August 2012 at 10 p.m., the Miraato family heard gunfire. Yusoph Miraato called his wife Elizabeth and their children to come down and take cover when they heard the gunfire. The family returned to the second floor of their house when one of the children said that the gunfire was coming from Marawi State University (MSU). Their daughter Gaily Miraato, six, collapsed as soon as she entered the room. Her mother Elizabeth quickly picked her up and started screaming when she saw blood coming out of Gaily’s mouth. Yusoph carried Gaily and ran out of their house. Elizabeth called for the neighbours’ help and hailed cars that passed by. Gaily was rushed to Amai Pakpak Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor. Gaily had two gunshot wounds at her back, one of which exited from her left chest.

On 12 August 2012, the Miraato family formally filed a complaint against Brig. Gen. Daniel A. Lucero, who passed away due to an accident and Lt. Col. Siegfred J. Espina, heads of the 65th Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Division. The military member who actually fired the gun which resulted in Gaily’s death was never identified.

Despite the family’s persistence in seeking justice for Gaily, the case has had very little progress. On September 1, 2013, Elizabeth filed a police blotter against an armed group believed to be under the Philippine Army, for visiting their home and allegedly asking Yusoph to sign an Affidavit of Desistance. There were several other occasions when different members of the military allegedly sent by Lt. Col. Espina visited the Miraato residence.

Even at work, Yusoph allegedly experienced harassment and intimidation. Yusoph’s superior, believed to be a friend of Lt. Col. Espina, demoted Yusoph after he declined to settle the case.
On the night of Gaily’s death, there was in fact an encounter between members of the Philippine Army and “lawless elements” at the Marawi State University (MSU). However, the physical location of the MSU was too far from the Miraato residence to consider it as the source of the stray bullet. According to the counter affidavit presented by the accused, there was an attack in the nearby barracks of the 65th Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Division and the National High School located at the back of the Miraato residence, and it was during the exchange of gunshots when Gaily was hit.

Yusoph and Elizabeth expressed their doubts regarding this story. They had gathered signed affidavits of witnesses as proof that there was no encounter at the barracks and the school. According to them, the surrounding area was quiet except for the rounds of firing that killed Gaily. The family argued that the firing was indiscriminate – done as an “acting out”, or was an emotional release or perhaps as “vengeance” for the military men who were injured and killed at the MSU.

SUGGESTED ACTION:
Please write letters to the concerned authorities listed below expressing your concern about this case.

The AHRC is also writing a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on extra-judicial, summary, or arbitrary executions.

To support this case, please click here:

SAMPLE LETTER:

Dear __________,

PHILIPPINES: Six-year-old child killed from stray bullets of alleged encounter

Name of killed victim: Gaily Miraato, six year old girl
Name of harassed victim: Yusoph Miraato
Alleged Perpetrators: Brig. Gen. Daniel A. Lucero (deceased) and Lt. Col. Siegfred J. Espina heads of the 65th Infantry Battalion, 9th Infantry Division.
Date of incident: 8 August 2012 at 10p.m.
Place of incident: Marawi City , Lanao del Sur

I am writing to raise my concern regarding the killing of a six-year-old girl.

On 8 August 2012 at 10 p.m., Gaily Miraato, a six-year old girl collapsed after the sound of gunfire was heard. She was rushed to Amai Pakpak Medical Center where she was pronounced dead on arrival by the doctor. Gaily had two gunshot wounds on her back, one bullet of which exited from her left chest.

The Miraato family filed a formal complaint against the heads of the 65th Infantry Battalion and 9th Infantry Division. The military member who actually fired the gun was never identified.

Different armed members of the military visited the Miraato family and allegedly asked Yusoph to sign an Affidavit of Desistance.

I am deeply concerned that even at work, Yusoph experienced harassment and intimidation. Yusoph’s superior who was believed to be the friend of Lt. Col. Espina, allegedly demoted Yusoph after he declined to settle the case. I am in the opinion, that harassment to the family and demotion were deliberately acts to repress Yusoph and the family from complaining.

I urge you to conduct an effective investigation into this case. The command officer should divulge the list of soldiers on duty during the incident. Also, a forensic examination should be performed on bullets and guns used during the firefight.

I urge you to ensure that Gaily’s family is afforded with adequate security and protection in pursuing the case. Lastly, ensure that justice should be afforded without delay.

I trust that you will take appropriate action in this.

Yours sincerely,

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PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

1. Mr. Benigno Aquino III
President
Republic of the Philippines
Malacanang Palace
JP Laurel Street, San Miguel
Manila 1005
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 736 1010
Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

2. Mr. Jose Luis Martin Gascon
Chairperson
Commission on Human Rights
SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue
U.P. Complex, Diliman
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 929 0102

3. Police Director Ricardo Marquez
Chief
Philippine National Police (PNP)
Camp General Rafael Crame,
Quezon City
PHILIPPINES
Fax +632 7248763
Email: feedback@pnp.gov.ph

4. Ms. Leila de Lima
Secretary
Department of Justice (DOJ)
DOJ Bldg., Padre Faura
1004 Manila
PHILIPPINES
Fax: +63 2 521 1614
E-mail: soj@doj.gov.ph

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.

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