/ 5 April 2022

KABATAAN party-list on Monday renewed its call for a swift, impartial and thorough investigation on the death of volunteer teacher Chad Booc and others nearly 40 days after their deaths.

The group stressed that despite the military’s initial report that the incident was an encounter, recent autopsy findings prove otherwise.

“What is taking the investigation so long, despite widespread public clamor? Are there interests being protected? The fact that government authorities have not raised a finger to expedite the investigation only casts doubt further on the military’s claims and point to a systematic cover-up of the massacre,” the party-list said.

The group also said that family members of the slain group dubbed as New Bataan 5 were harassed by the military.

It added that with the well-documented and publicized string of red-tagging threats against Booc over the years, It is certain that an impartial investigation can potentially prove that the military targets innocent civilians.

“Moreover, leaving their deaths a mystery only cements the chilling effect created by the massacre. Burying the truth would ultimately benefit big mining monopolies seeking entry into Lumad ancestral land in spite of Lumad resistance,” it added.

The group urged the concerned authorities to take action and allow truth and justice to prevail.

“We urge the Commission on Human Rights, in particular, as an independent body to finally take initiative on this investigation for the sake of the families and kin left behind,” they stressed.

“Despite relentless efforts of the state to demonize the New Bataan 5 even after their deaths, many Filipino youth admire the example set by Teacher Chad and Jurain in sacrificing personal comforts and dreams to serve the people, providing needs in places that government cannot reach,” the group explained.