Parent to Karapatan: ‘Please stop postings about my son, I’m begging you’
LE October 19, 2023
Former Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Jerome Christopher David, father of Job who was among three red fighters captured in a military encounter, on Thursday (October 19, 2023) asked front organization Karapatan to stop posting on social media about his son including his two companions painting them as victims of abduction or enforced disappearance.
“Sana itigil na ng Karapatan na mag-post sila sa Facebook na ang anak ko ay dinukot, tinurtyor, Hindi po totoo ‘yon, kayo mismo (Karapatan) ang nagko-commit ng human rights (violation) na walang permiso namin na i-post niyo ‘yung profile picture ng anak ko na sila ay dinukot,” David appealed, during a virtual press conference of the Integrated Communications Office Center (ICOC), the media bureau of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
“Tama na po, ‘wag niyo na pong i-post ‘yan, pakiusap lang po. Kung ano man po ang inyong ipinaglalaban puwede niyo naman daanin sa matiwasay na paraan. Tama na po, ako na po ang nakiki-usap sa inyo. My son is now living peacefully,” he reiterated.
Brigadier General Randolph Cabangbang, commanding general of the Army’s 203rd Infantry Brigade, revealed to the media that the parents of Job, Alia Encela and Peter del Monte are contemplating to take legal action against Karapatan for continued harassment.
“In fact, I’m discouraging them (parents) not to file what they think is a writ of Amparo. Sabi ko wala namang nakikinig sa Karapatan. Having said that, we’re consulting lawyers, we’re studying it,” Cabangbang said.
“To Karapatan, hands off our families, hands off our children,” he said.
NTF-ELCAC spokesman Joel Sy Egco, who is also ICOC director-designate, reiterated his warning to Karapatan and other front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) to stop their donation drives using the “abduct-surface-donate-release” (ASDR) scheme.
“Kahit ano pa ang sasabihin niyo, kayo-kayo na lang ang naniniwala sa sinsabi niyo sa inyong echo chamber mismo. NTF-ELCAC continues to gather evidences of your scamming activities and in due time charges will be filed against you,” he said.
Egco said ELCAC’s National Secretariat led by Executive Director Undersecretary Ernesto Torres Jr. will support and assist the parents and the Army if and when legal charges are ready to be filed against Karapatan and other front organizations.
“Again, Encela, del Monte and David are not detained, they voluntarily submitted themselves to be in the custody of the military as they’re undergoing the processes of rebuilding their lives ruined by the CPP-NPA-NDF before joining their families and to mainstream society,” he said.
The three were captured by Army troopers on September 23, 2023 during combat operations in Sitio Malaglag, Barangay Lisap in Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro.
Cabangbang said he was relieved and looking forward to turning over the three former rebels to their parents safe and sound.
“Alam niyo six months ko pa lang dito sa brigade. Unang salpak ko ay nag-turnover agad ako ng bangkay ng isang Medtech student sa kanyang nanay, namatay sa engkuwentro laban sa mga tropa. Very sad moments. Ngayon it’s happy moments dahil buhay itong tatlo na sa di kalauna’y makakasama na nila muli ang kanilang mga magulang,” he said.
During the conference, ICOC showed a 7-minute video clip of the parents and relatives of Encela, del Monte and David having happy moments hugging, laughing, and eating together.
“Ang talagang ambisyon namin ay mabuhay nang tahimik, makapaghanap-buhay nang tahimik…Na-restore (na) ang kanyang morale as a citizen at itutuloy niya ang kanyang career,” David said of his son.
Cabangbang said Mr. David sent him a text message about his intention to enter the reserve force.
“Nag-message siya sa akin after makauwi siya sa Quezon City at sabi ko sige tutulungan kita. Nagkataon kasi na may chopper tayong nagpunta dito nung bumisita siya sa kanyang anak. Sabi sa akin ni Job, baka puwedeng makisabay na ang tatay niya makauwi pa-Manila. Ayun, nakisakay si Mr. David sa chopper. Mababait ang mga piloto natin e,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cabangbang also thanked the three former rebels for their voluntary insights and analysis of how their former comrades operate in his brigade’s area of operation (AOR).
“In some of our casual conversations, they talked about how their former NPA unit moved and operated. They voluntarily shared their insights and analysis. We just listened and realized that they’re sharing this with us because they want their former comrades to live. Marami daw sa kanilang dating kasamahan ang low morale na at gustong sumurender,” he said.
“For the past weeks, napakarami na po nilang naitulong sa ating brigade. They have been providing the necessary analysis and the information that we need such that for the past two days may naengkwentro po na grupo nila because of their insightful analysis and correct and timely information,” Cabangbang added.
In the encounter, the soldiers recovered three high-powered firearms and personal paraphernalia of the fleeing rebels.
Cabangbang said they believed that two of the rebels were wounded because of blood traces from the recovered firearms and one of them could be the deputy commander of the group.
“When I arrived here, there were only 15 NPA rebels in our AOR. Minus Alia, Peter and Job, only 12 remaining. We’ve already identified them all,” he said.
Now, Cabangbang said, the three are reaching out to their former comrades to give up the armed struggle and surrender to the government.
“Not all of them, the NPAs here, are willing to fight. We’ll give them a chance to give up the armed struggle and even during actual battle we’ll always give them space to surrender. Life is very precious. Like what I told you before, we can reconfigure our combat operations to a rescue mission. I’ve been told by battalion commanders to shift to this kind strategy, to save lives,” he said.
NTF-ELCAC MEDIA BUREAU Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco 09155506969 October 19, 2023