MANILA – The communist New People’s Army has claimed responsibility for the killing of the sister of one of its top leaders, saying she had been working as an intelligence agent for the military and had incurred “blood debts” against the revolutionary movement.
In a statement dated May 26, 2009, but was only made public today, May 31, the NPA’s Merardo Arce Command in Southern Mindanao said Evelyn Pitao, the sister of Leoncio “Ka Parago” Pitao, had given the military information that led to the killing of her brother, Danilo, in Tagum City in June 2008 and the arrest of her former husband, a communist guerilla named Ka Emong, in January 2009.
Evelyn Pitao, the command said, was also responsible for the arrest of Parago himself in Davao City in November 1999. Parago was later released by the government as part of its confidence-building measure during peace negotiations with the communists.
The NPA statement said the shooting of Evelyn’s live-in partner, Roberto Dadula, had been a mistake because he was not a target of the NPA assassins that shot the couple to death on May 23 in Kapalong town, Davao Oriental.
In his statement, Rigoberto Sanchez, spokesman of the Merardo Arce Command, said the NPA punished Evelyn on the basis of a decision reached “by the revolutionary people’s court” in February.
“The Southern Mindanao Regional Party Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines reviewed and upheld the decision of the People’s Court and consequently approved the inclusion of Evelyn Pitao in the NPA’s Regional Standing Order,” Sanchez said.
He said the decision was reached “after an extensive and meticulous investigation established without any tinge of doubt her direct and clear complicity” in the death of her brother Danilo and the arrest of her husband Ka Emong and Ka Parago.
Sanchez said that Evelyn began working as a spy for the military in 1998 when the Armed Forces of the Philippines “hatched a national plan to capture her brother, Ka Parago.”
Sanchez said Evelyn, with the help of her live-in partner at the time who was a former NPA guerilla turned intelligence asset for the AFP, had provided the military accurate information on the whereabouts of Parago in November 1999. This resulted in Parago’s subsequent capture that same month. (This particular live-in partner of Evelyn’s was subsequently killed in 2001 “for various crimes,” Sanchez said.)
“The NPA conducted an investigation to determine the extent of Evelyn Pitao’s cooperation with the enemy but later decided to put on hold the proceedings due to circumstantial limitations prevailing during that time,” Sanchez said.
Intelligence agents of the AFP, he said, were “able to re-establish connection with Evelyn Pitao sometime in 2006. She was directly recruited first as an intelligence asset and later as an intelligence agent whose principal task was to provide information pertinent to two case operational plans targetting her brother Ka Parago and former husband, Ka Emong.”
Sanchez said Evelyn fingered her brother Danilo to military agents of the 10th Infantry Division sometime between 2007 and 2008. Agents then abducted Danilo but killed him when they could not extract valuable information from him, he said.