MANILA A sister of slain New People's Army (NPA) leader, Bonifacio Magramo, on Wednesday expressed her outrage against militant human rights group Karapatan-Southern Tagalog for allegedly using foul tactics to recover the remains of her brother from police custody.
Lornabeth M. Galos said their family had long been wishing to see Bonifacio alias Eboy because they have not located him since he joined the ranks of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-NPA.
We are hoping that we will be able to see him one last time before we bury him," Lornabeth said in the vernacular.
She said news of her brother's death came late and the latter's daughter was prevented from going to Mindoro to attend to his father's remains.
Tinawagan umano ito ng mga kasamahang NPA ni Magramo sa Palawan at binantaan na wag nang puntahan ang bangkay ng ama (Her nephew received a call from his father's NPA comrade in Palawan and warned not to recover his remains), Galos added.
Magramo, a resident of Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro, is a known NPA leader as Secretary of Sub-Regional Military Area, 4E in Palawan. He was killed along with two other communist rebels during a clash with government troops in Panaytayan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro on June 13.
It can be recalled that a team from Karapatan went to the Mansalay Police Station in an attempt to claim the body of the rebel leader. Karapatan reportedly insisted that they were accompanying a certain Jessica Baes Alcos, daughter of the slain rebel leader.
The militant group initially identified Magramo as Victor Alcos, an NPA fighter based in Batangas.
Police had no choice but to release the body to the group for burial despite their reservations on the alleged claimant and Karapatan's motives.
However, subsequent investigations revealed that Karapatan and Jessica's claim were false as Alcos has been killed in a clash with military troops last year.
Police said the Magramos now have the right to recover the remains of their family member from Karapatan once the DNA testing conducted by the Philippine National Police-Scene of the Crime Operation conclusively proves that the body is Bonifacio's, and not Alcos'.
Meanwhile, Karapatan's underhand tactics and harassment against local authorities prompted residents of Mansalay and Roxas City in Oriental Mindoro to conduct their own peace rally to counter Karapatan's protest actions.
"The main objective was to disrupt the process and expedite the claim of Magramo's remains to conceal the fact that a ranking NPA commander was killed in the (June 13) encounter," said one of the rallyists.
He said that after Kaparatain members were able to claim the three remains of NPA members, they shouted Mabuhay ang Bagong Hukbong Bayan (Long live New People's Army)!
According to Lt. Col. Alexander Arbolado, Army's 4th Infantry Battalion commander, the Lornabeth's surfacing only proves that Karapatan is using "dirty tricks" in defending the NPAs.
Hindi rin natin maiaalis ang posibilidad na ginamit lang ng Karapatan ang pamilya Alcos upang papaniwalain sila na ang nasabing bangkay ay si Victor Alcos (We cannot discount the possibility that Karapatan is only using the Alcos family to convince the Magramos that the cadaver is that of Victor Alcos, not Bonifacio's), Arbolado said.
Meanwhile, 203rd Infantry Brigade commander, Brig. Gen. Marceliano Teofilo, urged all residents to fight and resist the CPP-NPA so that peace can finally reign in Mindoro.
"Do not allow yourself to fall prey to the sweet words of Karapatan as this only cause trouble like what they did in the past days in Mansalay," he added.
Brig. Gen. Elias H. Escarcha, commander of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, vowed slain of tight security measures in the region.
"Gagawin namin ang lahat upang mapigilan ang anumang banta ng terorismo o pananakot na dulot ng NPA o sinumang makakaliwang grupo (We will do everything we can to thwart terrorism threats of the NPA and its allies), Escarcha said.
Joint military and police forces have launched a manhunt operation against remnants of the slain leader's group operating in Mindoro. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency