NPA rebels admit killing ‘lumad’ leader
DAVAO CITY — Communist rebels have admitted responsibility for the April 4 ambush that killed a tribal leader and wounded two others in Magpet town, North Cotabato province.
Isabel Santiago, spokesperson for the New People’s Army’s (NPA) Mt. Apo Sub-Regional Operations Command, said the killing of Antonio Takinan, the indigenous peoples’ (IPs) mandatory representative to the Magpet town council, was an imposition of revolutionary justice against “antipeople” individuals.
Takinan, along with his escort, Rene Soriano, and Barangay Tagbac IP representative Robello Tambunan, came from Barangay Poblacion and were on two separate motorcycles on their way to Barangay Bantac when they were attacked at 4 p.m. on Wednesday last week.
Police described Takinan as active in convincing his fellow “lumad” to join the government’s Civilian Active Auxiliary.
“The standing order imposed by the NPA against Takinan stemmed from his active intelligence gathering activities, forced recruitment of indigenous peoples for the paramilitary Cafgu (Citizens Armed Forces Geographical Unit) Bagani fighters and assisting the military in its combat operations that resulted in grave human rights and international humanitarian law violations,” Santiago said.
She said the slain lumad leader also helped soldiers “terrorize” IP communities at Barangay Manobo in Magpet when he denounced them as communist supporters.
The police had tagged communist rebels as behind the ambush before the NPA released its statement.
North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco expressed fear that Takinan’s death could worsen violence in Magpet as the slain tribal leader’s relatives might take revenge.
“Bring the suspects before the bar of justice to restore the IP’s confidence in the government,” Catamco urged authorities.
She also called on Takinan’s relatives not to take the law into their hands.
“Let us not be carried by our emotions,” Catamco said. —Reports from Allan Nawal and Williamor Magbanua
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