TACLOBAN CITY – The Philippine Army (PA) has dismantled a New People’s Army (NPA) "kangaroo court" in Carigara, Leyte following the recent surrender of its two members and the rebels' courier-spotter.
Capt. Kaharudin Cadil, the spokesman of Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade, said on Wednesday the three surrendered to soldiers last week during the conduct of retooled Community Support Program (CSP) in the upland villages of Carigara town.
CSP is the PA's people-centered program to bring peace and development in conflict-affected barangays and an initiative to bring the government closer to the people through immediate delivery of basic services.
“They have been under the custody of the Philippine Army. We just completed the interview Tuesday night. Since they confessed to killing soldiers, we are coordinating with the Police Criminal Investigation and Detection Group on appropriate actions for them,” Cadil said in a phone interview.
Each of the surrenderers turned over a .45 caliber pistol with a loaded magazine.
Alias Jun and alias Kakay admitted their membership with the NPA’s "kangaroo court", ignoring due process and come to a predetermined conclusion.
The court kills people on mere suspicion that they are against the insurgents, Cadil said, adding the court also sentenced a soldier to death in 2017.
Alias Tor, now a motorcycle driver, claimed of his past association with the special operations group of the dismantled NPA Guerrilla Front 41 in Leyte.
Both Jun and Kakay claimed the late Boy Caliwan alias Kumander Apoy, the late alias Santoy, alias Biyong, and alias Tibor, all of the defunct Platoon Agila of Guerrilla Front 41 designated them and several others to the kangaroo court without any training and specific guidance on how to conduct the so-called “revolutionary justice system.”
“They also identified the other members of the 'kangaroo court', four of whom are still alive today, including one who earlier surrendered to Army’s 93rd Infantry Battalion as a mass member,” the army said in a statement sent to reporters.
Kakay recalled handing down the death sentence to a certain Tonyo executed by three NPA members. A village chief and a brother of the victim reportedly served as principal complainants.
The NPA recruited the two by organizing Municipal Upland Farmers Association in Carigara.
Troops of the Army’s 93rd Infantry Battalion found more evidence linking the farmer’s group to NPA when they discovered documents at the house of a suspected NPA member on Nov. 13, 2020 in upland Canlampay village in Carigara town.
For his part, Tor admitted his ties with the NPA in Carigara town and nearby towns as a courier, spotter, and driver for members of the rebel’s liquidation group.
He recalled driving NPA members to a remote place in Carigara where they assassinated Cpl. Erwin Niegas of the Army’s 8th Infantry Division in 2015.
The three surrenderers belong to the remaining politico-military structure of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) in Carigara town.
There are still less than 20 NPA remnants hiding in the town’s thick forest, according to Cadil.
Brig. Gen. Zosimo A. Oliveros, Commander, 802nd Brigade, condemned the summary execution of victims without the benefit of a thorough and just investigation similar to the purging of their own members in the gruesome Inopacan massacre.
“I am calling on our fellow Filipinos to unite and demand justice for the victims of the CPP-NPA-NDF’s baseless, cruel, and inhuman so-called revolutionary justice system”, he 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.
The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PNA)