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HANNAH’S FATHER TO NUPL: ‘Sana ang anak ko na ang huli, huling biktima’

February 29, 2024

This was the grieving message of Mr. Eutropio Cesista to the group National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) whose young daughter Hannah Jay was killed in a recent encounter between state forces and the New People’s Army (NPA) in Bohol.

The elder Cesista, during an interview with the media, believed his daughter was a victim of recruitment and radicalization by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

“Ang medyo may hinanakit lang ako kaunti lang doon sa sinalihan niya na pinipigilan ko pero pumilit siya, ‘yung NUPL. Pumayag ako na sumali siya dahil ang explain sa akin na lawyer daw ‘yung mga kasamahan niya kaya pumayag ako tapos sabi ko mag-ingat ka” he said.

He had reservations about his daughter joining the organization but eventually allowed her and advised her to be cautious.

“Isa lang alam ko, member siya ng NUPL, other than that blanko ako”, he said.

Cesista admitted, though, that Hannah joining the NPA stunned the family.

“Napakasakit, walang kasing sakit ang nadarama ng tulad ng nadarama namin,” he continued.

Obviously deep in anguish, Cesista said her daughter's educational attainment as a bar passer was everyone’s dream for him, his wife, and their eldest daughter.

“Parang nasa tuktok na, biglang bumagsak,” he said.

Meanwhile, National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Executive Director and Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. strongly criticized NUPL for the latter’s attempt to distort facts about the Bohol encounter that led to the death of the young Cesista.

As reported by various media outlets, NUPL has peddled a scenario in which the terrorists were tortured and summarily executed.

On February 23, 2024, state forces from the military and police engaged a rebel group at around 6:50 a.m. in Sitio Matin-ao 2, Barangay Campagao in the town of Bilar. The soldiers and policemen went to the rebels’ hideout to serve a warrant of arrest of Domingo Jaspe Compoc alias Silong, a known leader of the New People’s Army (NPA). Compoc was wanted for a string of criminal cases like rebellion, homicide, multiple murders, and robbery and had a P2.6 million government bounty for his capture.

Killed during the firefight was Police Corporal Gilbert Amper. Patrolman Gerard Rollon was wounded. On the NPA side, Compoc perished along with Parlito Segovia alyas Aldrin, Marlon Omosura alyas Darwin, a certain Juaning, and surprisingly, Hanna Jay Cesista alyas Maya/Lean.

Data showed the recovery of high-powered firearms such as an M653, R4, and M16 assault rifles and 3 cal. 45 pistols, all from the communist terrorists.

“NUPL’s unfounded accusation is not only preposterous but also a deliberate attempt to cover up one of its members as an armed NPA combatant,” Torres said.

Torres then challenged the group demanding an explanation for why one of its members was involved with the NPA.

“Such disinformation being peddled by the group to the media and therefore the public not only violates the lawyer’s code of ethics and professional responsibility but also a deliberate travesty of justice,” he said.

He reminded the group of the possible legal implications of spreading disinformation, particularly by individuals or organizations entrusted with upholding the principles of justice and truth.

“We challenge NUPL to explain to the legal community, in particular, and to the Filipino people, in general, why one of its members was a communist terrorist. The burden of proof rests on them. There is no amount of disinformation and deception to obfuscate the evidence that one NUPL member died during a legitimate encounter between government troops and the NPA,” Torres said.

“Read between the lines, indeed. The radicalization and recruitment of Cesista into the NPA underwent a premeditated and arduous ideological indoctrination by communist front organizations (CFOs), Torres, referring to the statements issued by the Cesista elder, added.

He explained that continuing along the path of rebellion leads to fruitless outcomes and perpetuates conflict, whereas embracing dialogue and reconciliation offers a more promising way forward.

“Furthermore, people who continue to be involved with the NPA run a great chance of becoming involved in illegal activities and being exposed to dangerous situations that could endanger their lives. By opting for peaceful avenues of engagement and seeking solutions through lawful channels, individuals can safeguard their well-being and contribute to the overall stability of our nation”, Torres said. ###


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco




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