Hong Kong human rights groups condemn

the abduction, torture, rape and killing of Rebelyn Pitao, 20 years

 

Hong Kong

 

March  11, 2009

 

 

 

The incident:

 

On March 4, 2009 at around 6:30 in the evening, Rebelyn M. Pitao, 20, third child of Lencio Pitao a. k. a commander Parago, a license teacher working as substitute at St. Peter College in Toril, Davao City, after teaching she was on her way home to her house at Purok 2, Bago Gallera, Talomo, Davao City.

Rebelyn was the first passenger seated at the back of tricycle waited at the terminal at Bago Aplaya, Talomo, Davao City. It was followed by two men, one seated in front of the tricycle and one at the back fronting Rebelyn. Danny E. Pelicano, the tricycle driver was told by one man to go ahead and they will pay the remaining lacking one. But one lady passenger suddenly arrived and seated in front of the tricycle.

Upon reaching at crossing Bago Gallera de Oro Subdivision in dark or dim portion, two men were waiting and white van vehicle park and blocked the tricycle out rightly pulled the tricycle driver away the tricycle and was commanded to drop. One man told Danny not to run if he will run he will be shot.

Because of fear, the driver runs back to the terminal calling for help. While the other woman passenger also run leaving Rebelyn. Un-identified men held Rebelyn. She was shouting and crying for help. She was forcefully put inside the white van vehicle and rashly run towards the exit unknown direction.

 

-- From: Karapatan Fact Sheet    Read more

 

The suspects:

 

Through its Information Bureau, the CPP said preliminary investigations conducted by revolutionary authorities in the Southern Mindanao Region have already identified the perpetrators as Sgts. Adan Sulao and Ben Tipait of the AFP's Military Intelligence Group XI, Cpl. Alvin Bitang of the Military Intelligence Battalion (MIB) of the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division, and a certain Pedregosa, another intelligence agent.

 

-- From: www.philippinerevolution.net     Rfead more

 

   
/p

/p
Photos courtesy of BAYAN - Hong Kong
           
           

 

Press Release
11 March 2009

For reference: Fr. Dwight dela Torre, (852) 98105070
Jackie Hung(852) 92681803
Co-convenors

Desperate government disdainful of human rights
HK group condemns murder of NPA head’s daughter

“Only a government and a military that is most desperate and most disdainful of human rights will resort to the killing of innocent and civilian family members of the revolutionary movement. This is appalling and deserves our strongest condemnation.”

This was declared today by Fr. Dwight dela Torre, co-convenor of the group HK Campaign for the Advancement of Human Rights and Peace in the Philippines (HKCAHRPP) in a picket protest it conducted today at the Philippine Consulate General to condemn the murder of 20-year old teacher Rebelyn Pitao in Davao del Norte province, southern Philippines. Pitao is daughter of a commander of the New People’s Army, Leoncio Pitao aka as “Ka Parago”.

“What happened to Rebelyn shows that human rights, justice and even the rule of law are bygone concepts in the country. Does this dastardly action mean that the government’s counter-insurgency drive now covers not only legal activists but also mere family members of those who take up arms against an unjust system? This is insane,” he remarked.

Dela Torre said that the widespread belief that the military was the one behind the crime is not an idle and baseless accusation. He said that it is not beyond the means of the armed forces to resort to the “dirtiest of all tactics” to implement Oplan Bantay-Laya II (Operation Plan Guard Freedom).

“Series of fact-finding missions and reports by reputable groups including the UN itself have concluded the military as behind the spate of killings and enforced disappearances with impunity in the Philippines. It is almost expected for the military to deny Rebelyn’s murder as their as they have denied the hundreds of other cases of human rights abuses. When will this stop and accountability and prosecution really begin?” he asked.

Jackie Hung of the Justice and Peace Commission of the HK Catholic Diocese and also a co-convenor of the group said that Rebelyn’s case is a “tragedy for human rights” and just shows that the Philippine government will do everything just to crush what they perceive as “enemies of the state” even though they are not combatants in the ongoing civil war in the country.

“It is a violation of all known international instruments governing war and conflict, a blatant disrespect of the civil and political rights of civilians and a vicious attack to women. The international community must not let this incident pass without justice being rendered,” she said.

Hung said that since 2004, HK groups involved with the HKCAHRPP have been actively campaigning against extrajudicial killings, forced disappearance, illegal arrests and other forms of human rights violations in the Philippines. She said that what happened to Rebelyn should translate to exertion of even more pressure to stop these crimes and punish the perpetrators.

“The Arroyo government is almost at an end and what it will leave is a bloody trail of unsolved political killings in the country. At the end of it, Arroyo’s government is indeed accountable for all these human rights violations against the civilian populace,” she concluded. #


----------------------------------------

BAGONG ALYANSANG MAKABAYAN – Hong Kong

Press Release
March 11, 2009

Reference: Norman Uy Carnay, BAYAN-HK Information Officer
Contact No. 96472567

Rebelyn’s death is the last straw
GMA and ilk should be punished for grave HR violations

“Gloria Arroyo draws the last straw with the abduction and brutal slay of Rebelyn. She is nowhere redeeming herself in this foulest violation of human rights against the Filipino people.”

This was the statement of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Hong Kong (BAYAN-HK) as it condemned the abduction, rape and murder of Rebelyn Pitao, a 20-year old teacher from Davao City, Philippines.

Rebelyn was abducted on the evening of March 5 and was found dead the following day harboring stab wounds on her torso and a laceration on her genitalia proving that she was violated.

Norman Uy Carnay, information officer for BAYAN-HK, found incredible President Gloria Arroyo’s statement to push the Philippine human rights commission and other government agencies ‘to act decisively’ on Rebelyn’s case.

“It is hard to believe such a statement from a president who has openly expressed to crush the national liberation movement,” Carnay added, citing the overwhelming number of military-linked attacks committed against Arroyo’s critics, activists and opposition forces, legal or underground.

BAYAN-HK highlighted OPLAN Bantay Laya I and II (Operation Plan Guard Freedom), a military-devised counter-insurgency scheme which heightened red-baiting of progressive legal organizations and killed several activist leaders and members. The number of extrajudicial killings is pegged more than 1000 while abductions or enforced disappearances beyond 200.
 

     
     
           

Sunday, March 8, 2009

In memory of Rebelyn Pitao on International Women's Day 2009

The news of the abduction, torture and killing of a 20-year-old teacher, Rebelyn Pitao, in the southern Philippines demonstrates just how low the regime of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has sunk.

Desperate to hang onto power, sensing a growing dissatisfaction with her rule among the Filipino people, and unable to come to grips with an armed liberation movement fighting for true justice and democracy, the Arroyo regime’s brutal military thugs have murdered another innocent civilian.

We are outraged and disgusted by this cowardly killing and point the finger directly at the Philippine President and the government. They are responsible, along with the government’s backers in Washington, Ottawa and other imperialist capitals.

When she left school in a tricycle cab on the evening of March 5, 2009, Rebelyn, the third child of Lencio Pitao, a guerrilla fighter in the New People’s Army wanted by the military, had no idea she would end up the next day a lifeless body in a creek having been raped and stabbed five times.

We imagine her smiling and laughing as she headed home for dinner in Bago Aplaya, Talomo, Davao City, before a white van blocked the way and two unidentified men, in full view of witnesses, shoved the young teacher, crying and shouting, into the vehicle.

After her daughter was abducted, Rebelyn’s mother appealed to the authorities saying her daughter is not involved with the armed option and revolutionary actions being undertaken by her father. When her appeal was unheeded and her daughter's body was found, she blamed the military for the atrocity since only they could have had a motive for abducting her daughter. It was only last June, 2008 that Rebelyn's uncle, Danilo, was also abducted and killed in Tagum City.

Luis Jalandoni, of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, likewise blamed the Arroyo government for the killing. In a statement, Jalandoni said, “We hold Mrs. Gloria Arroyo and Executive Secretary General Eduardo Ermita responsible for this dastardly violation of Rebelyn Pitao’s right to life.” Previously, the Special Rapporteur from the United Nations, Philip Alston, and the eminent judges of the Permanent People’s Tribunal also concluded that the Philippine military, the police and by extension their commander-in-chief, President Arroyo, are implicated in the hundreds of extra-judicial killings taking place in the Philippines.

Rebelyn's death came just before International Women’s Day, a reminder that women are not safe and cannot expect justice from the government of Philippine President Arroyo. When civilians can be snatched from their everyday routines and eliminated, when the perpetrators can act in total impunity, then something is terribly, terribly wrong.

We invite you to join the international campaign to put an end to the now almost 1000 killings in the Philippines since 2001. The injustice and impunity must stop now.

Stop the killings in the Philippines!
Justice for Rebelyn Pitao!
Bring to justice immediately the perpetrators of the killings in the Philippines !

Philippine Solidarity Network Canada
(with member groups in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria)

for more information:
Centre d'appui aux Philippines - Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC)
member - Philippine Solidarity Network Canada and Stop the Killings Network Canada
Tel: +1 514 342-2111
E-mail: capcpc@web.ca
http://cap-cpc.blogspot.com/


____________________________________________________

Centre d'appui aux Philippines / Centre for Philippine Concerns (CAP-CPC)
25 ans de solidarité / 25 years of solidarity
6420 Victoria Avenue, Suite #9,
Montréal, Québec, Canada
H3W 2S7
Tel: +1 514 342-2111
mailto:capcpc@web.ca
http://cap-cpc.blogspot.com/

Member - International League of Peoples' Struggle / La ligue international de luttes des peuples (ILPS)
http://ilps-canada.typepad.com
Associate member - International Migrants' Alliance / Alliance internationale des migrants (IMA)
http://imacanada.blogspot.com/

     
           

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PRESS STATEMENT
By LUIS G. JALANDONI
Chairperson, Negotiating Panel
National Democratic Front of the Philippines

6 March 2009

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines condemns in the strongest terms the abduction and brutal murder of 20-year-old Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of Lencio Pitao, Commander of the New People's Army. We hold Mrs. Gloria Arroyo and Executive Secretary, General Eduardo Ermita responsible for this dastardly violation of Rebelyn Pitao's right to life. It is likewise a blatant violation of the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).

Mrs. Arroyo's and General Ermita's frustrated satanic desire to defeat the New People's Army and in particular kill or capture NPA Commnder Parago, nom de guerre of Leoncio Pitao, has led them to commit grave violations of international humanitarian law and the CARHRIHL. In June of last year, the brother of Commander Parago, Danilo, was abducted and killed in Tagum City.

Now, his daugher, Rebelyn, a teacher at St. Peter College in Toril, Davao City, was abducted by two armed men at 6:30 in the evening of March 4, 2009 at the crossing of Bago Gallera de Oro Subdivision in Davao City. The gunmen threatened the tricycle driver, Danny E. Pelicano, as they forcibly took Rebelyn and forced her into a white van.

Yesterday, at 6:30 p.m., her dead body was found floating on a river, bearing torture marks.

This latest outrageous human rights violation by the Arroyo regime and its continuing violation of the peace agreements, including the CARHRIHL and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees and the recent arrest and torture of NDFP Consultant Eduardo Sarmiento and the continuing detention of NDFP consultants Randall Echanis, Elizabeth Principe, Angie Ipong and Glicerio Pernia, among others, render peace talks with the Arroyo regime untenable.


 

     

 

For this dastardly murder of Rebelyn Pitao, and so many other human rights violations against the Filipino people, Mrs. Gloria Arroyo, General Eduardo Ermita and other minions of the Arroyo regime must he held responsible and accountable.

The blood of Rebelyn is on the hands of Mrs. Arroyo and General Ermita!

Luis G. Jalandoni
Chairperson, NDFP Negotiating Panel

 

           

 

KILLING OF REBELYN PITAO CONDEMNED: Automatic Relief of AFP and PNP officers in areas with extra judicial killings demanded


The brutal torture and murder of Rebelyn Pitao, a young school teacher and daughter of an alleged officer of the New People’s Army, are condemnable for the heinousness of the crime and for putting another obstacle on the peace process. The fact that the victim was abducted in broad daylight by armed men in front of many witnesses only points to the military as the perpetrator of another case of extra judicial killing. The military has the motive, the means and the opportunity to execute the crime, important components in establishing the guilt of an accused in criminal law. The precise military operation executed by armed men showing no fear of being accosted by the authorities or recognized by witnesses could only have been done by the military. The immediate denial of the AFP even before any investigation was conducted on the crime is one more evidence of the “denial” which UN Special Rapporteur charged the military with, in his report on extra judicial killings in the Philippines.

Pres. Gloria Arroyo who has long been accused with responsibility for this method of eliminating those who oppose her regime cannot escape responsibility by merely expressing outrage over the incident. She must immediately order the relief of the highest AFP and PNP officers in Davao considering that the crime was conducted with impunity in their jurisdiction. It would be hypocritical for Pres. Arroyo to relieve military and police officers if jueteng persists in their jurisdiction, if she would not similarly do the same in cases of extra judicial killings or enforced disappearances. The NUPL demands, in light of the escalating cases of extra judicial killings, that Pres. Arroyo immediately relieve on the basis of command responsibility and investigate for complicity, the highest ranking officer of the AFP and the PNP in any area where extra judicial killing has taken place. This “automatic relief” policy in cases of extra judicial killings should be a warning on government security forces who have tolerated if not participated in this insidious form of human rights violations.

The attack on the innocent daughter of a suspected NPA rebel also violates various international covenants which prohibits such acts because of the danger of spiraling violence against civilians. Even members of the Mafia have made an unwritten rule that civilian members of their families should not be attacked because the counter retribution against innocent members of the families will only worsen the violence. We welcome the pronouncement of the NPA that it will not conduct retaliation on non-combatants who, under international humanitarian law, are not legitimate targets of attacks. Article 13 of Protocol II of the Geneva Conventions and ratified by the Philippines provides that “ The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilians are prohibited”. This war crime was the basis for the warrant of arrest recently issued by the International Criminal Court on Sudanese President Omar al Bashir and will be the basis for holding Philippine human rights violators accountable in the future. Even the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), the agreement between the Philippine Government and the National Democratic Front signed in 1998 also prohibits the same under Article 4 (2) “Civilian population and civilians shall be treated as such and shall be distinguished from combatants and, together with their property shall not be the object of attacks.”

The statement by Sec. Cerge Remonde equating the killing of Rebelyn Pitao to the NPA ambushes on military and police personnel not only shows the callousness of Sec. Remonde but also his ignorance of the international conventions treating civilians differently from combatants such as the military and the police. Remonde must be immediately reprimanded for such insensitivity and ignorance. The intentional killing of civilians, including relatives of suspected combatants, must be condemned. The perpetrators must be immediately held accountable for gross human rights violations. The escalation of extra judicial killings only makes it more imperative for the government to implement the Alston recommendations and the automatic relief policy.

Reference Person : Atty. Neri Javier Colmenares—Secretary General
Date : (March 10, 2009)
 


FACT SHEET by KARAPATAN on the Rebelyn Pitao Case

1. CASE PROFILE

A. Type of Human Rights Violation: Abduction
B. Date of Incident: March 4, 2009 at around 6:30 in the evening
C. Place of Incident: Bago Gallera, Talomo District, Davao City
D. International Human Rights Instruments and National Laws Violated:

2. PROFILE OF VICTIMS:

• NAME: Rebelyn Pitao
• AGE: 20 years Old
• DATE OF BIRTH: March 20, 1988
• PLACE OF BIRTH: Isla Verde, Boulevard, Davao City
• SEX: Female
• ADDRESS: Purok 2, Bago Gallera, Talomo, Davao City
• CIVIL STATUS: Single
• OCCUPATION: Substitute Teacher at St. Peter College in Toril
• ORGANIZATIONAL AFFILIATION AND POSITION:

3. PROFILE OF THE PERPETRATORS:

• NAME: Un-identified
• RANK:
• UNIT:
• NO. OF ELEMENTS: 4
• DESCRIPTION: Wearing white and blue t-shirt. Chubby muscle built. White van

4. ACCOUNT OF INCIDENT: Detailed description of the facts of the alleged violation or violations including relevant dates (continue on a separate piece of paper if necessary):

On March 4, 2009 at around 6:30 in the evening, Rebelyn M. Pitao, 20, third child of Lencio Pitao a. k. a commander Parago, a license teacher working as substitute at St. Peter College in Toril, Davao City, after teaching she was on her way home to her house at Purok 2, Bago Gallera, Talomo, Davao City.

Rebelyn was the first passenger seated at the back of tricycle waited at the terminal at Bago Aplaya, Talomo, Davao City. It was followed by two men, one seated in front of the tricycle and one at the back fronting Rebelyn. Danny E. Pelicano, the tricycle driver was told by one man to go ahead and they will pay the remaining lacking one. But one lady passenger suddenly arrived and seated in front of the tricycle.

Upon reaching at crossing Bago Gallera de Oro Subdivision in dark or dim portion, two men were waiting and white van vehicle park and blocked the tricycle out rightly pulled the tricycle driver away the tricycle and was commanded to drop. One man told Danny not to run if he will run he will be shot.

Because of fear, the driver runs back to the terminal calling for help. While the other woman passenger also run leaving Rebelyn. Un-identified men held Rebelyn. She was shouting and crying for help. She was forcefully put inside the white van vehicle and rashly run towards the exit unknown direction.

According to Danny, the two men passengers are un-familiar and the first time he saw.

Prepared by:

KELLY M. DELGADO
March 5, 2009
 

           
=          
==          
           

Republic of the Philippines
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Quezon City

FOURTEENTH CONGRESS
Second Regular Session

HOUSE RESOLUTION No. 1046
(filed March 9, 2009; 1:20 pm)
_______________________________________________________________________
INTRODUCED by BAYAN MUNA Reps. SATUR C. OCAMPO and TEODORO A. CASIÑO

____________________________________________________________________________________

RESOLUTION

 

DIRECTING THE COMMITTEE ON HUMAN RIGHTS TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION, IN AID OF LEGISLATION, ON THE CONDEMNABLE BRUTAL ABDUCTION, TORTURE AND EXTRAJUDICIAL KILLING OF REBELYN PITAO, ALLEGEDLY PERPETRATED BY THE 10TH INFANTRY DIVISION OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES

WHEREAS, 20-year-old Rebelyn Pitao, a substitute teacher in St. Peter’s College, Toril, Davao City and resident of Purok 2, Bago Gallera, Tolomo, Davao City was abducted by four unidentified armed men on March 4, 2009 at the crossing of Bago Gallera de Oro Subdivision in Davao City;

WHEREAS, Rebelyn was a daughter of Leoncio Pitao, also known as Commander Parago of the New People’s Army, but was not involved in any rebel activity. In June 2008 her uncle, Danilo Pitao, the brother of Leoncio, was abducted and killed in Tagum City;

WHEREAS, Rebelyn was abducted by the armed men at 6:30 in the evening on her way home aboard a tricycle. The gunmen threatened the tricycle driver, Dany Pelicano, as they forcibly took Rebelyn and pushed her into a white van parked about 300 meters away from the terminal;

WHEREAS, at around 6:30 in the evening of March 5, 2009, Rebelyn’s body was found in a river in Purok 5, Brgy. San Isidro, Carmen, Davao del Norte, her mouth covered with packing tape, her pants partially pulled down and her underwear missing;

WHEREAS, the initial autopsy by the PNP Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) team lead by Dr. Tomas Dimaandal, Jr., shows that Rebelyn’s eyes were badly bruised and bore signs of bleeding due to a blow from a hard object. She had a 3-centimeter ligature mark on the neck indicating she was strangulated. She sustained 5-stab wounds (possible weapon ice pick): 2 above the left breast, one of which punctured her lung; two wounds under the left breast that pierced through her diaphragm and hit the liver. She had lacerations around her genital which may have been caused by the insertion of a hard object;

WHEREAS, Rebelyn’s relatives and friends point to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), specifically the 10th Infantry Division, despite its immediate denial, as responsible for the brutal abduction-murder since it has the capability, means and motive to retaliate against Commander Parago by going after his kin;

WHEREAS, the Philippine Government is a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is also a party to all the major Human Rights instruments, including International Humanitarian Law, the Rebelyn Pitao case clearly comes under its jurisdiction;

 

NOW THERFORE, BE IT RESOLVED AS IT IS HEREBY RESOLVED, that the Committee on Human Rights conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the condemnable brutal abduction, torture and extrajudicial killing of Rebelyn Pitao, allegedly perpetrated by the 10th Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Adopted,


SATUR C. OCAMPO TEODORO A. CASIÑO
Bayan Muna Party List Bayan Muna Party List

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS
2/F Teachers’ Center, Mines St. cor. Dipolog St. , Bgy. VASRA, Quezon City , Philippines
Telefax 453-9116 Mobile 0920-9220817 Email act_philippines@yahoo.com Website www.actphils.com
Member, Education International

March 6, 2009

NEWS RELEASE
Reference: Antonio L. Tinio (+63920-9220817)
ACT Chairperson

ACT condemns abduction, murder of Davao City teacher

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers today condemned the abduction and murder of a young private school teacher in Davao City . Rebelyn Pitao, 20, was a substitute teacher at the elementary department of the St. Peter’s College of Toril .

Rebelyn Pitao is the daughter of rebel leader Leoncio Pitao, also known as Kumander Parago. Pitao heads the Pulang Bagani Command of the New People’s Army in Southern Mindanao .
◄◄◄
 

 Photos from Women's Day march

The victim’s mother, Evangeline Pitao, has accused the military of being behind the killing, claiming that the act is intended to force her husband to surrender. According to her, her eldest son and another daughter had previously experienced being stalked by armed men. The military has denied any involvement.


“We condemn the heinous abduction and murder of school teacher Rebelyn Pitao,” said ACT national chairman Antonio Tinio. “We call on the authorities to launch a thorough investigation of the crime and bring the perpetrators to justice. In particular, we call on the police to look into the possible involvement of the military or paramilitary elements in the incident.”

Tinio noted that the extrajudicial killing of activists continues unabated in Southern Mindanao . Late last year, three organizers of the progressive party Bayan Muna and an activist of the peasant group Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas were gunned down in Compostela Valley and Davao del Norte. “The murder of Rebelyn should be seen in this context.”

Tinio warned that the possible involvement of the military in Pitao’s death could indicate that the government’s counterinsurgency campaign has taken a new and even more reprehensible turn. “Rebelyn’s death is particularly shocking because she was an ordinary law-abiding citizen who happened to be the daughter of one of the top rebel leaders in Southern Mindanao . This could be a case of reprisal killing or collective punishment, which is a war crime.”

According to news reports, Rebelyn was riding in a tricycle on her way home Wedenesday evening (March 4) when a white van with license plate LPG-588 blocked their path. Armed men alighted and abducted the young teacher.

The next day, her body was found in an irrigation ditch in Carmen town in the nearby province of Davao del Norte. Clad only in underwear, with hands bound and mouth covered with tape, the victim’s body bore several stab wounds.

“The military are crossing another line if they are indeed targeting the family and relatives of rebels. This is akin to the reprisal killings perpetrated by the Nazis against civilians in World War 2 or the Israeli practice of routinely demolishing the homes of families of Palestinian suicide bombers. This must stop and those responsible punished,” said Tinio.

According to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed,” and “collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or terrorism are prohibited.”

Last year, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial,Summary, and Arbitrary Executions Philip Alston issued a report ascribing the extrajudicial execution of activists to the government’s counterinsurgency operations.

“Unfortunately, the Arroyo administration is notorious for its inability or unwillingness to bring human rights violators in the military to justice,” concluded Tinio. #

 

           

 

Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice
2/floor Erythrina bldg., #1 Maaralin cor. Matatag sts. Barangay Central, Quezon City

PRESS RELEASE

March 10, 2009
Reference:
Evangeline Hernandez, Convener
Victims of the Arroyo Regime for Justice
Telefax 4342837, Mobile no. 09158562151

Killing of Commander Parago’s daughter: the peak of military desperation - HUSTISYA

Rebelyn Pitao was about to start a career in teaching, a young woman with her whole life ahead of her. The 20-year-old teacher’s only “crime” was she had a revolutionary for a father. Because of this, state agents in desperate pursuit of her father took her and killed her instead.

The group Victims of the Arroyo Regime for Justice or Hustisya condemns the abduction, rape and summary execution of Rebelyn Pitao, daughter of Leoncio Pitao (a.k.a Commander Parago of the New People’s Army-Southern Mindanao).

“In its desperation to wipe out the NPA, the Armed Forces of the Philippines has employed nothing but the dirtiest, lamest and cruelest attacks,” Evangeline Hernandez, Convener of Victims of Arroyo United for Justice (HUSTISYA!) said. “They prey on unarmed civilians, not only those in the progressive movement, but even family members of revolutionaries. They could not get any lower than this.”

Ms. Hernandez said the abduction and killing is a clear violation of the International Humanitarian Law that says family members of an armed group party to the conflict who are not combatants and do not participate in the armed conflict are considered civilians.

Rebelyn was abducted at 6:30 pm, March 4 in Bago Gallera de Oro Subdivision, in Tolomo, Davao City, Davao del Norte while riding a tricycle going home. Two men from a parked white van blocked the tricycle and forced Rebelyn off and into the van. Her body was found in the river in Purok 5, Brgy. San Isidro, Carmen, Davao del Norte. Her mouth was covered with packing tape, her pants partially pulled down and her underwear missing.

To quote Karapatan’s March 6 urgent action report:

“Based of the initial findings of the autopsy conducted by the Scene of the Crime Operatives (SOCO) Dr.Tomas Dimaandal, Jr., Rebelyn’s eyes were badly bruised and bleeding that may be due to a blow from a hard object. She had a 3-centimeter ligature mark in the neck. She sustained 5 stab wounds (possible weapon ice pick): 2 above the left breast, one of which hit the lungs; two wounds under the left breast, one of which pierced through the liver and another one in the diaphragm which also hit the liver. She had lacerations around her genital area which maybe caused by the insertion of a hard object. Traces of blood were also found but maybe due to the embalming fluids, no traces of sperm were detected.
At the time she was found, she was almost 24-hours dead which could mean that she was killed right after her abduction.”

In June 2008, Pitao’s brother Danilo, 42, and an employee at the Tagum municipal office, was shot dead while riding a tricycle.

Instead of condemning Rebelyn’s salvaging, Maj. Randolph Cabangbang, spokesman of the military’s Eastern Mindanao command even rationalized that it was Lencio Pitao’s fault, for probably inciting businessmen to take revenge on his family, as if it was the most reasonable thing in the world.

“Survivors of attempted killings and disappearances have proven that the motive, methodology and capability to commit abductions and salvagings belong to the military. Under Mrs. Gloria Arroyo, there are more than 900 victims of summary execution and extrajudicial killings – all are victims of state security forces. Stop blaming any businessmen,” Ms. Hernandez said.

She said that the military assumed that killing Rebelyn could weaken her father and the revolutionary movement.

“But it’s a war the military cannot possibly win, because they cannot kill or fool all the people. This only inflames us more to continue the struggle to attain justice, and to see to it that punishment is meted out to the responsible state security agents, if not through the judicial system, then through other arenas,” Ms. Hernandez said. ###



 

     
           
     

 

Press Statement
March 7, 2009

Reference: Ramon Mappala, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, email: nychrp@gmail.com

Pitao's Abduction & Execution Indicates GRP’s Non-Interest in Abiding by International Human Rights Law

The brutal abduction, rape, torture, and murder of 20-year old Rebelyn Pitao in Davao City just a few days ago on March 4th sends a clear message to the Filipino people that the epidemic of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances in the Philippines is far from over. Furthermore, this grave human rights violation strongly indicates the Philippine government’s unwillingness to abide by standards set by International Humanitarian Law as outlined in the Geneva Conventions on the protection of civilians in countries undergoing internal armed conflict or civil war.

Rebelyn Pitao was not an armed combatant nor participant in the Philippines’ ongoing civil war between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed-wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). Rebelyn Pitao was a substitute teacher in St. Peter’s College in Toril, Davao City. She was the daughter of Leonicio Pitao, a resident of Purok 2, Bago Gallera, Tolomo in Davao City. The AFP has long alleged Leonicio Pitao to be the commander of the NPA known as “Parago”. Despite this, Rebelyn led a life unlinked to the reality of the growing armed insurgency in the Philippines being waged for legitimate, principled reasons such as genuine comprehensive agrarian reform and national industrialization. And yet, it was Rebelyn Pitao who was targeted by four unidentified elements of Philippine state security forces to be killed as a message to Parago, whose civilian brother was also slain the year before. Her lifeless body was found on March 5th floating in a river in Purok 5, Barangay San Isidro, Carmen, Davao del Norte. Pitao's body bore marks of significant torture and humiliation at the hands of her captors.

Article 51 of Protocol I Additional to the Geneva Conventions stipulates that protection must be given to civilians and civilian populations in times of civil war. The Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) is a high-contracting party to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and its Protocols of 1977, and thus is bound by international humanitarian law conduct its part in the Philippines’ civil war in accordance to its standards.

Instead, the Arroyo government’s response to its international humanitarian obligations has been to launch a militarist counter-insurgency strategy, known as Oplan Bantay Laya (OBL), in 2002 with the objective of annihilating the armed revolutionary movement in five years. OBL has proven to include the targeting of civilians as a means to accomplish its goal, leading to the deaths of over 900 unarmed civilians under the Arroyo administration. When OBL failed annihilate the CPP-NPA-NDFP by its target date, it was re-launched again in 2008. Oplan Bantay Laya II was an arrogant move by the Philippine Commander-in-Chief Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her Secretary of State Eduardo Ermita to continue with their failed and costly counter-insurgency strategy despite harrowing condemnation against it being wielded by the United Nations, sections of US Congress, the Permanent People's Tribunal, the World Council of Churches, Amnesty International, and many other international monitoring bodies of human rights.

Along the way, the Arroyo government's campaign, in collusion with the Bush's administration's Global War On Terror, to list the CPP, NPA, and its founder Jose Maria Sison as foreign terrorists led to the 2005 halting of peace negotiations between the GRP and the CPP's political wing, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). Amongst the landmark gains of these talks-- which began after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986, underwent recess, and resumed in1992-- is the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). As a binding document signed by both the GRP and NDFP, the CARHRIHL officially commits both parties to abide by International Humanitarian Law in conducting civil war in the Philippines. This includes the protection and non-harming of innocent, unarmed civilians such as Rebelyn Pitao. The blatant disregard of this agreement and international humanitarian law standards by the GRP poses an unclear future for prospects of resuming peace talks between the two parties at a time of escalating armed conflict, and subsequent civilian deaths, in the Philippines.

The Arroyo government is ultimately behind Rebelyn Pitao's death and must be held accountable. The NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, along with the Filipino people, supports the initiative of Philippine human rights group Karapatan for an independent investigation of Rebelyn Pitao's murder without any interference from Philippine state security forces. We demand the immediate arrest and conviction the perpetrators once found. Left uncaptured and uninvestigated, the Arroyo government lives up to its controversial track record of implementing a policy of impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations, especially when these perpetrators come from the AFP's ranks. We also call for the protection of Danny Pelicano, the tricycle driver who was able to escape from Pitao's kidnappers the night she was killed, from subsequent harassment, threats, and intimidation. We call on all international human rights monitoring bodies and authorities, including the Obama administration, to condemn and punish the Philippine government, through the impeachment of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and known perpetrators within the GRP, for its strong violations of international human rights law as a signee to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, the Geneva Conventions, and the CARHRIHL.

Justice for Rebelyn Pitao!
Justice for All Victims of Political Repression in the Philippines!
Impeach Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo!
Uphold & Respect International Humanitarian Law in the Philippines!

--
New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
www.nychrp,org
email: nychrp@gmail.com

     
     
           

 

Initiatives for Peace Mindanao
(InPeace)
March 11, 2009

STATEMENT

REBELYN’S MURDER ANOTHER SETBACK TO THE PEACE PROCESS

I extend my deepest sympathy to the family of Ka Parago and Evangeline Pitao over the loss of their daughter Rebelyn.

It comes as a shock to hear of such news. I pray that the family remains strong in these trying times, and I would like to let them know that we peace advocates are one with them in crying out for justice.

It is sad for me to know of this tragedy. Especially that I have known Parago when I was assigned as a bishop in Southern Mindanao, and met him during the negotiations and release of Gen. Victor Obillo and Capt. Eduardo Montealto in 1999. Parago impressed me when the captured officials were released safely, showing his respect for their rights and safety and his strict adherence to the proper conduct of war. We met again during his detention in Manila in 2000, and he again impressed me with his strong conviction to his principles.

It is good to be reminded that Parago was released in 2001 as part of confidence building measures agreed upon by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the National Democratic Front to pave the way for the resumption of the peace talks. Now, eight years after, the killing of Parago’s daughter once more betrays the serious lack of sincerity on the part of the Arroyo government in talking peace to resolve the decades-old armed revolution.

I pray that we can act this time to respond against this barbarity, to stand up for justice for Rebelyn and the rest of the victims of these extra-judicial killings in the country. It is alarming that the killings and other human rights violations are done with impunity, and in violation of human rights and International Humanitarian Law.

We cannot rely solely on a military-led probe, and I share the family's doubts on this. Especially with the fact that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has unleashed Oplan Bantay Laya 2, which is now on a rampage in the countryside and cities in Mindanao, making no distinction between civilians and combatants, and, now, their relatives.

We must again raise alarm to the government and to the international community on this culture of impunity, nay, this culture of barbarity, and press on the government to implement the Alston recommendations. It was United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston’s report in 2007 that attributed the extra-judicial killings to a National Internal Security Plan that is adopted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Indeed, it is now incumbent upon the Arroyo government to prove its sincerity in the peace process, starting with yielding the suspected Military Intelligence Group/Military Intelligence Battalion perpetrators and reversing the murderous trail of Oplan Bantay Laya 2.

We have seen so much anguish and blood, enough is enough! As Commander-in-Chief of an armed forces that have kept alive the dark and dirty secrets of Martial Law, Mrs. Arroyo is ultimately accountable for Rebelyn’s death in the grand scheme of things.

BISHOP FELIXBERTO CALANG
Chairperson, InPeace Mindanao

 

March 10, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact Person:

Clara Rita “Claire” A. Padilla, JD
Executive Director
EnGendeRights, Inc.
Telefax: (+632) 3762578
Mobile: 0918-2182682
Email: engenderights@pldtdsl.net;
padillaclara@yahoo.com
Blog: http://clararitapadilla.blogspot.com

Women’s NGOs Cries Justice
for Rebelyn Pitao

Quezon City, March 10, 2009 – The torture, possible rape, and killing of Rebelyn Pitao, a 20-year old civilian teacher and daughter of an NPA commander, is evidence of the continuous human rights violations that is happening under the Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo administration. “The abduction of Rebelyn on March 4 and later her body found dead on March 5 at the time when women should be celebrating women’s gains and solidarity for their causes this Women’s Month is indeed a slap in the face of all Filipino women,” said Atty. Clara Rita A. Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights.

Atty. Padilla added, “All the perpetrators of this gruesome violence against women, the four armed men and those who issued the orders, must face accountability and be immediately dismissed from service after a thorough investigation and hearing. Under the doctrine of due diligence, the Philippine government has the ‘duty to prevent, investigate and punish international law violations and pay just compensation.’”

“The Philippine government is directly responsible for the acts of the perpetrators under the international law of State responsibility,” continued Atty. Padilla. The Articles on State Responsibility adopted by the International Law Commission and subsequently noted by the UN General Assembly. Article 4 of the Articles provides:

Article 4. Conduct of Organs of a State
a) The conduct of any State organ shall be considered an act of that State under international law, whether the organ exercises legislative, executive, judicial or any other functions, whatever position it holds in the organization of the State, and whatever its character as an organ of the central Government or of a territorial unit of the State.

b) An organ includes any person or entity which has that status in accordance with the internal law of the State.

Atty. Padilla stressed, “Thus, actions of the operatives that are inconsistent with the Philippines’ international human rights obligations amount to a failure by the State to fulfill its human rights obligations. Having ratified the Conventions on Women, Torture, and Civil and Political Rights, the Philippine government must put a stop to these human rights violations.”

Inaction against the perpetrators and the continuing failure of the judiciary to actively prosecute the perpetrators provide evidence of the failure of the State to fulfill its human rights obligations and the complete lack of will to address the human rights violations.

* * *
 

           
     
           

 

From www.philippinerevolution.net

 

Ka Parago’s daughter, killed by AFP’s “dirty war”

Communist Party of the Philippines
March 6, 2009

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemns in the strongest possible terms the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the abduction, rape and murder of Rebelyn Pitao, 20, daughter of Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao, head of the Pulang Bagani Command of the New People’s Army in the Southern Mindanao Region.

The CPP extends its deepest sympathies to Ka Parago and his entire family for their loss.

Rebelyn’s body was found early last night floating in a river in Carmen town, Davao del Norte. There are signs that she was sexually molested before being killed. She was abducted by armed men around 6 pm the day before while on her way home in Sitio Bago Aplaya, Barangay Talomo, Davao City. She just recently passed the national teacher’s board examination and was set to teach at the St. Peter’s School in Toril, Davao City.

The AFP has no justification at all for abducting, molesting and murdering Ka Parago’s daughter Rebelyn. By killing Rebelyn, the AFP has committed a grave violation of international humanitarian law and rules of war, which gives foremost protection to those not taking part in the armed conflict.

Rebelyn’s murder and the barbarities committed against her are undoubtedly part of the dirty war being carried out by the AFP under Oplan Bantay Laya 2. Because of the “invisibility” of the guerrillas of the New People’s Army and in a desperate attempt to retaliate for its losses in the theater of war, the AFP has been viciously targeting unarmed civilians and has now accelerated its fascist attacks against the loved ones and relatives of revolutionaries. Fascist troops of the AFP were likewise responsible for the murder of Ka Parago’s brother Danilo, who was killed in June 2008 in Tagum City.

Ka Parago is being singled out by the AFP because of the string of battlefield victories of the Pulang Bagani Command, which he leads. The NPA in the Southern Mindanao Region where the Pulang Bagani Command operates has successfully carried out hundreds of tactical offensives in the past several years, dealing innumerable blows to the enemy.

The Filipino people and their revolutionary forces unite in expressing their indignation at this abominable crime carried out by the fascist elements of the AFP, particularly of the forces of the Philippine Army’s 10th ID and the paramilitary and vigilante groups under its command.

Rebelyn’s murder is a craven and barbarous act. The revolutionary movement will not relent until justice is served on her murderers and all other violators of human rights.
 

 

 

From: www.philippinerevolution.net

 

PRESS RELEASE
Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines


NPA directed to arrest suspects in Pitao daughter's murder--CPPMarch 11, 2009

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today instructed the New People's Army (NPA) to arrest and bring before the people's court with dispatch several military suspects in the heinous crimes against Rebelyn Pitao. Rebelyn, daughter of Leoncio Pitao (popularly known as Commander Parago) of the Pulang Bagani Command of the NPA in the Southern Mindanao Region, was a victim of abduction, rape, torture and murder by a group of armed men who have recently been identified by several witnesses as military intelligence agents of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

Through its Information Bureau, the CPP said preliminary investigations conducted by revolutionary authorities in the Southern Mindanao Region have already identified the perpetrators as Sgts. Adan Sulao and Ben Tipait of the AFP's Military Intelligence Group XI, Cpl. Alvin Bitang of the Military Intelligence Battalion (MIB) of the Philippine Army's 10th Infantry Division, and a certain Pedregosa, another intelligence agent.

"These fascist agents are believed to have carried out this dastardly crime in accordance with instructions from higher ups in their desperate campaign to shatter the determination of Commander Parago and his fellow NPA Red fighters in advancing the people's revolution," said the CPP.

Rebelyn was found dead last March 5, floating in a shallow creek at Purok 5, Barangay San Isidro, Carmen, Davao del Norte. Armed men abducted her around 6 p.m. the previous day while on her way home to Sitio Bago Aplaya, Barangay Bago Galleria, Talomo District, Davao City.

"These suspects should be sought and arrested so they could undergo investigation by duly authorized revolutionary authorities and face criminal charges," added the CPP. Upon conclusion of the preliminary investigation, a people's court can immediately be constituted by local revolutionary committees.

The CPP also held the highest officials of the Arroyo government and the AFP responsible for the murder of Rebelyn.

"Ultimately, it is Gloria Arroyo and her top fascist henchmen who are to blame for the crimes against Rebelyn Pitao. Arroyo's Oplan Bantay Laya 2 has long regarded civilians as targets of military operations including killings, abuctions, torture and other forms of fascism. This has now been most hideously extended to apply as well to loved ones and relatives of armed revolutionaries the fascists cannot get hold of."

The CPP dismissed as "empty rhetoric” the pronouncements of Arroyo and her defense officials that it is investigating the murder of Rebelyn. "How can the Arroyo and her factotums be sincere in seeking justice for Rebelyn's murder when they have, in fact, made this inevitable in the strategy, tactics and course of of their counter-revolutionary war? By commending, promoting and rewarding her notorious fascist generals, Arroyo has in fact directly encouraged the Armed Forces of the Philippines to engage in such brutal and dastardly crimes," added the CPP.

The CPP pointed out that Rebelyn's murder highlights the Arroyo regime's innumerable crimes against unarmed civilians who are invariably regarded by the military and its "counter-insurgency" strategists as combatants in the raging civil war.
Reference:
Marco Valbuena
Media Officer
Cellphone Numbers: 09179776392 :: 09282242061
E-mail:cppmedia@gmail.com

 

           
           
**          

 

 
 

Google