The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemned what it called the coordinated murder of two National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants in the Visayas Friday night.
In a statement, CPP information officer Marco Valbuena blamed the Rodrigo Duterte government, particularly the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), for the killing of what it described as senior NDFP consultants.
“The (CPP) condemns in the strongest terms the (PNP) and the (AFP) for the coordinated killings last night of National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) peace consultants for the Visayas region,” Valbuena said.
Reynaldo Bocala, a known CPP and New People’s Army leader in Panay Island, and companion Willy Arguelles were killed in Iloilo City by the police while former Roman Catholic Priest and NDFP-Cebu negotiator Rustico Tan was killed in his sleep in Camotes Island, Cebu Province.
Valbuena said the killing of Bocala and Arguelles in Barangay Balabag, Pavia, Iloilo City was a “[t]okhang-style liquidation operation purportedly to serve warrants of arrests.”
The CPP said Bocala and Arguelles were unarmed when the police-military raid happened.
The PNP’s Criminal Investigation and Detection Group however said both victims put up a fight as the operatives were serving four warrants of arrest against Bocala for alleged murder.
The police issued the same claims in the killing of other NDFP consultants Julius Giron in Benguet Province, couple Eugenia Magpantay and Agaton Topacio in Rizal Province as well as other suspected elderly and sick New People’s Army fighters throughout the country.
All the killings happened either at night or before dawn.
The killings and arrests of NDFP consultants as well as suspected CPP and NPA members went into overdrive after Duterte cancelled peace negotiations with the underground Left in mid-2017.
“Stories by police and military officials of firearms recovered from the scene are all made-up to make the crime a legitimate police and military operation. This modus operandi, used against the wave of drug killings since 2016, is now being used by the military and police in the series of killings against activists and revolutionaries,” Valbuena said.
The killing of Tan is similar to the assassination of NDFP consultant Randy Felix Malayao who was also asleep when killed by two bullets on his head in Nueva Vizcaya.
Masterminded by Duterte
Valbuena said the CPP holds Duterte and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) as masterminds of the killings of Bocala, Arguelles and Tan.
The massacre of the three was coordinated at a high level with the aim of driving terror into the hearts of the people and their revolutionary forces, Valbuena said.
The CPP spokesperson said the Duterte government perpetrates coordinated killings by the AFP and the PNP against NDFP peace consultants and suspected leaders of the Party and NPA.
“They are being summarily executed in line with Duterte’s the ‘take no prisoners’ fascist policy in the vain hope of making the people and their revolutionary forces surrender to his terrorist regime,” Valbuena said.
“It is an outrage that the fascists are targetting NDFP peace consultants who are in their senior years. Bocala was 75 years old, while Fr. Tan was 80,” he added.
Valbuena said the NPA must do its utmost to punish the perpetrators of the murders, “[i]n line with the (CPP’s) directives.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)