The New People’s Army (NPA) in Negros Island announced the killers of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Rogelio Posadas will be tried by the “Revolutionary People’s Court” in the island.
NPA-Negros’ Apolinario Gatmaitan Command spokesperson Maoche Legislador in a statement Saturday, June 10, said cases related to Posadas’ killing by the military have been filed in its own tribunal.
Legislador said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP) and National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTFELCAC) are the respondents in the case.
“[T]here is no one else capable of cruel acts against revolutionary forces and the people but the mercenary and barbaric (AFP), (PNP) and (NTFELCAC) under the command of (President Ferdinand) Marcos Jr.,” Legislador said.
The Visayas Command (VisCom) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) announced last April 23 that Posadas died in a firefight with soldiers of the 62nd Infantry Battalion in Barangay Santol, Binalbagan, Negros Occidental last April 20.
Posadas, however, was announced missing as early as April 19 by the NDFP in Negros, along with companion Kyngrace Marturillas and motorcycle drivers Denald Mailen and Renel delos Santos.
Legislador said bystanders who witnessed the incident claimed a white van waylaid two motorcycles, afterwhich armed men wearing bonnets forced the drivers and passengers into the van.
He added Posadas was assassinated by the military in yet another fake encounter and that Marturillas and the drivers remain to be victims of enforced disappearances.
What’s a ‘People’s Court?’
Unlike Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) municipal and regional trial courts that are headed by a single judge, People’s Courts are usually composed of several members who try and decide on the cases as a tribunal similar to GRP’s Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and the Supreme Court.
Respondents, whether present or in absentia, are assigned defenders as in regular courts.
Understandably, most trials are held clandestinely but CPP, NPA, NDFP supporters as well as civilians are allowed as observers.
In earlier interviews with Kodao, NDFP representatives explained that anyone, including civilians, may file complaints with the CPP and the NPA.
Cases that warrant the formation of a People’s Court often try serious cases, such as cattle rustling, land grabbing, rape, murder and “counter-revolutionary activities” that lead to the capture or death of CPP, NPA and NDFP members, the representatives explained.
Penalties on guilty verdicts range from the offender’s banishment from a certain place to death, such as in the case of former NPA leader Romulo Kintanar who was executed in November 2003 while having lunch at a Quezon City restaurant by a NPA team.
The CPP said People’s Courts are part of its governance of territories it has established in its more than five decades of armed struggle. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)