• By The Financial District

AFP DISPUTES CLAIMS ON DESECRATION OF BODY OF SLAIN NPA COMBATANT

Claims that the dead body of 22-year-old Jevilyn Cullamat was desecrated by government troops following the November 28 clash in Marihatag, Surigao Del Sur with the New People's Army (NPA) that the former is affiliated with, are only propaganda, a ranking military official said .

This, according to Southern Luzon Command (SOLCOM) chief, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., in a statement forwarded to the Philippine News Agency (PNA) .

"I strongly deny accusations made by the Kamatayan (Makabayan) bloc that our troops desecrated the body of Jevilyn Cullamat alias 'Reb'. How could they make that claim when even Jesryn Cullamat, the elder brother of Jevilyn, expressed his thanks to our troops for respecting and taking care of Jevilyn's remains, along with their family," he said in Filipino.


Parlade, who is also a spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), said this desecration claim is being turned into a propaganda piece by party-list representatives connected with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as the incident involved the younger daughter of Bayan Muna Party-list Representative Eufemia Cullamat.


"This is another propaganda of the CPP's representatives who are liars, especially that the incident involved the child of a Bayan Muna official. What is clear here is they do not have any explanation yet as to why (Rep.) Cullamat has a child who sacrificed her life to the NPA while their children are studying in exclusive schools or living in luxury in Europe and other countries. They should explain it. Who knows, the people might listen to them," he added.


In dismissing Makabayan bloc's desecration claim, Parlade said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has no record of human rights violations to taint its reputation during the past seven years.


Maybe this why the CPP-NPA is using the incident involving Jevilyn as propaganda to smear the good reputation of AFP, he added.


If the Makabayan bloc is really looking for incidents of desecration involving remains of fallen NPA combatants, Parlade said, then militant lawmakers should try investigating the NPAs as communist terrorists have a record of just leaving the bodies of their slain members on the field or hurling them off cliffs especially when tasting defeat from government forces.


"They do not spare anybody, whether it is a child or spouse of a ranking CPP-NPA official. If we remember it correctly, Ka Insay, the wife of Ka Roger Rosal who was killed in an encounter in Laguna, the NPA carried her remains to a high hill and pushed it towards the center of two big rocks, damaging her skull. What kind of desecration is that? Who are they calling as pigs again?" he said.


He also scored the CPP-NPA and its allies for insisting on the observance of the Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL) and other international laws and conventions to suit and magnify their propaganda piece.


Medic with a gun


But this, he said, seems not to be getting any momentum as Jevilyn, whom they described as a medic, was carrying an M-653 at the time of the clash.


"Now, they are insisting CAHRIHL and whatever international laws and conventions. Can they explain why their medic alias 'Reb' was carrying an M-653 when it is clear that they cannot be combatants? Why can't they explain why is it always that landmines and explosives are seized from the NPA during clashes? Can they explain what Joy James Saguino or Ka Amihan said before that they slit the neck of the soldier that they killed in an encounter?" Parlade said.


He also urged the CPP-NPA and its allies to explain the desecration and rape of women cadres among their ranks and the minors they forced to join their ranks.

"Isn't this their biggest atrocity as they turn them into goons of the Kamatayan (Makabayan) bloc? Now, you make it appear as these are being committed by the AFP as part of your wild imagination and propaganda?" he added.


High trust rating


Parlade said committing abuses and atrocities against the Filipino people is not the work of the AFP that is sworn to protect the country and its people, adding that its troops are too well disciplined and trained to commit such infractions.


"That is not the work of the AFP and the Special Forces. Our AFP soldiers are disciplined, hence the high trust rating from the people. Can the CPP-NPA boast of a 78 percent trust rating even if Rappler would commission such a survey? I know the rigorous training undertaken by the SF members because I myself experienced it. I know the discipline of the SF because I’ve been with them for 14 years. Ask Ka Satur (Ocampo) and (Karapatan Secretary-General) Tinay Palabay how we respect and take care of our rebel captives when I was still an SF commander," he added.


Not poverty


Parlade also dismissed claims that it is poverty that is pushing many people to join the NPA ranks, adding that there are people being recruited to such a senseless cause due to the posturing of the CPP.


"You claim that poverty is the reason why the NPA exists? No. There are poor people in Batanes, Camiguin, Romblon, Marinduque, and other areas but there are no NPA members there. It is because there is no CPP who lures the people into joining their armed struggle," he added.


He said there are more than 50 countries in the world that are much poorer than the Philippines and yet these nations don't have any insurgency problems.


"Why? Because they do not have a communist party that aims to overthrow their government, hence, they are now inching closer to the Philippines in terms of economic growth. Why are we ranked 10th in the world’s terrorist index? It’s because of the killings committed by the NPA. They kill fellow Filipinos, which is even worse than the victims of the ASG (Abu Sayyaf Group) and Muslim secessionists," he added.


Misinterpretation of revolution


Parlade slammed the Makabayan Bloc for misinterpreting and disgracing the revolution and nationalism espoused by Gat Andres Bonifacio and his patriot followers.


"Kamatayan (Makabayan) bloc, you are blind. We have been commemorating the anniversary of Gat Andres Bonifacio’s heroism but it is saddening how his revolution and nationalism are being marred by your own interpretation for your own agenda. Your crooked principles and ideology disgrace the nationalism of Gat Andres and other heroes who put their lives on the line for peace and freedom. The battle against the Spaniards, Americans and the Japanese is over. Why are we forcing our fellow Filipinos to fight against one another?" he added.


He said the reckless propaganda being spewed by the CPP-NPA is dangerous as it misleads the youth and leads to danger and has the potential to destroy the country. "How many Jevilyn Cullamats have to die for a senseless purpose? It’s time for your foolishness to end, (former Bayan Muna Representative Teddy) Casiño, Renato Reyes, (France) De Castro, (Carlo Isagani) Zarate, (Ferdinand) Gaite and (Carol) Araullo, unless you would include your children in the armed struggle. Follow now, (Neri) Colmenares, (Sarah) Elago, (Sister Mary John) Mananzan and the others, except if you yourselves would climb up the mountains and leave the comfort of your condominiums and convents," Parlade said.


The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.