Cordillera Reds Vow to Punish Attackers of Claver Family

“How dare they ambush a helpless family, murder a woman of their own kin, and put in danger a child’s life?” the spokesperson of the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front said of last July 31’s attack on a doctor and his family.

By Ace Alegre

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – New People’s Army (NPA) guerillas vow to punish those who attacked Bayan Muna-Kalinga chapter chairman Dr. Constancio Claver and his family last July 31.

“The perpetrators of the ambush on the Claver family will not go unpunished,” former government engineer Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan Sr., spokesperson of the Cordillera Peoples Democratic Front (CPDF), said in a statement this week.

”How dare they ambush a helpless family, murder a woman of their own kin, and put in danger a child’s life?,” Naogsan said of Monday’s attack on Dr. Claver, his wife Alice, 42, and their 11-year-old daughter, Cassandra.

Alice, also a member of Bayan Muna, died later at the hospital from four gunshot wounds. Cassandra remains in a state of shock and trauma.

Claver sustained several gunshot wounds in the abdomen and other parts of the body. He was to be flown to another hospital in Manila after his wife’s burial on Saturday morning.

Local police have remained clueless on the family’s attackers.

“We are enraged with her (Alice’s) brutal death not only because (President Gloria) Arroyo and her hired assassins murdered another political activist critical of her fascist regime, but also because they killed a dedicated, courageous, loving young mother and a selfless leader of the oppressed national minorities,” Naogsan Sr. said.

Last July 14, the CPDF spokesperson’s son and namesake, Simon Naogsan Jr., 22, was killed reportedly in an encounter with government troopers in Abra province, northern Philippines.

Naogsan Sr., is believed to be the leader of the Mountain Province-based Leonardo Pacsi Command of the CPP-NPA.

Meanwhile, “Ka Tipon” Gil-ayab, spokesperson of the Kalinga-based Lejo Cawilan Command of the CPP-NPA, said in a statement that the ambush “indicates the intensification of extra-judicial killings in Kalinga that began when Provincial Police Director Pedro Geronimo Ramos replaced Senior Supt. James Dogao on March 8 this year.”

The NPA spokesperson said that their investigation and tips from a number of government officials and some soldiers and policemen of the Army’s 21st IB and the Kalinga police point to the fact that in February, even before Dogao was replaced, plans were already in place for the formation of a supposed death squad by the 501st Brigade, the 21st IB and Ramos.

“As early as February, he (Ramos) brought to Kalinga some 30 intelligence operatives,” Gil-ayab said. Ramos then assigned his former classmate Dante Gacadan as Kalinga Provincial Police Chief Intelligence and Investigation Officer to handle the 30 operatives and use them as death squads in Kalinga, the local NPA spokesperson said.

Kalinga, a remote upland province in northern Cordillera, has been wracked by a spate of killings. From March to July this year alone, at least 16 civilians were reportedly killed and seven others wounded in 12 violent incidents. Victims included activists and farmers as well as a National Bureau of Investigation agent and soldiers. Bulatlat

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