Does Leoncio Pitao, alias Commander Parago of the New People’s Army (NPA), have enough reasons to believe that the military is behind the abduction, torture and killing of her daughter Rebelyn? Those whose family members became victims to get back at them or to force them to capitulate think so. They believe it is part of the military’s dirty tactics, which the military has been employing since the time of the Marcos dictatorship.
BY RONALYN OLEA
Does Leoncio Pitao, alias Commander Parago of the New People’s Army (NPA), have enough reasons to believe that the military is behind the abduction, torture and killing of her daughter Rebelyn?
Rebelyn, a substitute teacher at St. Peter College in Toril, Davao City, was abducted at around 6:30 p.m., March 4. The following day, her body was found in a river in Carmen, Davao del Norte.
Parago named four soldiers whom he deemed as responsible for the killing of her daughter. The military, specifically the 10th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army, was quick to deny any involvement in the killing of Rebelyn.
Two activists interviewed by Bulatlat said that the abduction and killing of relatives of so-called enemies of the state by suspected state agents is not new. Bulatlat also found similar cases that took place during the administrations of Marcos, Aquino and Arroyo.
Disappearance of a brother and a colleague
In an interview through email, Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), related how one of his brothers was abducted by suspected state agents.
“My brother Francisco C. Sison was an economist and was deputy director of the Presidential Economic Staff of Marcos. But he was suspected by military intelligence of having secretly met me and passed some information to me from the office of PES director general Alejandro Melchor sometime in December 1970. He was closely surveilled and harassed by military intelligence agents to the point that he decided to take a job with the World Bank abroad. But in May 1971, while he was on his way to the Goethe Institute, the military intelligence stopped and took over his car and abducted him and his driver Elpidio Morales and disappeared them.”
At that time, Sison said he was in the forest region of eastern Isabela province.
Sison noted that the abduction of his brother came closely after the February 1971 abduction of Carlos B. del Rosario, a PCC teacher in political science and an officer of Kabataang Makabayan, from the premises of the Philippine College of Commerce (PCC, now Polytechnic University of the Philippine). Sison said Del Rosario was also suspected by military intelligence of being very close to him.
Sison said, “I thought immediately that the military intelligence had abducted my brother and Charlie del Rosario in order to force them to reveal what they knew about my whereabouts. I also thought that it was extremely stupid and cruel of the military minions of Marcos to do what they did.”
Later, Sison learned that his mother had asked a relative who was a high-ranking Manila police officer to press General Fabian Ver to investigate the abduction of his brother and to surface his brother. “Ver did not make any move but instead told the said police officer and the PES colleagues of my brother to keep quiet and stop demanding the surfacing of my brother. That was a clear indication that Ver himself knew something about the abduction,” Sison said.
Ver is the former Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and Presidential Security Command under President Ferdinand Marcos.
“These abductions of Charlie del Rosario and my brother were the first two revolution-related cases of enforced disappearances in Manila under the Marcos regime,” Sison added.