TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Army has called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and the local government unit of Carigara, Leyte to help investigate the murder of a former New People’s Army (NPA) rebel perpetrated by the latter's comrades.
Major Gen. Edgardo De Leon, commander of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, said execution of former NPA rebels could be a strategy of the communist terrorist group to threaten those planning to surrender to the government and instill fear among people in the community.
The official made the call in a press briefing here on Monday, just a few days after the Dec. 8 killing of Josimo "Sosing" Indita, a former rebel and resident of Binibihan village in Carigara town.
A letter left by NPA Mt. Amandawin Command leader, Ka Reynaldo, beside the victim’s body only proved that the terrorist group committed the murder, apparently on suspicion that he worked as an asset of government forces.
“The killing of Indita is a blatant violation of the International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Our call to CHR is to investigate the death of Indita, a harmless civilian mercilessly killed by the NPA. The rebel was even proud that they’re behind the murder. We also urge the local government to launch a fact-finding investigation since Indita is their constituent,” he said.
De Leon said enforcing the IHL and conducting an investigation is a way of protecting civilians from abuses.
Unlike the communist group, the military always upholds, observes, and respects the human rights of everyone, even rebels who they fight against, he pointed out.
“If there is (someone who) wounded, the Army will make sure that the wounded NPA will get medical treatment,” de Leon said.
“As soldiers, we can promise and assure that we will not harm any civilians who are not part of the conflict. But can rebels guarantee it? IHL is a commitment that should be done by both parties and not by one group alone,” he added.
Carigara has been the focus of the military’s anti-insurgency drive after the NPA intensified its recruitment efforts in the town's upland communities in the past two years.
It is about 48 kilometers northwest of this regional capital. It is a second class town with a population of over 51,000.
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the National Democratic Front as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)