Murder of NPA leader’s father violates International Humanitarian Law — NDFP

NDFP International Information Office

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) negotiating panel chairperson today condemns the murder of the father of a leading cadre of the New People’s Army (NPA) in southern Mindanao by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) as a gross violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL).

“The brutal murder of 57-year old peasant Conrado Cañete because he was the father of Ka Jinggoy of the NPA’s 4th Pulang Bagani Command is a crime most despicable. It shows once more the utter lack of respect of the Macapagal-Arroyo regime for International Humanitarian Law in targeting non-combatant relatives of suspected NPA commanders for murder. In this regard, the GMA regime can be held liable for war crimes,” said Luis Jalandoni, Chairperson of the NDFP negotiating panel.

According to the spokesman of the 4th Pulang Bagani Command, accounts of eyewitnesses point to elements of the 7th Special Forces of the 25th Infantry Battalion as having a direct hand in the killing of Cañete. On 28 November these elements were seen joining the group of Cañete and other civilians in celebrating the fiesta in Brgy. Banlag, Monkayo, Compostela Valley. That night, Canete disappeared.

On 29 November, witnesses said a body was thrown out of a car in a roadside in Brgy. Ganaban, Monkayo, Compostela Valley. Several armed men jumped out of the car and riddled the body with bullets. The body turned out to be Cañete. It had 12 bullet wounds.

“Cañete and his family have been targets of surveillance by the military. His killing is part of Oplan Bantay Laya )OBL) and an attempt by the military to retaliate against suspected NPA leaders and members in the hope of forcing them to surrender. These have been employed in the cases of the daughter and brother of Leoncio Pitao and the brother of Tirso Alcantara,” Jalandoni said.

Pitao’s daughter, Rebelyn, was found dead on March 5 this year in Brgy. San Isidro, Carmen, Davao del Norte by suspected military elements. The 20-year old schoolteacher was abducted, tortured, raped and stabbed to death. Pitao’s brother, Danilo, was also believed to have been killed by military personnel in June 2008.

Meanwhile, Virgilio Alcantara, brother of Tirso Alcantara of the NPA’s Melito Glor command in Southern Tagalog was killed by military assets while on board a jeepney in May 2001.

“To date, these crimes remain unsolved. Oplan Bantay Laya utilizes the dirtiest and foulest of tactics in its desperate and futile attempt to render the revolutionary movement insignificant by the end of 2010 as decreed by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo,” Jalandoni stated.

“With all the blood of innocent civilians in her hands, Mrs. Arroyo can be held accountable for war crimes under International Humanitarian Law,” he concluded.