Couple severs ties with NPA after 20 years
By Sarwell Meniano / Philippine News Agency
TACLOBAN CITY – A couple engaged in New People’s Army (NPA) activities for two decades in Luzon surrendered on Sunday to the Philippine Army in Mahaplag, Leyte.
Grace and Bart (not their real names), both 50 years old, turned over subversive documents and books, a caliber .38 revolver with a quick ammunition reloader, 13 pieces of live ammunitions, two pieces of 5.56mm ammunitions, and two sets of acupuncture needles.
Grace’s son, also an ex-rebel, convinced them to surrender to the Army’s 14th Infantry Battalion (14IB), according to a press statement on Monday.
The couple was recruited in 2000 by Glicerio Relona, then commander of the NPA South Leyte Front.
After a year, Tirso Abegonia, a ranking NPA commander from Samar and Relona’s father-in-law, sworn in Grace and two other women as full-fledged party members.
The couple belonged to the defunct Evelyn Dublin Command, South Leyte front, that operated in the southern part of Leyte province from 2000 to 2001, before they were assigned to Metro Manila in March 2002.
Grace was tasked to locate and reconnect with NPA members from Leyte who moved to the National Capital Region, according to the military.
In 2002 in Manila, she assisted an NPA member, who travelled alone by air from Leyte to Manila to seek medical treatment.
Bart worked as mason-carpenter, unaware that his common-law wife had maintained ties with NPA leaders in Manila and nearby Rizal province.
Manila-based rebels took part in distributing electronic propaganda materials to the media outlets, the statement added.
In 2005, the couple moved to Subic, Zambales, where “Ka Gary”, a ranking officer of the Workers’ Alliance in Region 3 (WAR-3) worked with Grace.
From 2010 to 2016, the WAR-3 leader engaged Grace in the party-list election campaign of Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela Women’s Party, Suara Bangsamoro, and Kabataan, according to the military.
“The revelations of the couple who originated from Leyte but was moved to Luzon by the NPA is a proof of the standard practice of the latter to hide their forces from military offensive in the countryside. This also gives weight to earlier claims by other former rebels that the Makabayan Bloc (in the House of Representatives) is indeed the umbrella organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)-led party-list groups,” said Brig. Gen. Zosimo OIiveros, commander of the Army’s 802nd Infantry Brigade.
The Philippines' Anti-Terrorism Council has designated the CPP, NPA, and National Democratic Front as terrorist groups.
The European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines also listed the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. (PNA)