MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / June 24, 2009) – The Philippine Army on Wednesday bared a report detailing an alleged sex scandal and money laundering involving a senior leader of the communist rebel group New People’s Army.
Colonel Daniel Lucero, commander of the Civil-Military Operations Group, said Leoncio Pitao, head of the NPA’s Pulang Bagani Command, had abused several women rebels.
He said the report on Pitao, whose nom de guerre is Kumander Parago, came from former rebels who had surrendered to the government in recent years. “The accounts here were revealed by Parago’s former followers who are now working with the government to restore the wellbeing of our nation which is being wrecked by a noxious social belief,” Lucero said.
Lucero said Pitao was previously meted disciplinary action by the Communist Party of the Philippines for having an illegal and illicit affair with a female member of his unit, Lalay, who was then the finance and logistic officer of the rebel’s Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC).
“A sexual relationship of Parago with a female member of his unit was discovered when one time Parago was inside a jungle hammock with CTL Lalay, the then finance and logistics officer of the main regional guerilla unit of the SMRC. Unfortunately, the rope of the hammock accidentally broke and they both rolled down toward the slope naked. As a consequence, Parago was placed on disciplinary action while Lalay was transferred to Front Committee 53 where she died during an encounter against government forces near the North Cotabato-Davao City boundary in 2003,” Lucero said.
Lucero said Pitao’s illicit relationship with other female rebels continued secretly. “He had an illicit liaison with CTL Inday, wife of CTL Federico Moreno, alias Luther. This relationship bore CTL Inday a child which led to the marital separation of Inday and Luther,” he said.
He said in 2005, Pitao was investigated by an NPA leader Ariel Badiang, the second deputy secretary of the SMRC, of yet another case of exploitation of women.
“Parago was reported to have organized an NPA platoon composed of all women whom he personally led. The husbands of these women later filed complaints against Parago for sleeping with their wives. As a result, Parago was instructed by the SMRC to return these female NPA members to their original organization,” Lucero said.
He said Pitao then had another illegal affair with a rebel named Cording, the wife of another NPA commander, Egor. Pitao allegedly transferred Egor to Bukidnon province to hide his illicit affair with the woman.
“Parago still maintains his relationship with Helen, his bona fide wife, but sometime first week of this month - June 2009, Parago was shot and wounded by another CTL Luther after learning that Parago also had an affair with his wife. Parago suffered gun shot wounds on his back and buttocks. This was the second time he was shot by his subordinate. At present, Parago is still recovering from his injuries,” Lucero said.
It was unknown what happened to Luther. Lucero did not say whether Pitao was charged separately for having an affair with Luther’s wife.
But Lucero said Pitao was also found guilty by an NPA revolutionary court for allegedly pocketing funds, mostly derived from extortion activities in southern Mindanao.
“Aside from all those sexual molestation charges, Parago was also found guilty by the Communist Party of the Philippines of pocketing NPA funds. Despite of the disciplinary actions imposed on him, he still retained his command – the Pulang Bagani. And as revealed by his former followers, Leoncio Pitao pockets an average of five million pesos at least every quarter of the year and these came from extortion activities - from different business establishments in Davao area - which he embezzles for his personal use. His family is reportedly living in affluence.”
“In a similar fashion, CTL Ryan Pitao, a son of Parago, was also revealed to have sexually molested a number of female members of the Pulang Bagani Command, which Parago is said to be tolerating,” Lucero further said.
There was no immediate statement from Pitao, one of the most elusive leaders of the NPA and the object of long years of military operations in Mindanao. (Mindanao Examiner)