AFP “promoting” ex-NPA to bag reward money — CPP

By CPP Information Bureau

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today charged the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of making false claims about the arrest of a top Party leader in order to pocket millions of pesos from the anomalous reward money system of the Aquino regime.

The CPP statement was in reaction to the arrest last Tuesday of Eduardo Almores Esteban in Jaro, Iloilo whom the AFP claims to be a former secretary of the CPP Ilocos-Cordillera Regional Committee and head of the so-called Communications Bureau of the CPP. The AFP said there is a PhP5.8 million (US$132,000) reward for Esteban’s arrest.

“Indeed, Esteban, now 60 years old, was once part of the organizational machinery of the CPP. As a cadre and fighter, Esteban served the revolutionary movement for many long years but personal circumstances made him choose to retire around ten years ago,” said the CPP. Since then, Esteban has been living with his family in their hometown in Iloilo.

The CPP clarified, however, that Esteban was never part of the revolutionary forces in the Ilocos-Cordillera region (ICR) nor was he a leading cadre of the CPP in the ICR. “The charges filed against him in Abra and Bangued are clearly fabricated.”

The CPP called for Esteban’s immediate release and the dismissal of all trumped-up charges against him.

“The Aquino regime’s rewards system has been a source of widespread corruption and human rights violations,” said the CPP. “Millions of pesos of public money line the pockets of military officials whenever they claim to have arrested someone with a bounty on his head.”

“A case in point was the arrest and torture in 2012 of security guard Rolando Panesa whom the AFP insisted was a ‘Benjamin Mendoza,’ allegedly the secretary of the CPP committee in the Southern Tagalog region. Panesa was released around a year later, but only after officials of the AFP’s Southern Luzon Command had claimed around P10 million in reward money.

“Aquino’s defense and security officials have refused to make public the names of people included in the reward money system of the DILG, making it a virtual sword of Damocles on anyone who chooses to oppose the Aquino regime and its puppet, brutal and corrupt rule,” added the CPP.