Proceed with probe on IP killings, Karapatan dared

MANILA An army official on Saturday challenged rights group Karapatan to proceed with the Congressional investigation on the killings of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) after the militant bloc in the House of Representatives postponed the proceedings.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, Major Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., in a press statement, called on Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay to participate in the inquiry after persistently denying being a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

"Why postpone it when you say the IPs are continuously being killed by government forces each day? Let's do this now and let the whole world know who is on the side of the truth. Let's proceed with the inquiry as planned. Join us Karapatan in the inquiry, please. And when we all find out it's all fabricated, and in fact it's your NPAs who are killing the IPs. Let's submit the real report to UNCHR and to your foreign donors," he said.

He added that "Kamatayan Bloc" is trying to prevent the conduct of Congressional Inquiry into IP killings and Salugpungan schools in Surigao, Bukidnon, and Davao.

We received the memo canceling the trip next week until after elections, because the 'Kamatayan Bloc' participating there are not available. What's more important than knowing, once and for all, about the truth on these IP killings and closure of Salugpungan schools which you continue to trumpet in UN, Europe, and North America?, he said referring to Makabayan party-list groups in the Lower House.

Parlade said he cannot help but wonder why the inquiry was postponed when it is the militant bloc that says IPs are continuously being killed by government forces each day.

Let's do this now and let the whole world know who is on the side of the truth. Let's proceed with the inquiry as planned,: he added.

Parlade expressed belief that Karapatan will not agree to this challenge.

I bet you won't do this because this will stop the funding from these foreign NGOs. So we dare you, spend your money for the purpose it was donated factual reports," he said.

Karapatan, he said, is part of the "International Assembly of terrorist affiliates" event organized by CPP founder Jose Maria Joma Sison in Hong Kong this June 2019.

"He calls it the 6th International League of Peoples Struggle or ILPS, which Joma himself chairs. All of these 'Kamatayan Bloc' are part of this assembly, together with Karapatan, Ibon Foundation, NUPL, etc. They deny that they are not affiliated to CPP and Joma, "he said. So here is my simple question: If Osama Bin Laden, a known terrorist, calls for a convention would you attend it as an individual or as an organization? Think about that.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, he said, is attempting to harass him for implicating Karapatan as a stooge of Sison.

I did not. Joma did, he said.

Accept the challenge

Parlade urged the "Kamatayan Bloc" to just answer or accept the challenge instead of evading the issue by bringing the topic on West Philippine Sea (WPS), Rappler's case, and dramatics in the US capitol.

The issues at the moment are in our backyard, WPS is too far. But if you want to talk about that topic, I'm game. But that would implicate your allies in the opposition. Clear it with them please, because you are all together in this attempt to destabilize and destroy this administration whose satisfaction ratings just keep on increasing, to your dismay, he said.

Where is Ibon Foundation, by the way? Are they busy again fabricating research studies and reports of alleged human rights abuses during the administration of President Duterte? he added.

More proof

Parlade also cited proof that shows Karapatan is not a human rights defender of the poor and oppressed.

Fred CaAa, secretary general of Karapatan-Negros, reportedly bailed Romeo Nanta, head of the NPA Regional Operations Command in Negros Island, on February 21, 2012.

He added that a photocopy of official receipt No. 8369533 B also indicates that PHP200,000 cash bond was paid by then Karapatan-Southern Mindanao Region secretary general Honey Mae Suazo on July 7, 2015, for the release of arrested NPA leader Zaldy Canete alias Ka Jinggoy.

Ms. Palabay, you are suddenly so quiet after seeing the PHP200,000 cash bond paid by Suazo for the release of Canete. We also forgot to mention that Honey Mae is party wife of NPA (leader) Jonald Suazo," Parlade said.

Jonald is reportedly an NPA Guerilla Front commander.

The United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Philippines have declared the CPP-NPA a terrorist organization. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency