New People’s Army challenge reactionary military, police: Spare the civilians!

By Macario "Ka Karyo" Liwanag
Spokesperson, Narciso Antazo Aramil Command
New People's Army – Rizal province

The killing of Macabud Barangay Captain Claudio Lastimada last March 28, 2009 and the continuous harassment of the residents in the hinterlands of Rizal are cowardly acts perpetrated by AFP troops in the province of Rizal in cahoots with members of the PNP who did nothing to prevent the killing of civilians.

Based on the investigation done by the NAAC-NPA-Rizal, the perpetrators of the murder were members of Charlie Coy, 16th IB-PA stationed beside the San Jose Builders Subdivision, San Jose, Rodriguez, Rizal and led by 2nd Lt. Lopez. Brgy. Captain Lastimada was murdered by 16th IB-PA on the mere suspicion that he was aiding the NPA operating in the municipality of Rodriguez. The place where they treacherously murdered Barangay Captain Lastimada is only a kilometer away from their camp and they have operating troops in Macabud during the time they murdered Lastimada.

Farmers, settlers and members of Dumagat tribes in the municipalities of Rodriguez, San Mateo, Baras, Tanay and Antipolo City are being harassed, threatened and maimed on suspicion of being NPA supporters and sympathizers who helped the NPA in keeping the recently released POWs away from the rescuing troops of the PNP-AFP. The perpetrators of these acts are members of 16th IB-PA, a terror army battalion who was known for their notoriety under the command of the butcher Gen. Jovito Palparan. It was responsible for murdering civilians and decapitating some of the victims to create terror to the communities they suspect as supportive to the NPA. When they were stationed in Mindoro, extra-judicial killings of un-armed civilians and legal activist were their normal operations.

Among the Philippine Army units, it is common knowledge that 16th IB-PA is good only in killing and terrorizing civilians while in the battle with armed members of NPA they are sure losers. Before this unit was transferred to Rizal, the 16th IB-PA was wreaking havoc to the lives and properties of the people in Laguna and North Quezon.

They turned their ire on the civilians like Brgy Capt. Lastimada whenever they experienced failure in many encounters with the NPA. Since being stationed in Rizal, the 16th IB-PA never inflicted any damage to NPA units operating in Rizal and instead suffered defeat after defeats in the series of encounters with NAAC-NPA-Rizal members.

While the AFP troops are killing, maiming ang terrorizing the civilians, the PNP are playing deaf and blind to the crimes being perpetrated by the AFP personnel. Instead of investigating and prosecuting the murderers of brgy captain Claudio Lastimada, they are acting as if nothing happens.

We are again reiterating our challenge to the AFP-PNP to fight us squarely and spare the civilians. The AFP-PNP troops must not harm the civilians and they must uphold the rules of war as stated in the Protocol II, Geneva convention

To the local government of Rodriguez, Rizal specifically to Mayor Cuerpo and the municipal council, we are calling on you to prosecute the 16th IB-PA for the murder of Brgy Capt. Lastimada. We are urging you to push for the removal of the 16th IB-PA in Rodriguez, Rizal before its too late. Brgy Captain Lastimada will not be the last victim. He will be the 1st of the Barangay leader who will be murdered by 16th IB-PA on the mere suspicion of supporting the NPA. If you will not move fast, most of your barangay leaders will be gone even before 2010 election time.

To the families and friends of Brgy. Capt Caludio Lastimada, we assure you that we will work hard to render justice to his death and to all victims of military terrorism. With the help of the people of Rizal, we will make the 16th IB-PA pay for their blood debts against the people.