MANILA – A time of reckoning long overdue has started for alleged members of communist terrorist groups (CTGs) behind the mass killings of individuals suspected of being embedded government spies in the rebel group in Inopacan, Leyte.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. the government’s 29th and final witness in the case, was called by government prosecutors to the stand yesterday.
“It is high time that the CPP-NPA be held accountable for the atrocities they have committed against our people, through the application of the judicial process,” Esperon said in a statement. “Their acts only serve to reinforce the true criminal and terrorist nature of the CPP-NPA masquerading under the guise of a revolutionary armed movement.”
Esperon, a former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, had filed the case against fugitive Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) leader Jose Maria Sison and others in 2006.
The proceedings were held before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 32 under Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina.
Virtually present were accused Vicente P. Ladlad, Rafael Baylosis, Adelberto Silva, Luzviminda Orillo, Presillano Beringel, Muco Lubong also known as Venancio Lubong, and Felix Dumali.
Outstanding warrants were also issued against Sison, Benito E. Tiamzon, Wilma A. Tiamzon, and Randall Echanis.
Likewise, originally named in the charges were Saturnino Ocampo, Norberto A. Murillo, Oscar P. Belleza, Dario B. Tomada, Exuperio Lloren, and Lino Salazar also known as Felomino Salazar.
Warrants of arrest were issued on August 28, 2019 against the respondents in connection with the discovery of a mass grave in Inopacan town, Leyte in 2006.
From 1984 to 1986, the CPP-New People’s Army launched a nationwide purging of their ranks.
The 8th Infantry Division of the Philippine Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade in 2006 unearthed the skeletal remains of 67 individuals in Mt. Sapang Dako, Inopacan town. About 300 more were reported missing.
The site was used as burial ground for supposedly of victims of a communist rebel purge suspected to be government spies and infiltrators executed by communist rebels some 30 years ago.
In the Visayas, the purge was named Oplan Venereal Disease where 300 suspected government assets within the organization were arbitrarily sentenced and executed in Leyte province alone.
The National Security Adviser filed the case.
The League of Parents of the Philippines and Liga Independencia Pilipinas, rallied outside the Manila RTC to show support for Esperon.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council under Resolution No.1373. (PNA/SPH)