CADAVER SEND-OFF. The remains of a 29-year-old rebel, identified only as “LJ”, is sent home to his family in Mindanao by government troops Saturday morning. The military exhumed LJ’s remains on Nov. 30 in Nueva Vizcaya after his former comrade bared that his body was buried after dying of pneumonia. (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)

MANILA-- After being exhumed from a shallow grave, a cadaver of a communist rebel was sent home to his family in Mindanao by government troops on Saturday.

Col. Doroteo Jalandoni, Northern Luzon Command (NOLCOM) Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said the 29-year-old former rebel Bertoldo Cabatchete Jr. alias "LJ" was a former member of the New People's Army under the Guerrilla Front 88 (GF 88) of the Communist Party of the Philippines-NPA North Central Mindanao Regional Committee (NCMRC).

Jalandoni said "LJ" was one of the NPA members sent from the hinterlands of Agusan del Norte going to the Northern Luzon areas for a force augmentation of the armed groups.

The rebel is Higaonon, a distinct lumad (indigenous people) and is a native of Nasipit District 6, Agusan del Norte.

He was sent to Northern Luzon by his leader with a promise of getting a job--as a laborer.

Because he needed a job, he was immediately enticed. He was deceived of landing a paying job but instead was dispatched to the mountainous area of Sierra Madre for further NPA operations.

Jalandoni said at the time that LJ is about to be sent in Luzon, the NPA had asked permission from his parents, claiming a job awaits their son.

"Mr. Cabatchete will be sent to Luzon supposed to be for a job opportunity as a laborer. That was a story, the lies, and deception given to his family," he added.

Combatant's Journey

Out of the revelations of the NPA surrenderees, the military found out that LJ was one of the missing persons in the country.

During LJ's stay in the hinterlands of the Nueva Viscaya, he got sick with pneumonia which ignored by his comrades instead of having him getting medical treatment.

"He got pneumonia and supposedly he is deteriorating but it was divulged that as long as he is still functioning despite his condition, the rebel operations continued," Jalandoni said.

Eventually, the former rebel died because of pneumonia and was buried without the knowledge of any of his family and relatives.

"What was lost was life and the saddening part of it is--if his life after the deceptions was turned into something good, he could have his better time and opportunities that every Filipino deserves," he said.

The military exhumed LJ's body at the hinterlands of the Brgy. Lipuga in Castañeda, Nueva Viscaya on November 30 following the confession made by his former comrade that he was buried after dying of pneumonia.

The official said the LJ's death is one of the evident acts of inhumane treatment of the communist groups to its members.

"Let us not be duped by this deception of the communist armed groups, giving false promises that are wasting the life of the Filipinos," Jalandoni said as he urged everyone not to fall for the leftists' false patriotism.

He said the communist groups are continuing on spreading lies to attract more individuals to join CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) movements.

"Another life was wasted by joining this armed group and eventually died for nothing," he added.

Meanwhile, Jalandoni said the sendoff shows that the government is fair in providing services to all Filipinos, even to the rebels, and is serious in ending armed conflict in the country.

He added that sending off the cadaver of a rebel shows that the government is sincere with its commitment to serve everyone under its jurisdiction.

"This is just an example to show the government is serious in urging our brother and sisters recruited by the communist armed groups to return to the folds of the law. To stop these wastes of lives," he said.

Relentless war vs. communism

Lola, a former NPA leader, shared some of the deceptive activities of the communist groups, noting that most of the time, LJ's situation has always been identical to the situation of any other NPA member.

"It is part of their (communists) system to spread lies, as long as there is a need to recruit it takes every word just to recruit," Lola said, adding that the NPA recruitment is targeting minors, aged as early as 13-year-old and eventually dies at 16 years old.

Lola said the AFP has been doing the same efforts of sending home the cadavers of the NPA members to their families--which shows respect to those who have been fooled and used by the communists but died for nothing.

The AFP has vowed to undertake efforts to wage an all-out war against the communist terrorist group. (PNA)