DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / May 7, 2009) – The New People’s Army on Thursday took responsibility for the killing of a suspect in the murder of a rebel leader’s daughter in the southern Philippines.
It also admitted to killing three others who were working for the Philippine military and tagged as behind the murder of several political activists in Mindanao.
“Revolutionary punishment was served against Military Intelligence Battalion-Armed Forces of the Philippines assets Ruben Bitang, Macky Estremos, Marcelino Payot and Bobong Gambuta in separate dates since March this year. They were part of the 10th Infantry Division death squads based in Panabo City and Davao del Norte,” Rigoberto Sanchez, a rebel spokesman, said in a statement.
The rebels tagged Bitang as among those behind the murder of Rebelyn Pitao, 20, whose father Leoncio Pitao, alias Kumander Parago, is the leader of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command.
Pitao’s daughter 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 woman’s body bore torture marks and was believed raped.
The outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines 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.
The NPA said Bitang was the driver of the van used in the abduction of Pitao. His 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.
Sanchez said members of the Paking Guimbaolibot Red Partisan Brigade carried out Bitang’s killing on May 3 in Panabo City.
He said NPA fighters killed Payot in Panabo City on April 14 and Gambuta on April 27, while Estremos was gunned down in Davao del Norte’s Carmen town late in March.
“The NPA in Southern Mindanao implemented the standing order against four intelligence and death squad operatives of the 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines for committing grave crimes against the revolutionary movement and the people,” he said.
Sanchez said the four men were military spies and members of death squad responsible for many killings of innocent civilians in Mindanao.
The military denied involvements in the killings.
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)