Peace negotiator slams NPA over reparations to victims of rebel attack
MANILA, Philippines—The head of the government peace panel with communist rebels on Saturday scored the New People’s Army for indemnifying civilian victims of a recent NPA grenade attack in Davao City instead of surrendering the culprits to the police .
Alexander Padilla, chair of the government panel in peace negotiations with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF), said the P5,000 payment to each of the 48 victims in Paquibato, Davao City, was a “stop-gap” measure that “clouded” the NPA’s violation of international humanitarian law and Philippine law.
“The demands of justice are predicated on a rule of law and cannot be met by one-off payments,” Padilla said in a statement.
“The demands of peace must be negotiated peacefully at the table and not through gunfire and the torching of establishments,” he added.
Padilla said the CPP-NPA’s refusal to turn over the perpetrators of the attack to the authorities “adds insult to injury.”
The NPA Merardo Arce Command belatedly owned up to the attack but said that those responsible would be dealt with according to the CPP-NPA’s “revolutionary justice.”
Padilla noted, however, that the NPA’s so-called “revolutionary justice” had been exposed as a “sham” by many, including United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston in a report in 2008.
He pointed out that there had been countless civilian victims caught in the crossfire since the insurgency under a reorganized communist party began more than four decades ago.
“Why has indemnification been raised only now?” Padilla said.