DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 05, 2009) – Communist rebels gunned down a suspect in the brutal murder of a daughter of a senior guerrilla leader in the southern Philippines.
New People’s Army rebels killed Ruben Bitang in an attack over the weekend in Panabo City Davao del Norte province, the Mindanao Daily Mirror reported on Tuesday.
The rebels said Bitang was among those behind the murder of Rebelyn Pitao whose father Leoncio Pitao, is a senior guerrilla leader in Mindanao.
Pitao, 20, was abducted in Davao City on March 4. Her naked body was found the next day floating in a shallow creek in the village of San Isidro in Davao del Norte’s Carmen town. Her family said the body bore torture marks and was believed raped before she was stabbed in the chest.
Reports said Bitang was the driver of the van used in the abduction of the rebel leader’s daughter. Bitang’s nephew, Army Sergeant Helvin Bitang who is assigned with the Military Intelligence Group, was also among those accused by the rebels in the killing of Pitao.
The NPA took responsibility for the Bitang’s killing, saying, members of the Paking Guimbaolibot Red Partisan Brigade, carried out the attack.
Communist rebels last month vowed to seek to justice for the murder of Pitao, a teacher by profession who led a simple and quiet life with her family in Davao City.
Her father who is also known as Kumander Parago is the chieftain of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command. Pitao tagged 11 military intelligence agents as behind the murder.
The Army’s 10th Infantry Division and the Eastern Mindanao Command have repeatedly denied any involvements of soldiers to the murder. Police also put up Task Force Rebelyn which is investigating the killing of Pitao’s daughter.
But Pitao said the police task force is insignificant. “Its sole purpose is to do the bidding of the criminal Arroyo regime. It has only proven the public perception that it was hastily set up to instantly absolve the criminal agents of the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command-AFP for masterminding and executing Rebelyn's abduction, torture, rape and murder,” he said.
“The Zarzuela of the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command-AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) during the Commission on Human Rights public hearing and the lies it has propagated related to Rebelyn's death are just the tip of the rottenness of the AFP organization. The duplicity and criminal deeds of Arroyo's running dogs has long been exposed here in Southern Mindanao. It comes as no surprise that the rotten state is not on the people's side, but on the executioners, the killers, the minions of the 10th Infantry Division-Eastern Mindanao Command-AFP,” Pitao said.
The NPA has ordered the arrest of all those involved in the killing of the woman while the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) also held Arroyo and the AFP responsible for the murder.
The CPP said the murder of Pitao’s daughter highlights the Arroyo regime’s innumerable crimes against unarmed civilians who are invariably regarded by the military and its counter-insurgency strategists as combatants in the raging civil war.
Communist rebels broke off peace talks with Manila in 2004 after the United States on government's prodding listed the CPP and the NPA, including the National Democratic Front as foreign terrorist organizations and froze their assets abroad. (Mindanao Examiner)