Editors Note: The following is an opinion piece from Jeffrey Celiz, former chair of the activist Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) in Panay island, who became the Duterte government’s star anti-Communist witness when the former administration launched an intensified whole-of-nation approach agaunst the Communist insurgency through the National Task Force-End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
The following is his reaction to the usual statements of the CPP describing their cadres or leaders “consultants” of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) when these are killed in battle or captured.
The NDFP is an alliance of underground sectoral organizations formed by the CPP. These underground grouos are expressedly for armed struggle and for the violent overthrow of the State.
The essay was edited for brevity.
The opinion piece does not reflect the official views of The Paper.
Jeffrey ‘Ka Eric Almendras’ Celiz
This is the common, if not, the most usual words from the Communist Party of the Philippines every time a high-ranking leader of the New Peoples Army is either killed or arrested.
An automatic scripted phrase uttered when they are asked by the media about the identity of such a leader, whose death or arrest they try to romanticize.
These lies are spread to make it appear to the public that the Armed Forces of the Philippines are puppets of the fascist regime and are the true “beasts” that do not know how to respect human rights.
This twisted lie is the same one repeated all the time.
In a statement, Julieta de Lima, the wife of CPP founder Jose Maria Sison who died last year, defended Eric Jun Casilao, sayimg his arrest is not only unacceptable but is also a violation of basic human rights and international humanitarian law.
She debunked the “terrorist” tag against Casilao and reiterated that he is only an NDFP Consultant for the Reciprocal Working Committee on the Comprehensive Agreement on Socio Economic Reforms in Southern Mindanao.
Meanwhile, the Armed Forces said Eric Casilao, who is also the brother of former Anakpawis Congressman Ariel Casilao, is the top leader of the Southern Mindanao Regional Committee and a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
We have heard this before.
Last year, Ericson Acosta, who was also a high-ranking CPP leader and exercised absolute control over the NPA units in Negros islands, was killed in a clash with elements of the 94th and 47th Infantry Battalion, Philippine Army.
The CPP through its chief information officer, Marco Valbuena, claimed that Acosta was an important leader of the CPP and NPA.
He confirmed the accurate and correct identity of Acosta. However, Jose Maria Sison, in a separate statement, claimed that Ericson Acosta is only an NDFP Consultant.
The reason why they are trying to hide these high-ranking leaders under the cloak of ‘NDFP consultants” lies in the provisions of the International Humanitarian Law.
This law protects non-combatants against any violations done during an armed conflict. Non-combatants such as consultants, who are not or no longer taking part in armed conflict, are accorded protection of their life and rights under IHL.
It is also forbidden to kill or injure them. They are expected to be protected and treated humanely.
But these “NDFP Consultants”, as they claimed, are the top-ranking New People’s Army that have been killing innocent lives and perpetrators of destruction, of government and private properties.
This old twisted lie of the Communist Party about their high-ranking leaders try to portray them to the public as either martyrs or human rights defenders.
The CPP must stop using this lie.
These so-called consultants are terrorists who must pay for the crimes they have committed.