Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Turn over of Command of Lead Terrorists in EV

8th ID postpones turnover of command ceremony
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 243 Tuesday August 23, 2005
By: Rachel Arnaiz(Correspondent)

TACLOBAN CITY - The scheduled turn over of command today between outgoing 8th Infantry Division commander Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. and incoming 8th ID commander Maj. Gen. Bonifacio Ramos was canceled while the official relief order coming from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has yet to be received by both parties.

General Ramos, who had once briefly served as acting 8th ID commander before Palparan’s designation in February this year, told Leyte Samar Daily Express that the turnover of command which was earlier reported to the media has not yet been officially scheduled due to the absence of the order from Malacanang .

“Actually all of these reports are still unofficial and verbal, even on my part I am still waiting for the official go signal if my designation is already official or not,” Ramos said in an a mobile phone interview.

Col. Reynaldo Lanuzo, 62nd IB commanding officer, in a separate interview said that yesterday while they were celebrating the 17th anniversary of the Army’s 8th ID based in Camp Lukban, Barangay Maulong, Catbalogan, Samar, General Palparan had announced that he will definitely be out from his present post, but will temporary stay pending the issuance of the official order from Malacanang until he will officially be told to relinquish his duty as Eastern Visayas top Army official.

“Sabi kasi ni General Palparan that he will definitely be relieved but as to when the turnover, wala pang klaro because of such order,” Lanuzo told Express.

Today, a command conference participated in by all field commanders and high ranking officials of the 8th ID will be held at Camp Lukban, where they will discuss updates on the six-month campaign against insurgents in Samar Island under the leadership of General Palparan and the ongoing military operations in different remote areas in the Samar provinces.

Palparan who has just arrived from an official travel in Metro Manila, also released the same information that he will step down immediately after he got hold of said relief order from Malacanang.

But as of this writing, the said order from Malacanang as earlier claimed by Samar Rep. Catalino Figueroa has yet to be received by Palparan’s office.
23 Aug 2005 by wedjarl

Shame, Some EV governors want Gen. Palparan retained? Partylist solon hits PGMA for ‘using’ Gen. Palparan

Some EV governors want Gen. Palparan retained? Partylist solon hits PGMA for ‘using’ Gen. Palparan
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 243 Tuesday August 23, 2005
By: Joey Gabieta(Staff Writer)

TACLOBAN CITY - Rep. Florencio “Bem” Noel of An Waray sectoral group has criticized President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for “using” Major Gen. Jovito Palparan, out-going commanding chief of the 8th Infantry Division, for her political survival.

The President has reportedly signed an order for the relief of Gen. Palparan, whose anti-insurgency campaign in the region has been criticized by some individuals and groups including those from other countries.

But unconfirmed reports reaching Leyte Samar Daily Express yesterday disclosed that some governors in the region are calling for the retention of Gen. Palparan as commanding general of the 8th ID.

The turnover of command scheduled for today was reportedly postponed, and among the reasons for the postponement cited by LSDE sources was that Gen. Palparan has yet to receive his relief papers and the intervention of some governors in Eastern Visayas.

Rep. Noel, who is actually one of the critics of Palparan, claimed that it was obvious that the main reason why the President relieved the controversial Army general out of the region was just to please some members of Congress in the region so they would not sign the impeachment complaint against her.

“The military organization is an apolitical organization. It should not be used to any partisan activity,” Noel, interviewed on his mobile phone, told Leyte Samar Daily Express. But in an earlier interview with Express through his mobile phone, Noel said he was “grateful” to the President for “heeding to our clamor for the transfer of Palparan” from Eastern Visayas.

He also said that the next Army general would learn “lessons” from the experience of Palparan by respecting the rights of civilians. Since his assignment in the region last February, Palparan has been the subject of complaints over alleged human rights abuses by the military.

But the Army general has repeatedly denied these accusation and even dared his detractors to file a case in court if they really have evidence of military involvement in human rights abuses.

Last July 15-17, an international pastoral ecumenical group that visited the region has expressed their concern over human rights violations that were allegedly perpetrated by the military.

Before they left for Manila, the group told reporters here that they would seek an audience with the President to present their findings. They said they would also request the national government to come up with an appropriate action to stop these abuses.

Another international probe group In the middle of this month, another international group also visited the region to look into alleged military abuses particularly in Samar Island.

The 18-man International Solidarity Mission, which conducted a three-day investigation into human rights violations allegedly committed by the military, also investigated some human rights violations allegedly committed by the military.

The group, which represented seven countries, had called for the prosecution, dismissal and immediate ouster of Gen. Palparan whom they blamed for the spate of killings, harassments and violations of international humanitarian laws against ordinary civilians.

Palparan was set to formally turn over today the command of the 8th ID, which is based in Catbalogan, Samar, to Brig. Gen. Bonifacio Ramos, who holds the position of an inspection general at Fort Bonifacio. The President had earlier named Ramos as acting commanding general of the 8th ID early this year prior to the coming of Palparan to the region.

Impeachment The beleaguered Chief Executive is being accused of rigging the results of last year’s elections in her favor, an act, among others, that prompted some members of the opposition members at the House of the Representatives to file an impeachment complaint against her.

Samar Rep. Catalino Figueroa (2nd District) had earlier admitted that he would sign the impeachment complaint only if the President would not remove the controversial Army general out in the region. But after the President reassigned Palparan to Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija, Figueroa told Express that signing the impeachment complaint against the President is now a non-issue.

Political exigency Aside from him, Samar Rep. Reynaldo Uy and Noel have been also calling for the transfer of Palparan. Both have signed the impeachment complaint against the President citing, among others, the alleged “massive” human rights violations committed by the military against the civilians.“But while I am grateful that she (President) removed Gen. Palparan in Eastern Visayas, there is no way that I will withdrew my signature. And so is Rep. Uy,” Noel told Express. Noel said that with the obvious reason of the President to reassign Palparan was because of political exigency and not for a “valid reason,” this would result to demoralization within the military organization.

“This will definitely demoralize the members and officials of the AFP. It also resulted to a precedent and a very bad precedent at that,” he said. While Noel was harsh on his criticisms against the President, he was rather reserved on the decision of Figueroa not to sign the impeachment complaint against the President.

“I have to respect his decision. That’s all I can do,” he said. Noel reiterated his call for the President to insulate the Armed Forces of the Philippines from any political-related activity.“But unfortunately, this is not the case. She will really do (everything) just to remain in the office,” Noel said.

Disgusted Palparan, in an earlier interview with Express, also expressed his disgust over his transfer, saying that he was used as a “barter” by Figueroa.“He wanted me removed in the region for some personal reasons.

What kind of a leader is he? He is acting not based on convictions and principle but because of his personal considerations,” Palparan said. He did not elaborate. Samar towns cleared of NPA influence According to military sources, since Palparan assumed as 8th ID commander last February he was able to clear from threats and influence of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front (NDF), and the New People’s Army (NPA) the towns of Catbalogan, Jiabong, Motiong, Paranas, Hinabangan and Calbiga, all in the second congressional district of Samar.

During the first half of this year, the military reported that the 8th ID has “neutralized” 1,332 individuals composed of 67 CPP-NPA party members, 78 armed NPA members, 76 barangay militia, 111 leaders of left-wing organizations and 990 sympathizers or supporters.

Surrendered firearms Also during the same period, the military in the region was able to take hold of three high-powered firearms and 198 low-powered firearms that were turned over by rebel surrenderees. It was also able to recover five kilograms of diamond-shaped land mine and 180 kilograms of Magna Flex brand of explosive from the rebels.

Even as the military has been conducting peace and development forums and medical missions, thousands of civilians particularly in Samar have also shown their support to their Armed Forces by staging peace rallies and passing barangay resolutions stating their support to the anti-insurgency campaign of the military.
23 Aug 2005 by wedjarl

People's Triumph over Military Rule: Gen. Palparan leaves post despite GMA's blessings

Gen. Palparan leaves post effective today
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 245 Thursday August 25, 2005
By: Miriam Garcia Decada (Staff Writer)

CATBALOGAN, Samar - Major Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr., the controversial Army general in the region who only served for almost seven months, will officially leave his post effective today, Aug. 25.

Major Gen. Bonifacio Ramos, incoming commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, told Leyte Samar Daily Express that the turnover of command today would be presided by no less than newly-designated Army Chief, Lt. Gen. Simeon Esperon.

Ramos said he was informed yesterday that he will be replacing the post that will be vacated by his good friend, Palparan, saying that as a good soldier he will always follow orders.

“I was just called yesterday about this turnover and about this new challenge that I have to go through,” Ramos said . Ramos, who is a native of Southern Leyte, said he will continue the work started by Palparan by clearing Samar Island of NPA rebels when asked if he is not worried should militant groups and other politicians in the region who might also seek for his immediate and untimely relief.

However, Ramos said he is confident the people in the region will now cooperate in the campaign against insurgency.“Well, I am not afraid as long as I will implement this campaign in the manner that the people will be protected. I am here to serve them. I need their cooperation,” Ramos said.

Prior to Palparan’s official relief order, Rep. Catalino “Cata” Figueroa of the second district of this province has threatened to lead the New People’s Army in Samar if controversial Maj. Gen. Jovito S. Palparan Jr. will not be relieved from his post. Figueroa, who was mad at Palparan after around 500 pro-Palparan protesters held a rally infront of his house in Brgy. Mercedes here, said he will go underground and lead the NPA rebels in Samar if Palparan is not kick out from Samar as promised by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during their meeting in Malacañang last week.

“I will to go to the mountains and lead the NPA if Gen. Palparan is not kicked out of Samar. If President Arroyo will not listen to my request, I rather join the NPA movement,” Figueroa told newsmen. Figueroa said earlier that President Arroyo has shown him an order relieving Palparan from Samar in exchange for his not signing the impeachment complaint against her.

According to Figueroa, Palparan is now engaged in politicking convincing many people to rally for his retention in Samar. Some 500 residents from different municipalities of Samar trooped to the residence of Figueroa after meeting at the 8th Infantry Division headquarters to voice out their strong opposition to the relief of Gen. Palparan as being the handiwork of Figueroa.

The rallyists who were calling for the retention of Palparan were mostly composed of former NPA rebels, victims of NPA abuses and ordinary barangay officials and municipal elected officials from the towns of Paranas, Motiong, Jiabong, San Jorge, Gandara, Hinabangan, Calbiga, Catbalogan and Catarman in Northern Samar.

Paranas Vice Mayor Leo Dasig and Councilor Cecilio Labine claimed that they need the presence of Palparan in Samar as he is an effective Army official who can stop the insurgency, saying their area is now peaceful and the NPA rebels are no longer felt in their place after Palparan launched an all-out-war against the rebels.

“Samar is now peaceful, particularly in our town where we cannot see anymore NPA rebels and we hope that President Arroyo give a chance for Palparan’s stay in Samar for him to achieve his target of totally eliminating the NPA insurgency in our province,” Vice Mayor Dasig and Councilor Labine said. Motiong Vice Mayor Francisco Langi Sr. said they passed a municipal resolution calling for the retention of Gen. Palparan as commanding general of the Army in Samar.

Vice Mayor Langi said their resolution was addressed to President Arroyo seeking the retention of Palparan as majority of them local officials in Samar favor Palparan while Figueroa is only one behind for his ouster helped only by some militant groups.
25 Aug 2005 by wedjarl

New 8th ID Chief Unleashes New Terror, Shall We be Afraid?

Palparan’s relief a ‘victory’ for terrorists, says Col. Usi
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 246 Friday August 26, 2005
By: Rachel Arnaiz (Correspondent)

CATARMAN, Northern Samar - The whole “communist terrorists” organization and their allies in the region are now feeling victorious with the sudden relief of Maj. Gen Jovito Palparan, commanding general of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division.

This was the assessment of Col. Manuelito Usi, commander of the 63rd Infantry Battalion based in this province, when asked to comment about the general’s “untimely” transfer to Central Luzon.

According to Usi, their enemies were badly affected by Palparan’s anti-insurgency campaigns, reason why they wanted him out of Eastern Visayas.

The controversial Army general has promised to wipe out insurgency in the region in one year’s time, and was said to have “accomplished” 80 percent of the task in his five-month stint as top military leader here in the region. Although no one from the military would openly admit it, the whole Philippine Army organization in the region was said to have been “demoralized” with the impression that their outgoing commanding general was “bartered” for a lone signature from a congressman.

“Masaya ngayon itong kalaban namin, nagpapalakpakan ‘yan. Kasi si General Palparan is an effective leader...nasaktan sila kaya gumawa ng paraan para mapaalis siya,” Usi said. Palparan, who was installed as 8th ID chief in February this year, has gained the respect of his men and even the silent admiration of many public officials for his being tough and a “doer.”

However, he was being openly criticized by some Samar solons and human rights groups for his alleged “unorthodox” style of fighting insurgency.

Rep. Catalino Figueroa (2nd District, Samar), for one, has reportedly “bartered” his signature on the impeachment of President Gloria Arroyo in exchange of the general’s ouster from the region.

It was Figueroa who first “leaked” Palparan’s relief to media long before the general received the official order from higher-ups. A military officer has criticized Figueroa’s rather “premature” announcement, saying it should have come from the President herself.

“Who is Cata (Figueroa) nga pamamatian ni President? Di ba undue disclosure ng info an natabo? Dapat si President mismo an nag-announce,” said the officer who requested anonymity. But Usi said Figueroa might have just gotten what he wants with Palparan.

“Kung ito ang gusto niya, panalo siya,” Usi said of the congressman from Samar. But what happened to their former commander, he said, would not affect nor hamper their anti-insurgency efforts in the province. The victory of their enemies, he said, does not necessarily mean a “defeat” on their part.

“‘Yung mga mission sa amin ni General Palparan na biglang naputol dahil na-relieve siya, itutuloy pa rin namin ‘yun. We will continue what he has started,” Usi said.

Usi, himself a center of controversy here because of his frequent rows with militant groups, expressed optimism that Palparan’s unfinished tasks would effectively be carried out by new division commander, Brig. Gen. Bonifacio Ramos, who is a Waray and has already worked as officer-in-charge of the 8th Division before Palparan’s assignment here. Usi described Ramos as a “combat” veteran, having been to tough assignments in Jolo and Basilan.

“General Ramos is also a good officer; I believe he can replicate or be at par with General Palparan in terms of counter-insurgency (operations),” the Army colonel said.
26 Aug 2005 by wedjarl

New Threat to EV? Ramos vows to continue Palparan’s fight vs rebs

Ramos vows to continue Palparan’s fight vs rebs
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 246 Friday August 26, 2005
By: Joey Gabieta and Miriam Garcia Desacada (Staff Writers)

CATBALOGAN, Samar- Major General Bonifacio Ramos, newly installed commanding general of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division, yesterday said the fight against insurgency would mark his stewardship as commanding chief of the region’s more than 5,000 soldiers.

He, however, stressed that his campaign against insurgency in the region, which is one of the most serious in the country, would be tempered with “justice” and within the rules of the military establishment.

But unlike his immediate predecessor, Major Gen. Jovito Palparan, the new top Army official of Eastern Visayas did not set a deadline as to when he would end the region’s insurgency problem.

“What he initiated will be pushed through vigorously. Our civil and tactical operations must not lose in focus...and stand ready not only to protect (our people) from every deprivation but even in times of crisis. But all these must be done with fairness,” Ramos said in his speech during the installation rites held at the grounds of the 8th ID headquarters.

Palparan, who served the region as its top Army officer, will assume the post as the commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division based at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. His brief stint as the commanding general of the 8th ID was marred with controversies as he received flacks from different human rights groups for violation of human rights.

He had vowed to crush the region’s insurgency in six months to a year. And during Palparan’s speech, which he considered as his “last official act” as the commanding general of the 8th ID, the controversial Army general did not hide his disappointment over his transfer out of the region.

“With the fluidity of the current situation, we cannot please everyone with those who decides based on their personal principle and conviction,”Palparan said, apparently referring to Samar Rep. Catalino Figueroa, who was said to be behind the general’s ouster from the region.

Meanwhile, Ramos said that the achievements made by Palparan during his almost seven months stay as 8th ID chief would be hard to follow as he acknowledged that he has “done so much” in so far as addressing the insurgency problem of the region.

“As the commanding general of the 8th ID. Major Gen. Palparan had covered a lot of grounds but still is not enough. (And) more things has to be done,” he said, referring to solving the insurgency problem.

This view of Ramos was shared by Major Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, commanding general of the Philippine Army who presided the installation ceremony attended by different local government officials and people coming from the different barangays of nearby municipalities in Samar.

“As the new commanding general of this division, I shall count on your commitment to sustain the initiatives of your predecessors,especially Gen. Palparan,” Esperon told Ramos.

“As you steer them toward the attainment of you direction and objectives for peace and progress in your jurisdiction, I shall also expect you to make them fully understand and appreciate our reform agenda and goals...” he added, referring the soldiers of the 8th ID. Palparan said that despite the controversies that marked his stint, he considered it as a privilege to be assigned in the region.

“I am grateful that you have clearly understood my vision of having a truly peaceful and developed region, and I thank you for your display of courage and perseverance,” he said, addressing the soldiers.
26 Aug 2005 by wedjarl

AFP's Justification of Palparan's Terroristic Campaigns

GEN. ESPERON: PALPARAN IS ONE OF AFP’S BEST GENERALS; Army chief: No pressure behind Palparan’s ouster
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 247 Saturday August 27, 2005
By: Joey Gabieta (Staff Writer)

Catbalogan, Samar – The transfer of controversial Army Major General Jovito Palparan as Eastern Visayas top army officer has nothing to do with the pressures exerted by any congress member of different human rights groups.

This was the explanation of Lt. Gen. Hermogenes Esperon, commanding general of the Philippine Army, regarding the sudden removal of Palparan from the region as commanding chief of the 8th Infantry Division based in this town.

Last Thursday, Esperon, presided the transfer of the military leadership in the region from Palparan to Major Gen. Bonifacio Ramos during a turnover ceremony attended by different local and barangay officials of different towns of Samar. It was held at the grounds of the 8th ID headquarters in Camp Lukab, Brgy. Maulong, this town.

“One of the best generals.”

Esperon said Palpran, whom he described as “one of the best generals of the Armed Forces,” was relieved from his post in the region do that he could assume the post as new commanding general of the 7th Infantry Division, which is based at Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija. He would replace Major General Romeo Tolentino.

The same post was earlier offered to the newly-installed 8th ID commanding chief, Major Gen. Bonifacio Ramos, who turned it down for some reasons.

Both Palparan and Ramos are from southern Leyte.

“There is no truth to that, Gen. Palapran was transferred to other areas where his kind of leadership is also most needed. It was not because we were pressured by some politicians or human right groups,” Esperon said during an interview with reporters.

The Army chief praised the former commanding general for his ‘able stewardship which saw the effective pursuit of the commands administrative directions and military operations’ that resulted to the capture of 73 members of New People’s Army and recovery of more than 200 firearms from their enemy.

Easperon stressed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines is an “apolitical organization, and deployment or redeployment of our men is dictated where their services is most needed.”

Army chief Esperon defends Palparan

In defending Palparan, the Army chief said that if he was guilty of the allegations hurled against him, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo would not have appointed him to head a new military division.

“There is no single case filed against him before any court on his alleged human rights abuses. And on the top of this, he was also named by the President to head the Philippines contingent on human rights in Iraq prior to his assignment here in the region,” Esperon, in brushing aside allegations leveled against Palpran, whose seven months stint in the region was marked with allegation on human rights abuses, said.

Palparan was named to head the Philippine contingent to Iraq March of last year and upon his return to the country on August of the same year, he was designated as the chief of staff of the Philippine Army.

Palparan’s sudden ouster from the region triggered speculations that it was due to the pressure exerted by some members of Congress particularly Samar Rep. Catalino Figueroa (2nd District), and some human rights groups, including International Solidatiy Mission that recently visited the region.

It was Rep. Figueroa, one of the most vocal critics of the Army general, who broke the information that Palparan would be relieved from his post as 8th ID chief.

Palparan who was appointed by Pres. Macapagal Arroyoto head the8th ID in the region last Feb. 10 was accused of committing massive human rights abuses in the course of his intensified campaign against members of the New People’s Army.

Palparan had vehemently denied any abuses allegedly committed by the region’s more than 5,000 soldiers.

Gov’t neutralized CPP-NPA in EV

Palparan on Thursday said the government has neutralized and overpowered the Communist Party of the Philippines armed wing, the New People’s Army, in his 196 days anti-insurgency campaign in the region.

“As I hand over my post, I am proud to report that from February 10, 2005 to date, we have neutralized, at least 73 CPP-NPA’s and recovered 28 high powered and 219 low powered firearms in our anti-insurgency campaign in the region,” Palparan said, adding that they also destroyed and overrun big NPA camps.

Aside from this, he added the Army has also neutralized hundreds of NPA’s intelligence network and support system members who voluntarily surrendered and returned peacefully to the mainstream of society.

Palparan attributed these accomplishments to the support and commitment offered to him by the different sectors in the society, including the media, “I am grateful that you have clearly understood my vision of having a truly developed region, and I thank you for your display of courage perseverance,” the general said.

During the turnover of command, Palparan also requested the public to extend support to Major General Bonifacio Ramos who succeeded him as new 8th ID chief.

Peace talks with MILF to continue

Meanwhile, General Esperon told reporters during a conference that peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) will resume starting next month.

He said he is optimistic that the peace talks would turn out positive so that peace and unity with the moro rebels would be achieved.

“We are going to start next month and we expect and are hopeful that these coming peace negotiations between the government and the MILF will become successful and will have a positive results,” Esperon told newsmen.

With regards the CPP-NPA Esperon said that they believe that the CPP/NPA are already losing their strength. (With reports from Ricky J. Bautista and Miriam Garcia Descada)
28 Aug 2005 by wedjarl

Protest actions await GE. Palparan in his new assignment in Nueva Ecija

Protest actions await GE. Palparan in his new assignment in Nueva Ecija
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 249 Monday August 29, 2005
By: Joey Gabieta (Staff Writer)

Tacloban City – Opposition against controversial Major General Jovito Palparan, former commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, continues despite his being removed from the region.

Danilo Ramos, secretary general of the militant Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas,said that their group would welcome the controversial army general wit a protest rally when he assumes his next assignment as Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija.

Ramos said he was disappointed that President Macapagal Arroyo had appointed Palparan to head a new Army division despite his poor human rights records during his seven months stint in Eastern Visayas.

“He should not be assigned in any region because he will just do what he did in Eastern Visayas. We are now readying our protest actions regarding his next assignment which is Nueva Ecija,” Ramos told Leyte Samar Daily Express.

“We have already informed our chapters in Central Luzon to prepare for his coming. Protest actions would be his welcome and we will not stop until justice to his victims has been served,” he added.

Palparan was relieved from his post as the commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan Samar, last August 25 after serving the region for seven months.

Major Gen. Bonifacio Ramos replaced Palparan. Both hails from Southern Leyte.

Palparan’s intensified campaign to end the region long running insurgency problem has earned him enmity from different human rights groups and even some members of the Congress as they accused him of human rights violations. The controversial army genera; however was steadfast in denying the allegations hurled against him.

His transfer to Nueva Ecija was described by Col. Raul Fornacio, commanding chief of the 43rd Infantry Battalion, based in Sogod Southern Leyte as a big loss on the government troops in ending the regions insurgency problem.

Ramos told Express that their group would join other human rights organizations in filing criminal cases anchored on human rights abuses, against Palparan.

He said that the complaints would be filed before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on Human Rights and the joint monitoring committee of Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front.

The militant leader, however, did not say when their group would file charges against the Army general.

Meantime, Ramos chided Army Chief Major Gen. Hermogenes Esperon for claiming that the transfer of Palparan was not due to the pressures exerted by the different human rights groups and some Congressional members.

“It was hogwash,” he said in dismissing the earlier statement made by the Army chief as he justified the transfer of Palparan out in the region.

The Army chief aside from denying that the transfer of Palparan was due to the pressures from different human right groups and Congress members, notably Rep. Catalino Figueroa also defended the human rights records of the former top Army officer in the region, saying that he is not facing any complaints on this regards before any courts.
30 Aug 2005 by wedjarl

Justice to Bocar’s killing sought by his colleagues

Justice to Bocar’s killing sought by his colleagues
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 253 Friday September 2, 2005
By: Joey Gabieta (Staff Writer)

TACLOBAN CITY - The death of Atty. Norman Bocar came as a shock to his colleagues both in the legal profession and the civil service as they demanded that justice be served to the victim.

For Tourism Regional Director Karen Tiopes, Bocar’s death was a big loss to the department. She described him as a “strong partner” in their tourism campaign. “His death was really a shock to us here in the department,” she said. Bocar was the provincial environment and tourism officer of Eastern Samar and the chair of Bayan in Eastern Visayas.

For his part, Alfonso “Poch” Cinco, legal officer of Bayan Muna, condemned the killing of Bocar. He said that Bocar’s death was another attempt by the military to weaken their groups’ fight against “the human rights violations perpetrated by them (soldiers) against the civilians.” “We condemned this brutal killing of Atty. Bocar.

The military is now so brazen on their act against progressive groups that even a lawyer like Attys. Bocar and (Felidito) Dacut were not spared,” Cinco, in a long distance interview, told Express. Cinco added that the death of Bocar would not be a reason for them to be cowed.

Instead, he said, “his (Bocar’s) death will serve as an inspiration to us to continue fighting for the military to respect and stop committing human rights violations of every individuals.” Bocar was the second legal practitioner to be gunned down this year. Last February, Atty. Felidito Dacut, the regional coordinator of Bayan Muna, was killed while inside a passenger vehicle that was then cruising Real Street, this city.

Cinco said that the Advancement of Civil Liberties Forum, a Cebu City-based organization of lawyers, are set to conduct a press conference today to condemn the “brutal and merciless killing” of Bocar. He lamented that since the death of Dacut, the government has yet to act on his case.

“Until now, no resolution is on sight as to the case of Atty. Dacut. We just hope that this latest case involving Atty. Bocar will not suffer the same fate with that of Atty. Dacut’s,” Cinco told Express.

The legal officer of Bayan Muna, tagged by the military as one of the fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army, said that killings involving members of “progressive groups” would remain if the “structure of state terrorism of the military will remain.”

“(Maj. Gen. Jovito) Palparan may no longer be in the region but killings involving progressive groups will go on if this structure of the military will continue to be in place. Human rights violations will continue unabated,” he said, referring to the former commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division that the group of Cinco accused of human rights violations and to be behind the killings of militant leaders in the region.
02 Sep 2005 by wedjarl

IN BORONGAN, EASTERN SAMAR: Lawyer slain by masked, motorcycle-riding men

IN BORONGAN, EASTERN SAMAR: Lawyer slain by masked, motorcycle-riding men
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 253 Friday September 2, 2005
By: Joey Gabieta and Miriam Garcia Descada (Staff Writers) Pio Calvo (Correspondent)

BORONGAN, Eastern Samar - The chairperson of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Eastern Visayas, who was also the provincial environment and tourism officer here, was gunned down early yesterday morning near the Catholic cathedral here.

Lawyer Norman Bocar, 57, was shot on the head and nape by one of the two motorcycle-riding assailants at the dark section of the Rural Bank of Borongan, located along Abogado St., around 1:30 in the morning yesterday.

The two suspects, who both wore bonnets as masks, immediately fled towards the direction of the town’s public market. The weapon used in killing Bocar has yet to be established by police authorities.

Inspector Orlando Gardiola, Borongan police chief, said the victim was rushed to the Eastern Samar Provincial Hospital by some bystanders but was pronounced dead on arrival by attending doctors.

His remains were immediately brought to a funeral parlor for autopsy. Initial police investigation showed that the victim was urinating when shot by the unidentified suspect. An inter-agency affair, which was hosted by the victim’s office, was then in progress at the public plaza, just across the town hall and a few meters away from the scene of the crime.

Among those who were present at the said occasion was Governor Ben Evardone who condemned the killing of Bocar, whom he designated as his executive assistant and concurrent provincial environment and tourism officer right after he assumed his post last year.

Supt. Pio Manito, the provincial police director of Eastern Samar, said he immediately ordered his men to conduct an investigation on the killing. Among the angles that are being looked into by authorities investigating the killing was his being the regional coordinator of Bayan, a position he held since 2003. Bocar was the fourth regional coordinator of a militant group based in Eastern Visayas to have been murdered.

We appeal to the people to please come out and help us so that we can punish those behind the killing of Atty. Bocar, police chief Gardiola told Leyte Samar Daily Express. Ma. Belen, 45, sister of the victim, said that they were shocked when they learned that their brother was killed. “We demand justice for our brother. He was a good man and we don’t know any enemies of his who will take his life,” she told Express when reached on her mobile phone.

She said her brother would be buried next week, and that they are awaiting for the arrival of some of their brothers and sisters who live in Manila and in the United States. The victim was the third among a brood of nine. Bocar was also a former council member of Borongan, serving from 1998 up to 2001.

The killing of Bocar was immediately condemned by Governor Ben Evardone and Nestor Nirza, officer-in-charge director of the commission on popular struggle of Bayan-Eastern Visayas. We condemn in the strongest possible terms the brutal killing of Atty. Bocar. He was dedicated, committed and a good man. His integrity was beyond question.

The perpetrators should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, Evardone, in a text message, said. Nirza, for his part, blamed the military as responsible on the killing of Bocar, which he said was part of the continuing attack against members and officers of progressive groups in Eastern Visayas.

The “military death squad” is still intact, he said, alluding to their claim that Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, former commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, has a death squad targeting personalities of militant organizations in the region. But Major Niniveigh Alcovindas, chief of the 34th Civil Relations Unit based in San Jose district, this city, dismissed the claim of Nirza.

The Philippine Army is a professional organization. It is not involved to any assassination or killing civilian. We follow our constitutional mandate which is to protect the people and the state, Alcovindas said, adding that he is definite that Major Gen. Bonifacio Ramos, the newly-assumed top military official in Eastern Visayas, will not tolerate such action.

The tragic event came just a few days before the Borongan town fiesta on September 7-8. It has been a tradition to perform nine consecutive nightly activities as a prelude to the celebration.

Wednesday night was the time for several employees of both provincial and national agencies to enjoy in the merry-making. The affair was spearheaded and coordinated by the Bocar’s tourism office. Bocar was known for his refined words and action that many of his friends were shocked when they learned he was gunned down.

A person close to Bocar, who requested anonymity, revealed that a text message reached him a few months ago, urging him to advice Bocar to be cautious in his travels and moves. He regretted that despite the advice, Bocar did not seem to heed the message.
02 Sep 2005 by wedjarl

Atty. Bocar: Latest Casualty of Palparanic Attacks to Militants

Coloma promises to solve killing of Borongan lawyer
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 254 Saturday September 3, 2005
By: Joey Gabieta (Staff Writer)

Tacloban City – Chief Supt. Dionisio Coloma Jr., police regional director, has vowed to solve the brutal killing of lawyer Norman Bocar who was shot dead by two unidentified men early morning last Thursday.

Coloma said he named Supt. Conrado Calvario, regional intelligence chief, to head “Task Force Bocar,” which he formed to hunt Bocar’s killers immediately after the incident.

Bocar, regional chairperson of the militant Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Eastern Visayas and the environment and tourism officer of Eastern Samar, was gunned down around 1:30 a.m. last Thursday while he was urinating at a corner near the Borongan Rural Bank.

His killing immediately drew condemnation from Eastern Samar Gov. Ben Evardone who called on police authorities to solve the killing of Bocar who was also his executive assistant.

“I have instructed Calvario to give focus on (solving) the killing of Atty. Bocar, whon he described as a “close friend” was murdered bore similarities with the way other prominent leaders of militant organizations in the region were killed.

Two men who are riding a motorcycle and wearing bonnets gunned down Bocar.

“I hope this will help us identify the perpetrators and lead to the solution of these murders, including that of Atty. Bocar,” Coloma said, referring to the way Bocar and other leaders of militant groups were killed.

Aside from Bocar, the other regional coordinator of a militant group based in the region who were gunned down were Samuel Bandilla of Anak-Pawis, Atty. Fedilito Dacut of Bayan Muna, and Rev. Edison Lapuz of the Katungod Sinirangan Bisayas.

These cases remain unsolved and the assailants are yet to be identified by the police authorities.

Though he made an order to solve the killing of Bocar, Coloma did not give any timetable for Calvario to solve the killing of the Bayan regional coordinator.

The police regional chief also said that empty shells of still unknown caliber were recovered from the crime scene. The empty shells, Coloma said, wee now at their custody fro some laboratory examination, to determine what kind of caliber used in the killing of Bocar.

Earlier, Inspector Orlando Gadiola, police chief of Borongan, told Express that one of the angles that they are looking into in establishing the motive of the murder of Bocar was his involvement in a militant group. He also appealed to the people who may have information on the killing of Bocar to report to the police.

The killings of Bocar and other militant leaders were blamed on the military.

Major General Jovito Palparan, former commanding general of the 8th Infantry division, had categorically denied any military involvement of any of these killings. The controversial Army general, who assumed his new post as commanding general of the 7th ID based in Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija last Thursday, was subjected to accusations of alleged massive human rights abuses in the course of his anti-insurgency campaign.
03 Sep 2005 by wedjarl

Usual Denials: Gen. Ramos denies militant groups’ accusations vs. AFP

Gen. Ramos denies militant groups’ accusations vs. AFP
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 255 Sunday September 4, 2005
By: Miriam Garcia Desacada (Staff Writer)

Tacloban City – Maj. Bonifacio Ramos, army’s commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division based in Catbalogan, Samar, yesterday in weekly media forum of the Express it at the Park downplayed the claim of the militant and human rights advocate that an organized liquidation squad under its “Oplan Kalinaw” campaign composed of military intelligence personnel has once again started its operation for the alleged summary execution of the remaining target personalities belonging to progressive groups.

Ramos who has just assumed the post a week ago, told newsmen that he was saddened and surprised about this new unfounded and unfair accusations against he Armed Forces of the Philippines whom he described as one of the professional institutions of the society wherein its mandate is to protect the people from the state of danger.

He said that everything they do in the military service is legal and they always follow lawful instructions emanating form the chain of command.

However, he said statements from the militant groups, whom he described as “people who does not like peace and are anti development,” are always trying to set the mind of the people to discredit and downgrade the credibility of the AFP.

“I would like to inform these people that I have violence, I am here in my home region to help my place become more peaceful,” Ramos told media.

He instead called the cooperation and unity of the people in the region to march forward together for peace and more development.

Ramos also made his disclosure that the provinces of Southern Leyte and Biliran were recently declared free from insurgency problem because of the great help and support from local government units and the ordinary civilians.

“I am happy for this development, and I am also hoping that this happens to the three provinces of Samar which is our primary focus.

In previous media interview, Nestor Nizra, public information officer of Bayan Muna Eastern Visayas, said that the military here is targeting 39 personalities from various progressive groups, and that these 39 were placed under the military’s order of battle.

He said out of the 39, there were already five militant leaders gunned down while six of them survived from the different attacks in Northern Samar and in eAstern Samar.

But Ramos reiterated that soldiers are here in Eastern Visayas to clear the region, hold, consolidate and develop specifically the remaining 200 barangays infiltrated by the communist rebels.

“We are intensifying our special operations them in Samar by winning the hearts and mind of the people,” he said.
05 Sep 2005 by wedjarl

Army soldier, 2 rebels die in Palapag encounter

3 killed in Samar ambush
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 255 Sunday September 4, 2005
By: Miriam Garcia Desacada (Staff Writer)

Tacloban City – Three employees of Samar II Electric Cooperative Inc. (SAMELCO II) were killed in an ambush said to be perpetrated by New Peoples Army rebels in the remote barangay of Camarangan, Catbalogan, Samar on Thursday afternoon.

Maj. Gen. Bonifacio B. Ramos, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army based in Catbalogan samara, yesterday confirmed the death of the three employees and the wounding of three other members of Samelco II which is based in Paranas, Samar.

Gen. Ramos said the victims where ambushed by the NPA rebels after they were mistaken as members of the Philippine Army.

The fatalities were identified as Engr. Dalmacio Capede, Ryan Cabregas, Benedicto Gabon while those who were wounded were Elmer Jullado, Artemio Cascayan, Billy Oway, residents of Calbiga and Paranas towns.

The victims were ambushed at around 2:35 in the afternoon by 10 NPA rebels while the victims were trying to connect electricity to the interior barangay.

The NPA rebels had reportedly apologized toe Engr. Capede shortly after the incident. Capede died later at the Samar Provincial Hospital in Catbalogan Town while being treated for his wounds.

Ramos denounced the ambush and killing of the civilians, claiming that it is a sign that the NPA rebels are not for development.

He said the ambush and killing of the victims was the start of the offensive by the NPA rebels against the military and civilians as a counter move against the AFP for its successful military offensive against NPA rebels in Samar.

Ramos also called on the various human rights groups in Eastern Visayas, including members of the International Solidarity Mission who recently visited Samar, to show their concern that they are not biased and they are really concerned of the human rights abuses of any group.

“This is a clear violation of Human Rights. They also have to show their concern to these victims because when there are victims of human rights and accuse the military, they are very vocal against us,” Ramos said.
05 Sep 2005 by wedjarl

8ID Bluff: Ramos wants no bloodshed in fight against insurgents

Ramos wants no bloodshed in fight against insurgents
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 255 Sunday September 4, 2005
By: Joey Gabieta (Staff Writer)

Tacloban City – Major General Bonifacio Ramos, commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, said that while he intends to solve the region’s long running insurgency problem, he would like to end it without any bloodshed.

Ramos, appearing before members of the media at the weekly forum “Express it at the Park,” held yesterday at the Leyte Park Resort, said that he is optimistic that the insurgency problem in Eastern Visayas could be solved without resorting to armed struggle.

He said that any loss of lives is something that he strongly abhors. “I am a Catholic person, I hate seeing a person losing his life,” he said.

The new top Army official in the region also said that he is calling all the people in the community, to include leaders of all local government units, to help the military achieve its goal in ending the regions insurgency problem which is one of the most active in the entire country.

Ramos said that with the assistance and cooperation from these sectors, “we can make our region a peaceful region.”

“We call all our well meaning citizens to help us, indifference will not lead us to nowhere,” Ramos said.

He said that without their assistance, their campaign would not find any success.

“We have a target goal set by our national headquarters in so far is addressing the regions insurgency problem. Among theses goals are clearing the different barangays of New Peoples Army infestations and the neutralization of the enemy,” Ramos said.

He, however, said that it would be best if the regions insurgency problem would come to an end without resorting to armed struggle.

“That is why we are strengthening our Balik Baril Program which is aimed for rebels to return to the folds of the law,” the Army chief said.

Under the program, a rebel returnee receives a corresponding amount for the kind of weapon he surrenders to the government. The money he receives could be used by him to start a new life.

The campaign of the military against insurgency, under Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan, the immediate predecessor of Ramos, came under attack by different human rights group and members of the Congress saying it resulted to human rights violations of the civilians living in areas identified as lairs of the NPA.

Gen. Ramos said that like his predecessor, he is also determined to see the end of the insurgency in the region. But unlike Palparan, he chose not to make any timetable as to when he could end it.

“Let’s be careful in setting a time frame, it could not be realized,” Ramos said.

Meantime, Ramos described NPA members as “anti-development” saying that the outlawed group takes advantage of the poor economic condition of a locality in spreading their ideology.

“They are anti development. They know that if the people would remain poor it will be easy for them to encourage and recruit them to their folds,” he said.

But Ramos said that as part of their campaign, they visit far flung barangays and inform people of their programs which aims to improve their conditions “When the people are aware, they became resistant to their (NPA) propaganda,” he said.

05 Sep 2005 by wedjarl

KILLING OF ATTY. NORMAN BOCAR: Probers urge witnesses to cooperate and testify

KILLING OF ATTY. NORMAN BOCAR: Probers urge witnesses to cooperate and testify
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 257 Tuesday September 6, 2005
By: Miriam Garcia Desacada (Staff Writer)

PALO, Leyte - The commander of the newly-created Task Force Bocar revealed yesterday before this paper that they failed to convince eyewitnesses to come into the open to cooperate and give their testimonies before police probers relative to the slaying of Atty. Norman Bocar.

This was disclosed by Police Sr. Supt. Conrado Calvario, police deputy regional director for administration here who was tasked to head Task Force Bocar which was created after shooting to death of Bocar, Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) provincial chairperson of Eastern Samar Eastern Samar.

Calvario said they felt disgusted on the refusal of a “balot vendor” and other eyewitnesses to cooperate by giving their statements to investigators because of “fear.”

“We are still exerting efforts to convince eyewitness’s lalo na `yong balot vendor na siya talaga ang nakakita sa buong pangyayari,” Calvario said.

Task Force Bocar, whichis composed of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, Police Regional Office legal office, Crime Laboratory and the PNP provincial office of Eastern Samar, have already recovered an empty shell of a .45 caliber automatic in the crime scene to be compared with other empty shells used in the previous killing incidents in Eastern Samar of other militant groups.

According to Calvario, investigators are still exploring other possible angles not only of Bocar being a leader of a progressive group but other possibilities such as personal grudge and his work as provincial tourism officer in the said province.

However, Calvario disclosed that they have good information and evidence which are yet being consolidated for evaluation before it can be brought to the court for filing of the case.

“Pinag-aaralan pa natin kung ano maidudulot ditto sa bagong impormasyon na nakuha naming…we still have to confirm as the investigation is still going on,” Calvario told Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Eastern Samar governor Ben Evardone revealed that the provincial board in the province has already passed a resolution condemning the killing while the Integrated Bar of the Philippines Eastern Samar chapter is set to meet on Wednesday to condemn the same killing incident.

Calvario is confident that the killing of Bocar will be solved soonest inspite of similar killing incidents of other militant leaders in the region which still remain unsolved.

“We are not discounting possibilities that perpetrators might come out dahil nakokonsyensya na siya kaya kusa na magsusurender na lang sa mga otoridad,” he also said.

Bocar was the second human rights lawyer who was killed in this region within the span of five months following the slaying of Atty. Feledito Dacut was gunned down on March 15 in Tacloban City.

The police believe that the perpetrator of Bocar’s killing is not an ordinary killer but an expert in summary executions.

“Marunong ito pumatay..biro mo ulo kagad ang tinamaan ng biktima,” he said.

Bocar was killed around 2 a.m. of Sept. 1 while attending a party in Borongan town.

06 Sep 2005 by wedjarl

Army soldier, 2 rebels die in Palapag encounter


Army soldier, 2 rebels die in Palapag encounter
Courtesy of Leyte Samar Daily Express Vol. XVII No. 259 Thursday September 8, 2005
By: Tito Tepace (Correspondent)

Catarman Northern Samar – An army soldier and two suspected NPA rebels were killed in a recent encounter with government troops in a remote barangay in Palapag, this province.

This was revealed by Lt. Col. Manuelito Usi, commanding officer of the 63rd Infantry Battalion based in Brgy. Opong Catubig town in an interview with Leyte Samar Daily Express.

Usi disclosed that in the first encounter last Aug. 20 Pfc. Jommel Solayao of Brgy. Maulong, Catbalogan, Samar belonging to Bravo Company under 2ndLt. Gilbert Denso was killed, but in the second encounter as a result of a hot pursuit operation by the soldiers two suspected communist rebels were killed.

“Sa unang encounter isa ang namatay sa tropa pero sa pangalawang encounter doon nagkabakbakan ba at dalawa ang napatay sa mga NPA maliban pa yan sa mga sugatan base on the blood stain na nakita ng tropa sa lugar ng encounter,” Usi said.

However, Usi did not reveal the names of the two suspected rebels but said that one was from Bgry. Cababato-an, Pambujan, Northern Samar while the other was from Cagmanaba, municipality of Mondragon.

He also said that a combat operation is still going on where his troops have allegedly overrun four NPA camps and a fifth is being eyed.

According to Usi, soldiers recovered documents in camps with list of NPA supporters and their plan to attack the detachment of Bravo Company in Mapanas town on of before the town fiesta of Gamay on Sept. 15.

Based also on the sized documents, Usi added, a member of the Bagong Hukbong Bayan (BAHUBA) who was a former wife of a soldier is giving information to the rebels.

Intelligence report, Usi also said, disclosed that the NPA members who are regrouping in the Pacific towns if Northern Samar came from Bicol provinces, Eastern Samar, and Samar.

Meanwhile, in a press release written in the dialect sent to local radio station DySM in Catarman, Ka Amado Pesante, spokesperson of the Rodante Urtal Command – New Peoples Army (RUC-NPA)-Northern Samar, denied the claim of Usi that two NPA members were killed. It was not an encounter but an ambush perpetrated by the NPA’s and there were no casualties on their side, Pesante claimed.

09 Sep 2005 by wedjarl

Samar town gripped by terror: Local Officials in AFP Hit List

To: "NISPOP News"
From: "Dave Pugh"
Date: Sun, 11 Sep 2005 00:47:24 -0400
Subject: [nispopnews] AFP terrorizes Samar town

Samar town gripped by terror: Local Officials in AFP Hit List

For months, the humble town of Villareal in Samar has been gripped by terror with government troops in constant operation. A military hit list has frightened residents and led to abductions, with at least one village leader becoming a victim of brutal slaying. Incidents of alleged military atrocities have been investigated by the recent International Solidarity Mission (ISM).

With additional report

GRIPPED BY TERROR: Villareal town (right) is presently plagued by constant military operations, and its residents live in fear for their lives as its local officials - including the mayor (top right photo) are in the military's hit list.

Photos by Dabet Castañeda

VILLAREAL, Samar – At least 27 local officials of Villareal, a farm and fishing town in western Samar, central Philippines are believed to be in the Order of Battle (OB) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Included in the alleged list, which was provided the mayor’s office through mail, are 11 officials from seven barangays (villages).

The hit list, it was learned, has created a climate of terror in the town and has derailed the construction of a project long-awaited by the rural folk: an 8-km road which is sponsored by Bayan Muna (BM or people first) party-list.

Town Mayor Reynato Latorre said there used to be around a hundred men working everyday on the road project but the number has since dwindled to only 20.

The project, he said, has been maliciously tagged by the military as a project of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines, to frighten the residents.

Fifteen-year-old Julius, son of salvage victim Constancio Calubid, stopped schooling since his father was abducted allegedly by soldiers on July 16.

Photo by Dabet Castañeda

Belying the military claim, Latorre proudly told a team from the International Solidarity Mission (ISM) that visited the town mid-August that the project was actually a bayanihan (a Filipino traditional practice where neighbors help each other build roads or houses).

Coming from the north, Villareal can be reached after a one-and-a-half hour drive along San Juanico Bridge, the country’s longest bridge that connects the island provinces of Samar and Leyte. The town’s villagers farm on its vast agricultural lands while others fish on the rich blue sea just off Villareal.

Villareal is also the hometown of the Redemptorist priest, Fr. Rudy Romano, whose abduction by military agents in 1985 or just a year before the fall of the Marcos dictatorship, rocked the country. Romano was declared missing and is believed to have been summarily executed.

Also listed as “target personalities” in the hit list are six officers of BM including the mayor and his vice, Baban Cabueñas. Five others are listed as “supporters” while five more are listed either as
runners/couriers, collectors or sympathizers of “CTs” or communists terrorists.

The list, said Latorre, also tasks military units to monitor the persons named in the list and to submit a special report to the intelligence unit of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army. The 8th Infantry Division was under the command of Maj. General Jovito Palparan who has been reassigned to Central Luzon.

Confirmed list

The list has been confirmed by a contact from the military, Latorre said. Due to this, both Latorre and Cabueñas told the ISM team they have taken extra precautions. “Tahimik dito sa lugar namin, hindi ko akalain na mangyari sa amin ito” (This place used to be peaceful, I never expected that this would happen to us), the mayor said.

When he was the division commander in Eastern Visayas, Palparan would place a “red mark” on the map of Villareal during military briefings, Latorre recalled. “Ibig sabihin, marami daw insurgents dito sa amin” (He meant there were many insurgents here), he said.

Most gruesome By far one of the most gruesome killings in Samar took place last July, the ISM team also found. (Palparan would be reassigned mid-August.)

Almost midnight of July 16, five soldiers in civilian clothes reportedly tortured and abducted Constancio Calubid, 50, married, and member of the Lupong Tagapamayapa (Peacekeeping Council) of Barangay San Andres, Villareal. The incident was witnessed by Calubid’s wife, Rosalina, his sister, Nieves and his son, Julius.

The soft-spoken Julius, 15, saw his father at the back of their house being beaten up by the five burly men in civilian clothes and armed with high-powered rifles. They were soldiers, he said.

Attesting to the incident, a neighbor, Jose Pedoco, who lived along the seashore, said he saw around 60 soldiers enter their village that same night. They came aboard three motor boats and two bigger passenger boats.

Latorre also said that soldiers operate in their villages regularly even in the absence of a military detachment. “They have mobile detachments and they usually operate at night or at dawn,” he said.

The victim's deaf and mute sister,Maribel, points to where Calubid was beaten allegedly by soldiers. Photo by Dabet Castañeda

Nieves said she went to the barangay captain’s (village chief) house to ask for help. But even the presence of the barangay captain, Ramon Taboy Jr., could not prevent the soldiers from beating up and eventually abducting Calubid.

Taboy said he saw the victim Calubid already unconscious. Thinking that Calubid was already dead, he managed to tell the soldiers, “Iwanan nyo na yan kasi patay na” (Leave him, I think he is dead).

But the soldiers instead shouted at Taboy saying, “Isa ka pa kapitan, NPA ka!”(You’re one of them kapitan, you are also an NPA guerilla).

The last time Nieves saw Calubid alive was when the soldiers took the almost lifeless body of her husband. Other reports said that when the barrio folks pleaded to the men in uniform to stop, the poor man was hogtied to a bamboo pole. Then they took him away.

Twelve days later, Taboy received a call from Marlon Camilon, Municipal Development Operations Officer (MDOO) of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) telling him that a “salvage victim” (i.e., victim of summary execution) has been found near the DILG office.

Toenails gone

At the municipal hall, relatives identified the body as that of Calubid. An autopsy report also revealed that the body bore six knife wounds and signs of hemorrhage. The victim’s toenails were also pulled out.

Apparently, Calubid was not the only person abducted during that night.

Juliana Sulayao, 57, a local masseuse, said in an interview that her nephew, Ismael Sulayao, a barangay tanod (village security force) went missing on the same day that Calubid was abducted. It was only during the early morning of Aug. 8 - or 23 days later - that he came home aboard a small boat driven by a cousin.

Upon arrival, Ismael asked Juliana to massage his back. “Kasi daw masakit” (He told me it was aching), the old woman said.

Juliana said she noticed signs of internal bleeding on her nephew’s back but he refused to tell where and how he got it. Ismael has since left the village with his family. “Natakot na siguro” (I think he got scared), Juliana said of her nephew.

A family and a town’s loss

Taboy believes Calubid’s death is a big loss to their village. He said the victim was one of the most trusted local members of the Lupong Tagapamayapa (Peacekeeping Council) since 2002. “Malaki ang tulong nya sa akin dahil pag may gulo sa lugar nya sya na ang umaayos. Lupon sya pero kaya nya mag-peace and order” (He is a big help for me because he takes care of all problems and conflicts in his area. He is just a member of the council but he can handle all peace and order problems here), he said.

Meanwhile, Julius, a Grade 6 student, has stopped schooling. “Kasi baka kunin din ako ng mga sundalo” (I am afraid that soldiers might also abduct me), he said.

“Nakakaawa talaga ang pamilya nyang naiwan. Nakikita ko ang trabaho nya noon ay tamang-tama lang para buhayin ang kanyang pamily” (I pity his family. His income was barely enough to support his family), Taboy said.

What continues to fear the residents of Villareal is the fact that soldiers keep coming back.

“May napapansin kaming mga militar na nagpupunta pero hindi naman pumapasok sa mga bahay. Nakikita lang namin yung bakas ng combat shoes. Halos gabi-gabi may mga bakas”(We know that soldiers regularly conduct operations in the area though they don’t enter the houses. We see prints of combat boots all over the village almost every night), he said.

Meantime, it is not just Ismael who has gone into hiding since the incident shook their village. Taboy said most of the village’s officials have left since the two were abducted.

With additional report / Bulatlat

WCC asks for troop pullout in Eastern Visayas

Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Vol. V, No. 26 August 7- 13, 2005 Quezon City, Philippines

A Town of War Refugees
WCC asks for troop pullout in Eastern Visayas
A sleepy town in Samar is currently at the receiving end of intensified offensive military operations, driving more than 2,000 people, including women and children, from their homes and sources of livelihood. So alarming have the forced evacuations become that the World Council of Churches has asked the military to pull out from the region.

WAR REFUGEES: Hordes of families seek shelter from military shelling of Basey villages.
Exclusive photos by Maureen Japzon
TACLOBAN CITY – The town of Basey in Samar, located 40 kms from this city, is known for its banig (sleeping mat) made from a plant called tikog. If reporters were to visit this place however they will likely call Basey as the town of war refugees.
Col. Joel Cabides, brigade commander of the 801st Brigade of the Philippine Army under Brig. Gen. Jovito Palparan, recently admitted that there are ongoing military operations in Basey, which explains the bombings and intermittent firing of automatic rifles. Helicopters also roam the area as soldiers and other men in dark clothes and bonnets armed with M-16s conduct patrols.
According to Diana Ragub, information officer of Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma Sinirangan Bisayas (SAGUPA-SB, a local people’s organization), more than 2,000 people including children from 365 families had taken refuge at the Basey municipal gymnasium from July 20 to 24 after fleeing their farms and homes due to military operations.
The internal refugees came from Basey’s five interior barangays (villages): Cogon (76 families), Bulao (115 families), New San Agustin (30 families), Cancaiyas (133 families) and Villa Aurora (11 families).
Basey Mayor Vicente Labuac gave emergency food to the refugees. An Waray Party list and the Leyte Center for Development Incorporated (LCDE) held a medical mission and gave relief goods despite the military’s reported attempts to prevent them from doing so.
Police Regional Director Dionesio Benito Coloma, who also heads the Regional Disaster Coordinating Council (RDCC), called the displacement of peasants due to military operations as a “man-made calamity.” He said that the RDCC will launch its own relief mission “if the situation worsens.”
Following a series of meetings with local officials and the military, the farmers were allowed to return to their villages. Local executives arranged the transportation of the refugees back to their areas.
Paquito Nacino, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) regional director ordered an investigation into the mass evacuation in Basey.
Mass evacuation as a trend
Mass evacuation has become the trend in Eastern Visayas since Feb. 10 when Palparan took over as commanding general of the 8th Infantry Division, replacing Maj. Gen. Glenn Rabonza. Upon assuming the post, Palparan told local reporters that insurgency in Eastern Visayas will be over in six months (i.e., August 2005).
Consequently, bodies of unidentified people – apparently victims of extra-judicial executions - were found in different places. Only a few of the bodies were identified and claimed by relatives. According to KATUNGOD-SB, the number of human rights violations during the same period increased to 457 cases, or about three cases per day.
International concern
Alarmed by the events in the region, an international Pastoral Ecumenical Delegation Visit was held in Eastern Visayas from July 14-21. Heading the visit was a delegation from the Europe-based World Council of Churches (WCC), the umbrella organization of 347 churches throughout the world.
In a statement signed by Clement John, spokesperson of Eastern Visayas team of the WCC, the delegates stressed, “The ecumenical church movement stands firmly that violence and war against the citizenry only perpetuates more violence and does not provide resolution for the conflict.”
The WCC also urged a troop pullout: “We pray that the people’s fear will be alleviated through de-militarization, that extra-judicial killings and interrogation, intimidation and harassment will cease, and that the people of Eastern Visayas will enjoy genuine freedom and peace, based on justice.” Bulatlat

© 2004 Bulatlat ■ Alipato Publications
Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.

Samar; Six Months Under Palparan, The Struggle Continues and Will Persist

Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Vol. V, No. 29 August 28 - September 3, 2005 Quezon City, Philippines

Six Months of Torment
First of two parts
August marks the sixth month of Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan as military commander of Eastern Visayas. While the officer - who has since been reassigned to Nueva Ecija - claims he has been successful in crushing popular dissent in the area, his vicious anti-insurgency campaign has left hundreds of widows and orphans crying for help, grieving for justice.

Private First Class Jullado (with mobile phone in right photo), admitted to having taken part in bombing the village of Basey due, he said, to rebel presence; among the affected people are the family in the left photo.
Photos by Dabet Castañeda
SAMAR Island –An old man and his son pound palay (rice grains) on a lusong (huge wooden container); two half-naked men build a house made of wood; while an elderly woman, holding a large wooden basket at her back, gather fire wood for cooking.
Townsfolk in this hilly barangay (village) in the town of Basey are picking up the pieces and trying to live a normal life once more after braving three waves of mass evacuations last month.
But the tranquility that welcomed a group of more than a hundred foreign and local delegates of the International Solidarity Mission (ISM)-Philippines 2005 was rather eerie.
Before the second of group of delegates (to which this reporter belonged) could reach its destination, it had received information that the first group had experienced harassments from soldiers of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on their way to the place.
It was a 30-minute trek along farmlands, houses made of cogon, with bamboo and nipa lining the cemented pavement. From their doors and windows, people old and young alike watched the ISM team pass by.
Military men in uniform were seated in front of the houses.
From the top of a hill, one could see a group of people assembled outside the Barangay Cancaiyas Elementary School. The townsfolk came from eight different villages. The people gathered to tell their stories, to the ISM team, of homes burned, livelihood lost and kin hurt during the mass evacuations.
Fifty-one-year-old Editha Morales, a native Samarnon, said that she has lived in this barangay since birth and has never been forcefully evacuated from their home. “Not even during martial law,” she said in Tagalog.
The Philippines was under martial rule from 1972-1986 under the dictatorship of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.
“Malakas yung mga bomba, nakakabingi. Akala namin tatamaan kami” (The sounds of bombs exploding were deafening. We thought we would be hit), she said.
Basey evacuees
Aling Editha, her husband and her three children abandoned their home in the morning of July 20, Wednesday, after bombs were dropped in a nearby hinterland village. Taking all their pieces of property, they headed for the gymnasium in the town proper of Basey and stayed there for almost a week. Cancaiyas is roughly 10 kilometers from the town proper.
Her husband, a farmer who planted palay (rice), coconut (for kopra) and root crops, took their carabao to the foot of the hills where her husband could go back to everyday to feed it. It was made to stay there until they went home on Monday, July 26.
Most of the residents have since come home save for some 40 families in Sitio (sub-village) Ogbok where all households but two have fled to other villages.
Some families have fled to as far as Montalban town in Rizal province, Luzon Island.
The human rights group Karapatan-Eastern Visayas (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights-Eastern Visayas Region) documented 40 cases of evacuations in this island affecting 2,433 individuals or 1,786 families.
Security for whom?
The aerial bombings were confirmed by Private First Class (Pfc.) Jullado, who was present during the community meeting between the villagers and the ISM. Jullado, who was in full battle gear, refused to give his first name.
He said he was there together with eight others from the 46th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army (IB PA). They were sent specifically to “provide security” for the ISM delegates.

2nd Lt. Proxian Marasig, commander, 46th IB PA Bravo Company “Binomba namin yung lugar kasi may kaaway kami dito” (We bombed the place because there were enemies here), he said.
When asked who their enemies were, he said, “Syempre yung mga NPA. Infiltrated kasi ang area na ito.”(Of course the New People’s Army guerrillas. This area is infiltrated.)
Three of Jullado’s colleagues were not in uniform. A commotion ensued between the ISM delegates and the soldiers in civilian clothes when the soldiers tried to take pictures of the delegates and the villagers.
Upon questioning, the ISM delegates found that one of the soldiers in civilian clothes, who introduced himself as a local villager, was the commanding officer of the 46th IB PA Bravo Company.
While insisting he was not on official duty, 2nd Lt. Proxian Malasig said he only went to the area to visit his troops. The dark and lanky officer also said it was his prerogative to wear civilian clothes as a security measure.
ISM delegates learned later that one of the soldiers forcibly took a resident’s shirt and wore it to the community meeting. Malasig had earlier named this soldier as Pfc. Sherwin Dacanay.
During random interviews, residents said Malasig and his men frequented their village wearing civilian clothes. The villagers said the soldiers’ presence has sent a chilling effect on them.
Hell and terror
The island of Samar has been subject to intense counter-insurgency operations under the command of notorious military officer Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan. It has been six months since he announced on local radio that he would “end all anti-government rallies” in this island. This resulted in a long list of killings, abductions, torture, harassments, and other human rights and international humanitarian law violations.
In a forum Aug. 14 in the town of Catbalogan, some of the victims and survivors testified about the inhumane treatment they have suffered from the hands of soldiers.
Cristina Abalos, daughter of 67-year old Patricio Abalos, spoke of the forcible abduction and disappearance of her father. The older Abalos was abducted on March 28 by soldiers allegedly led by 2Lt. Wilbert Basquiñas. Cristina’s testimony echoed the stories of the families of the 31 persons who have disappeared in the region during the last six months.
All the way from the town of Villareal, Rosalina and Julius Calubid, wife and son of Constancio Calubid, related how Constancio was tortured and abducted by soldiers in plain clothes on the night of July 16. The victim disappeared and after 12 days was later found dead along the riverbanks of a remote village three kilometers from the town proper.
Karapatan-EV records reveal that 25 persons were summarily executed since Feb. 10 when Palparan officially took his post as commanding officer of the 8th Infantry Division (ID PA).
Political assassinations in this region have targeted respected political activists, including human rights and labor lawyer Fedelito Dacut and activist priest Rev. Edison Lapuz, Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI or Independent Church of the Philippines).
Pablo Dacutanan Jr., shared how he was tortured by AFP soldiers in an apartment located in a densely populated area before he was able to escape. Dacutanan was laughing throughout his testimony, proof that his sufferings have affected his mental health as well. There have been 31 cases of torture reported in this region.
Government officials have also been threatened and harassed by the military. Samar Reps. Catalino Figueroa (second district) and Reynaldo Uy (first district) have attested in Congress to being harassed. Even barangay officials are regularly terrorized.
For the period Feb. 10 to Aug. 4 (25 weeks or 175 days), Karapatan-EV has documented 513 cases of violations of international humanitarian law.
Karapatan-EV secretary general Alex Lagunzad said that these violations resulted from three military operation plans (oplan): a) Oplan Kalinaw Visayas (literally, “Operational Plan Peace-in-the-Visayas), the over-all counter-insurgency operations plan of the 8th ID PA in the region, b) Oplan Gold Rush 8, a plan to “neutralize” progressive people’s organizations, which the AFP considers as legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and c) Oplan Ligpit (literally, “Operational Plan Liquidate”), which aims to execute about 36 leaders and members of progressive organizations who are included in the Order of Battle (OB) list. This list was confirmed by Palparan himself in a media briefing sometime in June.
In a newspaper report on Aug. 19, Palparan said his six-month anti-insurgency campaign has been successful and he is just about to neutralize “communist-terrorists” (CTs) in the island.
Amid this so-called success however are widows and orphans who have been denied justice. For the villagers affected by military operations, it has been six months of torment. Bulatlat
Photos by Dabet Castañeda
Part 2: Crushing Opposition to Mining Operations


© 2004 Bulatlat ■ Alipato Publications
Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.

Crushing Opposition to Mining Operations

Crushing Opposition to Mining Operations
Second of two parts

Religious leaders and civil authorities suspect that behind the military campaigns and offensives in Samar and Leyte islands are mining interests.


The Supreme Court’s (SC) decision December last year reversing its earlier ruling concerning the legality of the Mining Act of 1995 has paved the way for U.S. and other foreign mining corporations to claim mining rights in the country, the report of the recently-concluded International Solidarity Mission (ISM) said. These corporations have particularly penetrated Samar, an island in central Philippines rich in bauxite, nickel and copper.

Alex Lagunzad, secretary-general of Karapatan-EV, said that Samar is one of the Arroyo government’s priority mining areas. However, mining operations in the area are met by stiff opposition from the people of Samar led by church people, environmentalist groups and local government officials.

In turn, this opposition has been met by harsh military attacks. The Karapatan chapter in this region relates the attempt on the lives of Fr. Allan Caparro, IFI, and Aileen, his wife, last Feb. 18 in Abuyog, Leyte to their anti-mining position. Leyte is the neighboring island province of Samar. Both islands including the province of Biliran constitute the whole of Region 8.

Fr. Caparro is head of an anti-mining alliance in Calbayog, Western Samar. He and Aileen were critically wounded when they were fired upon by three motorcycle-riding men.

Lagunzad said religious leaders and civil authorities suspect that behind the military campaigns and offensives in Samar and Leyte islands are mining interests.

The young human rights worker added that these attacks against anti-mining activists came after Secretary Angelo Reyes of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) assured foreign mining investors, during the International Conference on Mining Investment, Feb. 3, that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be mobilized to protect their investments and operations in the country.

In a privilege speech delivered during the congressional inquiry on human rights violations in the region, Rep. Reynaldo Uy (first district, Samar) confirmed Lagunzad’s claims. Uy said that military operations that have resulted in gross human rights violations happened in areas where there are mining interests and people’s resistance.

The congressman also pointed out that militarization is intense in areas covered by the 54,000-hectare land that the Chamber of Mines in the Philippines has requested to be excluded from the Samar Island Natural Park (SINP). This 347,000-hectare protected area is an environment conservation project.

Uy is one of the co-authors of the proposed SINP that would prohibit mining activities within the park.

The Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) lists two mining companies which have an ongoing exploration in the region, particularly in Southern Leyte: the Buena Suerte Mining Corporation which explores San Francisco, San Ricardo, Pintuyan and Liloan (6,611.59 has.) and Orophilippine Ventures, Inc. which explores Sogod, Liloan, St. Bernard and Libagon. Gold, silver and other associated minerals can be mined in these areas.

Ironic realities

Although abundant with natural and mineral resources, ironies perennially abound in this island.

Research by the Regional Peasant Alliance in Eastern Visayas shows that only 40 landholding families monopolize about 7,116 sq. km. of agricultural lands in the region. Being fertile, these lands yield good harvests of coconut, abaca, sugarcane, palay (rice grains) tobacco, root crops, coffee and corn. However, the region’s farmers continue to live in dire poverty.

While Eastern Visayas is also known for its abundant geothermal power reserve that supplies the National Power Corporation (Napocor) and the Philippine National Oil Company (PNOC), Samarnons pay the highest rate for electricity in the country. Households also experience regular weekly power outages. In fact, the ISM team who went to the town of Villareal experienced such during its overnight stay in the area.

Fighting repression

Historically, Lagunzad said Samar has been highly militarized due to an active peasant movement.

History books show that violent attacks on the people’s rights occur whenever the people’s resistance to foreign domination and the struggle for democracy, genuine land reform, and social emancipation are strong.

Twenty thousand Samarnons were killed in the infamous Balangiga (town in Eastern Samar) massacre in 1901. U.S. troops mercilessly killed men, women, and children in retaliation for an incident where American soldiers were killed by Filipino guerrillas.

And today, despite the vicious attacks on the lives and rights of the people of Samar, its people continue to challenge state brutality intended to protect the interests of foreign and local big businesses. “After the dreaded six months, we’re still alive and fighting,” Lagunzad said.

The struggle for justice for the several victims of military atrocities in Samar has been elevated as a national concern. The findings of the ISM team in Samar, together with that of the four other ISM teams, which visited Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac, Oriental Mindoro, Surigao del Sur and Moro communities in Manila, have been disseminated nationally and international. Copies of the findings and documented were also presented to the impeachment team of the House of Representatives to be used as evidence against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The foreign participants to the ISM have also vowed to bring these cases to their countries. Aside from propagating the findings, they will ask their governments to withdraw all forms of support and aid to the Arroyo government. Bulatlat

© 2004 Bulatlat ¦ Alipato Publications

Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.

Impeachment Move vs Arroyo to Include Killings

Bu-lat-lat (boo-lat-lat) verb: to search, probe, investigate, inquire; to unearth facts
Vol. V, No. 24 July 24 - 30, 2005 Quezon City, Philippines

Impeachment Move vs Arroyo to Include Killings
Apart from cheating, lying and stealing, the widespread killings of 411 church people, lawyers, human rights advocates, political activists, workers and peasants all over the country are also one of the grounds for President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s impeachment.

GENERATIONS TOGETHER: Together in the impeachment team are veteran legislator Ronaldo Zamora (left photo) as lead counsel and (right photo, l-r) young lawmakers Teofisto Guingona III, Teddy Casiño, Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, and Alan Peter Cayetano. Photos by Dabet Castañeda
Political killings in the country have become so widespread that the impeachment prosecution team could not help but include these as one of the amendments to the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano at the Secretary General’s Office of the House of Representatives.
Human rights lawyer Neri Colmenares, a member of the impeachment prosecution team, said the killings of 411 individuals from the religious sector, legal profession, human rights work, labor and peasant sectors have been considered grounds for the president’s impeachment. Colmenares said these are culpable violations of the Constitution under the provisions of the Bill of Rights.
Command responsibility
In the last four years of the Macapagal- Arroyo presidency, Colmenares said there has been a pattern of human rights abuses that he described as “widespread and systematic.”
According to its report which covered Jan. 21, 2001 to June 30, 2005, Karapatan (Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights) has documented 4,207 cases of human rights violations affecting 232,795 individuals or 24,299 families in 237 communities. These included 102 victims of frustrated murders and 130 victims of involuntary disappearances.
The 411 documented summary executions included 51 leaders and members of the party-list group Bayan Muna (people first), 20 human rights workers, and four lawyers and two judges in 2004 and 2005. There were also hundreds of peasants and workers killed including the seven striking workers and supporters of Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac (120 kms from Manila) who died during a violent dispersal at the picket line November last year.
Military officers and members as well as members of paramilitary groups have been accused as the perpetrators of the killings. Among them is Maj. Gen. Jovito Palparan Jr. who was head of the 204th Infantry Brigade in Mindoro Oriental from 2001 to 2003. It was during this time that the twin murders of human rights worker Eden Marcellana and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy took place. Cases were filed against the military but they have not been solved until today.
The military officer’s human rights record has been questioned by local and international human rights groups but instead of being punished, Palparan was sent to head the Philippine humanitarian team to Iraq in 2004. After his stint there, he was promoted to major general by President Macapagal-Arroyo and is currently the military commander of the 8th Infantry Division in Eastern Visayas. The latter has become a virtual killing field since he assumed his post last February, it was learned.
In the draft amended impeachment complaint, it is alleged that Macapagal-Arroyo “abetted” these heinous crimes, making her responsible for such crimes as commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).
Terror vs Muslims
On the other hand, former Commissioner on Human Rights Nasser Marohomsalic said that the primary reason why the Muslim community is calling for the President to step down from office is because she has no respect for Islam.
Proof of this, the Muslim lawyer said, is the violence against Muslims in Mindanao, mostly in Sulu, Tawi-Tawi, Lanao and Basilan. These are also the areas where massive election fraud has been allegedly committed by Macapagal-Arroyo as exposed in the controversial wiretapped conversation between her and election official Virgilio Garcillano.
Marohomsalic cited as examples the bombing of a Muslim village on the day of the feast of sacrifice in 2003, the indiscriminate arrest of Muslims being tagged as members of the Abu Sayyaf Group and the brutal treatment of Muslim inmates last March 15 in what is popularly known as the Bicutan Siege. In all of these violent attacks, most of the victims who died or have disappeared were innocent civilians, he added.
In fact, Marohomsalic said, he has documented three cases in which inmates have been taken out of municipal jails and have been brought to Manila to be presented as terrorists. “Bakit, paramihan ba? (Why, is this a numbers game?)” he asked.
‘These attacks are reflective of the military mindset of some of our leaders,” he said.
Fatima Remedios Balbin, former National Amnesty Commissioner, said there are several heinous offenses that Macapagal-Arroyo is responsible for, and killings are one of them. As a balik-Islam (Muslim convert), she believes there is an indiscriminate action of government against their sector.
Strong case
Colmenares described the series of killings that took place during the four-year term of Macapagal- Arroyo as a very strong case politically. “People will always be antagonized by a state that has committed massive killings of its own people,” he said.
It is the first time in the country’s history that murder is one of the grounds for a president’s impeachment.
This is a historic feat, Colemenares said, because the issue on killings is “closest to the heart of the people.” According to him, murder is a direct attack on a person’s being. Bulatlat


© 2004 Bulatlat ■ Alipato Publications
Permission is granted to reprint or redistribute this article, provided its author/s and Bulatlat are properly credited and notified.

All Previous Postings on Atrocities in EV Point to 8th ID PA as Terrorists, Now They Point that to NPAs

NPA terrorists ambush soldiers in Basey
June 29, 2005

CAMP LUKBAN, Catbalogan, Samar – Six (6) soldiers assigned with the 83rd Recon Company, 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army and three (3) civilians on board a Lite Ace van headed for Tacloban City were ambushed by Communist Terrorists (CTs) utilizing landmines at vicinity Brgy Balanti, Basey, Samar at around 8:45am. yesterday, June 28, 2005. Two (2) soldiers were killed while four (4) soldiers were wounded. Among the fatalities were one (1) civilian killed and two (2) civilians wounded. Two (2) high powered firearms were also carted away by the CTs. The Lite Ace vehicle was destroyed by the landmine.
The soldiers of whom only two are armed and in uniform while the rest are in civilian attire together with the two wives of the soldiers and one civilian resident from a nearby barangay of Villa Aurora of Basey, were on their way to Tacloban City to procure food and supplies when they were landmined and ambushed by the NPA terrorists. The civilian casualties, whose identities are not yet determined, including the wounded soldiers, were immediately brought to a hospital in Tacloban City for treatment.
The suspects are believed to be numbering more or less thirty (30) heavily armed CTs with M60 machinegun led by Communist Terrorist Leader alias Diomy of the Southern Samar Front-2 (SSF-2) operating in the southern portion of Samar Island.
This violent incident perpetrated by the CTs was done to slow down the military in its relentless drive to expose the deceptive and evil ways of the NPA and free the civilian populace from their stranglehold. The decisiveness of MGen Palparan to eradicate/solve insurgency in the soonest possible time frantically made the CTs murder soldiers and innocent people who were just doing their mandated duty of protecting democracy.
The ambush violates the International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Law (CARHRIL) signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the CPP/NPA/NDF. (Note that the militants had been repeatedly accusing MGen Palparan of ignoring the CARHRIL) Among the violations committed by the CTs during the ambush were the use of landmines and the killing and wounding of civilians not involved in armed conflict. The terrorists have a full view of the passengers of the Lite Ace who are mostly in civilian attire but still exploded the landmines and fired at the defenseless people on the said vehicle.
In his statement MGen Jovito S. Palparan Jr, Commanding General of the 8th Infantry Division, Philippine Army said, “This incident confirms that the CPP/NPA is a God-less organization and do not respect human rights. The cold-blooded murder and excessive use of force to sow fear in the hearts of the people of Samar is a trademark of a terrorist organization. Indeed, the Communist Terrorists can resort to terroristic acts with total disregard of human rights and civilian’s lives. As Commanding General of the 8ID, I condemn this murder of two soldiers and the civilian woman in the strongest possible terms. I call upon our citizens, people’s organizations and the so-called human rights groups to condemn the Communist Terrorists as well. I challenge the Bayan Muna and the militants to condemn the NPA and the Communist Party” He added “I would like to further assure the people of Region 8 that the 8th Infantry Division in close coordination with the Philippine National Police will relentlessly pursue these lawless elements who are terrorizing our people.”
The names of the casualties are withheld for the moment as the 8ID deems it necessary to inform their family first. At present, the bereaved family of the casualties and the 8th Infantry Division is preparing to file criminal and human rights charges against the perpetrators of this cruel incident.

Palparan and 8th ID: Threat to Biodiversity and Human Life, Watch Out

Military dispels NGO apprehensions about anti-insurgency drive
July 1, 2005

CATBALOGAN, Samar - Speaking before a group of non-government organizations (NGOs), 8th Infantry Division Chief of Staff Col. Herbert Yambing, stressed the importance of civil and military cooperation in stopping the rapid loss of forest and biodiversity resources in the island as he called on DENR and NGOs to remain vigilant and to help provide information to the military on illegal logging activities inside the protected area, the SINP. The orientation-dialogue held on June 22 at the Alpha Rho Function Hall in Catbalogan, Samar was organized by the SIBP-DENR through DENR RTD Edgardo Galleon and Project Managers Manolito Ragub and Jose Lim, in response to requests from NGO partners to arrange a meeting with the 8ID to raise the concerns of NGOs about the safety of their field staff in light of the ongoing anti-insurgency campaign by the military.
8ID PA Chief of Staff Col. Herbert Yambing, Dir. Emmanuel Veloso of PTA, DENR-8 RTD Edgardo Galeon and Ms. Chi Redaja of SIBP during the dialogue with NGO-Service Providers
While the military acknowledges the sincerity and importance of the Community Outreach Program of the SIBP, Col. Yambing pointed out that there is an immediate threat to the biodiversity resources in the SINP that can not wait for plans to be developed and implemented, and this is the continuing timber poaching within and smuggling of logs from Samar Island that strips away the once lush forest cover of the area. He explained that the anti-insurgency operation also uncovers illegal cutting and sale of timber and non-timber forest products carried out by “carabao loggers” (marginal farmers in the uplands) who are funded by big-time financiers in the lowlands and/or in cities outside the island.
The NGOs took the opportunity to raise their concern for the safety and free entry of their field staff in selected upland communities which are currently implementing the COP, a community-based program that helps upland residents develop and implement a natural resources management plan. COP implementation has been contracted out by UNDP, SIBP’s funding partner, to ten service providers or NGOs in 62 barangays in the three provinces of Samar Island. NGOs are apprehensive that field activities will be affected by current military operations and are concerned that they are being branded as “supporters of the New People’s Army (NPAs)”.
Col. Yambing assured the NGOs that they may continue with their programs in the field but advised them to notify the nearest detachment or battalion in their area prior to entry. He said that this must be standard practice to avert the possibility of getting caught in the crossfire should there be a planned offensive against the NPAs in their areas. He said the military does not discount the possibility that some NGOs are being used as “fronts” by the insurgents or that some of them have become victims of “extortion” by the rebels who charge so called “access fees”. Eventually, he said the military would be able to uncover if the NGOs working with SIBP are involved in any way in supporting the rebel movement.
“We have soldiers all over the island. If they link hands they can practically surround the whole island. The presence of the military helps a lot in protecting the forests but to be effective we need timely information from the field. You (NGOs) have the advantage of being in the field all the time. You know the people. All you need is to text or inform us through our People’s Center (located at Camp Lukban, Maulong, Catbalogan Hotline: 0921-6916967/ 0915-7744361), relevant information that will help us confiscate products or apprehend violators of the law. You can leave the rest to us. Don’t allow what happened to Aurora province happen to Samar Island”. Col. Yambing ended the dialogue with these thoughts.
SIBP Co-Project Manager Jose Lim and Foresters Crisostomo Badeo and Myron Garcia headed the Project team that organized the meeting and gave the briefing on the SIBP/SINP and the COP for the military partners.
The half-day program ended with commitments from the 8ID officials present to immediately forward a directive to their field units to facilitate the NGOs’ access in the areas. RTD Galeon on the other hand, assured the NGOs that he will facilitate the issuance of DENR authenticated ID’s that can be worn by the service providers when conducting field activities. The NGOs for their part, agreed to get in touch with the battalion commanders nearest their area of operation for proper coordination before proceeding to the field.