Bigger bounties lead to worse abuses

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The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) roundly condemned DND-DILG Joint Order No. 14-2012, which raised the bounties for the arrest of 235 alleged leaders of the armed revolutionary movement. The total amount of the reward monies in the order which was issued November 13 is P466.88 million.

The CPP said the bounty system will merely be used by military and police officials to step up arbitrary arrests and detention, torture and other violations of the human rights of revolutionary forces, activists and civilians. Military and police officials will also be using it to pocket millions of pesos.

The CPP cited the case of Rolly Panesa, 48, who was arrested in Quezon City on October 5. The 2nd ID claimed that he was “Benjamin Mendoza,” allegedly the CPP’s 61-year old leading cadre in Southern Tagalog. Panesa underwent severe torture while he was being forced to admit that he was “Mendoza.” It turned out that Southern Luzon Command chief Maj. Gen. Alan Luga merely wanted some “send-off money” with his impending retirement. “Benjamin Mendoza” carries a P5-million bounty for his capture.

On November 5, the military arrested Grayson Naogsan, the eldest son of Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan, spokesperson of the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF). Grayson was on his way to the wake of his grandfather Pablo Naogsan in Butigue, Paracelis, Mountain Province when he was arrested. He was interrogated without the presence of the counsel of his choice, blindfolded and held incommunicado.

The CPDF strongly condemned Grayson’s arrest. His capture is obviously a project to collect the bounty on his head, which has been raised from P500,000 to P3.2 million. The CPDF said Naogsan’s arrested was the brainchild of 54th IB chief Lt. Col. Donald Hongitan who is also slated to retire.

NDF-Mindanao spokesperson Jorge “Ka Oris” Madlos likewise assailed the issuance of DND-DILG Joint Order No. 14-2012, saying that the Aquino government’s resort to huge amounts of bounty money is a sign of desperation and shows the failure of Oplan Bayanihan to stop the revolutionary movement. It has completely shed its mask of negotiating for peace because it now openly treats as common criminals the leaders and members of the revolutionary movement.

NDFP peace panel chair Luis Jalandoni also slammed the Aquino regime’s order that criminalizes the revolutionary movement. He said the real criminals are those that kill activists, demolish urban poor communities and force the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.