AFP links Makabayan bloc anew to CPP-NPA

Michael Punongbayan (The Philippine Star) - December 1, 2020 - 12:00am

Cullamat slams ‘desecration’ of daughter’s remains

MANILA, Philippines — The death of the daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Campos Cullamat in an encounter between soldiers and New People’s Army (NPA) guerrillas showed that progressive party-list groups belonging to the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives have links with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), defense and military officials said yesterday.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) expressed their sympathy and condoled with the family of Jevilyn Campos Cullamat.

The 22-year-old Cullamat, alias Ka Reb, reportedly died in an encounter in Barangay San Isidro, Marihatag, Surigao del Sur on Saturday.

“I am urging the CPP-NPA to stop the armed struggle in order to end these senseless killing. Otherwise the killings will go on forever, particularly of the youth who were deceived into joining the revolutionary movement. Let us unite for our country,” Lorenzana said.

He said the red-tagging of progressive party-list organizations now has basis and the incident showed the connection between such groups and the communists.

Lorenzana said the CPP-NPA seemed to have no concern for their student-recruits, who eventually get killed, as long as the communists could pursue their so-called armed struggle.

Bayan Rep. Cullamat denounced the military for parading her daughter’s remains.

“I condemn the desecration of my daughter’s remains. She was not a trophy to be paraded for the military’s propaganda. You disrespected the dead and our grieving family,” Cullamat said in a statement in Filipino.

“Her decision to join the armed struggle was a result of the abuses that we experienced as lumads and the poverty that she witnessed,” Cullamat said.

She said she is proud of her daughter whom she described as a “heroine of the lumads and the entire nation.”

The Makabayan bloc rallied behind Cullamat and accused the military of violating international law by allegedly “desecrating the remains of Jevilyn, circulating photos of her obviously artificially posed body as though she was still carrying a rifle, and displaying her corpse along with the recovered paraphernalia.”

Lorenzana defended the actions of the troopers, saying it is normal for soldiers to take pictures of fatalities following armed clashes.

He directed the military to study how it could better preserve the dignity and privacy of fatalities and the families involved in such incidents.

Lorenzana said the death of the young Cullamat is a grim reminder of the effects of the fruitless armed conflict perpetrated by the communist terrorist groups.

Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., chief of the military’s Southern Luzon Command and spokesman for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, said the death of Cullamat’s daughter is yet another proof of Bayan Muna’s recruitment of the youth to join the NPA.

“It is aggravated by the fact that no less than the daughter of a Bayan Muna lawmaker herself made a sacrifice for a useless cause,” Parlade said.

He said the lawmaker’s husband was also in the underground until his arrest in the Visayas for murder and illegal possession of explosives.

The congresswoman’s sister Chary Campos Cullamat is a member of the Malahutayong Pakigbisog Alang sa Sumusunod (MAPASU) and Kahugpungan sa Lumadnong Organisasyon, both are allegedly front organizations of the CPP-NPA, Parlade said.

He said other siblings of Cullamat are Pablito Sinzo Campos Jr., secretary of the NPA’s Guerrilla Front 21, and Gloria Campos Tumalon, allegedly a leader of the MAPASU who was arrested early this year on charges of kidnapping and serious illegal detention. – Edu Punay, Rhodina Villanueva

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