The Philippine National Police intelligence officer who was also the leader of a private armed group of a fanatical religious cult along with his paramilitary aide saw their bloody end after they opened fire at a New People’s Army mobile checkpoint along the national highway in Monkayo, Compostela Valley Province, Thursday, June 23 at around 7 am. The Red fighters successfully confiscated a baby Armalite and four pistols following the tactical offensive at Purok 7, in Barangay Pasian, Monkayo town.
SPO3 Benjamin Langbid, detailed at the Caraga Regional Intelligence Division of the PNP, was the head of the private army of the fanatical cult Philippine Prayer for Peace of the Holy Spirit Incorporated (PPPHSI) based in San Jose, Bislig City, Surigao del Sur. With Langbid was Romeo Casas who, contrary to PNP and AFP reports in the media, was not a civilian but an armed member of the cult group and the Barangay Intelligence Network. Casas opened fire with his baby Armalite during the NPA checkpoint.
Langbid, a confidant of Josefina “Pina” Palma-Paulo who is known as the “supreme head” of PPPHSI, heads the cult’s 60-man armed group which includes at least 30 regular members of the 75th IB-AFP. Palma-Paulo’s cult group operates a million-peso carbon-mining operation spanning 3,000 hectares in the areas of Barangays San Jose and Pamaypayan in Bislig. The cult is also engaged in big-time logging and operates an extortion racket in Bislig City, Lingig and nearby Trento, Agusan del Sur.
To protect these interests, the PPPHSI armed group led by Langbid, forcefully evicted more than 60 peasant families in San Jose and Pamaypayan. They divested the peasants’ livestock and by brute force drove them away from their productive farm lands. Barangay officials who rallied support for the dislocated farmers were also threatened and harassed when they initiated a petition exposing the landgrabbing and intimidation perpetrated by Langbid and Palma-Paulo’s cult.
In April 2009, Langbid led a squad responsible for the gruesome murder and dismembering of then San Jose barangay captain Bebiano Sumaganday Sr. and his two companions. Sumaganday was a vocal critic of the exploitative and fascist practices of Langbid and Palma-Paulo. A surviving witness, positively identified Langbid as one of the armed men who waylaid the barangay captain and his companions.
Prior to PPPHSI, Langbid once led the armed fanatical cult of Dodong Balonga known as the Remnant Family of God (RFG) based in the tri-boundaries of Monkayo, Sta. Josefa and Veruela in Agusan del Sur. He was responsible for the raid against an NPA unit in 2003 that resulted in the killing of two guerrillas.
Similar to Corazon Aquino’s implementation of the US designed low intensity conflict ‘counter-insurgency’ in the ‘80s that employed armed religious fanatical cults against the people and the revolutionary movement, the current Aquino regime’s Oplan Bayanihan also makes use of paramilitary and armed fanatical sects like Palma-Paulo’s PPPHSI cult.
The masses who have long been terrorized and displaced by Langbid and Palma-Paulo’s armed minions are celebrating this latest revolutionary dispensation of justice.
The masses fully know that only the people’s democratic government with its Red Army has the political will to dismantle and bring to justice criminal armed groups and private armies that exploit and abuse the people.
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