Wednesday, July 01, 2009

NPA Rebels Hit Back On AFP Reports About Leader

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 1, 2009) – Philippine communist rebels branded as propaganda a military report linking a senior guerrilla leader on sex scandals and money laundering activities in Mindanao.

Army Colonel Daniel Lucero, commander of the Civil-Military Operations Group, said Leoncio Pitao, head of the New People’s Army’s Pulang Bagani Command, had abused several women rebels and siphoned off funds collected from extortion activities in the southern Philippines.

Lucero 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,” he said.

The NPA said: “The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has just made official its policy of adding another dimension to its counterrevolutionary war under the mantle of the Arroyo regime’s Enhanced National Internal Security Plan notoriously known as Oplan Bantay Laya II or OBL II. Shortly after General Victor Ibrado hinted about adding new parameters to its counter-insurgency program - citing the difficulties encountered in achieving its mid-2010 goals - the AFP’s black propaganda machinery took off with its rehashed vilification campaign against leaders of the revolutionary movement.”

Ibrado is the AFP Chief-of-Staff.

“The new dimension General Ibrado was talking about - it came to pass - was directly concocted out of the latest showbiz scandal that has since pre-occupied the national mass media. Taking cue from his higher ups, Colonel Daniel Lucero of the Philippine Army’s Civil Military Operations Group presented his own sex scandal and corruption expose, against Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao, Red commander of the NPA’s 1st Pulang Bagani Company in Southern Mindanao,” Rigoberto Sanchez, a rebel spokesman, said in a statement.

Lucero said Pitao was also charged and found guilty of embezzling NPA funds, mostly extortion money collected from businesses in Mindanao. He also alleged that Pitao’s son molested female NPA members.

“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 said.
But the NPA branded the accusations as an “ill-conceived character assassination.”

“For all intents and purposes, Colonel Lucero’s exposé is nothing but a lowest level type of an ill-conceived character assassination scheme. AFP psychological operation run alongside its murderous campaign of OBL-mandated extrajudicial killing that has victimized hundreds of activists, unarmed civilians and non-combatants that included Ka Parago’s daughter Rebelyn,” Sanchez said.

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 NPA accused soldiers and civilian informants linked to the brutal killing of the woman and had already killed four of them - Ruben Bitang, Macky Estremos, Marcelino Payot and Bobong Gambuta. The military denied it was behind Pitao’s murder.

“It is quite clear that the AFP has had utilized all imaginable combat, intelligence and special operations against units and leaders of the NPA. They have killed many leaders and members of militant and progressive organizations and continue to place an even larger number in the AFP Order of Battle. Thus, Colonel Lucero’s cheap propaganda gimmick comes as no surprise as he merely rides on a crest of widespread public attention generated by the latest scandal to rock the Philippine entertainment scene,” Sanchez said.

“Colonel Lucero of the AFP top brass would be well-advised if they look into the endemic corruption that is a plague in the AFP organization. The Filipino people are convinced that a cabal of AFP generals are lording it over the AFP, siphoning public funds to their pockets as has been credibly revealed during the Oakwood Mutiny and the recent Western Mindanao Command corruption as disclosed by Navy Lt. SG Nancy Gadian, among others,” he further said.

Gadian has accused senior military officials of pocketing funds intended for a joint US-Philippine military exercises in Mindanao. The military said it is investigating Gadian’s allegations, but also ordered her arrest after she spoke to the media about corruption in the AFP.

Sanchez said:”Gloria Arroyo and her husband Mike Arroyo jointly command the biggest corruption syndicate in the country is no longer news to the people; it only further inflames the people’s rage and steels their resolve to oust the fake and hated president in conjunction with the armed revolutionary struggle. No amount of AFP black propaganda against the people’s army and its leaders could deter its steady advance.”

The NPA, armed wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines, has been fighting the past four decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the country. (Mindanao Examiner)

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