Reds duplicity prevents kin from reclaiming body of slain rebel

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MANILA — Further proof of communist rebels’ duplicity and deceit is further gleaned from the family of a ranking New People’s Army (NPA) leader, killed in a clash with government troops in Antipolo City, Rizal, which cannot recover his body and give it a decent burial as he is known by another name in the rebel movement, a ranking official of the National Task Force to End  Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) said Monday.

Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief-of-Staff for Civil-Military Operations, was referring to the case of Armando Lazarte alias “Pat Romano” who was killed last week.

Lazarte is the secretary of the communist rebels’ Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee’s Sub-Regional Military Area 4A.

“Days after Armando Lazarte alias Pat ‘Romano’, secretary of Sub-Regional Military Area 4A was killed in a raid in Antipolo City, his body still cannot be retrieved by the family. It is because he is known by another name in a classic duality of the CPP(Communist Party of the Philippines)-NPA,” Parlade said in a statement to the PNA Monday.

Lazarte is also known as “Ermin Bellen” in Pampanga where he lived with his family and is known to be a kind individual working for a non-government organization (NGO), he added.

Unknown to many, Lazarte is also the leader of one of the NPA’s violent group responsible for many atrocities in the Southern Tagalog area.

“Little did people know that he was the head of a dangerous and violent terrorist group of the NPA who was responsible in the ambush of police forces in Rizal and Laguna, the burning of equipment in Calabarzon, and the death of young child recruits and students from UP Los Banos, PUP (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) and other schools. Among them was John Carlo Capistrano Alberto and Josephine Lapira,” he said.

Even Lazarte’s family, he added, was unaware of his connections with the CPP-NPA and it took the announcement of one member of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog to make the connection.

“But Bellen’s family did not know that the Lazarte alias ‘Pat Romano’ who was reported killed was the same guy they know in Pampanga until Casey Ann Cruz of Karapatan – Southern Tagalog informed family members that Bellen was killed in that encounter. Recovered at the scene were several subversive documents, Kamatayan (Makabayan) bloc paraphernalia, bomb-making materials and manuals, other NPA paraphernalia, as well as uniforms and flags used by underground mass organizations like Kabataang Makabayan and its chapters in UP,” Parlade said.

Because of the NPA leader’s multiple identities due to the communist movement’s duplicitous character, he said Lazarte’s family will have a hard time claiming his body for a decent burial.

“His multiple identities were further complicated by Karapatan’s intervention to make a situation out of it,” he said.

He also scored Karapatan as it has consistently proven that they are not dissenters but a legal front whose purpose is to bail out captured  CPP-NPA personalities and claim bodies of slain NPA fighters and supporters.

Karapatan’s actions, he said, are consistent with the CPP-NPA doctrine calling for the strengthening of all organizations allied to it .

“This is consistent with the ‘Limang Taong Programa ng Partido (2017-2021)’. This is why the document says ‘kailangan palakasin ang mga progresibong kaalyado..upang makasuporta ang mga ‘HAYAG sa mga LUBOG‘. It is talking about Karapatan and the NUPL(National Union of Peoples Lawyers), who are now complaining of being vilified in Leyte. In truth the CPP document is very clear about their role in the armed revolution,” he added.

He said the NTF ELCAC has already communicated with the family of the slain NPA leader in Albay and assured them that the body will be released for the proper burial rites.

“The CPP already stole one of our family members from us for a very long time. Now that he is dead, we request Karapatan to please leave us alone so we can give Erwin the proper burial. We do not want CPP rites for him,” Parlade quoted one of Lazarte’s brother as saying.

He also slammed Karapatan for maintaining alleged government human rights violation records abroad even while it goes about with its grisly work of accounting for the dead rebels in the Philippines.

“So tell us Cristina Palabay, Secretary General of Katapatan? Are these one of the reasons why you are getting international recognition for your works? Accounting for your dead NPAs while making sure that government human rights statistics are maintained abroad? Meantime, you also make sure that the case of child warrior Litboy Binogcasan, who was recently killed in Butuan City does not reach your European donors?” he said.

The death of Lazarte and recently captured of CPP-NPA Central Committee member Jaime Padilla are among the reasons why communist rebels are worried about the continued existence of the NTF ELCAC, he added.

“This is also why Renato Reyes of Bayan Muna has been very vocal in calling for the abolition of the NTF ELCAC. These are just few of the many reasons why the CPP-NPA is just too happy to hear about another round of peace talks with this administration,” he added.

“The CPP wants to see light at the end of their dark tunnel. Incidentally it is an upcoming train from the NTF ELCAC and they are not happy with it,” Parlade said.

The CPP-NPA has been listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.