A Killing Too Far: Rebelyn Pitao

Rebelyn’s guerilla father claims the vehicle has been spotted parked outside a “known army safe house in Carmen” –something the military hotly denies.

Almost from the very moment she was reported missing, the Philippine Army’s high command has come out vehemently and repeatedly in public to deny the military was in any way responsible for Rebelyn’s abduction or her subsequent torture and killing.

But after her own father –Commander Parago – publicly named four military suspects as his daughter’s killers on Sunday, the Army’s position has slowly changed. While it still denies any responsibility, it now admits two of the men Parago mentioned are currently their military intelligence officers who are now “restricted” to the barracks at the 10th Infantry Division headquarters in Camp Panacan in Davao.

The military is now pledging 100 per cent cooperation with the police inquiry but insists the investigation also has to follow up all other leads too.

A few days earlier, Major General Reynaldo B. Mapagu, Commander of the 10th ID, denied any involvement of the military in the killing of Rebelyn, adding that it was “not the policy of the Philippine Army to target civilians in its campaign against the communist insurgents.”

And in a separate press statement, Lt. Colonel Rolando Bautista, 10th ID spokesperson, said they understand the ordeal of the family of Rebelyn “but it would be unfair to blame the incident (on) the military.”

In the hours after she first went missing, military sources suggested Rebelyn was probably the victim of infighting between members of the NPA. They added that she may also have been targeted by relatives of people who were themselves kidnapped and abused by Parago over the years.

But Rebelyn’s father is adamant that no other group could be behind her killing and claims the army “lashed out at her because they couldn’t get me.”

He does not believe that any government-led investigation will bring justice for her daughter.

“There were so many investigations for the victims of extrajudicial killings but none so far have been solved,” he said. “Not just political killings but also killing of journalists in this country -what happened to their investigations?”

Ominously, he added: “We (the NPA) will be the ones to investigate and punish those behind the killing of my daughter.”

Prepared with sacrifices

Chief of the NPA’s 1st Pulang Bagani Command which operates in the fringes of this huge city, Parago said the killing of his daughter would “strengthen and intensify the efforts to continue the revolution.

“I’m hurt and I’m enraged. Yet even if I cry, there’s nothing I could do to bring her back. When I learned that she was abducted, I already knew that they were going to kill her. I’ve been expecting that to happen not just to my daughter but to my entire family as well.”

Parago’s son Ryan claims he too was attacked by military agents and now lives with his father as an NPA guerilla. “They tried to stab me in 2005 and the next day I left to come here. Had I not, I would have been dead now just like Rebelyn.”

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