SOLCOM chief scores KMP chair for ‘lack of respect’ allegations

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 7, 2020, 12:11 am

<p>Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Southern Luzon Command (<em>PNA File photo</em>)</p>

Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., of the Armed Forces of the Philippines' Southern Luzon Command (PNA File photo)

MANILA -- Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) commander, Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., scored Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP) chairperson Danilo Ramos for claiming that he has no respect for the "living and the dead" over the former’s refusal to release the bodies of two communist rebels killed in an encounter in Laguna, to their comrades.

"Mr. Danilo Ramos of KMP you can ask Cristina Palabay of Karapatan and Satur Ocampo of Bayan (Muna). Just to refresh your minds that as commander of the 4SFBn (Special Forces Battalion) and 1SFBn in the area in 2004 and 2005, respectively, we killed several NPA (New People's Army) terrorists in legitimate encounters and captured four in one of those encounters in Batangas. Guess what former Rep. Satur found out when he called me immediately after? The captured (rebels) were being treated well," he said in a statement to the Philippine News Agency Thursday.

He added that when Palabay and her "truckload of followers" went to check on the captured rebels, she found out that they were eating ice cream and fried chicken while under their custody.

On the claims that he has no respect for the dead, Parlade cited the case of Armando Lazarte alias "Pat Romano" and also known as "Ermin Bellen"  who was killed by government troops in an operation in Antipolo, Rizal in December last year.

He added that he facilitated the release of the body of the slain rebel, who was secretary of the New People’s Army’s Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee's Sub-Regional Military Area 4A, to his relatives for a decent burial.

 “No respect for the dead? Please check with the relatives of (Ermin) 'Bellen' alias 'Pat Romano', killed during a raid in (Antipolo, Rizal) last (December), who facilitated the release of his body so that he may be given a decent burial," he said.

KMP and its allies, he said, should respect the law rather than create a ruckus and accuse the government of atrocities or any illegal acts.

"Respect for the law is what you do not have. You know that the cadaver cannot be released to non-relatives but you insist because as far as you are concerned they belong to  'Bayan', not their parents or spouses where you stole these poor victims from. Respect for their grieving families is what you do not have, so don’t tell me about respect, hypocrites," Parlade said.

While military units have always been persuading NPA rebels to surrender peacefully, troops cannot be faulted if the NPAs choose to fight it out and get killed in combat, he added.

“Now that they are dead, don’t lie about their being killed as peasants,” he said, citing the case of Emerito Pinza of Pinagkaisang Ugnayan ng mga Magsasaka sa Laguna (PUMALAG) and one unidentified companion who were killed in an encounter with RMFB 4A elements in Sitio Balat Kahoy, Brgy San Antonio, Laguna on January 19, 2020.

He added that troops recovered one M14 rifle, one shotgun, one Bandolier, four improvised explosive devices, six pieces of seven-meter detonating cords, and four blasting caps from the two rebels.

“They were positively identified by their former comrades now FRs (former rebels) under 1IB (1st Infantry Battalion) as alias 'BIPAR', IL, Pltn 4A1, and Leo San Jose Dela Cruz alias 'Warly', VIL, PLTN 4A1 operating in Laguna and Mauban area," he added.

He said the duo’s wake went on for four days with no one claiming the remains.

“After four days and with no one claiming the bodies, the PNP (Philippine National Police) facilitated the burial of the two in Calamba cemetery," Parlade said.

He also cited the case of Jay-ar Mercado alias "Sander" of the NPA's  “IL, Pltn Serna, KLG MAV" who was killed in an encounter with troops of the 4th Infantry Battalion it Sitio Lupges, Barangay Cambunang, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro on Jan. 25.

Sander was buried at the local cemetery on Feb. after no relatives surfaced to claim the former’s remains, he added.

Mercado, he said, is a notorious member of "KLG MAV" who spearheaded several atrocities in Oriental Mindoro including the murder of two militiamen in Cambayang and Lisap, and attempted murder on a barangay councilor in Barangay Purnaga, Magsaysay town in 2018.

Recovered from the slain NPA were a .38 caliber revolver, hand grenades, terrorist documents, and assorted belongings.

“Clearly, the said personalities are NPA combatants, terrorist, not a plain civilian, involved in previously recorded crimes," Parlade said.

The Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the NPA, are listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)