Rebel claims killing trader

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Thursday, March 8, 2012


KIDAPAWAN CITY -- A New People’s Army (NPA) rebel claimed responsibility for killing here on Wednesday of a Filipino trader with Swiss descent.

In a statement, the Merardo Arce Command of the Southern Mindanao Regional Operations Command of the NPA said Patrick Wineger, 48, a trader from Barangay Saguing, in Makilala, North Cotabato, was punished for his involvement in the killing in October last year of Italian missionary Fausto Tentorio, PIME.

Rebel spokesperson Rigoberto Sanchez said they implemented the standing order against Wineger whom they considered as a "Bagani" coddler.

The Bagani, according to Sanchez, is a group of armed natives, which Wineger has organized in the '90s with help from some of the leaders of the lumads.

The NPA regional operations command has tasked NPA Front Committee 53 to execute the order.

Wineger, according to Sanchez, had long been on the NPA's Standing Order for his anti-communist activities in North Cotabato, Davao del Sur, and Bukidnon provinces.

"His active participation in anti-NPA activities involved the supervision of lumad military assets and passing of intelligence information to the fascist enemy that led to the death of two NPA Red fighters, and burning to death of a civilian in Saguing, Makilala town," the statement said.

"He also placed the NPA units operating in North Cotabato in near-defensive actions, and actively campaigned for the forced recruitment of local lumads as paramilitary Cafgus in cahoots with the 6th Infantry Division-AFP (Armed Forces of the Philippines) ," the statement added.

Wineger was shot dead Wednesday morning while buying some vegetables in one of the peddlers along Villamarzo Street in Kidapawan City.

The suspects also took the victim's pistol which, according to witnesses, was used to finish him off.

The Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP has released a statement blaming the death on the NPAs.

Colonel Leopoldo Galon, spokesperson for the Eastern Mindanao Command of the AFP, said Wineger was a staunch peace advocate and has been the military's partner in their peace and development efforts, especially in the hinterlands in North Cotabato province since the '90s.

Lieutenant Manuel Gatus, chief of the civil military operations of the 57th Infantry Battalion, said the victim was very active in giving lectures to the indigenous peoples to divert their attention from the evils of communism.

"Killings are essential tactics for them to strengthen the foundation of their party in the locality," Gatus.

Wineger's 72-year-old mother Marian also believed his son was killed because of the “cause” he has long fought for.

Wineger, though both of his parents are Swiss nationals and had become naturalized Filipinos in early '70s, was born and raised in Mindanao.

He was born in Basilan in 1964.

When his parents' lands in Basilan were sold under the government's agrarian reform program, they left the province in late '70s and settled in Makilala, a town in North Cotabato in Central Mindanao region, believed to be influenced by communist guerillas.

Wineger became famous in late '80s when he was abducted by a kidnap-for-ransom group in the province.

He was released later but was not clear if his parents paid the ransom for his freedom.

In early '90s, Wineger was seen in anti-government rallies in North Cotabato led by progressive groups and was very vocal against the NPA and the groups sympathetic to its cause.

In late '90s until early 2000, he helped organized a Peace and Development Council for the indigenous peoples in the province.

It was also believed he funded the arming of a group of natives whose task was to run after the rebels operating in the hinterlands. (Malu Cadeliña Manar)

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 09, 2012.

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