By CONCHA ARANETA
Only about two months have elapsed since the RPP-ABB, upon the instruction of their military handlers, broadcasted their bloody intrigue against legal personalities of the people’s movement when Romeo Capalla was murdered right at the entrance of the Philippines National Police-guarded Oton Public Market last 15 March 2014. Simultaneously, two small-scale sugar mills of Panay Fair Trade Center (PFTC), of which Romeo Capalla served as an officer, were torched down in Janiuay town.
Such despicable extrajudicial killing of Romeo Capalla, and arson inflicted on small farmers organization’s property, is the signature modus of the US-Aquino regime’s military and their special units and paramilitary outfit (such as the RPA-ABB). Such units are maintained for such “dirty jobs” against people’s organization and personalities. The Oplan Bayanihan of the Aquino regime secretly sanctions such atrocities so long as they do not implicate the regime who belabors its Human Rights credentials as a victim of the Marcos Dictatorship while coddling the deposed dictator’s military hatchetmen.
And why would Romeo Capalla suffer the wrath of Aquino’s henchmen? Why would a legitimate businessman-exporter of muscovado sugar be victimized by Aquino’s hitmen?
His being a New People’s Army commander during Martial Law was spread around by the military psychological warfare agents apparently to justify his assasination by military agents. But Romeo Capalla as a rebel was a legitimate freedom fighter who led in waging armed struggle against the Marcos Dictatorship. Even the new law of the Government of the Republic of the Philippines recognizes all those who fought the dictatorship and are so honored. He was wounded in battle and was captured by Marcos agents while convalescing in a hospital from a debilitating leg wound in 1987.
Upon release from jail, he dedicated three decades of his life to furthering the livelihood of small sugar farmers and workers by extending farm financing, agricultural extension and secure the fair market value for their exported muscovado produce in the world market. His company was granted capital by people’s organizations and fair trade entities in Europe and South Korea, to put up more small-scale mills all over the island of Panay to benefit more sugar farmers and workers. Lately, the company and its workers were immersed in seeking resources from partners abroad to contribute to the campaign for relief and rehabilitation of Typhoon Yolanda victims all over the island.
Apparently, such activities of Romy and PFTC rub the regime’s military the wrong way since the various civil-military campaigns failed to win over the hearts and minds of a people cynical about an armed force who bludgeoned and intimidated them to death and now pretends to advocate human rights.
Romeo Capalla was arrested in August of 2005 based on a trumped-up charge of arson by the Armed Forces of President Arroyo. Along with him in the made-up case was Councilor Fernando Baldomero of Aklan. The evidences presented were so ridiculously manufactured that the case was dismissed. But even then, continuous attempts at harassing him and his business abound. The PFTC’s sugar mills in the far-flung countryside were already similarly attempted to be burned down several times. An explosive device was thrown at the door of another mill. The extra-judicial killing of Councilor Fernando Baldomero in July 2010 opened up a new chapter of serial killing, this time by henchmen adopted by the Benigno Aquino regime from the past Arroyo administration.
In providing for the continuity of the Oplan Bantay-Laya of the fascist Arroyo regime in the form of Oplan Bayanihan, the Aquino regime provided an elaborate facade of “respect for human rights”. Riding on the coattails of the anti-Marcos dictatorship prestige of his parents, Aquino II devised Oplan Bayanihan which continued the assault on people’s rights with impunity by the state security forces while claiming respect of human rights. Such pretentions and impunity are documented and denounced by various human rights organizations including the very State Department of the United States.
A case for this assertion, Romeo Capalla himself let on among his circle of friends that during the abduction of Luisa Posa and Nilo Arado, he and a relative approached a member of then Arroyo’s very exclusive Congressional Oversight Committee for Internal Security(COCIS). The COCIS member matter-of-factly confirmed that the two abducted were already killed and the operation was sanctioned because of strong demand from lower military officers.
Until now, these Arroyo henchmen were never investigated, much more prosecuted, and those military men are the very same people that the Aquino regime remains beholden to. Therefore, the trail of blood from Capalla’s extra-judicial killing leads to the very regime’s doorstep. But it went by roundabout ways passing through the gates of Camp Peralta, headquarters of the Third Infantry Division and its Military Intelligence Battalion, handlers of most secret liquidation teams and the paramilitary RPA-ABB.
Major General Baladad could now upgrade his achievements from the mere illegal arrestor of the Morong 43 (a group of legitimate health workers in training) to being the new overseer of a continuing serial political killing by military men in Panay. This he could rightly claim as the foremost commander of all counter-insurgency initiatives in Panay and Negros. No major extrajudicial killing by the forces under him could be executed unless he approves. This is not to say, however, that we could rule out the fielding of a team directly from the national headquarters of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ intelligence service.
Of course, the military could do all the dance and song routine about their innocence, demand proof of accusations from the victim’s family and associates, and even offer reward money for the arrest of perpetrators. They could even ridiculously claim zero human rights violation as certified by an apologist Commission on Human Rights. The police could eventually provide the fall guy(s) who would be at large or even arrested, as what happened to the killing of Fernando Baldomero. What could the public expect if one of those assigned to investigate the killing was also the intelligence officer, that Romeo Capalla claimed before as the one, together with other agents, engaged in stalking him surreptitously?
The state psywar experts aligned to some media outlets could even insinuate that Romeo Capalla’s murder was in retaliation for the execution of Hugo by the NPA, a convicted mass murderer, armed and dangerous. But such scenario would portray then that the state military (using their surrogate, the RPA-ABB) are aping the Japanese Kempetais in World War II. Ten innocent civilians were murdered for every Japanese soldier killed by Filipino guerrillas. We have no doubts that if the RPA-ABB was involved, it could be upon the instructions of their military intelligence handlers.
Or these top officials could let the public outcry die down and the case shelved among numerous other unsolved cases, as what happened to the enforced disappearances of Luisa Posa and Nilo Arado.
The state security forces enforce such selective heinous crimes with impunity so long as the Aquino regime could claim such killings as isolated cases or its incidence had decreased after the Marcos dictatorship. The important thing is for the Aquino regime to inflict the minimum level of white terror and intimidation that could contain the growing opposition to his rule. What matters to the regime is the chilling effect to those people that denounced its inutility and criminal neglect of Yolanda victims.
But the people are not intimidated. The public are not paralyzed by white terror nor their voices stilled by the rain of bullets. The Aquino regime and its murderous minions will reap what they sow.
For one, the dastardly killing of Romeo Capalla will bring into focus the impunity for crimes perpetrated by the state security agents under the US backed Aquino regime. The regime itself is swathed in human rights pretentious bloodline. Such sharp public awareness would bring to fore the anti-insurgency model (Oplan Bayanihan) from which stem the tactic of selective liquidation of progressive personalities by state security agents so as to zap the militancy of a people swamped by poverty, destroyed property and loss of livelihood. The serial killing of Baldomero and Capalla in a three-year span, and the enforced disappearance of Luisa Posa and Nilo Arado three years before Baldomero’s murder, highlights the fascist character of the state security forces unrepentant from the days of the Marcos dictatorship. Only this time, the Aquino regime provided the human rights trappings concealing their murderous hands.
All the preparations for the secondary Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conferences, all the come-ons to potential business investors, all the multimillion pesos spent on infrastructure and beautification projects would go to waste because the island has become one killing field of legitimate businessmen and leaders of people’s organization. As if the killings of rival drug personalities in gang wars, where national security forces are involved, are not enough.
Such political crimes, freshly awashed in Romeo Capalla’s blood, will bring out again and again, in increasing numbers, thousands of people to the streets in a public outcry that will resound all throughout Panay, all over the country, and even in the countries of Europe and Asia. The death of Romeo Capalla and the deep sorrow from the loss of a dedicated person in the service of the poor and oppressed would break through the terror effect of his assassination, and strengthen the commitment for justice and freedom of all comrade-in-arms, activists and the conscious masses.
Squads and platoons of NPA will be raised out of able-bodied men and women who could no longer stomach the criminal inutility of the Aquino regime in the face of widespread destitution and corruption in the wake of Typhoon Yolanda. These revolutionaries would rather opt to engage in armed struggle amidst sustained fascist attacks on legitimate protest actions and economic endeavor to assist the peasantry and farm workers as what happened in the past.
Right now, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in Panay, in the midst of revolutionary struggle, will redouble its effort in the campaign of the people rising to repair the ravages of Typhoon Yolanda’s wrath and restore normalcy in their daily lives. Having acquired the organized strength and some element of empowerment, the people rising shall exact justice for the martyrs in the national democratic struggle and for the people’s oppression as a whole including that for Romeo Capalla. In so doing, the people shall march firmly in the path of ousting the US-Aquino regime and establish genuine democracy and freedom.