‘Genuine revolutionary, loving father and patient husband,’ Concha says of slain husband

National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultant Concha Araneta-Bocala called her late husband Reynaldo a genuine revolutionary who gave five decades of his life serving the masses of Panay Island.

In a loving tribute to her life-long partner and fellow NDFP consultant, Concha said she grieves for Reynaldo and companion Willy “Ka Ramon” Arguelles, killed in what the Philippine National Police (PNP) said was a simple service of arrest warrants that turned bloody.

“I grieve for my comrade and my husband Ka Reynaldo Bocala, more lovingly known as Ka Hans, Ka Bading and Ka Minoy to the masses in the countryside of Panay. I also grieve for Ka Ramon his trusted and reliable companion. We all grieve for them. Unarmed, they were traitorously and brutally murdered by the fascist mercenaries of the tyrant Duterte,” Concha said.

Herself in hiding as among those listed as terrorists by the Rodrigo Duterte government, Concha said she is torn by the killing of her husband of 50 years but she is proud and happy that he had lived to his pledge of serving the people and the Party (Communist Party of the Philippines) “until his last breath.”

Concha credited Reynaldo as a key figure in the consolidation and upsurge of the underground revolutionary movement in Central Panay and in the anti-fascist struggle south of the island related to the downfall of the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship in 1986.

She said Reynaldo also organized the island’s indigenous Tumandok to fight for their right to their ancestral lands.

“Ka Minoy (Reynaldo) gave 50 years of his life in the revolutionary struggle. He was well-loved by the masses for his wit and humor, sharing stories and laughing with them, his down-to-earth style when giving lessons to the masses and practicality in guiding them on how to organize and mobilize their fellow peasants,” she said.

Reynaldo and Willy were killed by a team of police and military operatives in Providence Subdivision, Brgy. Balabag, Pavia, Iloilo City on Tuesday, May 29.

A Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees document of identification, ensuring his protection against surveillance, arrest, detention and assassination, was discovered among his possessions after the incident.

Patient husband, loving father

In her tribute, Concha said her husband was a loving father to their four children.

“[Y]our father, tatay loved you so much, too much. You know that and you can feel that,” she said.

Concha said she and Reynaldo met 50 years ago, got married and had two daughters and two sons.

While her husband failed to see their revolution succeed, Concha said she hopes their children, grandchildren and succeeding generations will see its inevitable victory.

“His life and work as a revolutionary may have taken his time away from you but his work was also for you and for all later generations that you may live decently as hard working people, enjoy genuine freedom and live full and happy lives,” she said.

Concha also revealed Reynaldo had been a patient husband to her, a headstrong woman born of privilege.

“To my comrade and husband, thanks for all the love you showered me even as I’m not easy to deal with, impatient, [lovingly] irritating almost always, and prickly as I may have inadequacies [as lover and wife],” she wrote in Hiligaynon.

“I give you my love admiration and respect,” she ended. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Karapatan dares Mar Roxas to initiate withdrawal of DILG-DND reward system; says it violates JASIG

concha araneta
(Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala/Photo from Aksyon Radio Iloilo)

Karapatan said the Department of National Defense (DND) and Department of Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) “reward system-bounty list” weighs heavier than its joint agreement with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on safety and immunity guarantees or the JASIG and the Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Reacting on the recent arrest of peace consultant Maria Concepcion Araneta-Bocala, Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said, “The GPH and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would gladly violate JASIG and arrest NDFP peace consultants, earn from the reward money than push forward the long-stalled peace talks with the NDFP. We challenge the DILG Secretary, whether its Mar Roxas or his replacement, to withdraw the Order on Reward System targeting so-called communists but has proven to have victimized innocent civilians.”

“By arresting peace consultants of the NDFP, the government already bagged at least Php 55 million. These funds would have been more useful when channeled to social services since these are taxpayers’ money. The reward system further breeds corruption in the bureaucracy,” Palabay said.

Araneta-Bocala, or Concha, with Php 7.8 million bounty on her head, was arrested early morning of August 1, 2015, by joint forces of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) Unit Region 6 and the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines at a house in Juntado Subdivision, Molo, Iloilo City. Araneta-Bocala is peace consultant of NDFP for the Visayas region. She was issued Document of Identification No. ND978245 under assumed name “Remi Estrella”. Under the JASIG, persons with Document of Identification should be immune from arrests and detention in order to perform their duties as peace consultants.

The DND-DILG reward system is contained in the DND-DILG JOR Number 14-2012. “But it was amended in 2012 through the JO ORDER ON REWARD NUMBER 14(A)-2012 in recognition of the peace negotiations with the NDFP. The order stated, ‘Pursuant to the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantess (JASIG) dated 24 February 1995 and the current GPH list of JASIG-covered personalities, the following names are to be deleted from DND-DILG JOR Number 14-2012 in recognition of the pending peace negotiations and conditions upon the existence of the said peace negotiations.’ Some of the deleted names with corresponding reward money were Wilma Austria-Tiamzon, Rafael Baylosis, Vicente Ladlad, Reynaldo Bocala and Jose Maria Sison.

“However, Austria is still detained with husband Benito Tiamzon while Ladlad and Baylosis still face trumped-up murder charges initiated during the Arroyo regime, supposedly Aquino’s nemesis,” Palabay added.

Another NDFP consultant was arrested on July 20 in Quezon City. Ernesto Lorenzo is falsely charged with destructive arson. Lorenzo and his wife Joyce Latayan is now detained at the CIDG holding area in Camp Crame Quezon City. “Lorenzo and Lantayan complained that they are only given food after the CIDG members have eaten and there are left over food,” Palabay said.

OPAPP, saboteur of the peace process

Karapatan strongly criticized the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process for its “consistent role in sabotaging the GPH-NDFP process through its statements and moves that consider previously signed agreements such as the JASIG inoperative.” The OPAPP released a statement yesterday on Araneta-Bocala’s arrest.

Palabay cited an acknowledgement letter issued by the GPH Peace Panel citing “Remi Estrella,” Araneta-Bocala’s assumed name, as entitled to the safety and immunity guarantees under the JASIG, aside from the DI shown by Araneta-Bocala upon her arrest. “The OPAPP, through its Secretary Teresita “Ging” Deles, also consistently justifies illegal arrests, disappearances and other rights violations,” Palabay added.

“We reiterate our call to immediately release the NDFP peace consultants and resume the peace talks. We also call on the GPH to stop spending huge amount of people’s money in self-serving and unproductive activities. ###