LETTER | Justice for Recca, Justice for Lacub
October 15, 2014
Recca, 33, was a member of the New People’s Army in the Cordillera region. She died along with six other combatants and two civilians in the course of military operations conducted by the 41st Infantry Battalion in Brgy. Guinginabang, Lacub, Abra last September 4, 2014.
We were informed of her death last September 7 by the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance after they had retrieved the remains of Recca and her comrades in Lacub and brought them to Baguio City.
It was and it still is a difficult time for the family.
We never had the chance to see her. We had to identify her through photos taken after she was retrieved in Lacub. Recca was barely identifiable if not for her distinct overbite. Half of her face had been blown off. The desecration of her remains was undeniable and apparent.
Our anguish grew a thousand fold as the autopsy conducted by the National Bureau of Investigation confirmed this and more.
The autopsy revealed that Recca had not sustained any gunshot wound. Not a single bullet passed through her body. Her skull resembled that of a crushed egg and her brains were missing. Her legs bore multiple fractures, the bone practically shattered. Her lungs were severely contused. Massive hematoma covered her torso. Blunt massive traumatic injuries were identified to be the cause of her death.
Clearly, Recca had been captured alive that morning of September 4 yet she was later left by military elements for local residents to bring to Lacub poblacion lifeless and inhumanely desecrated.
We believe that she was subjected to much torture, inhumane and barbaric treatment until her last breath.
Likewise, the remains of six other members of the NPA and two civilians killed in the same military operation appear to have been desecrated as well.
All these indicate that there were gross violations of international and domestic instruments on the principles of human rights and international humanitarian law committed by the units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. War, violent and harsh as it already is should not be so cruel and inhumane that the helpless, lifeless body of one’s enemy should be desecrated. We are appalled that our family bears as direct witness to this brutality of the AFP.
In the midst of these violations, we find it an insult, even abhorrent, unjust and revolting that the AFP and its commander in chief President Aquino should deem the 41st IBPA and its commanding officers worthy of commendation and promotion. These medals and commendations accorded to 2Lt. Joe Mari Landicho and Capt. Deo Martinez, head of operating troops and operations officer respectively and the rest of the 41st IBPA tell us how these barbaric acts are condoned, encouraged and even applauded by this government.
We demand that these medals and commendations be recalled.
We strongly appeal that the 41st IBPA, all units involved in the military operations in Lacub, and the 5th Infantry Division of the Philippines Army (IDPA), from which the 41st IBPA takes its command, be investigated, prosecuted and brought to justice. Urgent and necessary steps should be taken to make those responsible for these gross violations of human rights and International Humanitarian Law are meted out with the utmost disciplinary action and are made accountable.
We call for the immediate pull out of troops and an end to military operations in Lacub, Abra and for peace negotiations between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines to immediately resume.
We shall fight for justice and we shall not rest.
The family of Recca Noelle M. Monte,
Capt. Noel Monte Sr PCG (ret)
Rebecca Monte, MD
Janice Lee M. Monte
Noel Monte, Jr.
We commemorate the 40th day after her death on October 14; however, the public memorial service will be held on October 18, Saturday, 3:00PM at the St. Peter Parish Columbary, Commonwealth Quezon City. Do join us once more in celebrating her life and in affirming our commitment to fight for justice.