Esperon takes witness stand, insists Sison, other Reds behind killings linked to Leyte mass grave | Inquirer News
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Esperon takes witness stand, insists Sison, other Reds behind killings linked to Leyte mass grave

/ 08:43 PM November 16, 2020

MANILA, Philippines—National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Monday (Nov. 16) took the witness stand at the Manila Regional Trial Court against members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), led by its founding chair Jose Ma. Sison, for a 2006 case that revolves around the discovery of a mass grave supposedly of victims of a communist rebel purge.

The mass grave was uncovered that year by soldiers in Inopacan, Leyte. It was supposedly used as burial ground for government spies and infiltrators executed by communist rebels some 30 years ago.

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Esperon, chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in 2006, sued Sison and 37 other suspected communist rebel leaders for alleged involvement in the killing of suspected spies and infiltrators.

The court, presided over by Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina, had issued warrants of arrest in 2019 for those accused by Esperon of involvement in the killings.

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“It is high time that the CPP-NPA be held accountable for the atrocities they have committed against our people, through the application of the judicial process,” Esperon said.

While the hearing was taking place, one of the few groups protesting outside the court was calling for the release of those accused of involvement in the killings, calling them political prisoners.

Rosalia Bacarra, secretary general of Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon (Selda), said Esperon’s testimony “is based on hearsay, highly questionable evidence and recycled testimonies full of inconsistencies.”

“He has been lying about this case since it was refiled in January 2007 to further the political persecution of activists and political dissenters,” said Bacarra, who also heads the group Aresto (Arrest).

Other groups, like League of Parents of the Philippines and Liga Independencia Pilipinas, were also outside the Manila RTC but to show support for Esperon.

Edited by TSB

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TAGS: court, Detainees, Esperon, Inopacan Massacre, Insurgency, Leyte, Mass grave, rebels, Sison
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