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Ericson Acosta hit in the aorta but with no bleeding -forensic specialist Fortun

By JISELLE CASUCIAN,GMA Integrated News

Forensic specialist Dr. Raquel Fortun, who performed an autopsy on National Democratic Front consultant Ericson Acosta who was killed during a November 2022 armed encounter with Philippine security forces, said her examination raised more questions about how Acosta died.

During a Saturday press conference during which she presented her findings, Fortun said that Acosta’s body received fatal shots in the front and twice in the back with one of the bullets hitting his spine.

According to Fortune, there was no sign of hemorrhaging in the area where he was shot in the back.

“Very severe yan. Yung aorta tinamaan eh. You would expect a lot of bleeding there. But how come walang bleeding? Meron ngang parang sugat na intestines din, wala ding hemorrhage,” Fortun said.

“Magble-bleed ka kung buhay ka pa. Pag patay, hindi na.”

Fortun also raised questions regarding the direction of the gunshot wounds found both on the front and back of the chest, stating that this was not consistent with the usual wounds sustained from shootouts.

“Usually it’s just uni-directional, meaning it’s a barrage of shots galing from one source na tatama sayo. Malayo yung you have shooters from different sides kasi matatamaan din yang mga yan eh. So ang tanong natin is: Ano yan, inikot ba siya tapos binaril pa? Madaming tanong.” Fortun said.

According to the military reports, Acosta died on November 30, 2022 along with peasant leader Joseph Jimenez during an armed encounter in Kabankalan, Negros.

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With the recent autopsy raising more questions, Fortun explained that her examination was limited to the evidence she had at hand, and her examination was conducted as best as she could with the limited information she could access.

“This is the reason why we have problems. Walang sistema [ang forensics] sa Pilipinas. Dapat dito, basic homicide investigation,” Fortun said.

“In an ideal scenario, I would put together everything. Findings ko sa katawan, ano ang [crime] scene, anong sinasabi ng mga tao, asan ang ebidensya, saan nakuha ang casing. Dapat yan ima-match. Walang ganyan sa Pilipinas.”

Sought for comment, Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson Colonel Medel Aguilar told GMA News Online, "We stand by the report of our soldiers on the ground who knew exactly what happened."

The Justice for Ericson Acosta organization had called for a ballistics report on two bullets recovered from Acosta’s body with the firearms of the soldiers who were allegedly involved in the encounters on November 30.

The Commission on Human Rights began its probe into the death of Acosta in December, while the Armed Forces of the Philippines denied that any human rights violation took place during the encounter as “there is no need to lie about the incident.” — DVM, GMA Integrated News