MANILA – There is no truth to Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay's claim that Zara Alvarez, who was gunned down by a still unknown assassin in Bacolod City on August 17, is a simple human rights activist.
Thus, said Southern Luzon Command (Solcom) chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., in a statement sent to the Philippine News Agency Sunday.
"You claim that Zara Alvarez is an activist? She is not. She joined the NPA (New People's Army) for two years until 2015 when she was arrested. She was bailed out by Karapatan and went above ground again, probably to take care of her child from (Communist Party of the Philippines) CPP-NPA (Fred) Caña, whom you (Karapatan) bailed out after he was arrested for a string of criminal cases," said Parlade, who is also an official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
He said Alvarez used to be active in the Center for People's Resources and Services (CPRS), a CPP-front established to generate funding from foreign countries.
This is why Karapatan has so much money to bail out captured CPP-NPA fighters and their allies, he added.
"Just like Alexa Pacalda and Malabanan, who all claimed to be Karapatan and human rights activists, they all turned out to have already trained with and joined the NPAs (Tour of Duty), as seen from their videos," he said.
Parlade also called out Palabay for claiming that the military proposal to regulate social platforms is not aimed at countering terrorism but to censor dissent and go after legal organizations tagged as "terrorists".
“To Cristina Palabay of the CPP-NPA-NDF front, KARAPATAN, this is what I said verbatim: ‘Legal front organizations are using the social media to teach their members how to make bombs.’ I did not just say these groups destabilize the government. I also said that these terrorist groups, hiding under their legal cover, continue to provide support to their CPP NPA colleagues,” he said. “Why dont you quote me on that? Nahiya ka sabihin ang masakit na katotohanan sa sinabi ko?” he said.
Earlier, the military said it is proposing that some measures to regulate social media be added in the implementing rules and regulations of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 in a bid to prevent the platform from being used by terrorist groups to radicalize, recruit, and plan their attacks against civilian and military targets.
The Anti-Terrorism Act, he said, is not aimed at activism as the law respects the people's rights and freedom of expression.
“You want to call yourselves activist as cover for your nefarious deeds so by all means, bring it on because the ATL respects our right and freedom of expression- even our freedom to delude ourselves and deceive innocent Filipinos. Activists are free to shout and express dissent, in front of Solcom Freedom Park if they want. The AFP will secure them,” he added.
Not all terrorists go to jail, he said, as some of them are killed or purged by CPP-NPA hit squads for various reasons like sexual and financial opportunism.
He said he suspects that is what happened to Zara Alvarez as secretary of the Regional Whitè Area Committee and Finance of CPP Negros.
“That's what happened to Randy Malayao, too," he added.
Parlade also asked what would the government gain in by killing Alvarez per claims of Karapatan and other militant groups.
"Even if this 'activist' had been ìnvolved in NPA tactical actions like the ambush of Lt. Archie Polenzo of the PA (Philippine Army) in March 2010, what would the government gain by killing her? Ask yourself Palabay, why are you still standing until now if we are censoring dissent? Tell us. Or shall we ask former NPA hitman, James Durimon alias "Jurros' why he was ordered by the CPP Visayas to eliminate ordinary peasants and activists in Negros?" he added.
Parlade also scored the group for claiming that Randall Echanis, who was killed by still unknown persons in Quezon City, is a peace consultant.
“Who do you deceive when you claim he is a peace consultant, Palabay? Peace consultants are recognized ONLY when there are formal peace talks. There aren't,” he said.
Echanis, he added, was in jail for various crimes including the murder of fellow NPAs purged in Inopacan, Leyte. The usual classic tactic of joining the peace negotiations was availed of by the CPP-NDF, if only to release Echanis, as well as other hardcore terrorists from jail.
Many of these "peace consultants" previously released have rejoined the NPAs, attending Plenums, and planning for terroristic actions against the government.
“So humor us all and tell us about your ‘peace consultants’, Palabay,” Parlade said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
“Is it not possible that anyone amongst the kin of the 6,000 CPP NPAs purged on orders of Jose Maria Sison (CPP founder) could have executed Echanis in revenge?” he said.
"Cui bono (to whom is it a benefit?). Definitely not a government that is fully invested in protecting its citizens. Most likely, the worst human rights offenders in this country- bar none. The CPP-NPA-NDF of which Karapatan fronts for," he said. (PNA)