Gen. Tabaquero is a big hypocrite in blaming the NPA for Fr. Lucero’s killing

By CPP Information Bureau

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today called 8th ID chief Gen. Arthur Tabaquero a big hypocrite in calling Fr. Cecilio Lucero a friend of the military and in blaming the NPA for the Sept. 6 murder of the human rights advocate.

"Fr. Lucero was a critic of the military's human rights abuses, but even those who are involved in war should respect the laws of war such as sparing civilians like him," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. "

Moreover, nobody believes Gen. Tabaquero because the Arroyo regime has been condemned worldwide for its bloodstained human rights record. Fr. Lucero is the second progressive personality assassinated this year in Northern Samar, a priority area in the 8th ID's implementation of Oplan Bantay Laya. To remember, the activist 60-year-old Dr. Bartolome Resuello was brutally riddled with M16 bullets last April 1 in Pambujan. In the eyes of the people, Fr. Cecilio Lucero is the latest victim of military death squads targeting progressives in Eastern Visayas and the whole country as a nefarious component of Oplan Bantay Laya. Not a single perpetrator has been caught and punished for the political killings in Eastern Visayas that that claimed the lives of Atty. Felidito Dacut, Sammy Bandilla, Rev. Edison Lapuz, Atty. Norman Bocar and many more innocent civilians."

Fr. Salas added that the political killings show that Gen. Tabaquero had no moral authority to propose a peace pact and campaign against electoral violence in Samar province.

"As an instrument of the Arroyo government, it is the 8th ID in fact that monopolizes reactionary violence through political killings, attacks on civilian communities and brutal political repression of those who are against the corrupt regime. The local warlords in Samar pale in comparison to Bloody Gloria's reign of terror. While the 8th ID feigns concern for the electoral exercise, its minions are harassing or killing those in progressive organizations and party-list such as Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women's Party and Anakpawis. This is not to mention the electioneering of the military, which supports the most reactionary officials who back Oplan Bantay Laya, as well as promotes fascist groups such as former Gen. Jovito Palapran's Bantay party-list."

The NDF-EV spokesperson also said that the 8th ID's goal of defeating the revolutionary movement by 2010 is an exercise in futility.

"The crisis and the abhorrent reactionary violence under the Arroyo regime drive more and more people to support and join the revolutionary movement. Our New People's Army is winning many battles in the countryside, recruiting Red fighters in droves and developing additional guerrilla fronts. The 8th ID's atrocities against civilians smack of desperation, reflecting not only its impotence in the battlefield but also its vain attempts to stem popular support for the NPA. For example, right now there are reports that in Northern Samar, the military is openly harassing progressive activists as well as the relatives and friends of those whom it suspects of involvement in the revolutionary movement. The 8th ID is even pressuring community residents at the University of Eastern Philippines-Catarman to allow a military detachment to be set up inside the campus, a glaring violation of international humanitarian law."

Fr. Salas also did not believe that there would be any fruitful government investigation into Fr. Lucero's killing, saying that it is the people who are decisive in bringing about justice for Fr. Lucero and the many victims of political killings.

"The Arroyo government only goes through the motions, and even when there are sincere efforts to investigate, it is clear that the military is being allowed to commit human rights violations with impunity because no one has ever been punished in the political killings. What is important is to unite, dare to struggle and to conquer fear. We must throw off the yoke of political repression, and punish the Arroyo regime through widespread armed and unarmed struggle. In unity there is strength, from strength comes struggle, and struggle makes hope possible. We must persevere towards a movement of millions against the Arroyo regime in asserting the demands for human rights, justice, food, land, jobs, genuine development, sovereignty and peace. It is the Arroyo regime, not the revolutionary movement, that is in peril of looming dismantlement in 2010."