From InterAksyon (Jan 1): Panay Reds say commander of rival faction slain 'resisting arrest'
Communist rebels on Panay Island said they had killed the commander of a rival faction when he “resisted arrest” by a New People’s Army unit on Monday.
The National Democratic Front’s Panay Provisional Regional Government, in a statement released on New Year’s Eve, said Demetrio Capilastique Jr., alias “Hugo,” the regional commander of the Revolutionary Proletarian Army-Alex Boncayao Brigade on the island “met his death yesterday, December 30, 2013, around 4:30 pm, at Linayuan, Badiangan, Iloilo when he resisted against the arresting unit of the New People’s Army.”
The RPA-ABB broke away from the Communist Party of the Philippines in the early 1990s and reached a peace agreement with the government in 2000.
The mainstream revolutionary movement accuses the RPA-ABB of becoming an adjunct of the military and, through the years, armed clashes have intermittently broken out between the two factions.
On Negros Island, RPA-ABB units have been reported to have joined state security forces in operations against the NPA.
Capilastique assumed command of the RPA-ABB on Panay after the NPA killed his predecessor, Daniel Batoy, alias “Mokong,” on August 22, 2004.
The two “led a significant portion of the NPA in the south (of Panay) to split from the revolutionary movement and conspire with the (Armed Forces of the Philippines and Philippine National Police) against the revolution,” the NDF Panay statement said.
According to the NDF Panay, Capilastique was “sentenced to death” in 2001 for crimes alleged committed by his faction in Iloilo, when he was RPA-ABB provincial commander.
Since then, the Panay rebels claimed, he had committed or ordered several more “heinous crimes” and incurred “blood debts” despite repeated warnings “to stop and desist from leading, commanding and taking direct hand in atrocious crimes against the common people.”
Among others, the NDF Panay claimed Capilastique, “in collaboration with Nilo dele Cruz … took part in planning the abduction of Luisa Posa and Nilo Arado at Oton in April 12, 2007.”
Dela Cruz of Manila was former commander of the RPA-ABB until he and the current leader of the faction, Stephen Paduano, alias “Carapali Lualhati,” of Negros had a falling out.
Posa and Arado led activist organizations on Panay and have remained missing since their abduction.
Among the other crimes the rebels accused Capilastique of were the 2004 killing of lawyer Edgar Calizo in Kalibo, Aklan; the 2003 kidnapping and murder of Manila mountaineer Leovic Gutierrez, also in Aklan; the 1998 murders of landowner Juanito Lutero and Barangay Quipot Captain Jerry Colaja of Janiuay town, Iloilo, ostensibly control quarry operations along the Suague River; and the 2002 kidnapping of Jefferson Tan, son of an Iloilo businessman.
Capilastique was also allegedly responsible for a March 29, 2008 ambush in Barangay Patong-patong, Janiuay, in which a policeman was killed and two others wounded.
However, the NDF Panay claimed, none of the RPA-ABB fighters responsible were arrested because “Capilastique’s mercenary gang (is) being coddled and protected by the AFP and the police in order to do paid and ‘dirty jobs’ for them.”
“The People’s Court had ordered the arrest of Demetrio Capilastique Jr. in order to face the charges against him,” the NDF Panay said.
“In carrying out the court’s order the NPA unit were reminded that they are about to arrest a fierce, armed and dangerous criminal,” it added. “The arresting NPA unit tried to arrest Capilastique but instead of submitting, he violently resisted. Thus the unit was forced to defend itself and neutralize him.”
We have never been alarmist and will never be one. But dealing on the dark side of life when that is the real thing is not to alarm people. It is not really a negative attitude either. It is the good thing to do. Similarly, always thinking positive is negativist on the flip side. It can be as dangerous as when one thinks always negatively. Any over-stressing of either side is a negative attitude. Objectivism is always the right frame of mind that must be cultivated. Both sides of the equation are appreciated in their proper perspectives.
Within the first quarter of this year, the parties must sign the comprehensive peace agreement (CPA) to enable the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) to finish the final draft of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) for submission to President Benigno Aquino III, who will certify it as urgent bill, in order to give just enough space and time for Congress to pass it into law. This should not be later than May this year. By 2015 the atmosphere will change radically; the fever of the 2016 presidential election will begin to spread its divisive and paralyzing effects. Expect switching of party affiliations and heightened bickering among politicians. Even a non-partisan issue like the Bangsamoro Question and its early resolution will be affected. And third, the BBL should be ratified by the people in the Bangsamoro territory preferably towards the end of this year or early 2015 to make way for the establishment of the Bangsamoro Transition Authority (BTA).
The GPH-MILF peace talks will resume this month after the parties signed the Annex on Power-sharing, which is so far the most difficult of the four annexes. Still on the pipeline for discussion and settlement are: Bangsamoro Waters, Annex on Normalization, and finally the CPA. The CPA is not just a piece of paper; it contains principles, most likely on the following: how the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is going to be abolished; the conduct of the plebiscite for the ratification of the BBL; and the manner of amending the Constitution, if necessary.
However, in spite of the still rough road ahead, we are still very hopeful and upbeat that the two parties will finally settle all the remaining issues in the negotiating table. Two sincere, willing, and committed partners, like the Aquino administration and the MILF, will always find ways to overcome any issue that stands on their way. This has been proved by them time and again.