Statement on the Recent Clash between the NPA and Gingoog City Mayor Ruthie Guingona’s Escorts

Fortunato Magtanggol
Spokesperson, RCTU-ST
April 23, 2013

The Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions-National Democratic Front-Southern Tagalog (RCTU-NDF-ST) expresses its solidarity with the New People Army-North Central Mindanao Command (NPA-NCMC) in conveying their most heartfelt apologies regarding the unwanted recent encounter with Gingoog Mayor Ruthie Guingona’s armed escorts.

The incident resulted to the injury of Guingona and the death of Bartolome and Nestor Velasco, both bodyguards of Guingona.

In a statement released by the NPA-NCMC on April 21, the group said that it was Guingona’s escorts who first open fired at the NPA checkpoint located around 15 km southwest of Gingoog city.

Abide by their rules when in their jurisdiction –RCTU

“The revolutionary workers’ group sends its condolences to the families of Bartolome and Nestor. It is with great dismay that this has to happen. We call on all politicians to listen and abide firmly on the rules set by the NPA with regards to campaigning in guerrilla zones to avoid unwanted circumstances such as this.”, Fortunato Magtanggol, RCTU-NDF-ST spokesperson said.

In Mindanao, where the NPA has increasingly multiplied in number due to the people’s thirst for justice and radical transformation of the rotten system, the number and strength of the organs of political power established and built through the people’s democratic revolution have multiplied as well.

“It is in these cases where the NPA, the standing army for the people’s democratic government in the rural areas, are given full authority to put up checkpoints, in their reasonable purpose to protect and serve the people within these places commonly dubbed as ‘red areas’.” Magtanggol added.

In 1986, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, an alliance of revolutionary organizations including the NPA and the CPP, was granted by the Government of the Philippines (GPH) their belligerency status.

As a belligerent force, the NDFP has proven leadership over a significant part of the Philippines, has operational command over their army, and completely performs as a government in their organs of political power, also called as ‘red areas’. Thus, the NDF ‘has the capability to exercise the rights and obligations of a belligerent force under the laws of war within its ample jurisdiction’.

Contrary to what the reactionary government claims that they have full and exclusive rights in setting-up checkpoints and protecting their administration, the NDFP, through the NPA, has the privilege to look after and defend guerrilla zones where the people’s organs of political power have been and are continuously being established.

NPA sincere in upholding human rights

The Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions-Southern Tagalog, an allied organization of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, believes that what the NPA did was justifiable.

“This is why, at the same time that we are expressing our heartfelt apologies in solidarity with the NPA, we stand firmly in believing that their action was a justifiable reaction to Ruthie Guingona’s armed men.”

“We salute the NPA for their humility and courage in admitting their fault. Just as what they have said in their statement, the revolutionary movement has no ‘ill will’ towards the Guingonas, whom we deeply appreciate for their contribution in promoting the rights and welfare of the Filipino people.”

“Nonetheless, we are definite that the NPA, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, are more than ever resolute in bringing into practice Marxism-Leninism-Maoism, serving the people with their heart and soul. They are truly the people’s army, ready to admit their wrong, and most importantly, prepared to correct them for the sake of the national democratic revolution’s victory.”

AFP still the real fugitives

“Unlike the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and other armed state apparatuses who continuously violate international humanitarian laws yet never admit their mistakes despite proven accusations, the NPA has been consistent in facing times like these.”

On March 18, the Court of Appeals has released a ruling which holds the AFP accountable for the abduction of Jonas Burgos in 2007. The military has been directed to ‘produce Jonas’. However, Editha Burgos, mother of the victim, and militant organizations are yet to obtain justice and are still in search of the latter. The military and police have been immodest and complacent enough to deny the allegations in the face of speaking proof and witnesses.

Similarly, retired Philippine Army Major General Jovito Palparan who was charged with kidnapping and serious illegal detention remains at large up to present. His controversial command and participation in the abduction of University of the Philippines students Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno has placed him in a manhunt, with a P1 million reward money for his arrest. His blatant violations of international humanitarian laws have caught the attention of human rights groups and organizations around the world.

In April 2008, UN Special Rapporteur Phillip Alston reported the military as accountable in the rampant extrajudicial, summary, and arbitrary executions in the Philippines. Likewise, he said that “The military is in a state of denial concerning the numerous extrajudicial executions in which its soldiers are implicated.” But up to now, Palparan is still in hiding, and has yet faced his charges.

“Palparan, the military, and the PNP have exposed themselves as the real fugitives, the actual terrorists who sow fear and terror among the people. They have been unfailing in being renegades of the law. For so long, in so many cases, the military and the police never admitted their mistakes. Instead, they always put the blame on the NPA, or draw attention to the latter’s mistakes which are readily and willingly accepted and corrected by the rebels.”

“This is no different in the case of the assassination of trade union leaders Diosdado “Ka Fort” Fortuna in 2005 and Caloy Rodriguez in 2010, wherein the military and paramilitary forces were primarily held suspects, but were in no way held accountable. Conversely, they fabricated criminal accusations on the victims, and pointed their fingers at non-existent suspects and conditions which purportedly led to the killing of the unionists.”

In 2005, Fortuna was murdered at the height of their union’s strike in front of the Nestle Cabuyao plant. After years of investigation, Fortuna was declared a drug lord in Calamba, which the military said was the reason for his killing.

"The Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions-National Democratic Front-Southern Tagalog urges the Aquino administration to put equal attention to, act on and punish those accountable for continuous human rights violations. With the celebration of the Labor Day fast approaching, the revolutionary workers’ group is insistent in demanding genuine justice for all human rights’ victims, including workers. Ultimately, we stand firm in the justness and timeliness of the people’s democratic revolution which will lead to genuine justice and freedom.” Ended Magtanggol.###