The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) denied Monday using the remains of slain Jevilyn Campos Cullamat, daughter of Bayan Muna party-list Representative Eufemia Campos Cullamat, as a war trophy.
AFP spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said the photo of the Cullamat’s remains was taken for documentation and reporting purposes, which are required after an encounter.
“It was not meant to scoff at the dead or demean the remains whose identity is not known to the soldiers,” Arevalo said.
“And to be able to identify her, soldiers had to carry the dead body for half a day of hike from the site of the encounter where she was left behind by her NPA (New People’s Army) comrades to the lowland,” he added.
A photo of special forces holding seized communist and NPA flags, standing behind the body of Jevilyn Cullamat, was released by the military. The photo also showed five high-powered firearms in the clash, including one M653 5.56 caliber rifle, three AK-47 rifles, and one M14 rifle. The military also seized five backpacks with “war material and subversive documents” inside.
The AFP spokesman they are already investigating the matter.
“It was not an AFP policy to pass a photo like that; and a similar act constitute a violation of our stringent policy,” Arevalo said.
AFP spox: Soldiers carried Cullamat’s remains after NPA left her behind
On Monday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the inclusion of Jevilyn Cullamat’s lifeless body in a photo of the military troops after the encounter is “normal.”
“Normal naman ‘yung ginagawa ng military eh, ever since eh pinapakita natin ‘yung mga namamatay,” he said, adding the troops did the same with fatalities from the Abu Sayyaf, the Moro National Liberation Front, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
“I have directed the AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) to look into how we can treat this, ‘yung mga namamatay sa encounter, better,” Lorenzana added.
Eufemia Cullamat has condemned the photo posting, stressing that her daughter is not a war trophy.
“Hindi siya bagay, hindi siya isang tropeo na ipaparada para lamang sa propaganda ng militar. Hindi niyo na ginalang ang patay, binabastos pa ninyo ang nagluluksa naming pamilya,” Rep. Cullamat said.