- So-called special unit appears to be separate from the New People’s Army
- Army officer says this “mercenary” unit will take care of “dirty jobs” for the CPP
BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The clash between State soldiers and a small group of armed men in the upland village of Icugan, Calatrava town has uncovered what seems to be a special operation by the Communist Party of the Philippines to unleash a mercenary unit that will handle the CPP’s gun-for-hire contracts and other “dirty jobs.”
Army and underground sources told DNX the formation of the “special unit” would give “deniability” to the CPP leadership and the New People’s Army commands in the island if it carries out political assassinations and criminal activities.
“This is like the formation of ‘special units’ like the Tiger Squad in the late 80s to the 90s,” a former Party cadre who was a member of the regional party committee in Negros island told DNX.
The “Tiger” unit was responsible for waylaying delivery trucks of beverage companies and robbing route salesmen of these firms.
That unit used to be headed by Ka Wenly in the 90s, a squad leader of the New People’s Army who joined the “Reaffirmist” or RA bloc of the CPP headed by captured CPP leader and former priest Ka Frank Fernandez.
Wenly, who later bolted the “RA” to join another splinter group, the Rebolusyunaryong Hukbo ng Bayan or RHB, was killed in a clash with soldiers in the 90s.
Another unit, the Heavy Weapons Squad, was also formed in the 90s by the Central Negros Front and was “loaned” even to sugarcane planters resisting land reform on their properties.
For a fee, the guerrilla front will allow the squad whose members are all armed with automatic battle rifles to “protect” the landlords even if these landowners are considered “class enemies” and even if they are resisting the interest of peasants and farmworkers who the CPP considers as the “main force” of its “people’s war.”
These activities were all “repudiated” and “condemned” in the official “summing up” documents of the CPP and were described as “unauthorized” decisions blamed on front commands.
The CPP carried out a “rectification movement” in the 1990s, purportedly to “correct” its “errors and excesses” including a purge that left hundreds of cadres, members, Red fighters, and allies murdered by the NPA.
A front is roughly the size of a government political district covering four to six towns or cities, over which rebels claim “control” and “influence.”
And it seems the CPP wants to do it again.
At least according to the Army.
Third Infantry Division spokesman Maj. Cenon Pancito III said the after-battle reports suggested the five-man team the soldiers clashed within the sub-village of Icugan was “mahina (weak)” that could explain why one of them was killed.