Rebelyn Pitao, 20, a teacher at St. Peter’s College and daughter of Leoncio Pitao, an NPA commander known as Commander Parago, was abducted by four armed men at 6:30 p.m. last March 4, 2009 at the crossing of Bago Gallera de Oro Subdivision, Bago Gallera, Tolomo, Davao City. She was found dead floating on a river the next day.
On her way home last March 4, Rebelyn Pitao boarded a tricycle driven by Danny E. Pelicano at the terminal in Bago Aplaya. She was joined by three other passengers: two men and a woman. Around 300 meters from the terminal, two armed men blocked the tricycle and pulled Peliciano off the driver’s seat. Peliciano and the other woman passenger ran away leaving Rebelyn Pitao behind. The two armed men, together with the two male passengers, forced Rebelyn Pitao into a white van and drove away.
Rebelyn Pitao was found dead the next day March 5 while floating on a river in Carmen, Davao del Norte. Her body bore five stab wounds and marks of torture. There were also indications that she was raped.
The Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR) Davao City pointed to the military, particularly the 10th Infantry Division as the culprits.
“Who has the motive to subject Ka Parago’s family to such grave injustice? Who has the capacity to comport itself to such a barbaric act? Who has the track record of more than a thousand extra-judicial killing of advocates, families of NPA combatants, and prisoners of war? Who has the mercenary tradition in our history, and during the Marcos dictatorship?” said the PCPR in a statement.
“The Arroyo government’s counter-insurgency plan and policy of state violence against its perceived enemies has taken its most cruel head in the killing of an innocent daughter and civilian.”
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. 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 Commander 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, thebrother of Commander Parago, Danilo, was abducted and killed in Tagum City.”
“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!” Jalandoni said.
Jalandoni said that the killing of Rebelyn Pitao and other human rights violations committed by the Arroyo government “render the peace talks with the Arroyo regime untenable”.
Karapatan called for an independent investigation of the killing.