“This list is essentially telling state security forces that the policy of neutralizing and eliminating activists and communists remain.” – Bayan Muna
By INA ALLECO SILVERIO
MANILA — The Makabayan bloc called for the scrapping of Joint Order No. 14-2012 of the Department of National Defense (DND) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), which lists alleged “235 wanted communists” with a total updated monetary reward of P466.88 million ($11 million). The bloc also filed House Resolution 2927 to investigate the very dangerous list.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares said “This list should be scrapped or at the very least, there should be a full disclosure of such a listing, which, in military terms, is basically an order of battle (OB). This list is essentially telling state security forces that the policy of neutralizing and eliminating activists and communists remain. Members of legal organizations and party list groups might have been included on the said list as the government continues to file and pursue fabricated charges and violate due process rights of activists.”
The DND-DILG joint order details updated rewards for wanted leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), the New People’s Army (NPA) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Colmenares pointed out that thousands of Filipinos have already fallen victim to extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, harassment and other forms of human rights violations because of the government’s policy of suppressing political dissent. He said that instead of pursuing efforts to bring about a just and lasting peace in the country such as proceeding with the peace negotiations with the CPP-NPA-NDFP, the government insists on implementing massive counter-insurgency campaigns.
Under the previous Macapagal-Arroyo administration’s counter-insurgency campaign Oplan Bantay Laya, 1,206 activists and civilians were murdered while 206 others became victims of enforced disappearance during the nine years of its rule.
“One very frightening consequence of this list is that certain military officials might resort to surveillance, arresting or killing fall guys, activists and anyone or producing fake surrenderees in order to get the money reward,” Colmenares said.
Case in point was the illegal and mistaken arrest of 61-year old civilian security guard Rolly M. Panesa. Elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) abducted him on October 5 and mistakenly identified as a high-ranking CPP official. Taken with him were partner Marites Chioco, and the latter’s daughter and son-in-law.
AFP Southern Luzon Command spokesman Colonel Generoso Bolina claimed that Panesa is Benjamin Mendoza, purportedly the secretary of the Southern Tagalog Regional Committee of the CPP, and a member of the CPP’s Central Committee.
The military also claimed that Chioco was a member of the Executive Committee of the CPP’s Southern Tagalog regional party. Chioco was forced to admit that she is ‘Ka Luisa’ whom the military claimed as Mendoza’s wife. She witnessed Panes being beaten severely and then blindfolded. Panesa is currently detained at the Security Intensive Care Area (SICA), Metro Manila District Jail in Taguig City for rebellion and frustrated murder. He is a security guard assigned at the ACP Compound in Eastwood, Quezon City, and a resident of F. Castillo Street, in Project 4, Quezon City.
Release all political prisoners
Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Rafael Mariano said the Aquino administration’s refusal to release the country’s over 401 political prisoners including 13 NDFP consultants and personnel were in violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantee (JASIG).
He also said that by coming up with the joint order and the list, the DND-DILG is violating the JASIG and sabotaging the already stalled peace talks as the list includes NDFP consultants and personnel.
“How can peace talks continue if the consultants for one side are always being threatened with arrest, harassment or being killed because of this list?” said Mariano.
Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Ilagan also argued how Aquino’s declarations that he was all for the peace talks is hypocritical.
“How can the Aquino government say that it’s serious in pursuing the peace negotiations when it is trying to hunt down and arrest the members of the other side. How can there be genuine and serious talks if this is what the government is doing,” said Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Luz Ilagan.
“The government should scrap this list so as to facilitate the talks or at the very least publicly disclose the whole list. Because as things stand this so-called list can be used by death squads to assassinate anyone who is supposed to be there,” Colmenares concluded.