AFP links Sagay massacre to 'Red October' plot

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com
AFP links Sagay massacre to 'Red October' plot
In this October 2 photo, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr. attends the Senate hearing on the AFP budget.
The STAR / Jeremy Pintolo, File photo

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 5:45 p.m.) — The killing of nine sugarcane workers in Sagay City, Negros Occidental was part of the "Red October" plot to oust the Duterte government, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Wednesday.

Gen. Carlito Galvez Jr., AFP chief, accused the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army, of having a hand in the massacre of the victims, who were all members of the Nationl Federation of Sugarcane Workers, a farmers' group that the Philippine National Police has labelled as a "legal front" of communist rebels.

RELATED: Sugar workers' group hits PNP for 'NPA legal front' tag

"We can see here that there is a larger intention of really putting the president and the government in a bad light," Galvez said in a televised press conference.

The military chief noted that there have been demonstrations by progressive groups all over the country a few days after the incident occurred on Saturday.

Galvez stressed that the military is not involved in the Sagay massacre as all Citizen Armed Force Geographical Unit (CAFGU) personnel and their firearms were inspected.

'Claimants, land owner also possible angles'

Clearing the CAFGU, Galvez said there are three remaining angles being looked at — the claimants, the land owner and the CPP-NPA.

"The CPP-NPA has been known for this," Galvez said, adding that there is a similirity in the Sagay massacre with the previous ones in Kidapawan, Hacienda Luisita and Plaza Miranda.

Asked why the NPA would harm its own supposed recruits, Galvez claimed the NPA would "kill just to exploit."

According to Galvez, the NFSW recruited the sugar farmers to be killed.

"They were given a false promise that they will be given one hectare for P500 and also those organizers, initially they were there and they left so there is a high suspicion of anomaly," the AFP chief said.

NPA condemns massacre, denies involvement

The New People's Army in Negros on Tuesday issued a statement condemning the Sagay massacre, calling it "the single biggest and most brutal incident of peasant killings under the Duterte regime thus far."

It also pointed out that "the NPA is mainly a peasant army waging agrarian revolution to address the fundamental problem of landlessness and various other forms of feudal and semi-feudal exploitation prevailing in the vast Philippine countryside"

The NPA has been fighting what it calls a protracted people's war since 1969 and has been focused on gathering support from peasants and farmers, which the CPP believes make up the majority of the people in the Philippines.

In its statement, the rebels said it "is the fighting force of the oppressed masses; it does not carry out senseless killings like state troops and its paramilitary forces."

Not part of AFP's original 'Red October' plot claim 

Despite AFP's claim that the Sagay massacre is part of the so-called Red October plot, the killing was not among the supposed operations that the military earlier said is part of the "Red October" plot. 

Earlier this month, the AFP revealed recovered and decoded documents with operation codes Supermarket, Casino, Bulldozer, Tabasco and Hades referring to the supposed destabilization attempts of the communist rebels.

Supermarket referred to attacks against AFP detachments and Philippine National Police, Casino refers to special partisan unit operations targeting military assets and intelligence, while Tabasco targets Oplan Tokhang agents.

Bulldozer involves attacks against mining companies and high-impact government projects and Hades are attacks against government personalities with "blood debts."

These five operation codes were supposedly contained in the "memo" of the CPP-NPA's National Operations Command that the military was able to decode.

The CPP has denied the existence of the supposed conspiracy to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, calling it a government fiction.

"The CPP denounces the Armed Forces of the Philippines for conjuring this fictional plot which clearly aims to set the stage for applying increasingly draconian measures against the Filipino people," the CPP said in a statement released in September.






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