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Word war among CPLA factions escalating

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines – Word war between factions of the paramilitary group Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) has been heating up with a faction, claiming to be “the genuine and original members” tags another faction as renegades, fakes and opportunists.

“Newly re-installed” CPLA chairman Mailed Molina, who was also Bucloc, Abra former Mayor, said the renegades headed by Arsenio Humiding, who entered into a “closure agreement” with Malacañang last year succeeded in “duping” President Benigno Aquino III into recognizing them as CPLAs.

A splinter group of the New Peoples Army, Molina and other former NPA leaders and a company of rebels, broke ranks with the Communist Party of the Philippines in 1986 and forged a peace agreement with then Pres. Corazon Aquino. From then on, the CPLA fought side by side with the military in hunting the NPA in the Cordillera.

Further splits hounded the CPLA until recently when at least three groups emerged, one headed by Molina, one by Humiding and another by Kalinga-based Mike Sugguiyao.

What is disheartening, Molina said, is that Humiding’s group which entered into a “closure agreement” with the government, is still using the CPLA organization to “get funds from the national government”.

He said his group is the genuine CPLA, “and continues to be a group aspiring for autonomy and other democratic principles for the Cordillera people.”

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During the 27th-year anniversary of the peace agreement between the CPLA and the government, Molina was declared CPLA chairman with Rafael Wasan as Cordillera Bodong Administration head backed by the Cordillera Regional Assembly in Baguio City.

But in Tabuk City, Kalinga, Miguel “Mike” Sugguiyao was likewise declared as chairman with Andres Ngao-i.

Humiding, who earlier said Molina was expelled by the CPLA, and his faction are now working with the OPPAP implementing the multimillion Payapa at Masaganang Pamayanan (PAMANA) program awarded to them.

“That is what is suspect,” said Molina.

Molina added that Humiding group was only interested in the government funds, saying that President Aquino "should have been circumspect whom he talked with in the first place." - Artemio A. Dumlao

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