Friday, March 04, 2011

Philippine troops kill tribal chieftain, son

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Mar. 4, 2011) – Communist rebels accused government troops on Friday of murdering a tribal chieftain and his son on suspicion they were aiding the insurgents in the southern Philippines.

Ricardo Fermiza, a spokesman for the New People’s Army, said the soldiers arrested the duo – Rody Dejos, 50, and Rody Rick Dejos, 26, - and tortured them into admitting they were either rebels or aiding the communist group in Davao del Sur province.

Fermiza said the two civilians were seized and killed by soldiers over the weekend in the town of Santa Cruz where security forces are fighting the rebels. He said the elder Dejos was the deputy leader of a farmers’ group called Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, while his son was executed after he witnessed the murder of his father.

“The condemnable torture and brutal murders of civilians Rody Dejos and son Rody Rick by 39th Infantry Battalion troops reveal the real score of the US-Aquino regime's Oplan Bayanihan and its peace and development rhetoric,” the spokesman said, referring to the government anti-insurgency campaign and Washington’s support to defeat communist rebels in the country.

Despite its ongoing campaign against the rebels, Manila is currently negotiating peace with the underground Communist Party of the Philippines, but Fermiza said “peace dialogue is a masquerade, a sham intended to mislead and to smokescreen their fascism and use of more sinister strong-arm tactics of extra-judicial killings.”

He said government troops had previously threatened Dejos to desist from his activities in the farmers’ organization which is fighting for the rights of peasants in the province.

“He was top of the list of civilians tagged by the 39th Infantry Battalion's order of battle and was required to present himself in the military detachment for tactical interrogation. The military harassed, threatened and coerced him to sign surrender papers as a supposed member of the underground peasant organization.”

“In 2009, he was told by 39th Infantry Battalion interrogators to dissolve the local chapter of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas of which he was an official. In December, army soldiers fired upon him in another attempt to frighten him. The repeated attempts to terrorize him did not dissuade Dejos from pursuing the local peasant struggle against enforced military duties in the village and 39th Infantry Battalion’s abuses and human rights violations in their community,” Fermiza said.

There was no immediate statement from the military about the allegations, but both sides have traded accusations and propaganda in the past.

The NPA, armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, is fighting for decades for the establishment of a Maoist state in the largely Catholic nation. (Mindanao Examiner)

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