Parago broke his silence three days after her daughter was found dead. The Philippine Human Rights Reporting Project and several journalists met up with him at a location in the outskirts of this city.
“Since I joined the NPA (in 1978), I’ve been expecting that something will happen to my family,” he said. “You have to be prepared with all the sacrifices in all aspects when you’ll join the revolution.”
Clad in black military uniform, smoking a cigarette and in full battle dress, the 51-year-old Parago worried that what happened to Rebelyn may also happen to other members of his family. “There is a big possibility that they will do my family harm because they could hardly capture me.”
Parago accused two named sergeants with the Military Intelligence Group (MIG) and two named officers serving in the Military Intelligence Battalion (MIB) as those who he says are directly responsible for his daughter’s death. In a separate interview with a radio station he also named others –including an Army major.
Parago said that based on the NPA’s “own intelligence information,” the four intelligence officers were responsible for the killing of his brother Danilo in June last year alongside others. “My brother was a provincial guard of Davao del Norte -he was a government employee, and yet still he was killed.”
A spokesperson of the Army’s 10th ID has confirmed the names Parago mentioned to the journalists are members of the military. Two of them he confirmed are being held in the divisional barracks. The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ (AFP) Eastern Mindanao Command spokesperson Major Randolph Cabangbang said the military would fully cooperate with the police investigation.
“We are also affected; the military organization is very concerned about this and by the perception of civilians. We are not looking into this incident as soldiers but as fathers too,” stressed Cabangbang.
He added they were also investigating the white Toyota Revo with the plate number LPG-588 that was reportedly used in abducting Rebelyn. “We verified the plate number to the Land of Transportation office,” he said – “but apparently it is not registered or found in the LTO’s database.”
Cabangbang was adamant there “would be no whitewash or cover-up” in the investigation “even if the suspects are from the military.”
He added: “We will give the PNP (Philippine National Police) a free hand on this. We also welcome an independent body to conduct its own investigation to help bring justice for Rebelyn. This incident is already beyond the fighting between the AFP and the NPA, this is already an attack against humanity.”
He flatly denied the military conducted surveillance on the Pitao family: “The only subject for our surveillance is Parago – not his entire family”
Parago has long been a wanted man: Former commander of the Philippine Army’s 10th ID Major General Jogy Leo Fojas last year vowed his troops would “nail the elusive Parago” before the end of 2008.
Parago has been accused of kidnapping and killing civilians, whom the NPA suspected as “military intelligence assets.” He admits his guerillas have killed suspected informers in cold blood: Parago claimed he knew his “comrades” were responsible for the killing of an informer, but was “not around when the execution happened.”