Gov’t acting on slay of rebel’s daughter
Razon sees no setback to resuming peace talks
By Joel Guinto
First Posted 13:01:00 03/09/2009
MANILA, Philippines — (UPDATE) President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s peace adviser urged communist rebels to trust a government investigation into the murder of a guerrilla commander’s daughter and not let the crime imperil the resumption of peace negotiations.
“It would be prudent not to accuse anyone at this point. They are already accusing the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines]. In fairness, ibigay natin yun sa ating gobyerno [let’s give it to government],” Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Avelino Razon Jr. said.
“The government is taking action. The President has instructed the PNP [Philippine National Police] and other law enforcement agencies to look into this dastardly act. Even the CHR [Commission on Human Rights] is investigating,” Razon said in a phone interview.
Asked if the killing of Rebelyn Pitao could prove a setback to efforts to resume negotiations talks with communist rebels that have been stalled since 2004, Razon said: “Hindi naman [Not really]. We are taking action.”
Pitao, a 20-year-old substitute teacher, was abducted by what her family and human rights groups say were military intelligence agents in Davao City on March 4.
Her body was found the next day in another town with apparent signs of torture and, possibly, rape.
She is the daughter Leoncio Pitao alias Commander Parago, the leader of the New People’s Army (NPA) Pulang Bagani (Red Warrior) command based in the Davao region.
Following confirmation of Rebelyn’s murder, Luis Jalandoni, chairman of the National Democratic Front (NDF) peace panel, said over the weekend that the killing made the peace negotiations “untenable.”
But Razon said he is hopeful informal negotiations between government and NDF representatives will push through in the Netherlands this month.
“We are hoping that it [talks] will push through, so that these killings, this violence will stop,” he said.
Meanwhile, deputy presidential spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo assured the Pitao family that “justice will be served.”
Fajardo said those proven to have been involved in Pitao’s killing, even if they belong to the military, would be punished.
“If there is any violation of the law, then whoever violated it should be held responsible and liable,” she said.
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